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Prospecting: Businesses

When looking for information on a Business or a Corporation, start with a few databases to gather quick financial and contact information to get an overall view of the company.


Chambers of Commerce: Find local businesses in a particular field or find contact information of a known business. (Missouri & Links to Local Chapters)’Fallon) Charles, St. Peters, Unincorporated St. Charles Co.) (Wentzville, Lake St. Louis, Dardenne Prairie)

US Small Business Administration
Search for small businesses, veteran and women owned businesses in a specified area.

ReferenceUSA: (Need Library Card to Use)
A Directory of Businesses that includes number of employees, sales figures, ownership, executive contact information and More.

ZoomInfo (in Lexis/Nexis Library ExpressDatabase): (Need Library Card to Use)
Search by executive or company name.

Secretary of State Database:
Look up companies that are registered with its local SOS office, many provide access to their annual reports. (National) (Missouri) (Illinois)

Sorkins: (In Library Use Only)
Comprehensive business directory (St. Louis Only), which lists contact information, key executives, and a short biography of the company.
(BR338.70977) Spencer Road Branch Only

Tip: Make sure to check the Web to see if the company has its own WebPage.

WhoIs: Search by corporation name

Google: General web search engine, search by corporation name

Securities and Exchange Information:

Note: Public companies must file annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is available for public review.

The important filings to look for are the "10-K" which is the annual report, and the "DEF-14A" (proxy statements). Proxy statements are VERY long, but contain useful information such as salaries and stock holding information.

SEC: Raw Data Filing

Annual Reports Service:
Another way to retrieve a company's annual report. Must sign-up with Website to use.

Guide to reading the financial report:

Then check out the Following Links for your corporation for news articles, stock reports, and industry information:

Business & Company Information

D&B Hoover's: (Formerly Avention/One Source) (Need Library Card to Use)
One stop information source for articles, stock, reports, and industry information.

ReferenceUSA: Can check Business Credit Ratings!!

The database shows basic company information and size and sales are estimates, however downloaded records include: executive names, industry codes, credit ratings, and more.
When downloading make sure the selected options are:
File Format = Comma Delimited
Platform = Windows
Level of Detail = Detailed

Better Business Bureau:
Check out the company's reliability. The BBB logs complaints against the company and gives brief reviews of selected companies.

Political Donations

Open Secrets:
Search by Corporation name to find out if your prospect company is contributing to Soft Money Donations.

Federal Election Commission:
Can Search by Employer/Occupation

Local Newspapers and Trade Journals:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Available through Library Database

Bizjournal: Search business journals of many major cities

Lexis-Nexis(Library Version): This is the source for other news/business journals