How to Research a Business

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With the abundant collection of information and resources available on the Internet, you can combine old-fashioned legwork with online investigating to thoroughly research a business. Whether a business is publicly or privately held can play a vital role in the ease of your access to certain information, especially if that information is financial. But find out the available avenues that are at your disposal, and you can usually find out more information than you first thought.

Visit the the business' website. In addition to the products or services that a business offers, websites often highlight the business' history, press releases, news items and contact information.

Stop by the business itself, especially if it is a store or restaurant. Talk to current customers of the business about their experience with the business, including customer service issues, prices, quality of product and overall impressions.

Read industry-related magazines, along with newspapers and websites that contain news articles or information about the business.

Look up published information about the business in the library. Research such books as "Ward's Business Directory" and "Dun and Bradstreet's Million Dollar Directory" to determine if the business is publicly or privately held.

Visit the Standard & Poor's website for information on the business. Standard & Poor's publishes financial data and analysis on publicly held corporations.

Send a written request, or place a telephone call, to the shareholder relation office of a corporation, seeking a copy of the corporation's annual report.