If you’re charged with monitoring your competitors or if you need to research a specific company perhaps for an upcoming job interview, there are innumerable resources available on the internet. I’ve been involved with business and competitive intelligence for the last 15 or so years, and what follows is a list of some of the more valuable resources I’ve used. Some require subscriptions or fees, and I’ve identified them as such. Happy sleuthing!

  1. Let’s start with the basics. Google and Dogpile are great places to start. Dogpile is a popular mega search engine which combines Google, Yahoo! Search, Ask Jeeves, the Yellow Pages, and so on. In order to restrict your Google and Dogpile searches, click on the News tab in Dogpile or use: Google News
  2. Dialog’s Profound is a source for news, company research, and market research. Its database includes hundreds of thousands of news articles, company profiles, country profiles, and market research reports. You’re able to see the contents of research reports and buy just the section or sections you’re interested in, but at times what you get isn’t exactly what you thought you’d get. If you’re strictly interested in company information, there are better, cheaper (or free) options. Subscription required.
  3. Hoovers is a handy site for conducting some basic company research. To get detailed information, please remove your credit card from your wallet.
  4. LexisNexis is a resource that’s been around seemingly forever. An extraordinary amount of information is available from Nexis. Unfortunately, the company terminated its pay-as-you-go “a la carte” service in December of 2007. Fees involved.
  5. Dun and Bradstreet is an old standby, still useful for learning more about prospective customers, vendors, and competitors. Perhaps your Credit Dept. has a subscription, and reports are available on a pay as you go basis.
  6. Annual Reports/10-K Reports/Quarterly Analyst Calls: if the company in question is publicly traded, you can learn a great deal by listening to analyst calls and studying 10-K reports. Detail that you’ll never see in an Annual Report will be found in the company’s 10-K. Go to the SEC’s EDGAR for reports. Free.
  7. Yahoo! Finance will get you free basic company reports.
  8. Such reports will give you names of the company’s top executives. Use Google or Dogpile to search for them. Often you’ll be able to find articles or speeches, depending upon how active the executive is in his/her industry.
  9. Find and bookmark the local newspapers where the company in question is located. News that won’t find its way into the national media will often be big news locally – such as plant expansions, layoffs, and the like.
  10. Answers.com/Business is another neat site for free company reports. I just searched the site for Coca-Cola® and got a lengthy report with 59 footnotes. Free.
  11. Research and Markets claims to offer 382,000 different research reports – this is more of a resource for industry rather than company information, but there’s still a lot of company data available. Fees.
  12. If you’ve never visited CEOExpress, prepare to have your mind boggled… the site offers an astonishing variety of resources and links. The version for female executives is Execudiva. CEOExpress bills itself as “The Executive’s Internet” and features hundreds of links; one section is devoted to company research. Check it out… you could be there for a while.
  13. The Industry Research Desk has lots of useful links for researching a wide variety of – guess what – industries. The link entitled How to Learn About an Industry or a Specific Company is a step-by-step primer.
  14. Your Purchasing Department. Your primary competitors may buy from the same suppliers that you do. They may purchase capital equipment from some of the same suppliers. Talk to your Purchasing Manager about what types of information you’re looking for – and ask her or him whenever anything noteworthy happens.
  15. In a similar vein, your sales force should be a wonderful source for competitive data and information. Often, however, it doesn’t get reported. Provide your sales team some simple incentives for capturing competitive intel – personnel changes, changes to field sales strategy, promotions, pricing, and the like.
  16. Bizjournals.com – publishers of business journals in certain metro areas.
  17. Superpages.com – company locations and maps
  18. CorporateInformation.com – free company reports; 31,000 global company reports available for a fee. Searched for Coca-Cola® and got a simple, one page report.
  19. Findarticles.com – free and premium articles on a wide variety of topics. Searching for you-know-who-by-now (and no, I am not addicted to a certain sugary, carbonated beverage) returned 6,716 free articles – many from trade pubs.
  20. From Dow Jones – Factiva offers articles from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters, AP, Dow Jones, and more. Fees.
  21. Nerac enables you to research patents and other IP-related issues. Nerac researchers can perform custom research for you. This doesn’t come free.

I hope this information is helpful in your CI efforts. There are plenty of other resources available; email me if you’ve got a specific issue or question. -kc

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3 Comments on 21 Great Resources for Researching Companies & Competitors

  1. […] nothing about the interviewing company – see my related post on researching […]

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for sharing this great piece of information. I would like to suggest one of my own, which is FREE – http://www.businessweek.com

    [Reply]

  3. Dan says:

    Great bunch of resources! All of them are quite valuable and for different uses under the heading of “Business Research.” You mentioned:
    4. LexisNexis is a resource that’s been around seemingly forever. An extraordinary amount of information is available from Nexis.

    LexisNexis also has a site called Corporate Affiliations http://www.corporateaffiliations.com/ which can also be used to leverage data on a company. Not sure if you have ever come across it in your 15 years, but I figured I’d offer it up in this comment.

    Thanks for the comprehensive list!

    [Reply]

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