There are two ways you can get the businesses listed on your directory platform,
- Businesses Enroll Themselves
For a directory platform launching as a startup, this option seems difficult since no business would trust and enroll their details and contact information to be displayed on a random directory platform. While you can list them as an admin if you own such data already with you.
If the concept you have planned is of providing separate merchant sign up then you may want to provide exclusive dashboard to Merchants to manage multiple things like their profile, services, reply to reviews, banner advertisements, etc.
2. Users List Businesses
This is an efficient way of populating the business directory at first. You can provide the option to visitors and reviewers to add the business they want to rate if they don’t find already on the platform. This way your directory becomes endless.
Further gradually growing, once the listed businesses will see the popularity of the platform around, give them the option to claim businesses if they are the owners of one already listed on the platform by the visitors and viewers. Claiming the business should activate the dashboards for the owners/merchants to manange the options for their listed business, respond to reviews received, etc.