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Hey, I'm going to launch a B2B marketplace platform in a niche category only for Indian suppliers. I want to talk about this in detail with a mentor to gain some expert advice on it.

So our roadmap is that we will get our platform get done within 6-8weeks and we'll be talking to the suppliers meanwhile. We'll be explaining the concept and shortlisting them and once we are ready with the platform we'll start with vendor training and on-boarding. While we are doing that we'll slowly start social media marketing and content marketing till the supply side is fully ready, once we are done with the supply side, we'll start with SEO and SEM and few offline marketing ways we have planned.

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Thank you for the detailed description of your plan. I would be happy to help.

Please add your specific questions here and I would be happy to discuss.

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I'm getting the platform developed through a development agency using Open-cart and they quoted me around 10000 dollars. What do you think of it? What would be your do's and don't suggestion going ahead?

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Also, what do you think of the roadmap I've prepared?

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Whenever you get a quote from a developer you should check other providers for comparative pricing. Often these projects incur unexpected costs so it is good to have choices. I recommend having at least two other usable options available for review before making a final decision.

I think your roadmap demonstrates that you know where you would like to end up and you have a plan for getting there. This is good. That said, I think your existing map could benefit from an extended timeline. The way it is currently laid out I think you may run into issues trying to complete too many things concurrently. I recommend setting milestones on a per project basis so as to avoid too many blockers. For instance, focus on development and structure prior to looping in suppliers,that way you can have a compelling demo ready for them.

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That makes total sense. Would you be comfortable with a zoom meeting? So we can discuss a bit more in detail?

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Be very careful of solution based on Opencart. It just cannot be customized, available plugins do not work in tandem, ie. there are clashes between them being developed by independent agents. Overall, not worth a choice as a serious platform that can be grown further.

Opencart comes free of cost except for the plugins and configuring charges but nowhere close to 10000 USD. Something is seriously suspect.

Should you have more questions feel free to ask.

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For people who remember when consumers first started using digital marketplaces, the realization that the oldest of those platforms are now almost 25 years old can come as a surprise. Even B2B platforms have been around for two decades, becoming an almost invisible engine of commerce at many small and medium-sized businesses. But there’s one arena that online marketplaces have yet to penetrate to nearly the same degree: large corporate procurement departments. Concerns about scale, quality, and reliability have made leaders hesitant to change their longstanding reliance on dealing directly with suppliers. This is especially true for the more complicated purchases that fall under the label “indirect spend”: everything from IT and telecoms to transportation, professional services, and marketing. That’s starting to change. A new generation of procurement leaders, who have grown up buying online for increasingly complex personal needs, are beginning to wonder whether buying online also makes sense for business. Powerful digital and analytic tools are also contributing to the new mind-set, opening new avenues for procurement departments to generate value in areas outside their traditional focus on transaction management.

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You have received very wise advice from Ripul Chhabra here. I would add the following:

As a small business counselor I have noticed there seems to be a belief that automation, the Internet and social networking can make the business succeed when in fact the real design of the enterprise itself is lacking (niche, market base, business plan, competitive analysis and financial forecasting)

Below is a simple test to develop your potential idea for a business.

Do you have a product or service niche in mind?

Do you believe you have a market for 1 above and the means to reach it?

Are you willing to develop a business plan using the tool kit linked below to validate 1 and 2 above before you launch?

If the answer to the above questions is "Yes",use the below planning aids to design your business vehicle and the road map you intend to follow on your journey:

GENERAL PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide

MARKET RESEARCH GUIDANCE: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/market-research-competitive-analysis

FREE SAMPLE BUSINESS PLANS: https://www.bplans.com/sample-business-plans/

When you have completed the above definition and planning process you will then be in a position to astutely select the tools you wish to use along the way and apply them successfully.

You will be able to network your vehicle, pick up riders as industry partners, and attract revenue fuel in the form of customers by marketing and social networking based on the thorough definition and content of your business plan.

In short, don’t let technology raid your treasury before you launch.

Define your business vehicle and its journey first. Then pick the right technology tools to make a successful trip.

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