Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, July 27, 2017 02:44:29 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Tear down digital walls to help SMEs prosper

By
15th-Jul-2017       Readers ( 74 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Alf Nagel :
Borders have been a constant theme of the company I run in Germany, Holzconnection. And because of where I grew up, they've been a constant theme of my life as well.
Barriers and borders, of course, had a very different meaning in Europe when we started in West Berlin in the 1980s.
We've always wanted to be a different kind of company. We started out because there was no Ikea in those days to provide people with customised furniture that could be adapted to meet their particular needs; Berlin's high rents made sure that our bunk beds were a really popular product.
So we wanted to be a new and modern type of carpenter, a carpenter 2.0.
In those days, the company's success depended on having physical shops and getting customers through the doors. Getting ourselves known in Germany was difficult enough, let alone thinking about selling to other countries as well.
The modern digital technology that we now have access to has completely changed the way we run our business and has been central to our success. Even though there are still many barriers to doing business across Europe, it has helped bring down many of those borders and barriers.
We at Holzconnection have brought our expertise into the 21st century and an important part of that was developing an online store in addition to our 12 'bricks and mortar' locations.
This has made a real and tangible difference to the business.
Through online marketing and platforms such as Facebook, we've been able to build our customer base for both our online and offline stores. We've increased sales by 25%, attracted more newsletter subscribers and had 30% more visitors to our retail stores, all of which allowed us to expand our business, hire new colleagues and create jobs.
As any business owner will tell you, growth and success really depend on reaching new customers and that's what going digital has helped us achieve, particularly in reaching customers outside Germany.
Today, our online presence is vital and has been the driving force of the company over the past 5 years. We have shifted virtually all our marketing activities online and this is helping us sell our products not only in Germany but to many other customers throughout Europe.
But setting up shop in cyberspace to reach customers in other countries has not been an easy task and still continues to hold back too many entrepreneurs. My experience is that selling products or services in different European countries is difficult when there are so many different laws and rule books.
When our company started to do business in France, Austria, and Switzerland, a significant part of our resources and efforts was spent dealing with local legislation for shipping and complying with different rules on issues such as return policies.
What European SMEs like ours need from Europe, first and foremost, is the oxygen to grow. Europe needs to ensure that important legislation affecting digital cross-border trade is as similar as possible across the EU.
Big companies have the resources to deal with such bureaucracy. Smaller companies don't, and that often discourages them from exploring new opportunities and new markets.
That's why we think the EU Digital Single Market is a vital opportunity to try to make things easier for small companies that want to use digital technology to grow their business and create jobs across borders.
European SMEs should repeat this message over and over and should continue to communicate their needs and wishes to the national and European politicians. That's the message I have delivered at this week's Future of Business summit, jointly hosted by Facebook and the Lisbon Council.
Helping European SMEs like ours to get their innovative products and services to customers in different European countries, cutting down on the complexity and costs, and opening the doors for cross-border trading for online companies - that is what the Digital Single Market is all about.

(Alf Nagel is the manager and CEO of German furniture firm Holzconnection).

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

It is painful to see how people of Dhaka and Chittagong suffering


INTERMITTENT heavy rainfall in the two big cities of the country has brought them closer to the breaking point. On one hand the rains worsened by gusty wind is creating unimaginable water logging and traffic jams, while on the other unplanned and undisciplined ongoing city development programmes have created innumerable ...

Cricket »

Dhawan, Pujara score centuries as India end Day 1 at 399/3


Agency :India made a dream start to the first Test by scoring 399 for 3 on the first day of the match with Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring contrasting centuries and sharing a 253-run stand for the second wicket. Dhawan was dismissed for 190.Sri Lanka had their tail up ...

Entertainment »

Runa, Bhabna wish success for each other


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Runa Khan and Ashna Habib Bhabna are those two actresses of present time in small screen who have already won the hearts of many viewers by virtue of their acting skills and qualities. Both TV plays/ serials and TV commercials presence of Runa Khan is significant. On ...

City »

Major areas of the city went under water due to torrential rain causing sufferings to the dwellers yesterday. This picture was taken from city`s Dayaganj area yesterday.


.

International »

Rouhani says Iran will `respond` if US missile law passes


AP, Tehran : Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday his country will respond if a bill in the U.S. Congress imposing sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program becomes law.The House of Representatives passed the bill on Tuesday and it now goes to the Senate.Without giving details, Rouhani said ...

Editorial »

HSC results: Fall in pass rates fall in standard too


THE results of this year's HSC examinations saw a significant fall in both the success rate and the number of highest achievers due to the introduction of a new evaluation method, students' poor performance in English and shocking performance of students of Comilla Board. The overall pass rate of Higher ...

Cricket »

Mahmudullah Riyad passes ten years in international cricket


Sports Reporter :Mahmudullah Riyad have passed ten years in international cricket. Riyad made his debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka on 25th July in 2007 at Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. He made his debut memorable scoring 36 runs and bagging two wickets for 28 runs. Riyad ...

Sports »

Britain`s Adam Peaty swims when setting a new world record in a men`s 50-meter breaststroke heat during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday.


Entertainment »

Tareen`s two Eid telefilms


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :While staying inside or outside the country her parents always remains worried at their residence in the city’s Dhanmondi area. For this reason, after finishing her works Tareen prefers to comeback to parents. Because she feels she is still child to them. Despite having engagement with activities ...

Entertainment »

Shah Rukh collaborates with Grammy winner Diplo for Jab Harry met Sejal


Shah Rukh Khan collaborates with yet another International music sensation after Akon. Shah Rukh and Grammy Winer Diplo come together for a song titled Phurrr from Jab Harry met Sejal. The Superstar has earlier got Akon on board for his film Ra.One, wherein Akon lent his voice for Chammak Challo ...

International »

Saudi, allies unveil Qatar `terrorist` blacklist


AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia and its allies unveiled a "terrorist" blacklist on Tuesday of 18 organisations and individuals suspected of links with Islamist extremism that they said had ties with regional rival Qatar.The move by the four Arab governments came despite mounting international pressure to compromise in their weeks-old boycott ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing the DC Conference at her office on Tuesday.


Editorial »

They are only self-seekers and have no love for Bangabandhu


WHEN there are so many critically important national issues to be addressed - some of our politicians needlessly makes a mountain out of a mole hill by creating pointless controversy. This time the hullabaloo surrounds the portrait drawing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib by a ten-year old boy. Understandably, there was ...

Football »

Neymar staying at Barcelona, says teammate Pique


Brazilian superstar striker Neymar will stay with Barcelona, according to teammate Gerard Pique, who posted a Twitter message on the striker's status Sunday.Spanish international defender Pique indicated the South American maestro would continue at Camp Nou by tweeting a photo of Neymar with the caption "He's staying."The message came hours ...

International »

China says it wants to `maintain stability` in disputed South China Sea


Reuters, Bangkok :Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday Beijing wanted to maintain stability in the South China Sea as it seeks alliances in the region amid tensions in the disputed waters.The United States has criticized China for disregarding international law by the construction and militarization of artificial islands ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news