As part of the continued efforts to assist and advise SMEs, CPI has launched SME Club ME. It is the first exclusive membership of its kind in the region dedicated to specifically addressing the needs of this business demographic. Mike Byrne spoke to James Khoury, the club’s Director, to gather more specifics.
After months of planning and structuring, the release of the club is finally here. It’s no secret that SMEs are often the victims of cost restraints, struggling to tap into the products and services essential for smoother operational abilities.
With this in mind, CPI was determined to find a solution that provided a helping hand. The SME Club ME is a unique online platform designed not only to add value and save money, but can also extend client networks and generate new business opportunities through the use of online initiatives and networking events.
“Having worked for a business startup, we knew that SMEs were an important and integral part of the business dynamics in this region – we saw they needed some looking-after and moved to try and fill this void,” says James.
“What we proposed was that we go out and negotiate and sell reduced fees with either SMEs, or larger businesses supporting the SMEs, as not everyone has the budget or manpower to effectively do this themselves.”
So, how exactly does the club work? James explains that it operates in a number of different ways, each designed to give different levels of value, according to the needs and requests of various businesses. SMEs can have staff numbers that range from a two man team to a bustling 150 dedicated workforce and as such each will require differing levels of assistance.
“We had the smaller businesses with limited sales staff in mind when we first thought of launching the club – they often struggle to attract high revenue companies, either to do business with or, to assist them at a competitive rate,” stresses James.
- Annual Membership Card and PIN number
- Unlimited discounts and special offers
- Access to the Business Directory
- Listing in the Membership Directory
- Exclusive members only networking opportunities
- Receive regular SME Club ME newsletter
- Invited to CPI social events, forums and workshops
- Advertised in our end of year SME Club ME directory
- Classified Advert in SME Advisor Middle East
- Up to 30% off rate card for all CPI magazine titles
James explains that club platform can give not only access to a potentially unlimited business resource, but can give the much needed exposure that smaller businesses often fail to acquire due to financial constraints.
“It’s an opportunity to show-case your products and services and to either offer a deal or discount on behalf of your company or, alternatively, to avail of another company’s offer,” he says.
The SME Club events will mirror SME Advisor’s ongoing networking and educative events, whereby members will have the chance to meet and share ideas with other members and also with the club’s partners. Indeed, SMEs more than often acquire the services of larger businesses to assist them in their day-to-day operations and with this in mind SME Club ME endeavoured to partner with such companies.
“The events are designed to open-up access to SMEs with the larger companies who can assist them – whether it through pitching business to these bigger players or jsut seeking free consultation, either way it is a win-owin situation,” stresses James.
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP RATE
May 2012 Discount USD 699 Early bird offer (annual)
June 2012 Onwards USD 999 Standard offer (annual)
12 x Monthly Payment USD 99 USD 1,188 total (annual) Payable in cheques only
Upon payment, each member will receive a Membership card. This card can be presented at a number of retail establishments, restaurants and hotels and can access you a certain events, forums and workshops. Every month the club will sign up new outlets and businesses so that members receive maximum benefit from this unique card.
Each card has a unique PIN number which will identify each member. This PIN number will also gain you access to private pages on in the SME Club ME website exclusive only to members.
There are three different categories of partners. Again this is has been structured to cater for the needs across the spectrum of SMEs.
Once you’ve signed up as an SME Club ME member, you will be eligible for apply for a Preferred Partner status. As a Preferred Partner you will be given the opportunity to showcase your company in the SME Club ME Business Director.
“The difference between the Preferred Partner and the Privaleged Partner is that the latter will inevitably have to pay a larger fee for the extended exposure we will generate for their business, both online and across our events portfolio,” he says.
Added benefits include:
- Company logo on every page of SME Club ME Website
- Company logo displayed in SME Club ME newsletter
- Company logo displayed on all SME Club ME advertising
- Dedicated micro site designed and monitored
- HTML mail shot to the SME Advisor database
- Visibility at SME Club ME events, including marketing collateral and roll up banners
- Prominent position in the SME Club ME annual business directory
A one-off payment for the yearly partnership will cost USD 25,000. Alternatively, monthly payments of USD 3,000 can be accommodated.
Lastly, the SME Club ME is seeking Strategic Partners that can bring added value to the table to support the SME community. “We are always keeping an eye out for specific products and services and from companies that can best benefit the club. At the moment we are treating this on a case-by-case basis and would ask that anyone interested contact us directly,” explains James.
Currently the Strategic Partners the SME Club have on board include: BNI, The Referral Institute and SME Advisor, along with Privileged Partners ADCB, du, Axa and the Rotana Hotel Group.
For further details about the club visit www.smeclubme.com.
For more information about the companies joining the club and to view the Business Directory, please visit: http://www.smeclubme.com/business-listings/
SME Club ME Director, James Khoury, can be contacted at email@example.com, or by calling +971 55 872 0722.
Before joining SME Advisor as an Assistant Editor in 2010 I obtained a Bachelors Civil Law Degree (Hons) from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, in 2005. I worked as a trainee lawyer in Dublin, Ireland, specialising in defence litigation and criminal law before obtaining a Masters in International Journalism from the University of Cardiff in 2009. At present I am the Editor of SME Advisor Middle East, which is a publication within the CPI Business Group. You can follow me on twitter: @mikey_byrne or @SMEadvisorME. Also, you can join me on Linkedin (Mike Byrne) or at (SME Advisor).