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BUS 100, Introduction to Business: Strategic Direction

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.

Section Overview

In this section, you will evaluate and discuss the company's vision, mission, and values statements, describe the company's key long term objectives, and assess the company's strategies.

A Few Thoughts on Strategic Direction

Did you know about iPhone before it was first introduced by Apple? How about the newest style of sportswear from Nike?

The strategic direction of a company is part of its success, and it is very unlikely that the company will advertise its strategy to everyone, including its competitors, before any product launch.

Therefore, the strategic information you find will probably be dated or very general. However, you can look at current trends and past approaches to make an educated guess about the future aims of the company.

And always remember, you may have to look in a variety of places to find the information you need.

Information Provided by Your Company

You must reference the company's web site in your analysis. It's a good source for vision, mission, & strategic statements, organization & structure, current financial information, company promotion & marketing tools, product information, and more. Corporate information may be buried on the main web site - look for an "About Us" or "Company" or "Investors" link on the home page.

But remember: the main purpose of a company's web and annual report site is to promote itself, so "trust but verify" - all of the information on the company's achievements and performance can (and should be) be verified in external sources.

The most recent report (and sometimes previous reports) is usually available on the company's web site. The annual report is a great source for vision, mission, & strategic statements, organization & structure, current financial information, recent achievements, strategic plans, and more. The annual report is a legal requirement for public companies, but it's also a vehicle for retaining and attracting investors - always "trust but verify" using external sources.

Annual reports are also available from these sources:

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Company Filings

Public companies around the world (and, in many countries, private companies, too) are legally required to file documents containing financial and other information with the government. These filings, as they're typically called, are then made publicly available.

To find filings related to your company, use the following resources:

For companies operating outside of the U.S. and Canada, you'll need to search the web for company filings [country]. Note that in many countries (including most of Europe), both private and public companies are required to file documents with the government. Documents from non-English speaking countries may not be available in English. 

SEDAR provides copies of all legally required filings for public companies trading on stock exchanges in Canada. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • Annual Information Form: information on corporate governance, financial information, capital structure, and strategic directions ("forward-looking statements")
  • Audited Annual Financial Statements: Independently audited financial statements; should be the same as what is reported in the annual report for the same period
  • Code of Conduct: describes the company's policies and practices related to ethical behaviours
  • Interim Financial Statements: quarterly financial reports (unaudited); useful for updating annual financial statements when part-way through the fiscal year
  • Management Information Circular: notice of AGM for shareholders; often contains information on executive compensation
  • MD&A (Management's Discussion & Analysis): companion document to the audited financial statements; narrative explanation, through the eyes of management, of how the company has performed in the past, its financial condition, and its future prospects
  • News Releases: information released to the media and public by the company
     

There are two ways to locate filings in SEDAR:

Search Database Company Profiles
  1. Search for Public Company documents.
  2. Fill in the search form:
    • Company Name: type in full company name
    • Date of Filing... choose your date range (at least one year, preferably three years)
    • Sort documents by... Date of Filing (useful for most recent filings) or Document Type
  3. Click Search.

  1. Browse for name of public company using A-Z list.
  2. From company profile, click to View this public company's documents.

APA Citation Format

References

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2014, December 17). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015a, May 7). MD&A. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015b, May 7). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

In-Text Citation

(Big Rock Brewery Inc., 2015a)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

EDGAR is a database of all legally required public securities filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), including those of public companies. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • 8-K: news release
  • 10-K: annual report; includes audited financial statements, management's discussion and analysis, corporate governance, executive structure and compensation, sources of capital
  • 10-Q: quarterly report; use the interactive format

To search for company filings:

  1. Click on Search for Company Filings.
  2. Click on Company or fund name...
  3. Enter the Company Name or Ticker Symbol (fastest method) in the relevant search box, and click Search.
              
  4. To view a specific document, click on the Documents (list of documents available) or Interactive Data (where available) button next to the document name.
  5. Try the new Search Results BETA View - it offers a more streamlined view of the available documents. Click on the Interactive Data button (where available), or on the document title to view the filing.

APA Citation Format

References

Netflix Inc. (2015, April 17). Form 10-Q. Retrieved from http://www.sec.gov

In-Text Citation

(Netflix Inc., 2015)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

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Industry Profiles

Industry profiles offer an important context for your company's situation. Are the critical issues your company is facing unique to the company, or prevalent within the industry? Are there critical issues faced by your company's competitors that are not an issue for your company? Are there industry trends that are not reflected in your company's strategic directions or reports to investors? Industry profiles will give you a chance to gauge your company's situation against the larger industry.

Passport GMID offers news, profiles, analysis, reports, and data for industries in the fast-moving consumer goods sectors. It's also a good place to find related demographic and economic data for countries around the world. A search for an industry reveals a variety of types of information:

  • Briefings (global and country) by category or strategy
  • Company profiles
  • Datagraphics
  • Market statistics (market size, company and brand shares, distribution, pricing)
  • Opinion pieces
  • Podcasts and videocasts
  • Product ingredients
  • Topical articles
  • Trade statistics (exports, imports, volume)

To find industry data:

  1. Choose an industry from the drop-down Industries menu [1].
  2. The industry landing page include a dashboard, as well as the most recently-added analysis, news, and research. Choose the type of data you want from the dashboard:
    • Search Tree [2]: Select one option from available categories and sub-categories, then click "Go." On the next screen, you'll be able to select additional categories and sub-categories, as well as specify one or more geographies (world, country, region, or international alliance).
    • Analysis Finder [3]: Choose the type of analysis (default is "all") and one country or region and click "Go." You'll see a list of relevant articles. Filter results by survey topic, type of analysis, or data, or change the geography using the lists provided.
    • Rank Countries [4]: Choose a category or sub-category and rank by size, growth, or per capita. You can choose from historical or forecast data. Click "Go." Presented as a data table.
    • Rank Categories [5]: Choose a geography and rank category by size, growth, or per capita. You can choose from historical or forecast data. Click "Go." Presented as a data table.
    • Review Top Companies [6]: Select a company, then a category, from the lists. Click "Go." You'll be presented with a data table showing company shares by country.
    • Visualise Data [7]: Select a category from the list and click "Go." Data will be overlaid on a world map that you can customize.

 

 

APA Citation Format

References

Euromonitor International. (2015a, June 29). Beer: What's brewing on the horizon? Global briefing. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Euromonitor International. (2015b, June 30). Sales of beer by category: Total volume 2009-2014 [Table]. In Beer in Canada category briefing. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Euromonitor International. (2015c, July 6). The growth in popularity of craft beer in New Zealand [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Euromonitor International. (2015d, July 8). Beer in Sweden category briefing. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

Telford, H. (2015, June 24). What does craft mean in carbonated soft drinks? Opinion Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com/portal

In-Text Citation

(Euromonitor International, 2015c)

(Telford, 2015)


Note:Provide the URL of the publisher's home page (in this case Euromonitor). Do not provide the direct URL to the report, or the name of the database (Passport GMID).

Industry profiles from Business Insights: Global are global in scope and offer an overview of the industry (key facts, top countries, and top companies), as well as a variety of documents related to the industry:

  • Industry essays (industry snapshot, organization & structure, background & development, current industry conditions, industry leaders, further reading)
  • Associations
  • Market research from journals and magazines
  • Market share reports
  • Rankings

Tip: Always check the date on the profile - while many are relatively current (within the last year), some are older, particularly in smaller markets, like Canada.

To find a profile:

  1. Enter the name of the industry in the search box, and select "Industry" from the drop-down menu.
  2. Select an industry from the list.

APA Citation Format

Reference

Commercial banking. (2018). In Encyclopedia of American industries. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://bi.galegroup.com/global/

In-Text Citation

(Commercial banking, 2018)

 

Industry profiles from Business Source Complete offer a great deal of data about an industry. A profile will typically include the following:

  • Market Overview
  • Market Data
  • Market Segmentation (by category, geography; market share; market distribution)
  • Market Outlook
  • Five Forces Analysis (buyer power; supplier power; new entrants; threats of substitutes; degree of rivalry)
  • Leading Companies
  • Macroeconomic Indicators (e.g., country data)
  • Industry Associations

Tip: Check the date on the profile - while many are relatively current (within the last year), some are older, particularly in smaller markets, like Canada.

To find a profile:

  1. Enter keywords describing the industry and the term "industry profile" in the search box(es) [1].
  2. Industry profiles are often associated with a specific country or region, but there are also global profiles that look at the industry worldwide [2]  - you probably want to view all that relate to your company's geographic distribution.
  3. Take note of the date [3] - ideally, you want the most current data available, so you may need to look for updated data, if it's available. (Note the source of the data in the report and go directly to the source for updates.)
  4. Click on the "PDF Full Text" [4] link to view the profile.

APA Citation Format

References

MarketLine Industry Profile. (2012a, February). Global Pet Care. Retrieved from http://www.marketline.com/

‚ÄčMarketLine Industry Profile. (2012b, February). Pet Care in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.marketline.com/

In-Text Citation

(MarketLine Industry Profile, 2012a)


Note: Take the title from the title page of the report, not the listing in the database. Provide the URL of the publisher's home page (in this case Marketline). Do not provide the direct URL to the report, or the name of the database (Business Source Complete).

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