What is Virtual Business Network?
Business and commerce, right from the ancient days, depended a lot on the physical representation of the business and the physical identity of the customers and other collaborators. Most of the business dealings were done person to person, face to face. After the invention of telephony, the dependence on physical identity fro business transactions came down to some extent. However, the technological revolution in the field of Internet in this era has lead to the coining of a new term Virtual Business Network.
Virtual Business Network can be defined as a business that does not have a physical identity and operated entirely online on the World Wide Web. All identity and recognition issues of a business are done through secure electronic identification and validation process. Some businesses on the internet are even run from home with all the employees operating online from remote parts of the world. The earlier myth of needing huge financial investment, assets, workforce and infrastructure is gone with the advent of Virtual Business Networks. The awareness among customers about using the internet to find and procure services and products from their home is growing at a rapid rate.
Moreover, the reach of a customer is global in the sense that the customer can buy any product or service from any where in the world. If a business projects itself on the web through good quality web services and portfolio, it is likely to gain the confidence and get a huge international and national customer base. The entire business world realizes this opportunity and also the importance of implementing the change over to virtual networking at the earliest.
What are the advantages of virtual business networking?
The first and foremost advantage of Virtual Business Networking is the ease with which it can be planned and implemented. There is little or no financial burden on implementing these changes to go online. All activities for performing business transactions such as strategic alliances, sales, joint ventures, advertising, marketing, HR management, knowledge development and sharing, business promotion etc can be performed online. With experienced and skilled workers available online, there will be no need to set up a team and provide training.
With no major financial investment, the risk factor associated with venturing in to virtual business networking is very less. Also, the need for traveling through congested traffic to office or to travel across the globe for a business meeting is not necessary anymore. Network Meeting using internet telephony or videophones is a fast growing trend. Telecommuting is another new word coined with the introduction of virtual business networks. Employees can do their work from home by logging on to the internet and at their own time.
With introduction of secure online financial transactions and electronic money, the virtual business networks have the unique advantage of making or getting payments across the globe in no time. With improved authentication and secure identification technologies, the virtual business networks no longer have the worry to identify their global customers anymore.
The global reach which the virtual business networking provides gives increasing opportunities to expanding a business nearly every day. With new contacts, affiliations, referrals and growing customer awareness, the virtual business network lays the path for success of a business right from the moment the business begins this venture.
Where to look for Opportunities?
The first step is to formulate a profile for the business and the vision and goals associated with it. The next step is to start the process of building up an online virtual network of friends, affiliates and business seekers. There are several online communities, which apart from giving social networking, also help in promoting an online business. Some communities like the Linkedin, Xing, ZoomInfo, and Ecademy have grown in numbers and also helped the growth of number of virtual businesses.
A search on the web on the available business networks, community networks or other personal networks will help in deciding the most appropriate network suitable to a particular business. A targeted customer base can then be built using the links and referrals available online.
The second method involves setting up a network infrastructure and hosting a website with details about the services the business offers. A forum and business specific network can also be hosted in order to get more information about what the customers actually want. The data mining solutions help in understanding the market dynamics and the way customers respond to a product. With this added on information, the business can fine tune their marketing and pricing strategy to gain success online.
Tips to succeed in Virtual Business Networks
The first tip to being successful is the first impression a business creates. An appropriate, professional profile will aid in creating a good first impression. A profile which is attractive will bring good connections. The profile also aids in people get sufficient information about the business and to judge the outcome of forming a connection.
The next key aspect is to define a vision and goal which your business has. Similarity in vision and goal will attract like minded and similar businesses together as a strong tightly knit network. The next important aspect for success is to participate and share knowledge with other members in the network.
The more you share your knowledge, the more your business reputation builds. Keep a watch for good opportunities and never agree to a deal in which the business goals are not met. Maintaining the right focus is the key to success of a business in the virtual world. The more the time a business devotes online, the more the popularity it gains. Also the earlier a business adopts new strategies and online presence, the more will be its customer base and business relations. By associating with a popular non-profit cause during the early stages in the virtual world, a business can gain a lot of popularity and reliability.
Providing free consultation services in the core area of the business is one of these techniques. This also helps to establish the competency of the business in the core area. Instead aiming at all the customers, identifying a potential customer group and dealing with their needs will be a great advantage during the initial phases. A constant presence in the virtual world is just as essential as the first step of entering it. Long absences and lack of consistency will greatly hamper the reliability profile of a business.