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Summer Business Institute 2013


Client:  Strengths & Weaknesses

To identify and asertain a firms' strenghts and weaknesses without access to internal information take advantage of company reports, Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, trade news and press releases and industry reports. con't forget to search your VSB subscription to the Wall Street Journal!

 Company Profiles

  MarketLine Company Profiles
Marketline company profiles typically include SWOT (strength weakness opportunity threat) analysis.  Search by company name and if necessary use the "match any word" radio button
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  ReferenceUSA
Use the OneSource module.  In the company tab, search by name.
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SEC Filings

Review the management discussion and risk sections in the 10K (annual report).   You may find reviewing financial statements more convenient in Mergent of NetAdvantage.

  EDGAR
EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval service for SEC filings is free and available to the public.
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Self Statements

Look for a firms statements about its operations and performance in press releases and earnings conference calls.  Typically the investor relations section of the company web site will link to this information.  Remember these company statements may not include misinformation but they are typically fully vetted by public relations departments.

  ReferenceUSA
The Onesource module has links to earnings conference call transcripts under the heading fair disclosure transcipts.You will also find links to summaries of press releases under the significant developments heading
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  Morningstar Investment Research Center
Check out the transcripts tab!
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Trade News

General business news and industry trade magazines sometimes provide independant perspectives on a firms' operations and performance.

  ABI/INFORM Complete (ProQuest)
This is a good general business article database.  You can limit the search to articles substantially about the target firm by using the organization field.

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  Lexis Nexis Academic
Use the Search the News feature. You may get the best results by choosing the advanced search and selecting sources and sections features.  The Company Search region links to computer generated search results.
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  Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
This business article database includes trade magazines and newspapers.  For focused results use the select a field pull down to limit to company entity.
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  Philadelphia Business Journal (American City Business Journals)
This is actually a portal to regional business news sources.  Sometimes golden nuggets can be gleaned from local sources.
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Industry Reports

Without some benchmark if is rather difficult to identify strengths and weaknesses.  Use industry reports to establish a baseline as to what to expect from participants in a market.

  IBIS World
U.S. and global industry market research reports.
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  ReferenceUSA
From the Onesource module choose industry and search by keyword.
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  MarketResearch
Provides marketing reports for many industries and demographic reports on a variety of age groups. Documents are formatted as Adobe Acrobat or PowerPoint files.
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  Mintel Reports
Mintel's published market research has been helping leading businesses achieve their goals for over 30 years. As a globally recognised market analyst, Mintel produces hundreds of reports into European, UK-specific and US consumer markets every year. Each report that Mintel publishes provides a unique overview of a market's dynamics and prospects, giving you the knowledge to devise informed and profitable marketing strategy.  DO NOT USE IE6
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Competitors Strengths & Weaknesses

Use all of the resources in the Client section to gather information on competitors.  Many company profiles include lists of competitors and this is a good place to start building your competitor list.  Be selective in identifying competitors.  Not all listed companies will operate in the segment or region you are focused on. Not all competitors will be public companies, some may be private or subsidiaries of public or international firms. It is unlikely that you will be able to find as much detailed information about private companies and subsidiaries

Private Company Profiles

Private companies and subsidiaries rarely are as open about operations as are companies traded on exchanges.  The databases here do provide reports on private companies.

  Lexis Nexis Academic
Use the Get Company search, select your target from the list and be sure to link through to sources such as Hoovers in-depth company records
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  MarketLine Company Profiles

  ReferenceUSA
Smaller competitors may be in the U.S. businesses module and larger in Onesource
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Marketplace Trends

Industry reports, trade association and trade journals are the richest sources for information about the economic, social, political and technological environment in the marketplace.  For best results take advantage of as many of these types of resources as possible to build a multi-dimensional model of the market.

Begin with the industry report databases listed above.  Note that they name trade associations and trade journals.  To find out if we have access to trade journals not freely available on the web use our journal finder.

Use the Encyclopedia of Associations to identify trade groups.  The amount of information that associations expose to the public is quite variable.  Some post extensive industry data for free and others only make it available to members and some sell.  Trade associations typically do legal and regulatory advocacy so this is an excellent place to get acquainted with government relations issues.

  Gartner Group Intraweb
Search this database for reports of technology trends in the manufacturing industry. Subscription courtesy of Villanova UNIT.
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  HeinOnline
Use this legal database only if you need to find the text of a law or regulation impacting the furniture industry.  Rely on trade news and associations to do an environmental scan of relevant legal, regulatory and political developments.
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  Lexis Nexis Academic
Use this legal database only if you need to find the text of a law or regulation impacting the furniture industry.  Rely on trade news and associations to do an environmental scan of relevant legal, regulatory and political developments.
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  Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (ProQuest)
Use this to search for articles about trends in design for colleges, universities and libraries.
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Target Market Profile

Your target market includes colleges and universities decision makers for common spaces.

  Chronicle of Higher Education
This is a key sources of news for college and university administrators with reports on trends in the academy. Economic, social, regulatory and technological trends will be discussed in this publication.  Be sure to check out the facts and figures tab for demographic data!
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  Education Full Text (EBSCO)
Includes articles on topics related to higher education and administration
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  National Center for Education Statistics
Use this to get census and survey data on higher education institutions.  Good source for demographic information.
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  Gartner Group Intraweb
Explore the technological trends faced by educational institutions.
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Product Development

In additional to the trade journals searched, you can use these resources to scan product catalogs to get a feel for competing product offerings.

  ThomasNet Register of American Manufacturers
A general suppliers directory.  Search for office furniture and browse the linked catalogs.
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  Interior Design
Web site with trade magazine, reports and directories.  Use the product find  or new products tabs to identify furniture suppliers.  Take advantage of the magazine and projects tabs to learn about trends in the educational sector.
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Promotional Mix

See the Advertising topic guide

lhauck Linda Hauck
Business Librarian
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 222
610-519-8744


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Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013