Better to Find Out Before You Do Business With Them
As a small business owner, you are placing your company’s reputation on the line every time you forge a new business partnership with another company. This can be a risky way of running a business, especially for newer companies, simply because unbeknownst to you, the reputation of the company you are partnering with could bleed over into your company’s reputation.
After all, if said company is nefariously known for providing lackluster customer service and poor quality, or for its problematic employees, what’s to say your company is any different if you are willing to work alongside it?
In order to prevent a bad business reputation by proxy, you need to be vigilant in your research, and really look at how the other company conducts its business, in addition to how it is looked at by consumers. Here are a few places where you can get valuable insight into a company’s reputation before you make the decision to do business with them.
#1 Check the Company’s Credit Profile
A company’s credit profile will give you an insider’s look into how it handles its financial responsibilities. If the company’s credit report indicates late payments, or features a number of closed accounts, then that will be a huge indicator that the owners are irresponsible. This increases the possibility that your company could be negatively affected by their poor business decisions.
#2 Check the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau keeps two databases, one for companies that do business regionally, and one for companies that have a national presence. This is where you are going to find out whether or not the company has any consumer complaints filed against them. It is recommended that you check both databases whenever you are looking into a company’s reputation.
#3 Search for Lawsuits Filed Against the Company
Thanks to the Internet, it is easy to find out if a company has been sued. Simply enter “v companyname” (including quotation marks) in your favorite search engine, and any legal records in which the company was a defendant will come up. Keep in mind that not all lawsuits are signs that the company is corrupt, so be sure to check the details of the case before making that determination.
#4 Search the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provides consumers and business owners with an easy and free way to do a full-text search of EDGAR filings from the last four years. As an added benefit, the search tool can also be used to search for individuals, like company executives.
#5 Perform a Standard Google Search
Use Google to do a standard search using the company’s name. Is the company receiving a lot of positive buzz online, or are forums overwhelmed with complaints or problems concerning the company? The results will give you an idea as to what type of reputation the company has online.
#6 Perform a Whois Search
Whois.com provides valuable information about a company’s website, like the name of the domain’s owner, when the domain was originally made, and when it expires. If you discover that the company’s web domain is brand new or set to expire soon, then there is a risk that the company may be one built for scam purposes.