24 November 2017

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Expand Business the Social Networking Way

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Connecting with the rest of the world and being innovative towards business development is the most intelligent tip to work upon specially for an entrepreneur from the small and mid sized business. Off lately, people have started looking at these online socio networking sites as integrated medium for business development activity.

 In today’s scenario where  business is getting more dynamic and web centric, the executives of almost every level are looking at web as their handy tool. More interestingly with the advent of social networking revolution through internet, this has became an extremely handy tool for every. The online social networking has given birth to many new business avenues, at the same time they also have introduced newer methodologies to generate business.

Earlier, only business conferences, meetings and referral meetings were the only option to meet new people and talk business prospects. Now, spending some time on Internet could lead to some new contacts in doing and expanding business. Shiv N Gupta, a real estate developer from the Delhi NCR region pointed out some limitations of his earlier business development strategy.

“Earlier, we cannot target customers who were out side Delhi. It was impossible to approach them . What happened now, I started getting good number of interested customers who stay somewhere else but wanted to purchase property in this part. I am using socio networking platforms in a big way to attract such prospects, and I am getting good results.”

Gupta further informed that he regularly traps couple of social networking sites and gathered a group of people who are in regular touch with him. “Since we are small sized entrepreneurs we can’t have large business development budgets to shell out. I see investing one hour a day on internet is far more viable investment than actually investing in a full time employee on business development activity,” Gupta said.

Similarly, online social networking means different things to different people. For some, it means a good platform for networking with the domain experts and for some it is a tool for brand management.

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN of the online world have generated good level of attraction for the professionals around the world. However, every individual looks at these platforms from their own angle.

Beyond Just Social Networking

While highlighting another experience on Facebook, Raunaq Singh, vice president of Targus Technologies mentioned that he has used this platform for head hunting purposes. Singh added, “I see few social networking sites making good impact on the community. I found it interesting to approach my target- experts, that I was looking at, online. Though I didn’t get that guy on board, due to some reasons, the social networking through online has given me a good flavour of hunting for quality people for my organisation.”

However, Singh has taken a few intelligent steps of registering himself on some specialised groups in Facebook. “I am registered into some groups like Cisco certified professionals and security professional groups. This has given me an edge on getting access to experts and whenever required I can approach them.” Raunaq added. Targus Technologies is mainly into system integrating and technology consulting business but it falls under the small and medium sized business.

In another example from the travel and tourism industry, Ishwar Kumar, Director of Faridabad based Ish Travels mainly deals with travel packages, holiday packages etc. His main target customers are organisations, individuals who are from different backgrounds. But he mainly sees potential for his business outside the Faridabad area.

In that scenario he only look online networking platforms as a carrier to take him closer to his customers. “Although I am not using my online profiles for hard sales or for generating sales leads, but this profile has given me positive outcome on educating my targeted business segment,” commented Kumar, director of Ish Travels, “I found it interesting and since the overall market is getting deeper into the Internet, it becomes important for us to gear up now.”

However, some technology companies have well understood this market change and have started developing products which are catering to this market.

Adoption Challenges
 
Even though the adoption curve of this trend is becoming popular among the small and medium sized businesses, there are some common mental blocks that are still pervasive among some companies. As an example, awareness about the right approach for online is still lacking among the majority of entrepreneurs.

Since there is no training or information available regarding these online marketing approaches for the new aged media, it becomes very tough for small business people to explore this. “I am not new to the internet. But honestly, I have never looked at these online platforms from my business perspective. This perspective was the main hurdle of availing the optimum usage of the online social networking sites,” confessed Shiv N Gupta.

Later, Gupta also pointed out that spending time on LinkedIn and Facebook produced much better results for his business development.

Another challenge is the cost of bandwidth. Although many of us believe that the cost of bandwidth has came down, for small business owners this is still an area of concern. Hopefully the advent of 3G networks and Government’s continued focus will bring a thrust in the broadband penetration. Affordability will surely going to be an area of prime concern for most of the small businesses.

Looking Forward

Ultimately, a business person especially from the emerging businesses or small businesses, has to be adaptive and flexible in his approach towards business. In today’ cost cutting scenario, one has to evaluate these practices before actually giving up.

These new media platforms are an option available to those who would like to expand their businesses smartly. Spending some time online doesn’t require much of resources but what it takes to is a smart approach towards new media and innovative thinking to expand business.

 
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