Small businesses are often challenged to make an international impression, with limited resources and staff making frequent international travel impossible. These small businesses need a way to reach out to overseas customers and business partners in order to form new relationships and grow business.
LinkedIn provides a global directory, but the site doesn’t encourage overseas partnershiphs. Alibaba creates a global marketplace, allowing businesses to collect with overseas suppliers. But what small businesses continuously request is a method to directly connect with global businesses in order to network and form valuable long-term partnerships.
WebPort Global (WPG) created its online directory in response to a repeated stated need from small businesses. Small businesses, the company found, wanted a way to easily learn about export opportunities, identify and contact potential business partners, share knowledge, host forums and communities, and network globally. While there are many online resources for businesses, this, WPG says, was one need that remained unfulfilled.
As WPG’s Vice President Maureen Pace points out, they provide the platform and SMBs provide the content. “WPG includes and leverages World Trade Centers, Chambers of Commerce and other business associations as part of the model,” Pace says. “These organizations maintain their identity through a branded landing page for their own constituents.”
One of the great things about WPG is that many of its participants will join through a Chamber of Commerce or Trade Center, adding to the validity of the site. This will create a safe forum where SMBs can feel comfortable with any contact made there. SMBs require this feeling of security, Wise points out, preferring a smaller, more personal environment to a larger retail-based forum.
While WPG is just starting out, its goal is to have 10,000 members by the end of this year. Currently, the company is working diligently with World Trade Centers, Chambers of Commerce, and other agencies to make connections with leaders in each country. This will foster a global network that will help WPG grow its membership over the coming months.
Currently, businesses have a variety of sources in which to make these connections, but smaller businesses have limited time and staff to spend hours researching these connections. WPG seeks to provide one portal through which these connections can be made. WPG will be leveraging social media and direct partnerships to make the initial connections necessary, saving small businesses a few steps in the process.
Additionally, WPG will allow small businesses to narrow connections down to those within the same industry. By using the directory, SMBs can avoid wasting time with global industries that do not share the same interests and goals.
Currently, WPG is offering a 30-day free trial for small businesses to try it out. After the trial, businesses can either pay a monthly rate of $29 or an annual rate of $348. This gives the business fourteen months of membership, providing two extra months free.
The global partnerships that can be formed through WPG can give dividends for many years to come. Small businesses can form these partnerships on their own, but directories like WPG make it easier to cut straight to forming partnerships, removing hours of research from the equation.