Researching competitors, local businesses or industry giants can turn up all kinds of pertinent information, such as the names of business owners, addresses, phone numbers and business start dates. Knowing when a business opened can shed light on a business' history and accomplishments and provide some perspective. A business start date is generally linked to documents considered public knowledge. This information can be found if one knows where to look and has the time set aside to do so.
Check business profiles at the Better Business Bureau website. Business start dates are listed on each BBB's company profile page.
Contact the state in which the business has its headquarters. All businesses in the U.S. must obtain a state business license in order to operate legally. Some states offer online access to business information -- check with the state's business licensing and regulations agency to find out if these records are available for public view.
Visit the company's website. Many businesses include a brief history of their operations as part of their online presence; the business start date may be included here.
Pay for business information about the company. Companies such as Manta and Hoovers provide access to information about businesses culled from a variety of databases and may also conduct their own research about a business. To obtain this information, you need to purchase a report or pay for a monthly subscription. Report pricing and subscription rates will vary; as of 2011, Hoover's individual researcher subscription rate starts at $75 a month or $845 a year.
Consider all the different ways the business name can be spelled before giving up on your search. Spelling and abbreviations can vary from database to database.
Businesses that have start dates not recorded in current records may require further digging. Pinpointing a city, state, owner's name or industry can give your research efforts a place to begin. Announcements for a business opening can be found in older newspapers for a particular city -- check with a local library reference desk. Industry associations may have knowledge about older businesses or know of historians that can provide further information.
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