1. Does the company have any identifiable consumer monopolies or brand-name products, or do they sell a commodity-type product?
2. Do you understand how the company works? Do you have intimate knowledge of, and experience with using the product or services of the company?
3. Is the company conservatively financed?
4. Are the earnings of the company strong and do they show an upward trend?
5. Does the company allocate capital only to those businesses within its realm of expertise?
6. Does the company buy back its own shares? This is a sign that management utilizes capital to increase shareholder value when it is possible.
7. Does the management spent the retained earnings of the company to increase the per share earnings, and, therefore, shareholders' value? That is, the management generates a good return on retained equities.
8. Is the company's return on equity (ROE) above average?
9. Is the company free to adjust prices to inflation? The ability to adjust its prices to inflation without running the risk of losing sales, indicates pricing power.
10. Do operations require large capital expenditures to constantly update the company's plant and equipment? The company with low capital expenditures means that when it makes money, it doesn't have to go out and spend it on research and development or major costs for upgrading plant and equipment.
Once you have identified a company as one of the kinds of businesses you wish to be in, you still have to calculate if the market price for the stock will allow you a return equal to or better than your target return or your other options. Let the market price determine the buy decision.