Improving Silicon Halton’s Business Directory

About Silicon Halton

In a nut shell, Silicon Halton is a group dedicated to connecting and creating strong and local relationships for hi tech entrepreneurs and leaders in the Halton region.

I have been attending Silicon Halton’s meetings (and un-meetings) for a few months now (http://www.siliconhalton.com/); I am both impressed and encouraged by the groups potential; obviously there is networking and the possibility of making new business connections, but the group also aims to play a role in the Halton business community as a whole… and that is what’s kept me going back!

Meet up #11 – Improving Silicon Halton’s Business Directory

The Topic

On meet up #11, we followed the un-meeting format again: I pitched the topic of Improving the Silicon Halton’s Business Directory. It proved to be a popular one attaining the most votes among all the topics suggested – and I winning me VMware t-shirt in the process J

The Problem

We are a group of IT Business in Halton region; however, there is no easy way for members or external users to find a suitable service provider within the group.

So the problem can be summarized as not having a useful Member Directory. This challenge came to me when one of my projects required some development on Silverlight; my first idea was to locate a member on Silicon Halton that could partner with me to be able to provide a solution. However, I was discouraged to notice that there wasn’t a member directory that could help me with the search.

At the same time, I realized that other members searching for my areas of expertise would have a hard time finding my company or me…

The Discussion

We started the discussion re-iterating the problem: The need for a member directory: this meant that members would have to build a searchable member profile; which we haven’t done .

However, not all the participants felt the pressing need of a business directory; so we quickly turned into proposing ways to utilize the Linked In Group so it would serve the purpose of a business directory.

Some of most relevant suggestions included:

  • Post into the boards when looking for certain expertise.
  • Create one single Discussion within the group where all the companies can post their profile. The discussion would be searchable, thus addressing the need of members to search for other members’ expertise.
  • Create a Company Profile on Linked In, and join with it the Silicon Halton Group.
  • Do Job Postings on Linked In that would only apply to a Group.
    Note: I investigated this point, and from the initial Job Post form, it does not seem possible.

Conclusions

These are some of the conclusions reached by the group:

  • Linked In could be leveraged to find members by posting into the Discussion forums, improving personal profiles and creating company profiles.
  • Company members need more opportunities to present their business to the group; either on LinkedIn or at Meetings, there is a need to know what each other do, so we can find points of collaboration and be able to provide referrals.
  • While LinkedIn addresses the problems for Members, any external user/company looking for services will still encounter challenges when looking for specific providers.

Thanks to everyone that participated; the creativity and resourcefulness of the members came through but certainly the problem will not go away. Although it might not be a pressing need right now, in the future Silicon Halton should consider a business directory with full profiles to be able to properly showcase and promote their members.

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About ricardocovo

Senior Software Architect/Developer with extensive experience in web related technologies.

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