- Choose the business directory sites known to present current and valid data.
- When the companies you are researching have shares listed on financial exchanges such as the NASDAQ and the NYSE, you can get a lot of information about them through the reports they are expected to file with the SEC.
- If what you are looking for involves a strategic plan to enter a sector or market segment, WMI is an excellent source of detailed analysis.
The business world has always relied on information management, retrieval, and analysis; to this effect, we are living in a period of the Digital Age when the information we need can be accessed through a series of touch gestures on our mobile devices.
Whether you are conducting market research for prospective investments, looking up companies as part of a job search, preparing a lawsuit, or generating leads for a sales pitch, a reasonably modern internet browser is all you need to get the information you want.
With dozens and perhaps hundreds of websites publishing business information, you have to choose the ones known to present current and valid data. Not all publishers will offer the same type of data; some tend to be more accurate than others, particularly if they include market intelligence and analysis. The key is to always get your company information from sources known to be reliable. Here are a few recommendations in this regard:
Secretary of State Corporation Divisions
Not all businesses have a brick-and-mortar presence, but they do have to be registered in a jurisdiction through the Secretary of State office. Even if a business is headquartered in California, for example, it needs to register as a foreign entity in Texas if it wants to operate there, and herein lies the value of the online databases managed by the corporation division of the Secretary of State. If you need to send legal correspondence, you can do so through the registered agent of the company listed on official state databases.
The Better Business Bureau
Since 1912, the Better Business Bureau has been providing valuable information to the public about companies across the United States; a few decades ago, the BBB began compiling data about commercial entities based in Canada and Mexico as well. You can almost think of this organization as an international chamber or commerce. As you can glean from this BBB profile, the data is relevant and up-to-date because there is an incentive for businesses to ensure they always provide accurate information.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission
When the companies you are researching have shares listed on financial exchanges such as the NASDAQ and the NYSE, you can get a lot of information about them through the reports they are expected to file with the SEC. These documents can be looked up on the SEC Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) database, and you can safely assume that the information found therein is accurate because public filings are matters of compliance.
World Market Intelligence
Unlike the options listed above, World Market Intelligence is not free, and it is geared toward individuals that need in-depth market intelligence about leading companies around the world. If what you are looking for involves a strategic plan to enter a sector or market segment, WMI is an excellent source of detailed analysis. The top 10,000 companies on a global level are ranked by WMI in terms of market share, performance, and even SWOT analysis.