Norwegian start-up business CompanyBook has launched into the UK with a product that should be "given away free to every business in the UK as a jubilee present from the Queen." According to Chairman Henrik Pettersen. While we're not sure that the Queen can afford the millions it would cost, we do agree that CompanyBook is a tool every small business should have access to.
CompanyBook combines a lead generator, a media monitoring systems and a social network in one web service. It's priced extremely competitively at just $19 (£12.16) per user, per month, or 169 Euro (£135) a year, and gives a business access to a service that would costs tens of thousands a year if all the pieces were bought separately. If you want to try before you buy, there's a Freemium service that gives you access to all of CompanyBook but limits the number of company and customer searches available.
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For your £135 a year you get the ability to find potential customers in any location in the World - down to street-level – using a sophisticated mapping tool and a database compiled from a combination of Dun & Bradstreet's full company information service, and CompanyBooks own web search engine.
Credit check over 87 million businesses
As well as company addresses the search also gives you access to Dun & Bradstreet's financial performance data on 87 million businesses, in 212 countries, which is ideal if you need to credit check potential and current clients. Be warned the service currently shows financial information in Norwegian Krone which makes every business look very healthy - you need to divide everything by 9.32 at current exchange rates – and in other places figures are in US dollars.
Searches for businesses can be done via product category, company name and then sorted on area, as Harald Jellum co-founder explained, "for example if you build compressor covers, it's possible to search for companies that are compressor manufacturers, and on our search you get around 6,000 entries for the UK. Where as with a Google search you get eight million entries. You can then refine the search to an area on a map that you define, a town, or a street, and then export your prospect list to your contact management system."
Media monitoring and social media portal
If that's not enough, CompanyBook also allows you to monitor media information on companies to see what has been written on them from a database of over 500 million articles, and to then see if there's a positive or negative buzz about the company.
The last part of the solution is a social platform, that combines the networking aspects of a network, like LinkedIn, with the file sharing and collaboration of Business Box.
A unique no-brainer for any business
CompanyBook is a unique service, that gives any small business a sophisticated tool that until CompanyBook came along only an enterprise could afford. This should be a no-brainer for any business who wants to grow and carry on growing.
The ability to search for prospects down to a street-level is something that any business would willingly pay much more than the £135 a year CompanyBook charges. However it isn't perfect and it needs some tweaks, it's been through Beta testing in Norway but it still feels a little like a work in progress.