How To Find Out Who Owns a Business

Finding the owner of a business is sometimes simple, but for some, it may be a bit more complicated. Several business owners are proudly declaring their role, while others prefer to work silently behind the scenes and keep some level of privacy about who actually owns the company. In any case, the Internet has made it much easier to find out who owns a business these days. 

It doesn’t matter why you want to know who owns a business, either. All searches will result in the same outcomes, regardless of the reason. You might just be doing research. Perhaps you’re comparing services and want to see which company has the best ownership and leadership. There are any number of reasons you might find yourself trying to learn who owns a business. Here are some tips and insights to help. 

Start with the obvious

One of the easiest ways to figure out who owns a business, in many cases, is to visit the website of the company and go to the “About” page. Some might have a “Staff” page or “Meet the Team” tab—whatever it may be, make sure that you look there first. Also, remember that the CEO may not be the owner and vice versa. Usually, their title will tell you what role they have. If an owner isn’t listed on the website, then you might have to do a little more sleuthing. 

You should look on all the pages of their website, even if it’s not in the “about” section or a similar page—sometimes there are spotlights done on owners in the blog or they may be featured in ads, landing pages, etc. Look everywhere before you assume there’s no information there. 

Research and utilize your resources

All states have to maintain business licensing records and other information, including the owners of the businesses throughout the state. These are usually managed by one of three government entities:

  1. Secretary of State
  2. Department of Commerce
  3. Department of Corporations

Some states allow people to search online for business information based on their licensing databases, but that isn’t always the case. Make sure that you know the rules where you live so that you’re not violating privacy laws or getting the wrong information from the wrong places.

Just ask 

This will be a lot trickier for most businesses than the other options. However, there’s nothing wrong with just asking who owns a company. You can ask the company, your peers, other professionals, etc. Sometimes, you might be surprised who knows what about the business world. And, if nothing else, you’ll get other people thinking about why they don’t know who owns the business and consider their own research. 

Where to look

There are several different places online where you can find business owner information aside from their direct website. This includes:

  • Social media
  • Business and professional forums
  • Other business websites
  • The BBB (Better Business Bureau)
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce
  • State licensing info through Secretary of State
  • Dunn & Bradstreet

You can gain a lot from social media, and can even search Google to try to figure out who owns a business. You can check for mentions on Facebook or Twitter, comments, awards, and other indicators. LinkedIn even has an advanced search feature that includes the option to add a business name. This could help you find the owner with ease. 

Why not just call?

If you’re really trying to get an answer and you don’t want to dig forever, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask. They may tell you, or they may not know offhand. Perhaps they don’t think they can release that information. In any case, you should at least give it a shot. You might get better answers than you expect, saving you a lot of time and effort. When you do this, make sure that you introduce and explain yourself, including why you want to know who the owner is, so that you get the best chances of getting the information and build a bit of a connection with the person who picks up the phone. 

Domain lookups

If you can’t find enough information, consider doing a domain lookup. This will at least tell you the registered owner of the company that was responsible for choosing the domain and registering the contact information. You can even use the tool WhoIs, by typing “whois” and the business URL to find out who owns the domain within a matter of seconds. Of course, this could lead you to a third-party issue that will essentially end up with you learning nothing new. Thus, this may not always be an effective option. 

Perform a background check 

Background screening companies and people finders are great at helping you get information about a business. They can provide plenty of resources and tips, and some will even be able to give you the name of the owner so that you don’t have to keep hunting and asking around. This doesn’t have to be costly, either—several services are available with low or no costs involved, so it’s affordable for everyone. 

Background checks are a bit extreme in some cases, but if you really need to know an owner and a company is ultra-private about that information, it could be the only option. In any case, make sure that you’re choosing a reputable company to help with this check so that you get the best and most reliable information. 

While you’re checking the ownership, who’s catching new leads?

You are busy trying to figure out the competition and learn about how to successfully run a business. The last thing that you need is to have your lead generation and other solutions pulling your attention away from the clients. That’s where it can help to have the assistance of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai. Our team of dedicated receptionists can deliver 24//7 answering service solutions along with lead intake, appointment scheduling, and so much more. 

If you’re still working on finding the leads, ask about our assistance with outreach campaigns. To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what our virtual receptionists can do for you, or reach out to us at hello@smith.ai

Tags:
Business Education
Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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