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Frequently Asked Questions for Business

Compiled by Martha Cooney and Elizabeth Mezick
January 23, 2004; Revised May 2004

Company:

  1. How can I tell if my company is public or private?

  2. Where can I find directory information (e.g. address, phone, fax, email, officers, directors, founding date, sales, etc.) on my company?

  3. Where can I find history or profile information on my company?

  4. How can I get an annual report?

  5. Where can I find SEC filings?

  6. Where can I locate a supplier of widgets for my business?

  7. Where can I find information on foreign companies?

  8. How can I locate company lists and rankings?


Finance:

  1. How can I find stock prices for the past month for selected companies when I don't know the ticker symbols or stock exchanges on which they are traded?

  2. Where can I find information on defunct companies and/or stocks?

  3. Where can I find the current mortgage rates for Long Island?


Industry and Marketing:

  1. Where can I find an overview of a particular industry?

  2. Where can I find statistical data on a particular industry?

  3. How do I find the SIC and NAICS codes for an industry? Are SIC codes still being used?

  4. How can I find out who makes this product? All I have is the brand name.

  5. Where can I locate market share information on a particular product?

  6. Where can I find a list of the major companies in an industry?

  7. Where can I locate demographic information?


Small Business:

  1. Where can I find information on starting a business?

  2. How do I prepare a business plan?

  3. How can I locate sources of venture capital?


Company:

  1. How can I tell if my company is public or private?

  2. Where can I find directory information (e.g. address, phone, fax, email, officers, directors, founding date, sales, etc.) on my company?

    All of the directories and databases listed below will help you determine whether your company is public or private, and will provide directory information.

    • Hoover's Online

    • Directory of Corporate Affiliations. New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis Group. Annual. (Bus HG4057.A217)

    • Million Dollar Directory. Bethlehem, PA: Dun & Bradstreet. Annual. (Bus HC102.08)
      A triangle symbol next to the company name indicates public ownership.

    • D&B Regional Business Directory. Bethlehem, PA: Dun & Bradstreet. Annual. (Long Island: Bus HG4057.N7D86) and (NY Metropolitan Area: Bus HG4058.N56D86)
      A triangle symbol next to the company name indicates public ownership.

    • Business & Company Resource Center
    • General BusinessFile ASAP
      These Business InfoTrac (Gale Group) databases provide excellent company listings and access to articles back to 1980. Many articles are available full-text.

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  3. Where can I find history or profile information on my company?

    In addition to the company homepage, the following sources will provide useful information.

    • Hoover's Online
      Hoover's Online provides capsule information for free and a profile to members. Links are also provided to the company homepage.

    • Mergent Online & Mergent (Moody's) Manuals. New York: Mergent FIS. Annual. (Located in Business Stack 3)
      The print and online versions of Mergent provide extensive history and chronology of corporate events, often useful in tracing corporate change.

    • Business & Company Resource Center. Gale Group.
      This InfoTrac database provides a tab for historical and chronological information for each company entry.

    • International Directory of Company Histories. Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press. Multi-volume. (Bus HD2721.I63 1988)
      Volumes are continually added to this extensive and comprehensive set. Recommended for larger libraries with substantial business reference collections. Text also available in Business & Company Resource Center.

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  4. How can I get an annual report?

    Annual reports are often available from company homepages or from the company itself. Hoovers.com provides easy links to company homepages. The resources listed below will also be helpful.

    • Mergent Online
      The Mergent database provides annual reports and 10-K's for many companies.

    • IRIN-Annual Report Resource Center
      An easy-to-use site that provides access to 3,000 annual reports by company name, ticker, and SIC.

    • Pre-1994 Companies
      The CBR has a large collection of annual reports on microfiche for many NYSE and AMEX companies through the 1980's and late 1970's. Pre-1994 reports may also be available from the company.

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  5. Where can I find SEC filings?

    Since 1996, all companies reporting to the SEC are required to file electronically through EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system of the SEC. Electronic reports can be found for many companies as early as 1994.

    • Mergent Online
      The Mergent database provides annual reports and 10-K's for many companies.

    • SEC Filings & Forms

    • FreeEdgar.com
      FreeEdgar provides free access to SEC filings with searching by company name, ticker, or SIC, but you must register first.

    • Pre-1994:
      The CBR has 10-K's and proxy statements on microfiche for many NYSE and AMEX companies through the 1980's and late 1970's.

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  6. Where can I locate a supplier of widgets for my business?

    • Thomas Register of American Manufacturers. NY: Thomas Publishing Co. Annual. (Bus T12.T6) See also: ThomasNet.com

    • Thomas Food & Beverage Market Place. Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing. (Bus HD 9003.F578)

    • Thomas Regional at ThomasNet.com

    • Kompass
      The Kompass site offers searching by product, service, and name for international manufacturing companies.

    • Google
      Search engines can lead you to supplier homepages, often with illustrations.

    • Directory of Manufacturers' Sales Agencies. Laguna Hills, CA: Manufacturers' Agents National Association. Annual. (Bus HF5421.M337)

    • American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory. Louise Gagne, Editor. Detroit: Gale Group. (Bus HF5421.A615)

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  7. Where can I find information on foreign companies?

    • Mergent Online & Mergent (Moody's) Manuals. New York: Mergent FIS. Annual. (Located in Business Stack 3)

    • D&B Principal International Businesses. Bethlehem, PA: Dun & Bradstreet. Annual. (Bus HF54.U5P74)

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  8. How can I locate company lists and rankings?

    There are many lists and rankings of companies available. Consult the following list of sites and print sources to get you started. To make your own lists, try the company and industry features in Hoover's Online and the stock screening features of many Internet finance sites. Mergent Online offers advanced search options to sort public companies by many financial and industry parameters.

    • Business & Company Resource Center
      This InfoTrac database provides a tab for rankings for each company entry.

    • Price's List of Lists

    • Forbes

    • Fortune

    • Business Rankings Annual. Detroit. Gale Group. (Bus HG4050.B88)

    • D&B Business Rankings. Bethlehem, PA: Dun & Bradstreet. (Bus HG4057.A237)

    • D&B Regional Business Directory. Bethlehem, PA: Dun & Bradstreet. Annual. (Long Island: Bus HG4057.N7D86 and NY Metropolitan Area: Bus HG4058.N56D86)

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Finance:

  • Investment Statistics Locator / L.H. Bently & J.J. Kiesl. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1995. (Bus Z7164.C18C47 1985)

  • Financial Data Finder
    Alphabetical list of financial web sites maintained by Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business.

  1. How can I find stock prices for the past month for selected companies when I don't know the ticker symbols or stock exchanges on which they are traded?

    For Exchange/Ticker Information:

    • Directory of Corporate Affiliations. LexisNexis Group. Annual. (Bus HG4057.A217)

    • New York Stock Exchange
      Select the Listed Companies link and then choose the Alphabet tab followed by the tab for the letter with which the company name begins.

    • American Stock Exchange
      Open the Equities link and click on the Listed Companies link to access the Company Lookup function.

    • Nasdaq
      Click on the Quotes tab and then use the Symbol Look-Up function to search for a Nasdaq, AMEX, NYSE or OTCBB company by company name or ticker symbol.

    • Yahoo! Finance: Global Symbol Lookup

    For Stock Prices: These sites provide charts and/or 15 minute delayed quotes for free. There are many quote servers not listed here; they are all more or less the same.

    • Lycos Quote.com
      Enter a ticker symbol to get current stock prices. Don't know the ticker symbol? Use the Find Symbol link to look it up.

    • Wall Street City
      Search by company name or ticker symbol for Corporate Snapshot which provides latest quote information. Then link to Historical Quotes for prices as far back as 1988.

    • BigCharts
      Click on Quotes tab and then the Quick Quotes link for current stock prices. Click on the Historical Quotes tab for historical stock prices back to at least 1988.

    • Silicon Investor
      U.S. stock quotes going back to 1968! Search on company name or symbol for current quote, then link to Historical Prices. Doesn't appear to be adjusted for splits.

    • Yahoo! Finance: Historical Prices
      Enter the stock symbol in the box, and click on Go. Then click on Historical Prices in the left column.

    • Standard & Poor's Daily Stock Price Record. New York: Standard & Poor's Corporation. Quarterly. (Located in Business Stack 2)

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  2. Where can I find information on defunct companies and/or stocks?

    • Directory of Obsolete Securities. Jersey City, NJ: Financial Information, Inc. Annual. (Bus HG4961.D56)
      List of companies whose identities have been lost as a result of name change, merger, acquisition, dissolution, reorganization, bankruptcy or charter cancellation. Whenever possible, an indication has been made as to whether stock has any remaining value or stockholders' equity still exists.

    • Mergent Online Company Archives
      Mergent Online database lists U.S. and international companies that were acquired, went bankrupt or merged out of existence from 1995 onward.

    • Hoover's Business Boneyard
      Premium feature for subscribers. Select "Browse The Business Boneyard" link for histories of defunct companies.

    • Predicasts F & S Index of Corporate Change. Cleveland, OH: Predicasts, Inc. Ceased publication in 1993. [CBR Holdings: 1978 - 1993. Located in Business Stack 2]
      Index to information in newspapers and periodicals on mergers, acquisitions, and other organizational changes that affect corporate identity. Three sections: SIC (principal section), alphabetical by company name, special tabulations including name changes, bankruptcies, liquidations, etc.

    • Capital Changes Reporter. Chicago: CCH. (Bus KF1428.A6C65 ; CBR Holdings: Current through January 21, 1999.]
      Arranged alphabetically by company. Information, listed chronologically, includes date of incorporation, stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, mergers, and consolidations. Last volume contains list of worthless securities.

    • New York. Department of State. Division of Corporations
      Search for Corporations Here provides a complete or partial history of corporations in existence on or after December 5, 1977, but that went out of existence prior to December 31, 1984. The records of corporations that went out of existence prior to December 5, 1977 are contained in manual inactive files at the Department of State. A written request must be made for these records.

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  3. Where can I find the current mortgage rates for Long Island?

    • Bankrate.com
      Allows you to focus your search on a particular state (e.g., New York) and city (e.g., Long Island).

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Industry and Marketing:

In addition to the specific sources listed in this section, the following meta-sites will lead you to a wealth of industry information:

  1. Where can I find an overview of a particular industry?

    Use the following sources to find descriptive information about an industry and references to additional information. These are good places to start an industry search, often more complete than what is usually offered on the Internet for free.

    • S&P Industry Surveys. New York: Standard & Poor's. Annual, with updates. (Located at Reference Desk)
      The S&P Surveys provide descriptive as well as company-specific information.

    • Business & Company Resource Center
      This database provides the text of several industry encyclopedias, including the Encyclopedia of American Industries, searchable by company or industry name.

    • Encyclopedia of American Industries. Detroit: Gale Group. (Bus HC102.E53)

    • U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook. New York: DRI/McGraw-Hill. (Bus HC101.U54)

    • Hoover's Industries
      Click on "Browse Industries" and select industry. Overview and company information is available.

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  2. Where can I find statistical data on a particular industry?

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  3. How do I find the SIC and NAICS codes for an industry? Are SIC codes still being used?

    Although NAICS codes were introduced in 1997 and are the standard in reporting certain government statistics, you will find SIC codes in use in many business publications. Cross-reference lists can be found in a number of print and Internet sources.

    • NAICS Codes

    • SIC Search

    • North American Industry Classification System. Executive Office of the President. Office of Management and Budget. 1997. (Bus HF1041.5.N674 1997)

    • Standard Industrial Classification Manual. Executive Office of the President. Office of Management and budget. 1987. (Bus HF1042.S73 1987)

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  4. How can I find out who makes this product? All I have is the brand name.

    • Brands and Their Companies. Detroit: Gale Group. (Bus T223.V4A25)

    • Companies and Their Brands. Detroit: Gale Group. (Bus T223.V4A253)

    • Standard Directory of Advertisers, v. 2. New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis Group. Annual. (Bus HF5805.S7)

    • Hoover's Online
      Hoover's offers searching by keyword which may link you to the company that makes a specific product.

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  5. Where can I locate market share information on a particular product?

    Market share information is often published in trade journals. The sources listed below will lead you to actual figures and sources for further investigation. Business databases such as InfoTrac, ABI/Inform, and Lexis-Nexis can also be searched.

    • Market Share Reporter. Detroit: Gale Group. Annual. (Bus HF5410.M35)

    • World Market Share Reporter. Gale Research. Biannual. (Bus HD2757.15.W67)

    • Business Rankings Annual. Detroit: Gale Group. Annual. (Bus HG4050.B88)

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  6. Where can I find a list of the major companies in an industry?

    In addition to the sources listed below, consult the section on company lists and rankings under Company information in this guide.

    • S&P Industry Surveys. New York: Standard & Poor's. Annual, with updates. (Most recent located at Reference Desk)

    • The Value Line Investment Survey. New York: Value Line Publishing. Quarterly updates. (Most recent located at Reference Desk)

    • Forbes Platinum List
      Click on "America's Best Managed Companies" link. Select "Sort List by Industry".

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  7. Where can I locate demographic information?

    There are many books published that provide demographic information on specific topics. The sources listed below are general references that provide a broad range of demographic data.

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Small Business:

  1. Where can I find information on starting a business?

    • Entrepreneur Magazine Small Business Advisor. (1999). New York: John Wiley and Sons. (Bus HD62.7.E568)
      Guide to starting, managing, and growing a small business
      .

    • How to Set Up Your Own Small Business. (2001). Minneapolis, MN: American Institute of Small Business. (Bus HD62.7.H683)
      Presents the basic principles of getting into, operating, and succeeding in small business.

    • Small Business Profiles. (1994). Detroit: Gale Research. Irregular. (Bus HD62.7.S595x)
      Covers aspects of business start-up, such as costs and expected profits; financing; marketing and advertising; and more for a wide assortment of businesses. Suggests sources for obtaining additional information.

    • Small Business Sourcebook. Detroit: Gale Group. Annual. (Bus HD2346.U5.S66)
      Information sources for numerous kinds of small businesses.

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  2. How do I prepare a business plan?

    • Business Plans Handbook. Detroit: Gale Research. Irregular. (Bus HD62.7.B865)
      "Real" business plans for a variety of business types. Later volumes also contain a business plan template which provides a comprehensive overview of the essential components of a business plan.

    • Business Plans That Work for Your Small Business. (1998). Chicago: CCH, Inc. (Bus HD62.7.B867)
      Step-by-step guide to creating a business plan. Supplemented by the CCH Business Owner's Toolkit at http://www.toolkit.cch.com.

    • Financial Studies of the Small Business. (2001). Winter Haven, FL: Financial Research Associates. (Bus HD2346.U5F55a)
      Provides guidelines for comparison of balance sheets, income statements, and financial ratios for smaller firms with total capitalization under $1,000.000. Firms are classified by categories (e.g., apparel) and broken down within each category by asset size (e.g., $10,000-$100,000) and sales volume (e.g., $10,000-$250,000).

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  3. How can I locate sources of venture capital?

    • Pratt's Guide to Venture Capital Sources. New York: Securities Data Publishing. Annual. (Bus HG65.G83)
      Tool for understanding the process of raising capital and locating compatible venture capital investors. Articles written by professional venture investors provide information on the industry and guidelines for companies seeking financing, as well as discussions of important aspects of venture financing and descriptions of criteria for investments. The directory that follows the text contains detailed information on U.S. and worldwide venture capital companies including capital under management and recent investments.

    • Angel Capital Electronic Network (ACE-Net)
      One of the first Internet angel sites. This secure Internet-based listing service allows individual investors, Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs), and institutional venture capitalists to find small, growing companies located through the U.S. Focuses on new companies needing $250,000 to $5 million. Partially funded by the SBA and several university programs. Fee.

    • National Venture Capital Association (NVCA)
      Trade association representing the venture capital industry. Useful features include links to a directory of NVCA Members, information on Venture Philanthropy, including a list of venture philanthropy organizations, and Resource Links that include additional links to regional Venture Capital Organizations such as the Venture Investors Association of New York.

    • vfinance.com
      Global portal for companies in need of capital and private investors seeking quality deal flow. Selection of free investment banking and venture capital resources, as well as premium services.

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