Ancient Business Networks

Without going too far back into the antiquity, let us start our journey at the Silk Route of the Middle Ages. At its peak, the Silk Route extended nearly 4000 miles from the coast of China through the territories of China, Central Asia, India, Persia and Assyria to the Mediterranean coast of Levant and onwards by sea to the fabled city of Venice and beyond. The term Silk Road creates an image of a road, perhaps even a boulevard traversed by a camel train laden with expensive cargoes, well protected by security. The truth is, however, far more complex. In reality, it was a complex network of caravans, camel trains, serais, traders, money lenders and ships extending across the known world of the time to carry merchandise as diverse as silk, spices, wool, fabrics, tea, porcelain, carpets, ivory and other items of high value. Each of the main cities in this network - Kashgar, Samarkand, Turfan, Baghdad, Tyre, Aleppo and Alexandria was a veritable hub of activities related to trade facilitation. The participants in this network - whether a Sugd merchant a Chinese caravan owner, or a Florentine ship captain - were handsomely rewarded for their enterprise and ability to work their part in harnessing the power of the network.

Let us look at how the network was organized in practice. In the agrarian society of the Middle Ages, the most precious commodity traded by the Business Network was spice. Before the advent of refrigeration, spices were necessary to preserve food as well as mask the flavor of spoilt or rancid food. Many of these spices such as pepper, cloves, mace and cumin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and saffron traded for margins up to 3000 per cent and some of these were regularly sold for prices more than their weight in gold. With such high margins, obviously demand was never a constraint, but supply route security and extent was. It was usual for the goods to change ownership more than 25 times between the producers in the East and the eventual consumer in the West. Each middleman added his own margin as well as embellishment to the story. For example, Arab merchants told their European buyers that the cloves were netted out of the river Nile and cinnamon came from the birds.

Without any central command, the entire network was organized towards one end - production, collection and transportation of the spices and similar produce to destinations in Europe. Numerous middlemen - camel caravan owners, merchants, ship owners, and financiers participated in this chain - each within their own territory and with their own margin. It is estimated that the middlemen's share of the profit in this enterprise was more than 90 per cent.

No wonder, then, that the Venetian merchants - the middlemen closest to the end customers and with the most visibility of the entire network - moved to take greater control of the network. In the late Middle Ages, the bankers, merchants, and ship owners of Venice controlled the trade into Europe. At the peak of its power, the Venetian Republic had a fleet of ships exceeding 3000 and controlled all trade from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. To assure security of the supply network the Venetian republic controlled territories on the Adriatic coast so that pirates could not attack their ships coming from the east. Using their financial power, the Venetian merchants guild began to dis-intermediate the middlemen in the entire supply chain. The simultaneous rise of strong Arab empires with central command first in Baghdad, and later in Cairo controlling a vast territory, aided this process of dis-intermediation as the caravans could traverse a much greater distance and were assured relatively more security in their travels.

A key feature of the Venetian Business Network was the role of political power, as well as finance, in shaping desirable business outcomes and securing these outcomes for the key participants in these networks. Evidently the network had become a lot more formal in its form and functioning (or possibly more records are available to give us an impression that it had become more formal). It should not surprise us that consolidation of political power made the Business Network more effective and efficient at the same time. There are ample historic records as well as anecdotal writings - from Shakespear’s “The Merchant of Venice” to Horatio Brown's historical reviews - that make great reading about the Business Network centered around the Venetian merchants of the later Middle Ages.

Today's Business Networks

Today a key business network is the Internet. If you can't get found on the Internet then it makes life difficult acquiring new customers. This is where optimising your site for the search engines comes in handy. You will be able to measure how your business is performing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis by analyzing your performance dashboard and analytics. It can be difficult to find a good and trustworthy Search Engine Optimisation freelancer. Knowing you need SEO and knowing how to do it are two very different things. The key to making consistent sales online is Search Engine Optimisation. The obvious advantage of an in-house SEO expert, or team, is deep integration into a business which results in a better understanding of the company's goals. Birds of a feather flock together, and you definitely don't want to be flocking with the little, low-quality birds.

SEO Experts should employ powerful tactics such as content marketing, social media promotions, etc. to dominate search engines and enhance the overall reach of the clients company. The digital buyers journey has many different touchpoints, and different people follow different patterns. The number of SEO freelancers in this field has highly increased during recent years. Hiring SEO services has many benefits. A dedicated and bespoke consultative approach has always its advantages over being lost among many clients that a large SEO agency has. SEO Agency has.

While most ordinary folks might not realize it, they are purchasing products or services because of Search Engine Optimisation. To get more traffic to your site, you optimize your content for words people use. With a user-focused SEO strategy, your business can develop relevant contentfor users looking for an answer to their problems. It is of crucial importance to deal with a good agency that has all innovative reporting and analysis tools to help you improve rankings and aim for higher ones. One of the reasons a business might have difficulty finding the right questions to ask a SEO company before hiring them is that they may not understand how the Search Engine Optimisation process works. Many years of experience, expertise and a general overview of the topic are extremely important as a SEO Consultancy in order to lead an SEO project to success.

You should be able to tell if the Search Engine Optimisation company is capable of doing whats necessary to gain you customers and increase your profit line. SEO has come a long way in recent years and is continuing to grow at an increasingly rapid rate. SEO takes time because it has to happen naturally. If you want to convert more customers, you need to provide content for every single stage of the looping buyers journey, and you can do it by optimizing your content for search intent. A sober look at most business situations will reveal that an improvement in SEO would be helpful. If you want to hire SEO expertise, you'll have to choose between an inhouse staffer, a SEO Company or a freelancer.

If an SEO consultant isn't advising you to create multiple streams of traffic, you're going to be in trouble. Because the average offline entrepreneur does not possess savvy internet promotion skills, it is better to outsource the task to someone who is more familiar with implementing SEO campaigns. The power of search engine optimization is that you don't have to pay Google to be well-ranked. The widest tier at the top of the sales funnel represents awareness, the point at which potential customers are beginning their information search. This is where Search Engine Optimisation comes in. While agencies typically have strict office hours, an SEO freelancer is freer with their hours, typically, and you can call them on the weekend or after hours. Iif you find yourself working with a lacklustre London SEO Agency you'll be stuck in a year-long contract with no results and a hefty tab.

A professional SEO service provider is equipped with both the best tools and the knowledge which, when combined cangive you a leg up over your competitors. The advantage of an in-house SEO specialist is the response time, they're able to provide you with quick data and assessments on the analytics side, and you may be provided more transparency considering they are working for you. The more online presence you gather and the higher up in the search engines you are, the more money your business will make.

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