Easy Research Tips When Looking for New Supplier Information
Posted by Shannon Suetos on January 21, 2011 in Business Management [ 1 Comment ]
You need to make a new purchase for your company. What’s the first thing you do? Probably, like most of us, you go to a web search engine like Google or Bing and you search for that product. Perhaps you search by name, description or part number. Or maybe you start with research for potential providers by company name. Either way, you want to “cast a wide net” at this stage and get as much info as possible so you make an informed decision.
One way to do this is to first research the industry classification for your product. With this information as a starting point, you can get great information like industry norms, lists of companies and even comments and ratings for companies.
All businesses in the U.S. (and Canada) are typically classified using one or both industry classification systems which are the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) or Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).
These classification systems cluster companies together into groupings based on the product(s) or service(s) that they provide. There are thousands of classifications, built on a hierarchy model. Here’s an example for the SIC “division” (which is the highest level) for Services:
I – Services
87 – Engineering, Accounting, Research, Management, and Related Services
874 – Management And Public Relations Services
8741 – Management Services
874101 – Business management
87410103 – Office Management
As one moves down the hierarchy (as denoted by the increasing number of digits in the numerical code), the classification description is more detailed and granular, ergo there are fewer companies in each level.
How can all this be put to good use?
Let’s say you need repair work done for some equipment. You have a company in mind, so you do a search on that company. BUT instead of looking just at that’s company’s web site, you also want to look at 3rd party sites, specifically on a business directory site such as Manta or AllBusiness. The profile for your target company on such sites should indicate a SIC or a NAICS code with links to an overview of their industry that includes a list of entire peer group.
You’re now looking at a comprehensive list of companies that may offer the service you are looking for. These sites usually offer filtering tools so you can narrow a large list of companies by State, size, etc. So, if it’s your want, you can now contact several similar companies in your area to get competitive quotes.
Lastly, sites like MerchantCircle and CitySearch may provide user experiences and ratings for companies.
In summary, with industry and peer information available on 3rd party business directory sites, you can now research companies, indentify their industry, see similar companies and develop a list of qualified companies all leading to better, more informed decision making.
Geoff Vincent is the founder and CEO of Bizcompare Inc. He’s former corporate guy who held a plethora of senior marketing and management positions at some familiar B2B companies like American Express, FedEx, CCH and Dun & Bradstreet. He currently operates a business information site called BizCompare. He blogs and Tweets with a pragmatic point of view about business information, sales, marketing, business research, performance management and other management best practices.