The first step in company research is to determine the legal status of the company. This will determine the amount of information that is available as well as the sources to use. Nexis Uni is a good resource for determining legal status.
→ You can find much more right away for public companies because of required disclosure to the government and shareholders.
→ Private companies enjoy the right to not give any details, specifically any financial data.
Many business reference sources such as company directories or industry analyses use the federal government's numerical codes (SIC or NAICS) to describe types of businesses. Use these sources to identify SIC or NAICS numbers for your industry.
The purpose of trade associations is to represent and promote the interests of its members. The organizations produce reports that examine the industry and its key players (often its own) and also provide statistics. Associations Unlimited enables you to search for local, regional, national and international groups.