Typically speaking, many small-business owners equate social networking platforms with their ability to reach consumers that might be appropriate for their business. But that sort of thinking might be limiting their potential to forge productive new business-to-business relationships.
One example of what I'm talking about is offered through a site called AFINGO, which bills itself as a resource for entrepreneurs and smaller businesses in the fashion industry. You can think of AFINGO as a match-making service: designers can use it to find sources for manufacturing, fabric selection, and other organizations that they might consider using to source production services.
AFINGO CEO Liza Deyrmenjian said her team "curates" detailed information about businesses in several regions (North America, India and Asia) that could act as resources for fashion and accessories designers. Deyrmenjian is an expert in fashion sourcing, having handled this task in the past.
Her vision is to help smaller companies scale more quickly than it would otherwise take if they handled tasks such as these on their own. Essentially the site assumes some of the work that a production department or sourcing expert would handle on behalf of a company just getting its operations up and running. The AFINGO vets information submitted by production resources to ensure that the sites are all that they suggest.
When I spoke with Deyrmenjian earlier this fall, she said the site had approximately 2,000 members. AFINGO members can search against the database when they are seeking specific resources. Generally, AFINGO plans to receive a $95 fee for search matches, she said.
Although AFINGO is obviously specifically suited only for businesses in the apparel industry, the site offers a great example of how the Internet can help smaller companies and entrepreneurs leverage the Internet to build their knowledge base and connections more quickly.
(Image courtesy of AFINGO)