Conducting Business Research


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  • Conducting Business Research

    1. 1. Finding Business Information <ul><li>Brendan Rapple AD140 </li></ul><ul><li>Advancing Studies 17 February 2010 </li></ul>
    2. 2. Many Types of Business Info <ul><li>General Information on Business </li></ul><ul><li>Information on Companies </li></ul><ul><li>Information on Finance, Investments etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Information on International or Global Business </li></ul><ul><li>Information on Industries </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Information </li></ul><ul><li>Information on Small Business </li></ul><ul><li>Information on Business Organization </li></ul>
    3. 3. How Can I Find . . . . <ul><ul><li>The address of a company? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who owns a company? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The parent of a company? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The sales, or other financial data for a company? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Info on private companies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Info on public companies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articles on a company? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Companies ranked by sales? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How a given industry is doing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on a businessperson? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articles which appeared in the Wall Street Journal ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A company's 800 number? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How businesses/organizations work –role of decision-making, leadership, teams, ethical approaches etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A multitude of other questions </li></ul>
    4. 4. Helpful Business Pages on BC Libraries Site <ul><li>Research Help by Subject : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Business and Management </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Searching for Company Information <ul><li>Why learn how to research a company? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps to prepare for job interviews. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People in strategic planning, market research, advertising, sales, public relations etc. need information on their competitors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Useful when making personal investment decisions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To find out more about a company’s products. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maybe you’re suing a company! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NOTE: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A vast amount of info. available in print and electronically. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Still, no one definitive way to conduct business research on a particular company. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Researching a Company? Basic Info. <ul><li>Basic information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a company’s headquarters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>address, phone and fax numbers; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>annual sales; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>names of subsidiaries; & </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the names of key personnel; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SIC codes. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. SIC Codes <ul><li>Reading SIC Codes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The first two digits of the code identify the major industry group, the third digit identifies the narrower industry group, and the fourth digit identifies the actual specific industry. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20 Food and Kindred Products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>209 Miscellaneous Food Preparations and Kindred Products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2096 Potato Chips, Corn Chips, and Similar Snacks </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Company Research <ul><li>Very important to know the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Proper and full company name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate headquarters' address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Company's form of ownership </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Researching a company is not always easy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Company identity often complex question. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many companies have similar names, but are separate, distinct companies based in different cities.  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ford may refer to Ford Motor Company or The Ford Foundation. </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Public or Private or International Company? <ul><li>Use a directory to find whether a company is public, private or non-U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Public </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Much info. available on companies which trade on the stock market - SEC filings, annual reports, analysts' reports, news stories, books and case studies. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Private </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on private companies is usually limited to brief details in directories, news stories, and sometimes books. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>International </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amount of info. on international companies varies. If the company trades on the U.S. exchanges it must file annual reports (20-F) with the SEC. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other information can be found in directories, databases, newspapers and magazines. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Company Research <ul><li>Form of ownership not always easy to guess.  </li></ul><ul><li>Koch Industries , Bechtel , Cargill , PricewaterhouseCoopers , Flying J , Ernst & Young , Publix , and Mars are among the largest privately held companies in the United States. IKEA , Victorinox , and Bosch are examples of Europe's largest privately held companies. ( Wikipedia ) </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller local companies, such as First Federal Savings Bank of Youngstown, may be publicly owned. </li></ul><ul><li>Also companies are bought and sold daily. A company that was independently owned may be purchased by a public company. </li></ul><ul><li>Private companies occasionally go public as they grow and develop a need for more capital.  </li></ul><ul><li>Subsidiaries and divisions change ownership, operating  under new parent companies.  </li></ul>
    11. 11. Is the Company Public or Private? <ul><li>Public Companies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trade stock on open financial market -- sell stock to general public. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Required by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to disclose financial information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must provide annual reports to shareholders. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thus, financial info. always available for a public company. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As a result of 1929 crash, people have right to know about publicly traded companies. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Public Companies <ul><li>Type of Info. Disclosed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Broad Financial data, e.g. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>revenues </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>expenses </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>profits </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>summary of assets and liabilities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Type of Info. Not Disclosed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>marketing strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>production costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>other day-to-day operations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>trade secrets, e.g. ingredients in Coke, in Mrs. Field’s cookies etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>while salaries/fringe benefits of key executives must be disclosed, hourly wages paid to ordinary employees need not be </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Company Research <ul><li>The more intricate the organizational structure of the company, the more complex it usually is to uncover details about its individual parts. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Using Newspapers <ul><li>Factiva is an important resource – many thousands of sources including the full-text of the Wall Street Journal </li></ul>
    15. 15. What Approach are you Taking? <ul><li>Do you wish to find out what the company says about itself? </li></ul><ul><li>Or, do you wish to find out what others say about the company? </li></ul>
    16. 16. Locally-Owned Companies <ul><li>The Boston Globe database (full-text from 1980) </li></ul><ul><li>Lexis-Nexis Academic (full-text of 100s of newspapers). </li></ul>
    17. 17. International Companies <ul><li>Europages, the European Business Directory </li></ul><ul><li>Contains information on 1,500,000 companies, from 35 European countries, from all activity sectors. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Finding Financial Information about a Company <ul><li>Important to distinguish between </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Annual Report to Stockholders (ARS) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Financial reports submitted to SEC </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Annual Report to Stockholders (ARS) <ul><li>Glossy, upbeat brochure mailed annually to stockholders </li></ul><ul><li>It typically contains </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>financial statements </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>photos </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>graphics </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>considerable narrative </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Designed to present best possible picture of company </li></ul><ul><li>Often viewed as little more than public relations piece </li></ul><ul><li>Still, bad news cannot be ignored, though it may be played down or euphemistically explained away </li></ul><ul><li>Moreover, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and SEC regulations must be followed </li></ul><ul><li>Much useful info. can be found in an ARS </li></ul>
    20. 20. Locating Annual Reports <ul><li>You may obtain a company's annual report simply by calling the corporation's investor relations department or by visiting their corporate website on the Internet (if the company has one). </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains thousands of free annual reports. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CAROL - Company Annual Reports On-Line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual Reports from companies in Europe and the USA. Free but registration is required. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Financial Reports Submitted to SEC <ul><li>Detailed financial publication </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>no artistic photos </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>no striking graphs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>no flowery narrative </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>avoids the company hype </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>More specific financial info. than in the annual report </li></ul>
    22. 22. Databases Useful for Locating Company Profiles <ul><li>Business Source Complete </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes profiles for more than 10,000 companies worldwide. Select the &quot;Company&quot; link on the right. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lexis-Nexis Academic </li></ul><ul><li>Click on the &quot;Business&quot; tab to get company stock information, bond rating, competitors, executives, brands and more. </li></ul><ul><li>General Business File </li></ul><ul><li>Information on more than 200,000 public and private companies. International in scope. Select &quot;subject guide&quot; search and enter company name. Look for the entry that says &quot;Read about this company&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>Factiva </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes profiles on most public companies in the United States and some international companies. Limited information on private companies. Select Companies/Markets, click on &quot;Company&quot; and enter the company name or ticker symbol. </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Analysts’ Reports <ul><li>Then there are the analysts’ reports, often from Wall Street, produced by such companies as Merrill Lynch, Forrester, Jeffries, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse-North America, Salomon Smith Barney etc. </li></ul><ul><li>These are supposed to “tell it as it is”, e.g. this company is going under within six months and only a fool would buy shares in it!! </li></ul>
    24. 24. Databases Useful for Locating Analysts’ Reports <ul><li>Thomson ONE Banker (Internet Explorer Only) </li></ul><ul><li>Investext Plus contains </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the full text of research/analyst reports on companies and industries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as well as the annual statistical reports of many industry trade associations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It delivers full-text reports in their original published formats, complete with charts, photographs and graphics. </li></ul><ul><li>The reports are from 500 of the world's top investment banks, brokerage firms and trade associations. </li></ul>
    25. 25. Subsidiaries of Publicly Held Companies <ul><li>Not required to file separate disclosure documents. </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant info. (especially financial) on affiliates is attributed to parent company --- analogy of child’s phone no. being under parents’ name. </li></ul><ul><li>Bigger the parent company, more difficult it is to research a single component of its operations. </li></ul><ul><li>Often as difficult as finding info. on a private company. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Another Useful Business Database <ul><ul><li>Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent database for locating company profiles and industry overviews </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Private Companies <ul><li>Usually about 25 shareholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Privately owned stock is not available for market trade. </li></ul><ul><li>Stockholders typically the principals in the co., e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>founders </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>members of their families </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>key employees </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>No disclosure of information is required of the co. according to Federal Securities laws. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Useful Databases for Researching Private Companies <ul><li>Most of the databases used for researching public companies may also be useful for private companies: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Business Source Complete </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>General BusinessFile ASAP </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lexis-Nexis Academic </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Newspapers may be especially useful. Still, it is often very difficult to find good info. on private companies </li></ul>
    29. 29. A Useful Website for Researching Private Companies <ul><li>Forbes 500 Top Private Companies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forbes magazine makes available its list of top private companies over the past three years. </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. Information on Overseas Business <ul><li>World Bank Country Profiles Country profiles prepared by World Bank staff are available for 157 nations. The web site also includes a section “ Topics in Development ” – very useful for locating diverse information om trade, business etc. in these foreign countries. </li></ul><ul><li>GlobalEdge The &quot;Country Insights&quot; section provides current information on the business climate, news, history, political structure, economic landscape, and relevant statistical data for 196 countries. The &quot;Global Resources&quot; section is a directory of international business resources categorized by specific orientation and content. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Industry Overviews <ul><li>Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover about 52 major industries in the U.S. and some in Europe, Asia and Latin American. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Business Source Complete </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are two ways to search for an industry overview in this database. Click on the &quot;Industry&quot; link in the right column to see if your industry is listed. If not, enter your industry in the search box (i.e. financial services industry) on the main search screen. Several categories will appear above the results, select Industry Profiles. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GlobalEdge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Select “ Industries ” at the top. </li></ul></ul>