Private companies are entities whose shares of stock are not publicly traded on the open market but are held internally by select individuals. Consequently, they are not required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which significantly reduces the availability of private company data.
It's important to note that private companies have no incentive to make their data available; in fact, doing so could compromise their competitive position in their industry. Therefore, researchers must be creative and persistent when seeking information. That is, researchers must consider that if the data is available then who is likely to provide the content. These providers will include subscription databases, company websites, news sources, local business journals, the National Association of Secretary of State (NASS), etc.
In the event that private company financial data is unavailable, research should consider using either public company financial data or financial ratios to create performance estimates.
The following databases are a good place to start when researching private companies information such as financials, CEO interview transcripts, journal/newspaper articles, trade publications, magazines, SWOT reports, company profiles, and other electronic resources:
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