The introduction is the most important part of the article and should be written last, once you truly understand the company’s story. The intro should go beyond describing what the company does to explain what major trends and forces affect the company and what major obstacles/opportunities it faces. It should also link to other articles wherever possible.
It is especially important that you make every word count here. Avoid lists in the introduction. Focus on the most important issues rather than being thorough -- that's what the rest of the article is for. The introduction should give the reader an accurate portrayal of the entire company in a very compact form (200-250 words).
Start with a couple sentences stating what the company does and how its results have changed in the past 3 to 5 years. Do not describe the company’s history (IE, founded in such and such year… that is a snore). Include two graphs and a table in these sections. Answer the very important question, how does the company make money?
|Number of Sneeds Sold (thousands)||4,700||4,947||5,382|
|Truffla Land (thousands of acres)||3,000||2,293||1,428|
Most companies are divided into business segments. Unless your company makes only a single product, break down the company’s revenues by product or service segment, showing the percentage in parentheses next to the header for each segment – like this:
This is where you demonstrate that you understand both the company and its market. Think about what major market forces are affecting the company, how and why.
=== US airways labor coalition pushes for higher wages ===
[[Oil Prices|oil prices]]to make the link oil prices.
The 10-k is used as a primary data source in the T/F section (recent news events excluded, of course). But the best data to support T/Fs are rarely found in the 10-Ks; the trick is that you have to use data to back up your claim that something IS a T/F. If you’re writing an article on an oil company that is expanding into deepwater drilling, support those claims by showing that
You will want to include all of these points, but the first one is the most important and will come from the company's data.
Metrics used to measure a company's performance -- such as same store sales -- are very useful to include in your article. They should be defined when they are first used, and used here to compare competition.
When choosing which operational metrics to include, you should ask yourself: What are the best ways to measure this company’s performance against that of its competitors? Obviously, there are financial metrics like revenue and earnings. But usually there are more fundamental metrics. Ideally, the data will tell a story and will be important to investors – don’t just throw in data because it’s there. Frequently, analysts will track operational metrics for various companies – sometimes in tables in the back of the report. Look for these tables to get some ideas of what metrics are commonly tracked for your company.
|Company||Rev. 2007 ($M)||Number of Sneeds Sold (thousands)||Average Revenue per Customer ($US)||Truffula Land (thousands of acres)|
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