Choice of Firm
- Check out ReferenceUSA.com. Almost every business is listed here. Since public and private businesses are listed, large and small, go to advanced search
and limit your search to companies with sales greater than $1 billion and Public=Yes. This returns over 1,000 firms. You can limit further by your preference (geography, age of firm, Fortune Ranking, etc.) to zero in on a short list of preferred firms to choose from.
- Check out all company databases offered by the library and sample documents from each.
Selecting a Highly Visible Firm
- You can check out Hoover's Most Viewed Company Directory, a list of the companies most searched on the Hoover's company database.
- Also see articles of rankings of top U.S. public companies from business journals such as Business Week, Barron's and Forbes. The idea is that if a company makes this list, it likely has a larger presence. However, if you choose a company from one of these lists, make sure it is a public company traded on a stack exchange.
- Once you have chosen a company, make sure the library has a Datamonitor Company Report on it (see example), especially with a SWOT analysis section.
- Also go to ABI-Inform and run a search on your company to see how many hits you get. The more, the better. For example, this company search on Google produced over over 5,000 hits. (Notice I searched the company field: "CO(google)" instead of doing a general search for Google: "(Google)". 5,000 is not a good number when you need to evaluate results, bust just for an indication of the proliferation of a company, 5,000 hits is a good sign!
- The most well-known companies will have books published about them. For example, here are the books in the library on Starbucks. Here is a book in NetLibrary on Home Depot. In the library,
most company books are in the HD9999 call number section on floor 2.
How Well Known is Your CEO?
- You can use ReferenceUSA, Hoover's or your Datamonitor Report to identify the CEO. Many other sources can do this too.
- Check out the Executives sub-tab under Company Details for your company in Mergent
Online. (There is a 2 user limit. If you are denied access, try back in
30 minutes.) See the example for Google in Mergent.
- Also go to ABI-Inform and run a search on the CEO to see how many hits you get. The more, the better. For example, this person search on Bill Gates produced many hits. (Notice I searched the Person field: "PER(Gates, Bill)
" instead of doing a general search for Gates: "(Bill Gates)".
- If you have time you could look at Business Leader
Profiles for Students, located in the Library's Reference collection at HC102.5 .A2 B79 . Here is the entry for the late Dave
Thomas of Wendy's.
- The International Directory of Business Biographies. Request biographies from the Business Librarian. See sample.
Identifying Your Company's Major Products & Services
- You can use ReferenceUSA to look up your firm, then see under the "Lines of Business" section to start getting an idea of its product areas.
- You can use the Datamonitor Report and Hoover's (see the Products/Operations tab) to identify the major products and services.
- Also as a test to see the amount of information available, go to ABI-Inform and run a search on the the company and products to see how many hits you get. The more, the better. For example, this product search on General Electric produced many hits. (Notice I searched for "CO(general electric) AND SU(product) ".
- Check out the Business sub-tab under Company Details for your company in Mergent
Online. (If you are denied access, try back in
20 minutes.) See the example for Google in Mergent.
- Check out VauleLine to see how the lines of business your company is involved in is weighted. See example for General Electric. Go to the top of page 2 and look at the "BUSINESS" section. Each line of business is assigned a percentage based on operating revenue, etc.
Once you have chosen a firm, check out the Archive of Team Consultation Web Pages on the University of Washington Foster Library website. They have put together a guide on using library resources to find info on various companies. The neat thing these guides do is that it shows search examples using the firm as a keyword to show you why the resource is relevant. We have most of the resources at the UAH library, just ask the Business Librarian if you have questions about any resources highlighted on the Foster Library website.