Website helps Kiwis do business
A Picton web designer has launched a free online business support network that will make it easier for customers and suppliers of goods and services to do business.
The website is a place where small and medium business owners can network with one another and are notified when potential customers are searching for the specific goods or services they provide.
Mouli Greenlaw, owner and designer of the website, has been working on the project for three years with funding from a silent partner who came up with the concept.
He's spent about $60,000, Mr Greenlaw said.
He calls the site a "next-generation marketplace", where small and medium businesses can jointly harness the power of the internet to help them compete with large firms.
The idea is to make it quicker and easier for customers to find nannies, painters, cleaners, florists, dog groomers, tutors, personal trainers, jewellers or any number of goods or services. Instead of searching online or in the phone book and choosing from 10 different options, they lodge a request on NZTradeNetwork.co.nz, and wait for the suppliers to come to them.
"The next-generation marketplace effectively turns the traditional customer and business roles around," Mr Greenlaw said.
"Customers save time by going to one place, putting their request out there and waiting for suppliers to fall all over themselves with offers.
"Business owners can focus on what they do, which is serve their customers."
It is free to register a business on the network, and members receive support services including a webpage and live chat and private messaging functions with other "friends" in the network.
The idea is for businesses to form buyers' groups to get bulk pricing on materials or services such as insurance or company vehicles, he said.
As the network gains momentum, Mr Greenlaw will offer "premium" services, such as an interactive business website or speedier notifications of jobs, for a fee, he said.
Meanwhile, he is hoping the three years of hard work and $60,000 capital pays off, and the idea catches the imagination of people in Marlborough, and around New Zealand.
- The Marlborough Express