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Business Reference 101

Who Produces Business Information?

Analysts: Some businesses exist to provide strategic business intelligence to other business clients. These businesses will typically specialize and generate a particular type of information like company or industry reports, market research, credit ratings, or investment research reports.

Associations: This category includes trade and professional associations. Trade associations generally serve a single, specific industry and keep their members informed by providing news, market research, and practical guides for operating in that industry. Professional associations are for individuals working in a particular field and generally serve to educate its members and advocate for the profession by offering news and best practices.

Companies: Companies generate a variety of information about themselves through marketing efforts, websites, press releases, and annual reports.

Government: The United States government collects large quantities of pertinent business data—industry statistics, demographics, economic indicators—through agencies like the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Department of Commerce. In addition, state and local governments provide local statistics and data, small business resources, and legal information.

Press: Numerous news publications, like the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Forbes, provide information to the business community. Furthermore, almost every newspaper contains a business section, which is a good source of information on small, local companies and local business issues.

Public: This category includes information produced by bloggers and social media users and can yield market and company intelligence, competitor and product analysis, and career information.

Organizations: This category is dominated by non-governmental organizations, like the OECD, United Nations, and World Bank. These organizations collect large amounts of economic data—demographics, economic indicators, industry statistics, and country analyses—from all over the world and disseminate it freely.

Business Information Resources

Analyst Reports: Reports from major investment banks and business information providers.

Annual Reports: Report on a company's annual activities; provided to shareholders

  Company Website (usually in "Investor Relations" section)

Company Profiles/Reports: Provides history, key executives/contacts, financials, etc.

Financial Statements (Accounting): Balance Sheet, Cash Flow, Income Statement.

Industry Reports: Trends, operations, statistics.

Market Research Reports: Demographics, psychographics, lifestyle trends, marketing channels.

News, Trade & Scholarly Literature

SEC Filings (10-K, 10-Q, DEF 14-A): Financial statement or document submitted to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)

SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats): A standard way to analyze a company.

Business Data & Statistics




  Bloomberg (two standalone terminals at the Business/SPEA Information Commons)

  Datastream (large datasets; time series; standalone terminal at Business/SPEA Information Commons)


  WRDS (large datasets; time series; standalone terminal at Business/SPEA Information Commons




  Datastream (large datasets; time series; standalone terminal at Business/SPEA Information Commons)