It is common to wish to know about another business entity or company either when dealing with the company or when trying to find out your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. It is without a doubt that doing business is fraught with potential risks. There have been stories about contractors who secured deposits for a job and never returned to do the job. There is also news about the accounts of companies that defraud investors out of millions of dollars. These reasons have established the importance of validating a business or company’s image before establishing a relationship to ensure their image is not marred by liens, judgments, bankruptcy, or civil action, either against the entity or its principles. Furthermore, accessing a company is a practical way of keeping track of your competitors or competition in the market.
It is important to point out that when carrying out company research, there are many sources to use. This depends on the company’s size, industry, and location. Small and private companies are usually harder to research, and investigating them tends to be a more creative exercise in comparison to the bigger and public companies.
Using City or Country Records: This is very important because when trying to obtain information about a small firm, this may be the only source of information available. By law, every company in a state where it is situated or located is required to obtain a license to conduct business within state boundaries. Therefore the state in which a company is operating will have a database of information that will provide useful for the investigation. The information you will find at City or country records include:
- Origin of the firm
- Tax liens
- Judgements filed and criminal complaints or actions pending against the company or its principles
All this information is available to all who ask. Some states even provide this information through its website.
Visit the Better Business Bureau: This is another important source for researching a company. At the Better Business Bureau, information about a business’s customer service practices as well as details about their products and service failures can be gotten through information on complaints and reviews levied against such company.
Published Articles: Published articles on a company can help broaden search parameters. This can be done by checking the company’s name through local newspapers, archives, and industry-specific journals.
Visiting the company’s Website: This is another way to investigate a company. A great deal of information about the company’s products, services, and personnel is disclosed on their website.
Consult an Online Company focused on Business Information: There are online services that possess information about all kinds of business (both national and international) like Hoovers and Manta. You can search the company you wish to investigate by industry, geography, or by business name and learn about the company’s revenues, names of personnel, phone numbers, and addresses.
Search the Company’s Credit Reports: You must investigate a company’s credit rating before proceeding to do business with them. Knowledge of what possible liabilities could be faced if the company does not fulfill its commitment is a significant factor. Company credit reports are accessible for anyone who wishes to investigate. The three major Credit Bureaus along with Dun and Bradstreet are major sources who provide this information. Many large corporations file their accounts annually through their public information office thus making the information accessible to all individuals.
Any business must investigate potential partners and vendors from all possible angles. The depth and breadth of information gotten through investigation often make the difference between successful and failed relationships in business. A vast amount of information is available through the providers listed above. It is quick, economical and it saves money.