It's understood that investors typically evaluate companies based on earnings. But what if there are no earnings, such as with young upstart companies or firms in temporarily tough times?

That's when you should focus on other measures instead. (And, besides, you should always be looking at other measures anyway.) Check out, for example, revenues, revenue growth rates, profit margins, debt levels, competitive positioning, and brand strength, among many other things. You essentially want to evaluate whether the company is on the path to profitability, and how well it's executing its strategy.

Here are some handy-dandy Fool articles offering insight into many different ways of looking at companies:

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