Thoroughly researching a company requires searching multiple sources, and it helps to have a little background info to guide your search. Here are a few variables to look out for:
Public vs. Private Finding information on public companies (those that are traded on stock markets) is pretty straightforward because they are required to provide annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Less information is readily available about private companies because they are not traded on the stock exchange and do not have to file reports with the SEC.
Company Size As a rule of thumb, the larger the company, the easier it is to research. Information will be readily available for large corporations like Wal-Mart, Apple, or Amazon, but more difficult to find for a small consulting firm.
Location Information related to U.S.-based companies will be easier to locate than international companies. Regulatory systems differ from country to country and can make financial information for international companies difficult to find. International companies traded on US exchanges will be easier to find.
Scroll down to view sources for company information.
Reference USA: Directory information for U.S. businesses. Click U.S. Businesses on the homepage.
LexisNexis: To search company profiles from the main search page, click the "Search by Content Type" button and choose Company Profiles, or use the "Get Company Info" button on the bottom right.
Proquest Central Database: From the main search page, try searching for a company by name in the top box followed by a keyword in the second box next to "AND" (such as news, history, or a country name).