Company and industry information

Company and industry information

Introduction to UK and Global Business Sources

Students researching the business world are presented with a vast array of information on individual countries, regions and international business activity.

Depending on what information is required sources can  include specific country and regional socio-economic data & profiles, international business trends and forecasts, company profiles both local and international, market research data, news sources and reports and data from international organisations such as the World Bank.

Of course, each country or region can be very different in regard to business activity but almost all can be researched using these types of sources.

Please explore the sections listed below as many of the listed library resources will help you locate the key sources mentioned above. The ProQuest Central database can be good place to start your search offering not only a wide variety of source types to explore, but also includes  specific regional databases including: Asia & European, East & South Asia, Middle East & Africa, East & Central Europe, Turkey, South America and UK & Ireland.

UK company structure

UK companies range from the small privately owned 'sole traders' (such as a local business) to large privately owned (like Boots) or publicly owned (responsible to shareholders) companies (like Tesco). Most UK companies are 'sole traders' or small and medium enterprises (SMEs) employing under 250 people.

Tip: You can usually find most annual company reports for larger UK public companies freely available online - usually on the company website. The larger the company the more information available.

Company strategy

Companies rarely make public detailed business strategy as this is potentially commercially sensitive information, so apart from what companies release for public consumption such as press releases and product information, most ideas about company strategy (especially long term) has to come from a range of sources. Sources include:

  • Trade and academic journals (located on business databases)
  • Financial newspapers (such as the Financial Times) or the business sections of newspapers
  • Internal company documents (unlikely to be available)
  • Market research or industry trends data
  • Information and statistics released by Government departments and trade or sector organisations
  • Expert opinion (in journals, newspapers, blogs, mailing lists and so on)
Company, business and financial news

Locate up to date in-depth information and data on individual companies.

  • Includes a searchable archive, current market data, sector reports, business analysis and company and stock charting. Access to the complete daily editions of the global Financial Times newspaper.
  • Lexis Library UK regional news sources and UK and global legal information.
  • Local and global newspapers.
Company reports and profiles

Locate up to date in-depth information and data on individual companies.

  • Fame. In-depth company data on UK and Irish Companies searchable by a wide variety of criteria including type, sector, employee numbers and location.
  • Hoovers. UK and USA company reports.
  • Business Source Elite. Selected company profiles and sector reports.
  • IBISWorld Includes brief summaries of companies within UK and selected global sectors.
  • Passport: Global company reports and analysis in a wide range of business areas.
  • ProQuest Central (Advanced search). Allows searching for specific business data including company reports and related data.
  • Includes a searchable Markets data section to explore selected company reports and related financial data. The general search tool will also display news items related to your company search. Includes a searchable archive of all global editions of the daily FT newspaper.
Case studies and business plans

Invaluable tools for investigating real life business examples, exploring strategy and gauging outcomes and trends.

  • Business Source Elite Wide ranging business database with the option to select case study searches.
  • ProQuest Central (Advanced search) allows specific searching for case studies, business plans and related data from around the world.
Business sector reports

Explore how a specific business sector is performing, the main players and the issues - social, economic and political that impact sector performance.

  • Passport: has extensive global data on a wide range of business sectors including data on market size, trends, share and location. Includes expert analysis and infographics.
  • IBISWorld: Covers a wide range of UK and selected global business sectors.
  • ProQuest Central: and specifically its Market Research and Business research collection databases.
  • Business Source Elite: a wide ranging global business database including selected sector reports.
  • Mintel: is primarily a UK marketing and market research database. It also includes reports and analysis on a wide range of key business retail sectors.
Country profiles

Invaluable tools for locating detailed knowledge on specific countries or regions.

Business encyclopaedias

Useful for business/financial definitions and meanings and country information.