We have just finished implementing our iPhone/iPad app utilizing our newly released API and are currently squeezing out the last bugs and putting some finishing touches on it. Please have a look at the following screenshot and let us know your thoughts.

What you see on that screenshot is the Dashboard, the page that comes up after logging in. From here you can jump into the messages area, find new contacts or view the latest activities of your contacts. We’re hoping to have it on Apple’s AppStore until Eid, InshALLAH. It will be free of any charge, so do check it out if you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad!

Every once in a while we get e-mails asking about the benefits of joining the Salam Business Club. Here’s a little summary on those benefits:

  • No membership charges – many people are put off from joining business networking groups online if there is a membership charge, especially if they are straight out of university or looking for work. In these instances individuals can not afford costly monthly membership fees. We have recognised this and offer a free-to-join service that can help anyone to create vital business links, search for jobs and learn more about businesses in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Fast and easy sign up – anyone wishing to sign up and become a member of the Salam Business Club will be pleased to know that the sign up process is both fast and easy. Even if you are a novice to the world of online business networking you will have no problem in signing up. Simply provide your first and last names and your e-mail address and you will be able to log into the website. You will not be asked any other personal information, except for a few business-related infos, during the signup and you can be using the site, via your own username and password in one minute.
  • You can create your own personal profile for others to view – as soon as you have signed up and become a member you can then create your own personal profile. Here you will add information about yourself and your company (if you have one) as well as information relating to other areas. Others who are members of the Salam Business Club will be able to view your profile which is a vital part of business networking.
  • Make new contacts – all businesses and individuals who are looking for work need to make contact with other people in the same industry or market. The Salam Business Club enables you to make new contacts with people who are on the site and add existing contacts from your e-mail account. Having this kind of resource at your fingertips is essential for anyone who wants to make business contacts in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Look into new markets – if you would like to explore new markets you can do this by taking a look at the other individual and business profiles that are on the club website. Many people are unsure about new markets and how to go about researching them, thanks to the Salam Business Club you can do this with ease.
  • Add your CV – if you are job hunting you can add your CV to the website. Once it has been uploaded potential employers can view your CV and getting touch with you if they feel that you have the kind of qualities that they are looking for. To get an idea of how well your CV is performing you can log into your Workspace and see how many times your CV has been viewed.
  • Search for jobs – people who are on the lookout for a new or first time role are able to search for jobs on the Salam Business Club website. To use this feature you simply enter the type of job you are looking for and the area you would prefer it to be in and the type of industry you prefer. Once you’ve done this you can then start searching for jobs that meet your specific criteria. If you find a suitable post you can apply for it via the website with the click of your mouse.
  • Best choice for business networking for individuals and companies from the Middle East – the Salam Business Club is by far the best choice for business networking for individuals and companies from the Middle East. The membership of this site is made up primarily from members from countries such as: United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and more. There are even members from the United States and the United Kingdom although the main focus of the website is the Middle East and an Arab region.
  • Many languages on one platform – the Salam Business Club website caters for several languages on one platform which means added functionality. So if English is not your first language you can simply select your own language and use the website in the language of your choice.
  • The Salam Business Club is growing – so it is important that you take advantage of this fantastic opportunity and sign up today. With more and more members signing up each day individuals and businesses that have never had such an opportunity for online business networking.

We’re proud to announce our partnership with Bayt.com, the leading job site in the Middle East.
Bayt is now powering the Jobs section on the Salam Business Club and gives our members access to more than 18,000 vacancies throughout the Middle East.

As Bayt puts it:

With over 4,500,000 professionals and over 30,000 leading organizations using Bayt.com’s recruitment services across all industry categories and career levels, Bayt.com is today the single largest marketplace of professionals and companies in the region.

We’re very proud of this partnership and invite you to have a look and create your job profile on the Salam Business Club. Since we just launched we’re still in beta so if you run across any issues please drop us a short note. Thanks!

Work on our iPhone App is progressing and we’d like to update you with a few screenshots. Please keep in mind that they’re still under development and may change.

Searching for members
Searching for members

The screenshot above also tells you the name of our iPhone developer, Christian Hartmann.

List of contacts

This is the list of your business contacts on the Salam Business Club.

We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments. The App is still scheduled to appear on the Apple AppStore in July, InshALLAH.

You might have already read the tweet our CEO has made: we’re currently developing an iPhone App that will be, InshALLAH, released to the Apple Store by the end of July. It will be free of charge and enable you to access the most important functionalities of the Salam Business Club.

This is the first application that is being developed using our newly released API and more will follow. We’re planning on developing an official BlackBerry and Android mobile client as well so if you don’t have an iPhone but any of the other mobile phone operating systems then please just bear with us for another few weeks.

Over the past weeks we’ve been working hard to create an API that enables third-party developers to create applications around the Salam Business Club.

Q: So what exactly is an API?
A: An API enables you to develop software that connects to our system and sends and receives data.

Q: What programming languages do you support?
A: All of them! The API is REST-based, expects POST requests (yes, the same that are sent when submitting an HTML-Form) and returns XML documents. So you may create your software in ANY programming language and for ANY device, be it a desktop computer or a mobile device.

Q: What kind of software can I create?
A: You could create an iPhone App and publish it to Apple’s AppStore. Or you could create a desktop client that enables members to use the Salam Business Club without a web browser. You could also create an application that checks if a member’s profile has been viewed by another member and notifies the member of it. The possibilities are endless!

Q: What is my advantage of creating such an application using the API?
A: You can increase your reputation by creating an application for the largest Middle Eastern business network. Besides that you may also generate revenue by selling your applications. Applications that are very useful may also be featured by us on our website and our weekly newsletter, for free.

Q: Where can I view more information on the API?
A: Get in touch with Rias, our CEO, and he will e-mail you more information on how to use the API.

On the 14th May our CEO, Rias A. Sherzad tweeted, ” We have reached 100 000 registered members on the Salam Busines Club…”

Today, we officially announce 100 000 confirmed members. We thank all of you for being actively involved in the portal and spreading the word to your friends, family and business contacts all over the world. Salam Business Club reached members from more than 185 countries, across all the continents, via 7 languages (including Urdu & Persian) and we hope add more value in future.


Yes, we increased our membership by over 6 folds, Oct 2009 (15 000 members) – 7 months later 100 000 members :)

Key Milestones achieved this past couple of months:

Coming Soon:

  • Job Section – Surprise features :)
  • Private Network/Groups for your Organization & Company

For more updates join us on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you once again for the support and let us know what other features you’d be interested in :)

In case you missed it: we’re on Twitter! Follow the Salam Business Club (@salambc), our CEO and Founder Rias A. Sherzad (@Riyadh) or our Online Media Strategist Khalil Aleker (@khalilaleker). Set up your free Twitter account and receive the latest business information the minute they come out.

Twitter is without a doubt the best way to share and discover what is happening right now… Salam Business Club is on Twitter, follow us here.

Here is a great Infographic by Gerardo Obieta, follow him here.

twitter

After the first article with 25 free bootstrap marketing ideas, here are another 25 free ideas from Bytestart.marketing-strategy

25) Change how you answer the phone: Give your staff freedom to experiment with exciting ways to answer the phone. They’ll enjoy it and your customers should too. Just remember that the phone can be the first contact with a business; be aware of answering the phone in such an odd way that it puts callers off

24) Use promotional people: You can hire good promotional temps at very low cost to hand out flyers or otherwise spread the word. Dress them well, make sure they know your business inside out and ensure they are well motivated not to just dump the flyers and bunk off!

23) Cross promote products and services: What else could your customers buy from you? Once they have bought from you once, they are in a relationship with you, and are much more likely to buy something else.

22) Sell gift tokens: Everyone loves picking their own gift; if you sell products to consumers make sure you do this. The best news for you is that £1billion of vouchers are never used.

21) Do something unexpected: How amazing would it be if your supplier rang to say they had dropped their prices by 10 per cent, for no reason. Or the owner rings to say thanks for your continued business. In the internet age, business can be so anonymous, that even picking up the phone now and again can be seen as unexpected.

20) Send out a press release: A bootstrap marketing essential. A press release with a good story suggestion could get you valuable free publicity in your target media. That in turn will boost your reputation and could even generate sales leads.

19) Join organisations: Get involved with local networking and business groups, trade organisations, and even consider joining your local Round Table.

18) Sell on your invoice: If you sell to small businesses, it could be the decision maker who deals with the paperwork. Why not get a rubber stamp made up with a marketing message, and stamp every invoice? Your stamp could even be as simple as “thanks for your business, we look forward to payment”.

17) Issue a catalogue: A classic way to reach people who are interested in browsing your products. To keep costs low, print colour pages from your website, or look at professional digital printing, which can give you small quantities of catalogues at a high quality.

16) Pick up the litter: Or clean the windows of the local charity shop. Or donate something to the Scouts. Get your business involved in the community. And use company clothing plus press releases to ensure everyone knows you’re doing it.

15) Use case studies: Just like testimonials, case studies demonstrate expertise and happy customers. Well-written case studies are also ideal ways to position your people as experts in dealing with specific kinds of clients or solving certain types of problems – perfect to promote your most profitable work.

14) Do some fun guerrilla marketing: Leave sandcastles on the pavements with little flags promoting your summer sale. Or beam your logo onto the council building at night. Just be careful not to go too far.

13) Write to your local paper: Small newspapers often struggle for decent letters. Get in the habit of buying the local paper regularly, and write to the editor about issues you genuinely feel passionate about. If they are problems your business can fix – perfect.

12) Focus on how your staff represent your company: People will judge your business on the people within. Use mystery shoppers to work out what the experience is like. Incidentally, a member of your family can’t be a mystery shopper. They are too close to the business even if they don’t work in it.

11) Do what the others can’t or won’t: Analyse your competitors and pick the things you think customers demand but no-one delivers. They will probably be hard to execute, but should be worthwhile (and it’s because they’re hard that no-one does them). Talk to customers to find out what they really want.

10) Take a holiday: If you work on your business 18 hours a day, 6 days a week, 50 weeks a year, you will burn out. And you’ll stop thinking subjectively about the business. Incidentally, if you can’t take a holiday, you need to understand The E-Myth.

9) Do a publicity stunt: Do something to attract attention both from the public and the media. It should be related to your business in some way.

8 ) Use online business forums: If you sell through your website, online business forums can be a powerful way to build reputation and drive traffic. Put at least an hour a week aside to read posts and reply with relevant comments. Be wary of spending more time on forums than working on your business.

7) Text message your customers: How cool would it be to get a text from your dentist reminding you about your dental appointment that afternoon? It’s so easy and cheap to text customers, every business should be doing it. Use automated SMS systems to make it easy. Remember to give customers an easy to opt out of further text messages.

6) Reduce rates for repeat business: Buy more, pay less. Make sure customers understand that simple rule and keep repeating it. They will respond to it.

5) Have a spring clean: Clear your desk, premises, website, anything. A spring clean gets rid of the clutter and brings a new freshness. Customers will notice.

4) Support a cause: This is known as cause-related marketing, and is a powerful way to get your business noticed through its support for a relevant charity or organisation. Pick your cause carefully, commit to it in the long-term (better still form a partnership with them), and shout about everything you do to help it.

3) Tell your story: Even big companies benefit from the stories of their founders. Look at Richard Branson and Alan Sugar – they personify the companies that have made them very wealthy. Don’t be afraid to build your company around you; people like buying from people.

2) Pick up the phone: The phone is the cheapest marketing tool you have. Don’t waste it on cold calling. Use it to phone leads or contacts, rather than just email them. In a world swamped with electronic communication, this is a great way to stand out.

1) Never lose your enthusiasm: The most important thing you can do to stand out it… something. Businesses that do something regularly tend to perform better than those that do something brilliant now and again.

Source: http://www.bytestart.co.uk

About...

This is the company blog of the Salam Business Club, the first worldwide Internet-based business network for the Arab, Asian and Muslim world, with members from over 180 countries.

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