DEAR EDITOR, on November 27, 2017, I wrote an article which I entitled ‘Selling the Solomon Islands’ and it was published in the Solomon Star and Island Sun.
I mentioned in my piece that I had never seen a consolidated website identifying, illustrating and promoting Solomon Island’s many businesses, products and services, handicrafts, construction, boat building, palm oil, copra, cocoa, virgin coconut oil, kava, coffee, chocolate, bananas, fish, mangoes, nuts, spices, taro, transportation, timber, transport etc.
I had my own website designed in 2014 to help put the Solomon Islands on the map and have used it to promote and advertise locally made beautiful shell inlaid wood carvings and give information on charitable welfare and rights organizations including the SINCW, SIDT, the CHRISTIAN CARE CENTRE, the FAMILY SUPPORT CENTRE, THE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION and TAKE MY HANDS CHARITY TRUST (NZ).
As the private sector clearly has the potential to generate exports and contribute to the national economy, I feel I should do more to help the many local business enterprises, exporters and service providers by giving them a window to the world’s external markets and I raised the idea with the designer of my own website – www.solomonislandsinfocus.com – also the designer of many professional, internationally acclaimed B2B websites, including trade and industry directories.
This is the designer’s reply-
“Dear Mr. Short
Thank you for getting in touch with me regarding your suggestion that the Solomon Islands could greatly benefit from online services promoting the very wide range of local products and services.
“I could create a B2B Portal for small or big traders and businessmen in Solomon Islands, so that their businesses could be promoted online to open the door of online business for them.
“Nowadays, all countries have one or more Business Directories to list all their businesses, be it a seller of a product or a service. Interested buyers come online to find sellers and source products quickly.
“If all businesses in the SI could be available online, they could get business enquiries not only from within the country but also from all over the globe. And it will really help their business grow very fast.
“As you mentioned in your email to me there are businesses in the Solomon Islands dealing in a wide range of products and services including handicrafts, boat building, construction, copra, virgin coconut oil, cocoa, coffee, fruits like mangoes, bananas, papaw, pineapples, fish, kava, transportation, tourism, hotels, resorts, and institutes etc.”
“My proposal would be to develop a Business to Business (B2B) Portal or Directory displaying and listing all the businesses in SI with their company logo, company name, address, contact details and with an enquiry form.
“Such a service would promote the B2B Portal on the internet through Google and Face book to drive the traffic of interested customers searching suppliers or service providers from SI and it will generate business enquiries for them.
“Moreover, we will offer a website on sub-directory URL of the Portal where all businesses could showcase their products and services along with photographs, product descriptions, prices etc. Also, giving an introduction to their individual business, a company profile, team photos, and infrastructure photos to make the tailor made website very informative and engaging for online visitors, for after all, a website is the mirror of a business.
“The websites will also be mobile responsive (which changes its structure according to the screen size and fits well to give a best user experience) and SEO friendly.
“Keywords would be optimised to promote the website on Google.
“All registered businesses on the Portal would have a member dashboard to manage the content on the website, their contact details, products and services.
“All enquiries coming through their business listing on the B2B Portal or their individual website will be sent to their email ID and also one copy will be stored in their member’s folder so that they don’t miss any enquiry and be to manage and reply to enquiries promptly.
“To be able to keep promoting the Portal online on Google through dedicated SEO activities, and to ensure business enquiries, I would need to change a very affordable and minimal fee of US$999 from each registered member per year.
“I can assure you, Mr. Short, with the launch of a B2B Portal, businesses will flourish.
“I have closely followed your letters to the Solomon Islands media over several years and I have often felt rather sad that the economy is sluggish and that businesses in SI struggle to generate income due to limited online promotion.
“These days, web promotion on Google is not an option but a must.
“I will look forward to you letting me know how my company might help develop a B2B Portal for the Solomon Islands and it would be our great pleasure if our many years of technical expertise can help businesses in SI to grow.
“I would greatly welcome enquiries.