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Business: Companies

Guide to general business resources

Public or Private?

Before you start your company research, find out if the company is public or private.

Public Companies:

  • Sell shares to the general public to raise capital
  • Regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Required to disclose financial information
  • Listed on one of the stock exchanges and has a ticker symbol

Private Companies:

  • May be owned by founders, employees, and large investors
  • No disclosure of information required 

  Ticker Symbols

Ticker symbols are letters used to uniquely identify a public company and can be used to make company research more effiicient. One of the quickest way to find a ticker symbol is to use a free website like:

Private Company Information

Finding information on private companies or nonprofit organizations can often be more difficult since these companies are not required to disclose financial information. Try the following resources.

Financial Information


There are many sources of company information. 


  • What the company tells you: company websites, promotional material, catalogs, price listings, etc.
  • What the company keeps confidential: internal information, trade secrets, etc.
  • What the company is obliged to disclose to the government: SEC forms, economic census, state filings
  • What others say about the company: news, blogs, research articles, market research, analyst reports, government, industry and trade experts

Learn more...