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Border is irrelevant to good business

“Hopefully you are in business to stay in business and with today’s challenging economic climate, we need to open our horizons to the opportunities on our door step,” it said on the website — and I was interested.

Not hooked, but interested. Then I read more about the Business in Action network and I was hooked.

On the day after a bomb exploded in Newry, it was so heartening to hear about an event that seeks to grow the business on your door step, regardless of which side of the ‘border’ that is. I use inverted commas because in business terms, the border is an utterly ridiculous concept.

Ask anyone who shops in the north, but resides in the south and they’ll agree; or conversely anyone who’s benefiting from the tremendous investment in Belfast and the Titanic Quarter from the south. As soon as we accept the silliness of such a notional barrier to effective trade and good business, there is so much to be gained by everyone, in wealth and job creation, and beyond.

I found Business in Action on Twitter of course. And I soon read about the Network Jam event that the group were advertising, which invited all to share and learn with other businesses involved in cross-border trading. It’s not quite as complicated as trading with China but encouragement and information are always good things and the unknown can make people nervous.

From a new digital world perspective the Network Jam is a ‘user generated’ networking group. There’s a forum on the Ning network, they’re on Twitter and Facebook. Perfect, because Ireland’s business, in my experience, is an almost wholly social activity. Jobs come from those who already know you, and people with years of experience tend to do business with others with years of experience, or the people they recommend. Recommendations are important when using a new supplier.

Doing business in a new country, or across the ‘border’ means that is exactly what you are doing. Finding new suppliers.

And it’s free, thanks to the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Crossborder and CoLab. Well done you guys. Thanks for investing in ‘us’.

Emmet Kelly owns Monitrack Internet Research