Updated September 16th, 2021
Have you ever wondered how to find out who owns a business? There are many reasons to search for the name of a business owner or the chief decision-maker.
In a B2B setup, businesses still need to do a little prospecting for company contacts to build leads for marketing purposes. Business owners get in touch with one another for possible collaborations on projects or partnerships.
For example, you may want to offer a business owner your managed print services, which have been proven to improve productivity in businesses. For others, it can be for more pressing matters, such as potential litigation.
Regardless of the reasons, getting the name behind the business can open up many opportunities if you are persistent. If you’re looking to get in touch with the owner or decision-maker of another company, we’ll show you how to get it done in this article.
Research Strategies to Find Business Owners
There are several resources and methods you can use to track down the name of a business owner. Some of these approaches are reasonably easy, while some take a lot of time and patience. The great thing about these tactics is that they are all free.
Make a Call.
Sometimes, the solution is the most obvious option, and a name can be a phone call away. Use a local or online phone directory and look up the business name and number. Note that you’re doing a cold call, and there will most likely be a gatekeeper. Put forth your best effort to get the information you need.
Check the Company Website.
You can help your cold call by using a search engine to check if the business has any online presence. We live in an age where most companies have websites, blogs, and social media accounts. Look for the “About Us” and “Contact” pages to see if there’s any information on the business owner. Checking the testimonials page can also give you a hint on the name of the owner.
Do a Little Social Media Digging.
If a business has a social media account, chances are the company uses it to interact with followers and clients. You can leverage the power of social media and search Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites. Search engines such as Google can show you listings complete with contact information, email, and even a map to the company.
On Facebook, look for reviews that mention the owner by name or if he or she responded to any comment. You can also use the Timeline and Graph Search options if a standard search gets you nowhere. LinkedIn provides a company name search options in their advanced search option.
Conduct a WHOIS Domain Lookup.
If there’s little to no information on the company’s website, you can always dig a little deeper and conduct a domain lookup. It is standard practice that all domains should have a registered owner. Business owners need to provide their contact details to the domain registrar. It’s easy to do a “who is” search. Just type “whois” in any search engine and choose one of the many services that pop up.
Enter the domain name of the business you want to check to see if there’s any registration information. Note that some domain owners choose to remain private and pay a third party to mask their information. For instance, if you see that the domain owner is “Domains by Proxy,” then the owner paid extra for the service to stay hidden.
Read the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Reports.
Organizations that want recognition as a serious industry player registers with the BBB. The Better Business Bureau might even have information on non-member companies. Please note that the primary contact may not be the owner and that some of the data may be old. Always check and verify the date of the reports.
Search State Databases of Registered Businesses.
All states require businesses to register so they can operate. Registration information is on the state’s database of registered companies. All regions may provide some information on any registered entity as long as you’re in the correct database. Note that not all states will include the name of the business owner. You can go to https://www.secstates.com/ and try it yourself.
Contact Local Business Licensing or Regulatory Agencies.
You can get in touch with the local city government office responsible for business licenses. Your search will vary depending on the location of the company you’re trying to find and what industry the business belongs to. Start by using a search engine to know who the proper authorizing body is, per locale. You can use a combination of queries that have the following words:
- Business permits city, state/prov
- Certificate occupancy city, state/prov
- Licenses inspections city, state/prov
- Business licenses city, state/prov
Note that for these queries to work, you need the exact city and state of the company. Some industries, such as restaurants, require owners to get a license. You can call the regulating body and formally request for the owner name. You can also search the agency’s website for an online tool or database of permits, inspections, and licenses. Please be aware that the regulator may or may not divulge the name of the owner.
Check with the Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce has a directory of member businesses you can find on their website. Usually, you can find this information in the public part of their website. The business profile includes the name of Chamber members and for small businesses, the member is usually the business owner.
Use Private Search
If the other ways of looking for the business owner have been futile for you, it may be time to use private search companies. Note that their services may not be free. When using this option, ensure to read and follow the legal and privacy notes on the sites you visit. Use only these websites as intended. If it’s not intended for commercial purposes, then you should respect that.
It Pays to Double-Check
When you have the exact name of the business owner you want to reach, it pays to have more information. This tactic rings true if you plan on going into a business partnership. Scour public records or bankruptcy records for any information you can add to your file.
It wouldn’t be the smartest move to partner with someone who’s facing litigation or is on the verge of bankruptcy. We hope this article was able to shed some light on how you can find business owners or decision-makers.
Good luck with your search!
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