When you’ve found a business you want to acquire, how do you get in touch with the owner to get the ball rolling?
In this week’s snackable episode, host Roland Frasier shares 10 simple ways to contact the owner of a business you’re interested in buying. Whether you want to acquire it outright or cut a deal for consulting for equity or do a strategic alliance or a joint venture, you have to get to the decision maker. You need to talk to the owner. And to talk to them, you need to find them. Good news: the odds are in your favor. If one or two of these tips don’t work out, you’ve got eight more options. Be sure to check out all the links at the end.
Listen in for some quick and brilliant solutions to getting access to the owner of a company you want to buy.
#1: Look up the number of the company and call.
This is the most obvious and easiest way. If you have a company already identified, then just look up the phone number, call them, and say to the person who answers the phone. “Who is the owner of this company? May I speak to her or him?” No research necessary.
#2: Go to secstates.com.
This website is basically a collection of the U.S. Secretaries of State for each of the 50 states. That’s the government office where you file to form a corporation. Click on the Secretary of State site for your state. Type in the name of the company you’re trying to find out the information for. This is updated every year, and the filing also includes the address. That’s a really good way to get the home address of a director. Sending an actual physical letter can be really effective.
#3: In the UK, you can go to Companies House.
There are similar agencies in the Canadian provinces and Australia as well. You’re basically just going to where the company is formed and looking up the official government filings in respect to it.
#4: Check out zoominfo.com.
Zoom Info has a lot of information on companies all over the world.
#5: Just go to the company’s website.
Most business websites have information about the owners on the About Us page. If you can’t find it there, try the Contact Us page. Or the Meet Our Team page.
#6: Do a “Who Is?” lookup.
If you’re having a really hard time, you can go do a “Who Is?” lookup or a reverse “Who Is?” lookup to see who is registered as the owner of the URL of the website of the company you’re looking at. That information is public.
#7: Look up the Terms of Service.
If you go to the bottom of the website, there’s a Terms of Service page. Click on that, and it will very often list the person or company that owns the site. The owner’s email might even be there. You can look at the privacy terms as well.
#8: Go to dnb.com or hoovers.com.
This is a paid service where you can look up companies as well. D&B Hoovers is actually one company, but they each have slightly different databases.
#9: Google the business license.
You can Google the city/state, “business license,” and the name of the company. These searches will typically give you the names of owners. Sometimes it’s an attorney. If it is, that person should know how to get in touch with the owner.
#10: Google the occupancy permit.
Google the city/state, “occupancy permit,” and the name of the company. This is just one more way to figure out who the owner is. This will also tell you if there’s more than one owner. If you run into a brick wall with the first owner, don’t be afraid to try the other one.
Remember: you always want to talk to a decision maker. Just like you always want to talk to the manager when you have a problem at a store, you always want to talk to the owner when you want to do a deal.
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