People SearchDoing a little business intelligence work is essential for your business competitiveness – it is also interesting and challenging to do so.

For example, you want to do a little background check on your business job applicants. Another example, you want to generate a business prospect list, but look for it in the yellow pages – either online or off line version – is limited in depth. One more example – you simply want to check a business contact’s background or your competitors’ profile – or find out what people said about you (or whether someone has stolen your identity!).

No, you don’t need to hire a professional to do so, although hiring a third party is needed to probe your market and your competition.

I’ve came to a conclusion that if everything can be bootstrapped, doing business intelligence can be bootstrapped, too. You will end up saving thousands of dollar doing one or two tips below.

People Search Engine

There are numerous search engines on the Internet that focuses on people (including businesses) with their profiles online, such as SearchPeopleDirectory.com. The site offers comprehensive people search capabilities – background checking, reverse phone checking, criminal search, email search and many others – legally.

From such site, you can look for information on, for example, Barack Obama, and learn the contact details, as well as detailed background, area, and social network information. Believe it or not, there are 20 search results for Barack Obama US-wide!

Most information provided by people search engines are free, but some, more detailed information, requires some sort of payments.

Some people search engines also offer business address search. Instead of a person, you can look for a business detailed information to learn more about the business and help you decide to include it into your prospects list to contact or not.

You can search for business address the yellow pages-way, or learn the background of a job applicant that impresses you.

Generating business prospects list, combined with individual prospects list, will yield you a good amount of information to let you start a marketing campaign to those prospects. All you need is to be sure to comply with privacy policies and terms & conditions before you proceed with your campaign.

General Search Engine

Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!, can actually take a great part in your list building and informatin gathering campaign.

Basically, all you have to do is to type a phrase you want to learn about.

For example, you supplies ground coffee, and would like to pitch to coffee shops in the area your target, for example, Traverse City, Michigan, IL. All you have to do is type in phrases in Google, such as “coffee shop Traverse City” – I yield 101,000 results for a start, and the first result is – ta-da! – Google Map with coffee shops location in Traverse City, Michigan, IL.

You can start from here, or refine your search in Advance Search option.

Or, you can look for news related to coffee shops or competing ground coffee suppliers from sources, like Google News and Google Blog Search.

The tools are there – it’s all up to you now

Just like in any other business activities, the tools are available, mostly free of charge.

Now it’s all up to you to utilise them to give your business an edge over our competitor, while exploring new markets and possibilities to grow your business – starting from building a prospects list.

Ivan Widjaya
List building and business intelligence
Image by ralphbijker.