Here’s my conundrum: I am the owner of a medium sized promotion business and want to create a line of custom chocolates in the shape of my customers’ logos. I’ve heard Europe has high quality, low cost manufacturers, so I use Google and search for “European chocolate manufacturers.” The result –
There are 924,000!
Society has seen the rise of the “digital native,” the individual who naturally turns to the internet first, as opposed to traditional information sources. However, when it comes to growing and expanding their businesses, even digital natives are feeling the limitations of the digital world to effectively source new opportunities.
As we have just seen, learning to cut through the ‘noise’ to find the best, most relevant information has become a necessary skill. Is there anything in the clutter that will be game-changing for my business? If so, how do I efficiently find and verify it?
Back to my business example
Does anyone actually believe there are that many chocolate manufacturers in Europe? My wife would like to hope so, but reality is that the results do NOT yield a useful list of European chocolate manufacturers. What were the results?
-Wikipedia comes up high – except I already know what a chocolate manufacturer is. It’s what I was looking up in the first place!
-The results were dominated by chocolate retailers and food critics reviewing chocolates – nice ideas, but not relevant
–Alibaba, which is itself a directory, also comes up high in the results. I try my search there. Nothing pops up on “European chocolate manufacturers”. So I try “chocolate manufacturers”. Top rank is peanut chocolate manufacturer in Japan. Followed by a chocolate fountain manufacturer. Followed by dozens of Asian chocolate manufacturers. So I tried an advanced search and came up with distributors for brand names.
Granted, I probably will find something useful from the Google results if I invested (wasted?) serious time in modifying the search criteria or researching the first few hundred results, but that defeats the purpose of an internet search! Try a Business List approach you say? The SIC or NAICS code (assuming one knows what these are and how to use them) gets me to the following classification:
Included in this industry classification are establishments primarily engaged in shelling, roasting, and grinding cocoa beans for the purpose of making chocolate liquor—from which cocoa powder and cocoa butter are derived—and in the further manufacture of solid chocolate bars, chocolate coatings, and other chocolate and cocoa products. Also included is the manufacture of similar products, except candy, from purchased chocolate or cocoa. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing candy from purchased cocoa products are classified in SIC 2064: Candy and Other Confectionery Products.
Now what? My search has become more complex! At this point, my relevant options are limited to a continuous manual search of the internet, which essentially defeats the purpose of doing the search online to begin with!
The internet is all about the compilation of knowledge and the efficient use of time. It is constantly evolving at breakneck speed, adding depth and substance, while at the same time making our lives easier. With each passing day the information we glean from the questions we pose on the internet is improving, with far more efficiency and intuitiveness than ever before.
What is the moral of this story, you ask? What I, and arguably the rest of the world, needs is a single place to easily and efficiently source businesses. Right now we lack a truly comprehensive business search engine that is easy and intuitive to use. Only now is one dawning as an answer to this issue.