"Business information is defined not only by what it is but also in terms of how it is used, where it is generated, who generates it, its geographic coverage and its time frame." Abels, E., & Klein, D. (2008). Introduction to Business Information. In Business Information Needs and Strategies (1st ed., Vol. 31, p. 1). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Before starting any type of research, it's a good idea to do some brainstorming. Think about your topic. What type of information do you need, what will you use it for? Think about the best places to look for your information. Are there different ways to express your topic using different words? If you are interested in a specific aspect of a company or business, write down some search terms and make a list of where you might want to look for that information. It's okay if you are unsure, research is a process that unfolds while you are doing it. Also, make sure you have the correct spelling of your company name and stock ticker symbol.
Is your company a private company or is it a public one? Public companies are required to file papers with the government and make their financial information known. Private companies are a little tougher to research, because they are not required to make their company information available. Private companies are not listed on the stock exchange and do not need to file papers with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). With private companies, it might be helpful to look at their market share and other external data about their business environment.
Is your company a parent or subsidiary? You may need to research the parent company to find out more about a subsidiary. It would also be important to check on the current and historical ownership of the subsidiary. It can tell you a lot about the subsidiary and confirm that you have the most recent information about the company.
If the company you are researching is publicly held, it will have a stock ticker symbol. It is a type of abbreviation that symbolizes the company's name in a particular stock market. You can use the ticker symbol as one more way to search for information about a company. Examples of ticker symbols: AAPL (Apple Inc.), GOOG (Google Inc.), and COST (Costco).
You can find the ticker symbol for a company by going to the company's website or particular stock market.