WHO ARE THEY?
Have you ever received an email out of the blue and thought you’d be interested in the services of the business. However, dealing with a complete stranger is potentially a recipe for a disaster. One technique to gain more information, which I find very useful, is to use the government’s ABN site. You can check out the person’s business details by entering their ABN number or their business name. Whilst this doesn’t mean they’ll be good to deal with, at least you’ve started the review process and the information you gather can be very useful.
For example I met a person who promoted themselves as being very successful in a networking group. When I checked their details they weren’t registered for GST, which meant at the time their business turnover was less than $50,000 a year. I have no problems dealing with other small businesses, but I do feel a little cautious when people try to portray themselves as different from what they are. With another business in Eltham, I wanted to purchase a dishwasher, but since I couldn’t find their business name in the register I didn’t feel confident in using their business.
I check out businesses a number of times a week and going to the government web site, and then through their pages, I found was a bit slow. To speed things up I created a search engine I could add to Internet Explorer. The search engine is the field in the top right of Internet Explorer versions 7 and 8, and in Internet Explorer 9 the search engine has been combined with the field where you enter a web site address. A lot of people don’t even know the search engine feature is there but I find it a very useful feature. I can now enter the ABN number or the company name, select the ABN search by number or name, and presto, I have their details.
If you regularly check ABN details for businesses and would like to install the ABN search engines in Internet Explorer, visit the “Fun With Search” page I created (http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/search-fun/), scroll down to the Australian Business Number section and click on each of the links to install the search engines. (Don’t set the search engine as the default as more than likely you don’t want the ABN search engine as the default.)
Once the search engine is installed you can search the ABN register by number or name. For example, in the search box in Internet Explorer type “Online Connections” (without the quotes), click on the drop down arrow next to the search field, select “JustLocal ABN (Name)” and you’ll go direct to the ABN site. There you’ll see the first two entries which are for my business.
This is where it gets exciting. You can see the postcode so you know where I’m located. You’ll see two entries so you can see how my business structure has changed over time. You can see the business is registered for GST. Most importantly you’ve confirmed the business is a registered entity.
Checking that a business is registered is just one of the steps you can take to check out a business you may wish to deal with. By adding an ABN search engine to the Internet Explorer browser the task of checking the ABN details becomes very quick and easy. I trust you’ll find using the search engine as convenient as I do.