Dedicated industry networking portal
Matt Woods talks to OPN about OrthoConnections, a new global online community of orthopaedic and spine professionals
OrthoConnections is an online, global community of vetted orthopaedic and spine professionals, which gives members anytime, anywhere access to a secure business-to-business networking portal. OPN discussed the benefits of membership with founder Matt Woods (MW).
OPN: What gave you the idea to set up OrthoConnections?
MW: Having worked in the orthopaedic and spine medical device industry for over a decade, it was apparent that there was a real gap in the market for a meaningful online community dedicated to this specific business sector. This led me to develop the concept of a global orthopaedic and spine business network online, offering an advanced business-to-business communication channel that would maximise the networking potential of manufacturers, distributors and agents. OrthoConnections is designed to make the commercial world of orthopaedics and spine a smaller and more connected place – by providing access to a secure and vetted online global network of orthopaedic and spine business contacts that enables industry professionals to forge meaningful global connections that enhance their business.
OPN: How long did it take to set up?
MW: From initial concept to the actual launch of OrthoConnections – it took around four years to develop. I undertook a lot of research within the industry to ascertain what the gap was and considered various business models before coming to rest on what OrthoConnections is now.
OPN: What would you say is the single biggest advantage of being a member?
MW: OrthoConnections is a password-protected platform, offering several traditional features familiar to members who take part in social media. The single biggest advantage is that it has been created to overcome the limitations of generic online communities. The concept of online business networking connections is not new; however, the vast number of members in some online communities has had a negative impact on creating meaningful business connections.
OPN: Are you planning to limit member numbers?
MW: We currently have no plans to limit the number of members, however we take steps to ensure the authenticity and relevance of every applicant. Every application to join OrthoConnections is screened to help ensure that the applicant is specific to the orthopaedic and spine industry.
OPN: How difficult has it been to determine your marketing strategy?
MW: I had a clear vision for OrthoConnections and communicating this idea through our marketing has been straightforward. The main challenge has been setting up and project managing the launch of OrthoConnections alongside my commitments to OrthoExecutive; however, I have a talented team around me who have been able to support me, actualise my vision and develop my concept into a strong marketing strategy.
There has been an overwhelming response to OrthoConnections as an enhanced global sales channel, and many have already registered – making it an even easier proposition for new business.
OPN: How does the connection with OrthoExecutive work with OrthoConnections?
MW: I founded OrthoExecutive in 2010, having identified that the commercial orthopaedic and spine market needed an exemplary service in retained executive search and selection. OrthoExecutive continues to thrive and we have ambitious growth plans, plus the continued desire to offer an outstanding service to our clients.
OrthoConnections is an innovative extension to the service offering that my team and I can provide to the orthopaedic and spine industry, the vision being developed by my industry experience, connections and desire to add value to our partners.
OrthoConnections is a separate brand and company, purely because both brands deserve the dedication and focus of offering different business solutions to the orthopaedic and spine industry. Where OrthoExecutive continues to focus on search and selection, OrthoConnections provides an exciting new way to engage with and provide a much-needed service to this market sector.
OPN: Do you have plans to branch out into any other areas?
MW: Developing OrthoConnections is a long-held ambition. I have always been passionate about the orthopaedic and spine industry – it is where my experience is and I hope it will prove to be a success and make the global industry of orthopaedics and spine a smaller and more connected place.
OrthoConnections is a platform technology and therefore, in principle, it can be applied to other markets; I plan to replicate its success in other business sectors in the near future.”
OPN: How and when will OrthoConnections be launched?
MW: OrthoConnections was revealed globally at the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) annual meeting in Las Vegas at the end of March. Manufacturers, agents and distributors are able to pre-register on our website (www.orthoconnections.com) for when the full web platform launches in May 2015. There has been an overwhelming response to the pre-registration campaign, demonstrating a real need for the service that is being offered.
We are officially launching OrthoConnections at the EFORT Congress in Prague at the end of May, and this coincides with the full web platform going live, allowing members full access to OrthoConnections’ functionality and benefits.
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