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BUS 100, Introduction to Business: Big Picture

This guide is your road map to completing your BUS 100 project. We can't possibly list every resource you might need, or anticipate every stumbling block, but we've included the ones that address most companies and situations. If in doubt, ask for help.

About Business Information

Multiple Perspectives: What you see depends on which part of the elephant you're examining

What you "see" depends on which part of the elephant you're examining

In the world of business, companies seek competitive advantage, and much of that advantage is controlled through the information the company chooses to share (or not). Some information you seek may be available for internal use only, and this will vary from company to company. Or it may be broken into many pieces, some of which are missing, or bent (biased), or too expensive to buy. You will likely need to consult multiple sources to piece together and verify the information you need for your project.

It's important to remember that with few exceptions, the information you will find represents an opinion or perspective, and it should be treated as such. Much of it is based on an informed analysis of available data, but it is still only one perspective. Also consider that different analyses may rely on different combinations of data. Use multiple sources whenever possible, and make sure you point out areas where the opinions and perspectives differ, before offering your own perspective or conclusions.

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Selecting a Public Company

A few things to think about when selecting a company:

  • It must be publicly traded.
  • A co-operative is not a publicly traded company.
  • Choose the parent company, not the subsidiary - much of the information you need to find for your assignment will be unavailable if you pick a subsidiary. Example: Loblaws is a better choice than Great Canadian Superstore.
  • If you choose a foreign company, you may find that some or all of the information you need is not available in English.

These sites can help you identify a company to research:

Online Tour of the Business 100 Libguide

Take a quick tour of our Business 100 Libguide for an introduction to the key resources you can use for your term project.

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A Guide to Company Information Sources

Business information is produced by a variety of different entities, for a variety of purposes. A lot of it is available freely on the web. Some of it is proprietary information produced from research performed by specialized companies - this is often referred to as competitive intelligence. They use the "free" data, but they also conduct surveys, interview people who work for the company, and consult a wide range of news and other sources to produce their own analysis. The library provides a number of these for you - we pay the subscription costs, you get the benefit.

As a savvy researcher, you'll want to make use of a variety of sources so that you can compare data, look for discrepancies, and verify specific or general claims by or about your company.

Use the diagram below to get an overall sense of where to conduct company and industry research, as well as how authoritative that information is likely to be. The colours - green, amber, and red - are there to guide you in deciding how much weight to assign the information you find from these sources:

Green This is the best, most authoritative source for this information.
Amber This information represents opinion or perspective that is well informed by authoritative data; however, it's always good to measure it against other sources.
Red This information should be treated with extreme caution - it is subject to a high degree of bias or "spin." Use it if you need to, but use multiple sources to balance, compare, and verify.
A Guide to Company Information Sources
  ~ Discover on Your Own ~ ~ Discover Using the BUS 100 Guide ~  
Your Company General Web Sites Government Sites Financial Web Sites Business News Sites
  • Financial data
  • Organization & structure
  • Product specifications
  • Promotion & marketing tools
  • Strategic initiatives
  • Vision, mission, values
  • Achievements
  • Comparisons with competitors
  • Press releases
  • Product performance
  • Company achievements
  • Critical issues (company, competitors, industry)
  • Organizational changes
  • Product reviews
  • Business & industry statistics
  • Company filings (SEDAR, EDGAR)
  • Company performance data
  • Country information
  • Demographics
  • Economic & financial indicators
  • Employment issues
  • Foreign trade
  • Laws & regulations
  • Current & historical financial data
  • Financial ratios (company, industry)
  • Analysis of financial performance
  • Company & industry performance
  • Financial outlook (forecasts)
  • Stock recommendations
  • Business news & analysis (local, national, international)
  • Financial news & analysis
  • Industry news & analysis
  • Stocks & investments (news, analysis, recommendations)
    Business Source Complete Passport GMID Canadian Newsstand
  • Company & industry news
  • Company profiles
  • Industry profiles
  • Product reviews
  • SWOT analyses
  • Country data
  • Demographics
  • Market statistics (size, brand & company share, distribution, pricing)
  • Trade statistics (exports, imports, volume)
  • Company profiles (local, global)
  • Consumer trends & lifestyles
  • Industry briefings & profiles
  • Business news & analysis (local, national, international)
  • Financial news & analysis
  • Industry news & analysis
  • Stocks & investments (news, analysis, recommendations
  ~ Discover on Your Own ~ ~ Discover Using the BUS 100 Guide ~  
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