Researching Your Target Companies
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
If knowledge is power, then researching a target company can give you a much better understanding of what they do and help you to prepare a successful bid or sales pitch.
You may also find other companies in the same field that you didn’t know existed who can offer you similar opportunities. You may discover that those opportunities fit your needs perfectly. Either way, a little time spent researching these target companies can save you trials and tribulations later on and give your business a real competitive edge over the rest of the field.
What should you look for when you research a company? There are a wide variety of helpful details you can discover. Are they a subsidiary of another company, or a parent company? What are their long-term goals? Who are their customers? How are they managed? Do they look successful, and if so, why?
Then you can also find out how long they have been in business, how many people work for the organisation and what products and services they offer. You can read financial reports, which can reveal all sorts of useful information including what they predict their growth will be. You can also look at their major competitors. All of this can be invaluable as the more you know about a company, the more you can match your knowledge and experience to their needs and tailor your proposal accordingly.
How do you research a company? There are many online resources available to anyone looking for company information. Try searching for their corporate website on a search engine such as Google, Excite or Yahoo!. If they have a site, it will probably show up in a search of their name. Alternatively, local libraries can also be helpful.