Over the last few months I have exchanged business cards with a great many people and I am amazed to see how many are still using free Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail addresses for business purposes.
In this day and age where creating a business website is relatively easy and inexpensive, why are businesses still choosing this option? These domains are synonymous with phishing scams and bogus profiles; and certainly do not engender a sense of confidence.
As African businesses aiming to engage with international opportunities or to attract international investment, shouldn’t we be pursuing a more professional approach?
Yet many of the port and maritime authorities on the continent continue to flash business cards carrying these types of contact details. What makes matters worse is that the card often contains reference to a legitimate website, but then boasts a Yahoo et al email address!
Unfortunately one of my Yahoo contacts established at a recent conference popped into my inbox in a manner to reinforce my mistrust of such business contacts. Citing a recent dilemma, the firstname.lastname@example.org brazenly asked for a loan of €2400 to be wired to him.
Now, there may well have been a legitimate maritime matter that required such funding, but with no real information in this regard; an email addressed to undisclosed recipients (his entire address book?) and all from a Yahoo email account did not have me confidently organising a money transfer.
Maritime colleagues in Africa; let’s lift our game to meet the expectations of the international business community!