Search for information about the company: its past, present, and projections for the future. Find information about the company's collaborators, customers, competitors and the current business climate. Use MU licensed article, news, company, industry, market databases first, then search the web for secondary research, trade publications, data, industry blogs, etc. Deciding the status (publicly trated/private, etc.) is an important first step.
Types of information about companies/industries that can be found:
Company Culture Search business article and news databases using “corporate culture” or “company culture” or culture and “company name.” Don’t forget to check the company’s Web site and media guide for what their public relations folks want you to know about them.
Company Challenges Search business databases using terms “risk,” “challenge,” etc. Look at S&P Net Advantage, Mergent Online and EDGAR’s take on the company’s challenges. Look for SWOT analysis in Business Source Premier.
Industry Trends Identify the “industry” in which your company does business. This could mean identifying the “lines of business” by NAICS or SIC codes. Business Source Premier, Mergent Online, S&P Net Advantage, IBIS World, and Factiva will be helpful.
New Opportunities Search business and technology databases to learn about new opportunities, change in barriers, etc. exist.
Competitive Analysis Check to see if a SWOT analysis for the company is available in Business Source Premier, S&P Net Advantage, Mergent Online and Factiva can provide insight into the competitive nature of the industry and how peers compare.
Product or Service Analysis Learn about the products and services offered by the company. Have distribution and pricing models changed? Might they need to change to keep pace or move ahead in the market? Check Business Source Premier for advertising/marketing campaigns, including past and present successes and failures. Check to see if innovations in technology and distribution models have changed or provide opportunity for change.
Consumer Analysis Business Source Premier, Factiva, Mintel, and free data sources online.eMarketer is a market research aggregator. Online Media Daily is a free resource to which you can subscribe that provides aggregated data on online usage, etc.
Market Analysis Locate DMAs through several sources. Market share can often be found in Factiva and Business Source Premier. Frost & Sullivan (student access) can provide in depth information about industry trends and innovation. eMarketer can provide online market information.
SWOT Analysis Find company SWOT analyses in Business Source Premier. Use as an example, but use the information that you’ve gathered from your searches to create a more comprehensive SWOT analysis.