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Company Information: Directories/Profiles

A guide for researching U.S. and global companies, including company profiles, company history, SWOT analysis, and corporate social responsibility.

Company Research: Strategies & Tips

  • Company website: company history, mission/vision/value statements (as available),10-K (for public companies) and annual reports (if available), other policy type documents (e.g., CSR/sustainability reports), media/news/press releases.
     
  • Company profiles in library resources: history, news, financial performance (if public), competitors, etc.
     
  • Private companies: information on private companies or subsidiaries can be harder to find than information on public companies. Search Reference Solutions, Mergent Intellect, and PrivCo for information on private companies.
     
  • Nonprofits: see the Nonprofits tab of this guide.

Company Profiles & Directories

Company profiles may include a history of the company, product lines, financial data, customer base, key suppliers, management team, strategy, competitors, and more. For public companies, you can find additional information in the company's 10-K, the annual report all U.S. public companies have to file with the SEC.

Public companies & private companies: what's the difference?

Public companies have shares of stock or other registered securities that are bought and sold by the public on one of the stock exchanges. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires publicly traded companies to file extensive information with them, which is available online.

Private companies are not traded on any stock exhange. Generally, they do not have to file any documents with the SEC, so it can be more challenging to find information on them.

Company Websites

A company or organization website can be an excellent source of information for locations, products and services, pricing, and product specifications. For public companies, they can include the company's mission statement as well as links to annual reports and 10-K's.  SEC filings, especially 10-K reports, may include products, markets, distribution channels, research and development, patent, and environmental safety information.

Note: Websites are not objective information sources, do not depend on them to tell the entire story about a company or organization.