Everybody doing business knows how hard it is sometimes to find the right business partner. A social network for business could resolve this.

/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/procurement_dating_811690.jpgIn this digital society we have a good search engine for almost everything. And it’s more than just Google. We can register on countless dating sites to find a life partner, where ladies and gentlemen are neatly organized into categories. You’re looking for someone with brown hair, no taller than 1.70 (5′ 6”) with an extreme interest in deep sea diving? You ask, we deliver …

The same applies to gadgets. People looking for smartphones, airfryer or (saute) pans can use ‘meta’ search engines. Kieskeurig.nl in the Netherlands or pricewatch.co.uk in the UK, for example. You won’t just find the product in no time for the right price but you will also find a detailed overview of reviews. Based on this information, you can quickly make the right choice.

It is usually more complicated to find partners in the business world. Procurement must often blindly trust the advice from other companies or searches on Google. But what are the supply chain risks? And how do you know whether those companies are not on the verge of bankruptcy, which could cause you to lose your money and merchandise? This often makes it difficult to find the right company for latent needs.

Trust
‘Trust’ in the business world is an almost invisible, intangible yet enormously important factor. Trust is worth its weight in gold. Yet on the web, in particular in the business market, it is often a difficult phenomenon. Procurement should at least be done with partners you can trust (blindly) and can create a lasting relationship with.

How do you recognize these parties? More importantly, how do you recognize partners that are not suitable for such a long-term commitment? Or that are suitable? These days traditional means, such as a ‘liked’ website, fancy logos and strong advertising have more of an opposite effect.  It is at any rate not ‘proof’ of a good reputation. A drive to the head office for a cup of coffee is not always an option. Online every company can pretend to be reliable and healthy. A reliable, stable looking website can be created with very little money or even a few hours of work.

For many companies, finding a good business partner is therefore a question of trial and error and negative experiences are often part of the search. To go back to the analogy with the dating site; it is as if you are registered on a blind date website where it is not possible to indicate any sort of preference.

Solution: Social Business Network
A possible solution for the hard to bridge “trust gap” is a ‘community’ of organizations. In this context, think of a type of business social network that is – unlike LinkedIn – not aimed at individuals. This community is not so much a club of people that know each other. It is an actual professional network in which companies and relevant information can be searched in a structured way. Geographical information, for example, or company size and of course the nature of the services provided. This will enable you to find reliable business partners quickly who do or deliver precisely what you are looking for.

On top of that, companies can recommend each other within such a community through reviews and testimonials. In that regard there is not much difference compared with a consumer websites such as kieskeurig.nl or pricewatch.co.uk, where independent reviews are available for every gadget.

The result is very much like a dating site for business partners. And procurement could use a bit of romance..

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