When conducting a search for the perfect business partner, it helps if you’re as thorough as Sherlock Holmes – but please, don’t wear the deerstalker hat if you want to be taken seriously. That’s taking the detective analogy a little too far. However, finding out what makes a potential business partner tick, gleaned from some of the in-depth deductive reasoning so beloved of Mr Holmes, should certainly help in the quest.
Assuming that the prospective partner has bona fide corporate credentials, the first port of call should be a company search. Elementary, my dear Watson, as Holmes would undoubtedly have said. Except, of course, he never actually said it. The words, yes. The exact, oft-quoted phrase, no. But that’s another story.
As of February 2014, some 3.2 million companies were on the register at Companies House, slightly under three million of which were described as active. That’s an awful lot of companies in any language. As well as holding information on millions of registered UK companies, Companies House also receives over seven million documents every year, all accessible via the Companies House website, for a modest fee. A copy of a company’s accounts, for example, will set you back £1. What else can you get for a £1 these days that could prove so valuable?
If you don’t want to fork over a quid, other more basic company details are provided free of charge. These include the registered office address, date of incorporation, nature of the business and any previous names, the company type and whether it is active or dissolved, and insolvency details or actions registered against the company. Perhaps that’s all the information you’ll actually need to decide whether or not a prospective business partner will be a good match.
Search the Internet
Most of us leave an internet footprint behind, and some of the information publicly available may be something we’d rather forget. All of that social media malarkey aside, whether you’re searching out potential business partners, accessing the databases at Companies House, or gathering valuable competitive insights and intelligence, it’s all little more than a click away these days. What an incredible time saver.
The world is your oyster – especially if you want to widen the scope of the search to include Europe or further afield.. Again you can, thanks to the power and all-seeing Internet. But it’s not just companies offering searches across different countries and jurisdictions you should be thinking about.
Don’t forget newspapers
Yes, the online versions of both local and national newspapers, magazines and particularly niche-specific publications are still highly relevant, not least of all for keeping abreast of what’s hot – and not so hot – in your neck of the business woods. The Financial Times springs to mind. Almost all online publications have a handy search feature, which might pull up a range of companies or individuals for some potential partnership deals. You never know – you might just strike it lucky. Once you’ve identified a target or two, then all that’s left is the opening move.
Image credit: CC by Jack