Online business networking looks set to move on to a new level with the launch of a unique site that is focused on helping small and medium sized companies continue to succeed in the current economic climate.
The Business Network Online (BNO) - developed by the British Chambers of Commerce and Accredited Chamber Network - goes well beyond the existing social networking and tendering sites by providing people with realistic opportunities to pitch for and win new contacts, covering both the private and public sectors.
Currently websites tend to offer either business networking or tendering, but the BNO is the first to do both, providing a safe platform for people to buy and sell their products and services from as well as develop and build new contacts.
John Dunsmure, Managing Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “All businesses are having to look for new ways to drive sales during these difficult economic times and we believe this tool will help in so many ways. Unlike some professional networking sites, the BNO isn’t about collecting ‘colleagues’ that have no relevance to your business. Here each contact you make has a realistic prospect of having a positive impact on your business.”
The BNO, which operates through the trusted Chamber community, provides people with a simple and effective way to meet new business partners and suppliers, reach new markets and customers, gain more competitive pricing and win new business through tender alerts.
The tender alert facility looks set to be a big pull, matching up business opportunities with companies registered on the database. As matches occur businesses will receive an email alert or SMS text. The fact that companies will have selected the business categories means that the alerts will be relevant and of genuine interest.Initially the BNO will operate across the UK but plans are in place to extend the service internationally early 2010. For many UK businesses this will be particularly significant, as the weak pound has opened up export opportunity.
Signing up to the BNO is free to Accredited Chamber members, while non-members will be offered a three-month free trial.
John Dunsmure said: “One of the other benefits is that for those who are uncomfortable about attending organised networking events, the online option is a great alternative – and you don’t need to buy a business suit!
“There’s no doubt that business networking online is here to stay – those that embrace it fully will benefit in terms of building their company’s profile and driving sales. Ultimately it allows you to reach more people with less effort, to identify and connect with the right people more quickly and to reduce travel time and expense.
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