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Course: 22: 390: 501 Essentials of Strategic Written Communications

This guide is for students taking the "Strategic Written Communications" class. It lists steps on how to perform a company research and perform an industry analysis. Special focuses are on IBISWorld, MarketLine, PrivCo and Business Source Premier

Roadmap for finding company information

    Are you looking for an overview of the company? 

Overviews will give you a company history, a revenue analysis, and potentially a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

  Is the company publicly or privately owned?  If a company is public, there will be much more information available; if a company is private, it may be more challenging to find some financial information.

How can I determine if a company is public or private?

Bloomberg Business Week has a list of public companies.  You can search by the name of the company at

In addition, if you go to Yahoo! Finance, and find the ticker symbol for the company, then the company is a publicly held company.  A private company does not sell stock to the general public, and the stock is not traded on an exchange.

Are there any news articles or journal articles that covers the company?

You can find articles about your company using the following databases. Try to be flexible in how you search.  If necessary, try searching for a product name along with the company name.  For example, try searching the terms "wearables" or "smartwatches" when you want to find information about the company "Fitbit".

  Are you looking for financial data about the public company?  Looking at a company's financial performance over a period of several years can give you a clear picture of where it is headed.

 What if I need to research a private company?

Looking for information for private companies could be difficult.  Start with searching PrivCo.

PrivCo lists company profiles and financial information.  It also lists M & A activities for the industry that the company is associated with.  It also has venture capitalists' activities related to the industry.  While its main focus in on private companies, it may list some information related to public companies if their businesses or activities are related to some private companies.  If you are looking for public company information, you should not solely rely on PrivCo.

The following article contains a checklist that is prepared for professionals who want to research a private company.  You will find the checklist handy when locating information for a private company. Click the link below and login with your Rutgers NetID.

Ojala, Marydee. "Checklists for Private Company Research.” Online 35, no. 1 (February 1, 2011): 48–50.



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