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BRASS Business Guide - COMPANY AND INDUSTRY RESEARCH: Trouble finding info?

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What if I am having trouble finding much, if any, information about my company?

  • Determine whether the company is public or private.
  • Be sure you are researching the official name of the company. Many companies have popular names that may not be listed anywhere. For example, 3M is really Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.
  • If the company is a personal name or includes initials, e.g. Walt Disney or H. J. Heinz, look under each part of the name. Various sources are not consistent in how names are treated.
  • If the company name is a common word such as Apple or Amazon and you tend to retrieve articles about rivers (Amazon) or fruit (Apple), try adding in Inc. or Corp. after the name. 
  • If you are researching a subsidiary, expand your research to include the parent corporation. For example, Google is under its parent company Alphabet. 
  • Companies sometimes change their names, so be sure to look under multiple possible company names. For example, the cigarette maker Phillip Morris changed its name to Altria . 
  • Very small or very new companies may not appear in the standard sources, particularly print sources. Look for news articles and a company website. Use any regional or specialized industry directories which may be available.
  • See if the database you’re searching in has a specific search tool or area to search for company names – Euromonitor, Factiva, and others have special sections or filters to search by company names.  In the list of results, there may be a way to limit results by company, as well.
  • Make sure the source you’re searching includes private or international companies. Some sources like Mergent only have publicly traded companies, so smaller companies aren’t included.

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