Opportunity Network’s CEO & Founder Brian Pallas was called up by Quora to answer the most pressing questions from the reaching effects of the pandemic to international trade and investment opportunities. Discover the top insights from the session here.
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With over 30,000 members spanning 130+ countries, the wealth of information available through Opportunity Network’s business matching platform gives CEO & Founder Brian Pallas widespread insights into the global business landscape.
For this reason, Quora, the leading online “question and answer website”, asked Pallas to host a question and answer session focusing on the principles and potential of business matching, as well as the economy and international trade. Over a period of seven days, users were able to send in question requests. At the end of the week, Pallas selected the most interesting and popular questions and shared his answers on the Quora platform. From the reaching effects of the pandemic to international trade and investment opportunities, we’ve gathered the top insights from the session below.
How COVID-19 is changing the way business is done
We have been hearing for weeks that the COVID-19 emergency has “changed everything in 24 hours”. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?
What we have observed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has centered around the following key needs:
- Adjusting a company’s operations or processes to fit a loss of resources, whether that’s a lack of raw materials, labor, finances, or partners
- Identifying new suppliers, partners and customers was made much more complex as fairs, events and conferences were canceled
- Continuing sale and purchase negotiations digitally instead of physically
These needs are not new, they’re simply more widespread and more immediate or imperative than before. For many industries, especially those which are digitally-based, the pandemic has not changed the trends so much as accelerated them.
Business matching has seen exponential growth worldwide because international business leaders needed to be able to operate efficiently on a global scale. The time and financial cost of traveling to conferences, pitches, and meetings made achieving efficiency difficult. Now, and throughout the pandemic, this need was compounded. Business matching allowed for the immediate identification of new customers and suppliers worldwide, as well as the possibility of finding investors to recapitalize or sell the company, all without leaving your home office.
What is business matching exactly?
Business matching means helping CEOs and investors find reliable counterparts with whom they can do business.
In the same way that we, as consumers, buy products on Amazon or business supplies on Alibaba, companies such as Opportunity Network create a marketplace of actionable business deals. Business matching usually covers the needs of supplying or wholesaling, investing or raising capital, and buying or selling entire businesses or Real Estate.
Opportunity Network is now the largest company in the world in this sector with $335 billion USD of platform operations in 140 countries.
What is the cost of building a business matching network?
Business matching is primarily conducted on an electronic platform, therefore building a platform – however rudimentary – has a code development cost. Then it’s about convincing a sufficient number of CEOs to use the platform to do business with each other. Making sure they are all legitimate (confirming their role in the company, the size of the company and their actual identity) is a key factor in making this happen.
In summary, the business is not expensive to start (Opportunity Network started with less than € 20K, which was all I had in the bank at the time), but to grow we had to raise capital. To date, almost €13M worth of investment has fueled our bid to be the global market leader in business matching.
How is it possible to make the most of business matching when operating in international trade?
The best way is to first identify a platform capable of guaranteeing the quality of counterparts. Quality should be measured in terms of both the legitimacy of the company or individual, as well as their ability and willingness to make business decisions. Second, the platform must have reached a sufficiently high scale in terms of the number and reach of its members, in order to enable the possibility of a corresponding opportunity on a global level.
Once you have started using the platform, the best suggestion I can give you is not to limit yourself to trying to find the counterpart for the specific agreement that led you to try the platform. Instead, try to carry out three or four possible deals at a time. The growth opportunities for your business are limited to one specific transaction and platforms like these have interesting deals popping up all the time. By spreading your posts across different commercial needs, you will increase your chance of success, almost certainly closing at least one or two strategies.
On Future Ventures
Do you think we can create a network similar to Opportunity Network but focused on micro-enterprises (Rev> € 500k, Deal Val> € 20k)? Guaranteeing quality and scalability is certainly more difficult, but the need is definitely there.
We not only think it is possible, but we are putting it into practice.
In less than a month, we will announce the global launch of Opportunity Network’s new LITE membership, dedicated to smaller companies with revenues between € 250,000 and € 2.5M (above € 2.5M can join through our flagship membership).
We have seen a great deal of interest from companies within this size range, and this has only increased over the past several months. Given the difficulty that many of these companies are facing due to COVID-19, we have decided to help them by offering this service free of charge until the end of the year.
As mentioned, the ability to guarantee quality is definitely the hardest part. Although it will cost us a lot in terms of manpower and development, the reliability of platform members is a cornerstone of Opportunity Network.
CEO & Founder of Opportunity Network
Brian Pallas is CEO and Founder of Opportunity Network, the invitation-only platform that enables highly-screened CEOs and decision-makers to connect on business deals.
Before Opportunity Network, Brian worked at the Boston Consulting Group (“BCG”), a global top management consulting firm. He worked in Private Equity for three different funds and managed the sales process of two companies as an Investment Banking.