Magazine article Business Credit

KnowX Helps Bridge the Small Business Information Gap

Magazine article Business Credit

KnowX Helps Bridge the Small Business Information Gap

Article excerpt

Small businesses are an integral part of the American economy. In 1997 alone, American small businesses (firms with fewer than 500 employees) employed 53 percent of the private, non-farm workforce, contributed 47 percent of all sales in the country and were responsible for 51 percent of the private domestic product. According to the Internal Revenue Service, which measures small business increases by the number of tax returns filed, the number of small businesses in the United States has increased 57 percent since 1982. As of 1996, there were approximately 23.3 million small businesses in the country.

When I left my position as corporate credit manager to start my own independent consulting company, I joined the more than 16 million Americans who are either full-time or part-time entrepreneurs. Without the big budgets and vast resources of a large corporation, I knew that innovation and flexibility would be crucial to the success of my firm. I understood, in essence, that I would have to think big and operate small.

Small businesses and SOHOs (Small Offices, Home Offices) face different demands and have different needs than large corporations. Successful small businesses understand that information equals power, and access to financial information can be the deciding factor in a company's success.

As the head of Insurance Finance Consulting Services, I rely on financial information services to provide analytical and research services to insurance-premium finance companies and the insurance industry. No one knows better than I the critical role that accurate, up-to-date and available information can play in business.

In the corporate world, I relied on services such as Lexis/Nexis and Dun & Bradstreet for my information needs. When operating within the limited budget of a SOHO, I realized that subscription-based services like these were incompatible with my available dollars. I needed a service that was flexible, reliable, affordable and did not require service agreements or start-up costs.

I know that companies need information fast to make quick decisions. In the finance field, the turnaround time between a request for credit and a response time is short. In many cases, a company has just one day to make a business decision.

That's when I discovered KnowX. I was instantly intrigued by the fact that KnowX provided a wide range of thorough information, was available via the Web, offered reasonable rates and did not require any contracts or service agreements. I did a little research and learned that they also offered access to millions of records from Information America, a provider of information taken from public records and proprietary sources.

In November 1997, I put KnowX to the test. A client contacted me with a request to research the background of an insurance agency with which the client was considering doing over $1 million dollars of business annually. I turned to the KnowX business background check to locate the agency's financial information. The business background check uncovers bankruptcies, lawsuits, judgments and liens. It can also locate Uniform Commercial Code records, which can determine whether an individual has property which has been pledged.

After researching the agency's business background, I found that dozens of lawsuits had been filed against it, dating back more than 10 years. …

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