You work hard for every dime you have in the bank. You want to invest some of those dimes, but the last thing you want to do is lose that money. More than a few people have seen their savings dwindle after putting their savings into the wrong business, so it’s important to do careful research before choosing an investment.
Stock Performance History
To get started, take some time to research stocks that are performing well. There’s plenty of information out there on top stocks, whether you’re sorting through information from experts or just looking at a news site’s listing of most popular stocks. Look for companies you’re personally interested in to narrow it down.
Once you’ve identified a stock that seems promising, dig into its performance history, paying particular attention to recent months. If the company is public, you can also look up its most recent earnings call, where leaders will not only discuss the last quarter’s earnings, but they’ll also reveal information on what investors can expect in the upcoming quarter.
If you aren’t sure where to invest, consider narrowing it down by industry. Some sectors have a much more promising outlook than others. Technology businesses have dominated for years and are likely to continue to do well moving forward. Currently, cryptocurrency and virtual reality are named as thriving industries, along with anything in the medical field.
Even if you do have your eye on a particular company, researching the outlook for its sector can help. It may be a product that appeals to you, but it’s also important to ensure you’re investing in a business that has widespread market appeal.
Success in Its Sector
Even within a promising industry, you’ll find winners and stragglers. If the business is relatively new, this may be a bit more complicated. However, that risk can come with great rewards. If you choose to invest in a company like Apple, for instance, you’ll pay much more per share and, because of that, you won’t get the bang for your buck you would if you invested in a new company that eventually becomes the next Uber or Snapchat.
There are a few things you can do to test the viability of a new-but-promising business, however. Check the market and note any competitors. If the field is already overcrowded, chances are this new business won’t make a big splash. Does the company seem to be resonating with customers as they spread the word about what they’re doing? Ask around and find out if others are excited by the concept to make sure you aren’t investing in something that appeals only to you.
Investors watch a company’s operations closely. If a business suffers a public relations nightmare, it can quickly send stock values plummeting. Successful venture capitalists look for businesses that have capable, passionate leaders with a clear vision for the company’s future. If you’re putting your money into a business, you need to be able to trust its leadership team to make it a successful one.
In addition to capability and passion, you should feel that a business’s leadership style is the right fit for you. If you can relate to a CEO’s passion for a particular product, service or consumer market, chances are you’ll be able to relate to the work that business is doing.
As you’re researching, you may realize that you have trouble finding information on some companies. Even if you think the business itself has a positive future, see this lack of transparency as a red flag. Whether a business is public or is privately rounding up funding, it should be completely open, especially when it comes to financial information.
Even if a business does provide this information, you may simply not know where to find it. Sites like Hoovers offer information for many businesses, including sales revenue and news. You may also be able to get this data by simply reaching out to the company and asking for a copy of its balance sheet.
Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.