'Knowledge is power' - so said Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626). Had Sir Bacon lived long enough to see information explosion over Internet - he would no doubt have replaced 'knowledge' with 'information'.
Indeed, superior information is key to success. More so in business where prior information on a product, service, person or business puts the negotiator in far better place and almost always help in getting a better deal.
We all do this everyday - employer checks background of employee, employee checks financial standing of employer, shopper compares prices from various shops, parents check background of would be son-in-law - the list is endless.
Essence of Any Background Check
In all these checks there are two elements that significantly decide quality of investigation - information source and skill of the investigator.
Information stored in paper is difficult to access physically. Moreover, manually scanning hundreds of pages is uphill task for any investigator.
So, it was difficult, if not downright impossible, to conduct high quality check on a prospect. And it always carried a high price tag.
Why Background Check is Easier Now
Two events have radically changed the scenario - public disclosure or right to information act and advent of Internet.
Citizens demand for right to information has led many democratic countries to enact legislation that compels their civic authorities to place huge amount of information for public access. Advent of Internet has made this information accessible from any corner of the globe. Moreover, improved search technology has enabled even novice investigators to locate hard to find information at no time.
As a result - you can now conduct in-depth background check on any prospect from cool comfort of your room.
Even if you decide to delegate the job to an experienced investigator - you will be amazed to find how the prices have crashed.
Why background check is important for my business
Selling in international market is never simple. Diverse language, geographical distance, cultural difference and lack of market knowledge can pose formidable challenge to any manufacturer/exporter. This is more so when buyer and seller interact through as anonymous a medium as Internet.
In many e-commerce transactions, buyer and seller may be completely unknown to each other. Background information of other party in such situation not only reduces risk but also helps in securing better deal in a negotiation.
Can I Do it Myself ?
Yes, by all means. Anyone can conduct background checks on competitor, business partner, buyer, seller, broker, would be son-in-law, boss, neighbour or anyone else for that matter. All it takes is the knowledge of where to look for information and some basic skill.
We shall discuss what it takes to be a skilled on-line investigator in future issues
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 4, Issue 05
Jun 10' 2003