BPL 5100: Business Policy

Find Company Profiles

Start your research with a company profile from one of these sources:

Find Segment Data

Companies are not required to report the results of divisions or subsidiaries.  They are required to report results of any grouping of products or services that represents 10% or more of total revenues, assets or income. Companies define these groupings and report the results in the 10-K report.

What Business is the Company in?

Companies typically define their business in the opening section of their 10-K report. In this report you can expect to find:

  • Description of the company's product lines and business segments
  • List of subsidiaries and geographic locations
  • Discussion of company strategy
  • Mention of contracts, raw materials used, and supplier or distribution channels
  • Names of the competition and discussion of competitive factors in the market
  • Mention of research and development or intellectual property issues that are important to company operations
  • Key government regulations in their industry
  • Outline of risk factors to consider in evaluating the company's business

  Understand Company Operations

Read articles about the company.  Use a variety of sources including trade journals and business magazines like Forbes, Fortune, and Bloomberg Businessweek. Read the latest news from the Wall Street Journal.

Business Source: How to Search

What is the Company's Strategy?

The company itself often offers details of its strategy. Here are some places to look for this information:

The 10-K Report - Read Item 1 - Business

The Annual Report - Read the Chairman's Letter to the Shareholders

The Earnings Call - Find these on the Investor Relations page of the Company website

News from Factiva - Search with the subject: Plans/Strategy

Interviews with the CEO - Search Factiva, Business Source or ABI/Inform

Who are the Competitors?

Wall Street Research

Reports from bank analysts are especially useful for financial analysis and forecasts.  Reports can also be event-driven and analyze mergers, spin-offs, management changes and other strategic issues.