To advance in your company, you have to navigate the route to take. One of the best ways to do this is to “follow the money”. What areas of the company does the organization most invest? Is it Research & Development? Sales? Marketing? Operations? That’s the area ripe for opportunities.
Where Do I Find This Information?The easiest way to locate pertinent information about your company is the annual report. In most countries, publicly held firms are required to file financial disclosure documents. These companies publish these documents in the form of an annual report to shareholders. This report is a wealth of information. In addition to the previous year and projected financials, the report also includes discussions about the company’s successes, goals, strategies, problems, threats, it’s products and services, 10-20 year financial history, the corporate directors and officers and stock price history among other highlights. It’s a good idea to take a look at 2-3 years of these reports to assess your company’s changes/trends in product/services focus, whether/how they overcame previous years problems, successes and financial health.
What if My Company is Privately Held?Privately held companies are not required to file financial disclosure documents; however, you may be able to get the information you need from databases such as Business Insights, Dunn & Bradstreet, PrivCo, Reference USA. (Note: Many of these databases require a subscription, but you may be able to access these databases at your local library). You may also try local business journals and the Secretary of state’s office where the company was established. Another option is to check your company’s website; but consider that the website is a marketing tool.
What if My Company is Non-Profit?Nonprofits with more than $100K in contributions or $250K in assets are required to file IRS Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income). This information can be found on the organization’s website or you may also obtain the information on databases such as Guidestar.org or Justgive.org. Study your company. Know what makes it tick. Get to know the players. When you understand how your company functions and it’s bottom line, you’ll know where and how to position yourself as valuable asset.
Take ActionObtain your company’s most recent annual report. What was your company’s biggest success? Areas of Focus? Challenges?
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