the Internet is great. For those who want to know what your competitors are up to, it’s very easy if those competitors are public companies. That is because every public company has to disclose quite a bit about its operations to the public. Those filings are made on a government site

Just access that free website, and type in the name of the company you want to know more about. You can then access everything that company is filed with the SEC.

If you are serious about your business, you will doubtless know of other companies, very likely public companies, that are in a similar business. Examining their public filings will let you understand the level of capital requirements they need, the level of profitability, and some of the problems (risk factors) that exist in your industry. Hopefully, you would already know about these, but you would gain the benefit of their experience as well as their high-priced legal team.

As an additional benefit, if you do plan to do an IPO in the near future, you can see what are the hot issues affecting the company which the SEC is requiring them to disclose. This can save you a lot of time and grief in preparing your document to conform to industry standards. You can even cut-and-paste a significant amount of the disclosure and save yourself a lot of time in writing your own going public document.

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