In the US, private companies are not required to release their financials. Therefore, most of the time you won't be able to get detailed financial statements on a private firm. Here are some strategies on researching a private company:
- Find revenue data (self-reported or estimates) and other limited information (depending on the size of the private firm) from the sources suggested below.
- Search for news stories on the company (using library databases or Google). This is especially important when the company is local and/or small. The company might have been covered in newspapers, trade publications, TV segments, or blogs.
- Use industry benchmarks as proxy (e.g., you probably won't be able to obtain financial statements on your competitors that are private firms, but industry benchmark data might shed some light).
- Study their website (What's their customer value proposition? How do they brand themselves?) and monitor the company's social media channels (if available).