1. Understand the industry, competitors, and more
Understanding an industry is a crucial research step. To locate information on the industry, Old Westbury Library has some good resources. S&P NetAdvantage has industry surveys. You can't miss them. They're located on the right side of the page. Industry averages and ratios are located through RMA eStatement Studies. These resources will provide some industry-wide information. The Business Insights: Essentials is another good resource. Search by company and find SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis and detailed company info. Simply search by company and a wealth of data is available at your fingertips.
2. Find Company News and Articles
Business publications are an excellent place to start your research. So where do you find business news? The real question is where can't you find business news? Take your pick: Business Source Complete, Business Insights: Essentials (great for company histories), NexisUni, New York Times, Wall Street Journal. For local companies, take a look at Regional Business News and don't forget ABI/INFORM for journal articles.
3. Get Some Market Research
You can get a SWOT Analysis through the Business Insights: Essentials (see above). Datamonitor also puts out fantastic company reports through Business Source Complete. Search a public company by name and you'll find gold in the hills. Don't count out government data either! We're talking about some most excellent demographic data. American Factfinder via the Census and Consumer Expenditure Survey via the Bureau of Labor Statistics are great and the price of government information is right (as in free). Oh, and those industry reports from RMA eStatement Studies and S&P NetAdvantage -yup, that's part of gathering market research too.