Why do these things? Well, as Peter Lynch once said, people will spend six months picking a home to buy, but only a couple of minutes picking stocks as investments. It can make all the difference with a bit of research. So if you don’t know where to begin, we’ve got some free tools you can get started using today.
Glassdoor, for those unfamiliar, is an anonymous employee reviewing platform. It gives insights into what it is like to work at the company from former employees perspectives, and it collects data to cover five key headings:
- Overall rating of the workplace
- Would you recommend the company to a friend?
- CEO approval rating
Glassdoor is a great starting point to get an overall picture of a company’s culture; how they treat their staff, what they’re working on, and even an overall sense of employees’ motivation, rewards, and respect they have for the wider leadership team.
Just one thing to note — some reviews will be negative anyway. There’s usually a reason why it’s a former employee, but generally, it’s a reliable source and you can pick up on recurring pros and cons.
The App Store or Play Store
Now, this one is for consumer-facing businesses generally, which can make great investments as they’re easier to understand usually — we’re all consumers after all! With the digitization of products and services, a lot of consumer-facing brands will have an app available. To get an idea of overall customer satisfaction, give a quick search.
If the star rating is low, you might want to do some digging to see why it’s below par — and you can do just that — by filtering reviews from best to worst, and see if there are any ongoing issues that keep cropping up.
Conversely, if the company has only great reviews, it could be a sign of a business that has a customer-oriented strategy in place that allows them to acquire, but more importantly, retain, customers over the long term. A bit of digging is necessary to confirm that, but it’s a good starting point.
You can also check out the app store rankings online and filter by category, device, and country — a great tool for figuring out how strong a network the company has and if its presence is improving or stagnating.
The company’s website
There’s no better place to get the most accurate and up-to-date information than a company’s website. This is where you will find all of the following:
- The company’s quarterly results
- Earnings Calls
- News on strategic partnerships/deals
- Changes in leadership
- The wider business model — products and services you may have not even known about
Company blogs can also be an underutilized resource that gives you insight into exactly what the company is working on right now. Just watch out for bias towards the company itself and take statements with a pinch of salt — you’ll see all the warnings on forward-looking statements anyway!
If you haven’t heard of it, TipRanks is a website that pools together analyst opinions, estimates, and expectations, although, the bare minimum is free in this case. What it does do is provide some insight into industry experts’ opinions of whether a stock is being fairly valued.
Now, just because an analyst has a ‘buy’ rating, definitely doesn’t mean you should invest, but it would provide a general overview of sentiment for the stock. The company also gives a track record of analysts’ historic calls, as well as their expertise, and the company they work for, so you’ll be able to decide whose opinion you take into account from there.
Last but not least, CEO interviews can be a brilliant way to gain an understanding of the leadership story, mission, and values behind a business. There’s no dedicated site for CEO interviews, but in many cases, you’ll find them for free on social platforms like YouTube, from news sites like CNBC, or from podcast applications like Spotify.
So there we are! Some initial stepping stones investors can take to get a brief overview before wasting time and money. If you see red flags, it might make you think twice before making an otherwise costly decision, and optimize your chances of picking long-term winners.
Financial Writer at MyWallSt
David's favorite stock is Google. He's a daily user of its YouTube platform, where you can learn or find something brand new at the touch of a button. He believes the company will continue to grow for many years to come.