If Amazon.com is the paragon of a successful model for an online B2C (business-to-consumer) business, then surely China’s Alibaba.com must be its B2B (business-to-business) equivalent. Alibaba.com is essentially a global trading platform where businesses (especially small-to-medium enterprises) source for the right goods or materials, and for producers to find the right distributors and retailers to carry their products. Set up by founder Jack Ma – the first entrepreneur from China to grace the cover of Forbes magazine in 50 years – along with 17 other founders, with a vision of building a platform to help others realize their entrepreneurial dreams, it is today the world’s largest online B2B trading platform, with 45 million registered users from over 240 countries, and constantly ranks amongst the top ten as a global Internet brand.
It’s still set to grow globally as well – last year the site launched a marketing campaign in the United States to grow its business there.
The Official Alibaba.com Success Guide
But navigating the cluttered and labyrinthine trading portal can be confusing and tricky, especially for a first-time user.
That’s where The Official Alibaba.com Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the Worlds Largest B2B Marketplace comes in useful. Written by Brad and Debra Schepp and published by Wiley & Sons, the book advises how you should consider the needs of your business – from developing your idea to research to prototyping, for example – before it guides you, step-by-step, through the various functions and features on the site. Each chapter is broken down to easy-to-follow sections dedicated to key aspects of Alibaba.com, so it’s a simple matter of turning to the right page for the right advice – like posting a buying lead, for example.
The book doesn’t make easy reading, however, especially for those of us who aren’t familiar with trading terms or trade in general. But for those of you who intend to use Alibaba.com for your business but haven’t done so, this book will be heaven-sent.
So what do I like about the book? Part III, where the authors highlight various success stories of entrepreneurs who’ve successfully used Alibaba.com for their businesses. Even though I know these examples are intended to encourage you to join and use the site, the real-life stories do make one feel good about being an entrepreneur. Probably kind of like why you read this blog, really.