Enquiring about other local businesses is extremely important if you’re just beginning to establish your business in your particular area of operations. Working closely with the community and sourcing suppliers from the nearby area are both great ways for startups to appeal as trustworthy local businesses in the consumer’s eyes. In addition to this, knowing the other businesses in your locality will allow you to research your competitors and find new marketing opportunities.
But how do you find local businesses and connections in your area? Fortunately, this quest is not as hard as it used to be. Below you have a collection of online-based methods that are regularly used to prospect local businesses in a predetermined area.
How to find local businesses
Google Maps is probably the most effective way of searching for local businesses in our area if you want to do free prospecting. Almost every business, regardless of how small has a listing on Google My business. If you know your way around Google maps, you can get a pretty good idea of your competitors and other local businesses that you can collaborate with.
To prospect using Google Maps, open the service (on mobile or desktop) and search for your business – we’re assuming you are already listed (if you’re not, follow this guide). Then, search for your business and click on the Nearby button. With that filter selected, enter any business niche that you have in mind. For example, let’s imagine you’re a restaurant looking for fresh supplies. Clicking the Nearby button and entering the word “farm” in the search box will return you a list with local farms in your area. Pretty neat right?
Yelp is another great online directory where you can research local businesses in your area. Although it’s aimed at helping the consumer, Yelp can be used just as well by small businesses to research small businesses.
Yelp will not require you to create an account to use their directory – although you are encouraged to create a listing for your business. To use Yelp to find local businesses in your area, type the keyword in the search box and set the Current Location in the box associated with Near. By hitting Enter, you’ll get a full list of local businesses in your area that matches your query.
Facebook Local is yet another huge directory that you can use to find local businesses in your vicinity. Since Facebook Places is fully integrated into the Facebook platform, you can begin searching this directory by typing queries in Facebook’s search bar or by using this link.
Using Facebook Places to find local businesses is as easy as typing the niche keyword + the zip code (or city name) associated with your area of operations. If you are searching directly through the Facebook platform, you can click the Places tab to get a curated list of businesses.
Manta is a large directory of free resources of small company information. Although it’s not always up to date, it still does a very good job of allowing you to research regional businesses. Keep in mind that while the search is free, not every business is verified on Manta. Even more, depending on your country of residence, the service might not be available in your area.
Hoovers is clearly tailored to serve the interests of mid to large-sized firms, but that doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t make use of it. You can begin to use it for free and you can expect to find detailed financial and contact information about a wide array of niches.
The downside of Hoovers.com is that it’s only effective in a couple of large countries and the free version is likely not enough to get the full picture.