General Question

gentleman2222's avatar

Where can I go to find business information?

Asked by gentleman2222 (29points) December 12th, 2017

I have a list of companies with sales in the $5–10M range and I would like to determine whether each company possesses the characteristics shown below. What source or database can I use (preferably free) to determine this? Recurring, high margin, growing Diverse (customers, products & markets) EBITDA margin of >15% Growing or stable industry that is not cyclical in nature (how “recession-proof” is this industry) Fragmented competitive landscape Low threat of external shocks – technological, regulatory, legal, environmental, fashion, etc. Simple, understandable operations High return on invested capital Identifiable areas of improvement Underfollowed or misunderstood in the industry

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2 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

There are any number of stock market screeners that will enable you to find out factual statistical information about a stock’s performance, and often times that will include factual and trustworthy information about the company that the stock represents, including revenues, some ROI metrics, EBITDA margins (and others) and so forth.

You can also find free EDGAR filings of most public companies without much trouble. All of that is pretty easy to find.

But… “growing or stable industry that is not cyclical in nature” is going to be pretty subjective, according to how you define “growing”, “stability” and “cyclicality”.

“Fragmented competitive landscape, low threat of external shocks – technological, regulatory, legal, environmental, fashion, etc.” – that’s a pipe dream. You won’t find those as any kind of objective measure – at all. Even if you find something that “seems right” for you, there’s no accounting for the board of directors to make acquisitions – or to be acquired, for that matter – that take the company in an entirely new direction.

And as for the rest, “simple, understandable operations” is going to be according to how much you care to understand, because most companies whose stocks are listed on public exchanges are not only doing the “simple, understandable operations” that they might seem to be involved in. Business is complex, even for what seems like a relatively straightforward and simple operation, such as a restaurant. If you get into the nuts and bolts of how a restaurant works, then you’ll find that it’s not quite as simple as “order food; prepare food; sell food made to order; clean up and repeat”. Even when the business itself seems fairly uncomplicated, the accounting makes it less transparent – even when it is completely honest and aboveboard.

And the last request for “underfollowed or misunderstood in the industry” betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of investing. You won’t find anyone whose advice is worth a damn who hasn’t already capitalized to the nth degree on his or her own cognizance of “underfollowed or misunderstood in the industry” (which seem like a teenager’s idea of business in the first place).

Nothing takes the place of your own understanding and knowledge.

janbb's avatar

A large public library should give you access to a database like Business Source Elite or Hoover’s. In them, you can look up businesses and obtain a SWOT analysis which details for that company its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is probably the closest you will come to the type of information you are looking for.

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