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Published January 24, 2019
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Jim Drever, regional director, Wyoming SBDC Network
How can you tell if a business is one you want to do business with? Both businesses and consumers want to make sure the companies they choose to do business with are legitimate and won’t rip them off. However, businesses don’t have the same protections consumers have from consumer protection laws. Here are some steps I recommend for researching a company:
-- Check with the secretary of state offices in the states in which they are located for their filings. Keep an eye out for recent major changes that signify a possible acquisition or other event.
-- There are some other great sources such as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a fantastic online database where you can find businesses and people worldwide through records, news archives, leaks and other sources.
-- Look up businesses and employees on employment websites including LinkedIn, Indeed and Glass Door. Knowing how they treat their employees is often a good indicator of how they treat their customers.
-- Their website might have some useful information, but don’t be afraid to look at what their website used to look like on Archive.org.
-- Then, of course, there is the Rip off Report, the Better Business Bureau and googling the business name alongside terms such as “scam” or “class action.” Take information from these results with a grain of salt, as a competitor may have complained about them.
-- Finally, I suggest calling the business directly and, depending on what business you are doing with them, asking for references.
There are many more resources, tools and tricks to research businesses and people online. Please contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network office for additional help at wyomingsbdc.org. You also can visit the blog section of our website to read more about this topic and find links to the resources mentioned.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by the University of Wyoming with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.