Friday, February 22, 2008

Local relevance. Global excellence.

Why not? Many companies have proved it, and in fact it’s the way that businesses have grown throughout history… starting off small and growing from there by taking a successful formula and replicating it elsewhere.

It’s funny how some people think this doesn’t apply to technology/internet businesses as well. Just have a look at Justin's comment on this previous post – spot on, and sadly where many local investors fall short. Where’s the vision to see what others don’t see?

Incredibly successful businesses are often built on one key element – community.

Just think of a simple example [I’ll borrow here from muti’s functionality a bit, so please forgive me Dave]:

How often do you go around looking for someone who can help you with handyman-type-work at home, or someone to install a pool-net, or possibly even paint and seal your roof [yes, those heavy rains a while ago bring this clearly to mind]? But you don’t want just anyone – you want someone reliable. Where do you go? The yellow pages and local newspapers are littered with names, and more often than not, the one you choose brings along a suitcase full of shoddy service, leaving you wondering why you bothered in the first place.

Enter a community website listing local suppliers [similar to Muti’s listing of posts] and where community members vote suppliers up or down [with more detail as to who voted and why, to maintain integrity], with tags for the different types of services. Surely this would make finding good people for the job much easier? It offers something for everyone:

  • for community members, a trustworthy source of reliable local suppliers;
  • for suppliers, a good way to leverage word-of-mouth referrals, where good service really does pay off; and
  • for the developer, a great way to reach a focused community and a way to earn revenue while doing so [most obvious way is targeted advertising for that community]

Sounds silly and simple, but if you can make this work in one small community [I would love a service like this], who’s to say you couldn’t make it work in 100 small communities, and then 1,000, and then 1,000,000. And in that case, wouldn’t a “small” investment in making the first one work pale in comparison to the potential rewards to be earned from a locally-global business.

So then how can you say you won't invest in a small business without global appeal? Look a bit further!

Locally, relevant.

Globally… excellent!


Elaine said...

Not sure if you are aware of the Hobo-Dyer projection which turns the world [literally] upside down and places South Africa on the top of the world and puts all countries in actual size rather than subjective size.
Have attached a link for you to check it out. I have it in my office and it serves as a reality check every day!

Darren said...

Thanks Elaine for this great feedback. The map is awesome, I will have to get one myself!