Saturday, August 20, 2016

The benefits of treating your customers well

There are a couple things that go towards making business successful; one of them is a constant flow of customers. The thing is, many businesses don't go beyond lip service when it comes to serving customers.

Daily we hear expensive commercials making promises that seldom deliver; and this is evidenced by the number of factors:
  • Staff are poorly trained in handling the product(s) / service(s). 
  • They may not have adequate knowledge about what they are offering for sale
  • The systems have not been adjusted to meet the increased demand in business, hence bottlenecks / shortages result within the operation. 
  • Incidences where the company can renege on its word which can lead to damaged credibility. 
  • Interdepartmental disconnect can lead to frustrated customers 
By now you get the picture of the myriad of things that can go wrong when interacting with customers without properly planned systems. 

When planning promotions for your workplace it is necessary to pay attention to the support systems that have to facilitate that promotion and its smooth running. All stakeholders need to be involved so that adequate discussion addresses any challenges that can take place; especially from a logistical / financial standpoint. It is key to ensure that all systems support each other adequately; serving the ultimate role of treating your customer well.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Youth are Searching

When you participate in the developmental programs that are available for the youth, there's one thing certain - they are searching. Special thanks go out to the entities who do put programs in place to give the youth an avenue through which they can pursue their dreams. 

These organizations have gone a step further, in that, they are not throwing money at the problems youth face, but using well coordinated programs that identify areas of support that they youth need to take tangible productive steps towards their desired outcomes. Sustainability programs and methods, diligence, hard work, skills, and thought processes are just some of the areas of address poured into these youngster. 

They have a different way of thinking that, because of education, they think on the levels that are needed to ensure their successes. Many think small, loving the dexterity and nimbleness that it provides, especially when crafting programs that enable them to gain footholds in the market against better funded establishments with longer track records. 

They are strong when it comes to visualization. When it comes to pursuing their dreams for their businesses, they seem to adopt the stance of well seasoned businessman Dexter Yeager, "When the dream is big enough, the facts don't count"

The youth will work tirelessly towards their goals, when they have carefully identified them. When they get excited about something that will "make them get out of bed"; they will pursue it relentlessly, in many cases at great sacrifice. 

One thing is certain. They are change agents and though some are afraid, they get the butterflies of anxiety in their stomachs to fly in formation; drawing on the strengths of numbers and networks. They won't let anything stop them since they are searching. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016


There are lots of people seeking to get into business. Conversations with many of them will reveal that these people have some pretty good business ideas.

Further discussion can be quite the insight into the fact that there are more ideas available than the research that goes into them. In short, many of the businesses are not where they should be in terms of the research that's necessary. Therefore they are totally unprepared for the hiccups.

In business, you cannot be myopic only planning for the perfect picture that you have visualized that business will happen exactly like that daily. Once you are alive, storms will come through ever so often; sometimes earlier / later. There's just no sure fire formula.

How do you ensure that your business is shovel ready? In other words, if you were being processed right now to access funding for your business, have you eliminated all of the setbacks that can halt the process? Should you get the funding right now, how fast can you mobilize to implement what you requested the funding for doing?

When business owners are asked to present about their business, and they are cross examined, it is when many realize that they are not as prepared as they thought. Sole proprietors suffer most with this as they have not built a team which would enable them to benefit from another perspective.

Do you know the following for your business? Here are some questions that will need to be answered regardless of what business you are in:

  • How much money do you need to begin your business on the right scale that would enable you to meet your objectives head on? 
  • If you have to get investors, what are you willing to offer them / receive from them as a part of the total investment package? 
  • Do you know how investment / financing works and recognize the differences among them? 
  • Who forms a part of your team and what experiences / influences are they bringing to the table that can enhance your business and enable it to gain traction in the market? 
  • Do you have a full compliment of professionals that you can access? [accounting, financial, legal, marketing, business advisory services, operations] 
  • How will you handle shocking changes in your business' environment? Especially those that weren't considered in your SWOT analysis. 
  • Do I, as an entrepreneur, have what it takes to orchestrate this and where can I quickly find help? 
These seven are not the only questions, however they are key considerations for your business' development. you still think that you have the best business concept, or do you still need to put in some more work? How well do you know your business and the industry within which it will function? Do you know that you will not have all the solutions, and who are you willing to partner with to arrive at the necessary solutions? 

Always keep in mind that not all money is good money. Don't get overconfident in your dealings with the members of the public you serve.

Remember that the research you put in is not a one time effort as your environment is always changing. Your research needs to keep up to date lest you become extinct. 

Think in terms of possibilities. You were given that idea download for a reason; how best will you exploit it? Looking forward to reading about your lessons learnt down the road. Plan to be the winner you set out to be. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Self Talk for the Self Employed

Self employed people even when they work in businesses that interact with people tend to live rather lonely lives. Yet they loathe to attend functions that would take them away from their work; often with the train of thought that they're just too busy. Sadly, these are even in instances where there is organized mentorship available through technical assistance programs.

So what makes a self employed person behave in this manner, especially when they complain that no one helps them. What is really going on in their minds? What kinds of thoughts do they have; positive / negative? Do they feel as if you're thoroughly prepared? Can they really handle the power of this two letter word - NO!?

How you speak with yourself goes beyond wishful thinking. It sets the tempo and they rhythm that will determine whether you will win / lose. Often the event is not filled with spectators, but with your own self; who will see the results of your attempts - Can you strive or merely survive?

  1. Why do seemingly identical situations facing different people have different outcomes? One succeeds, whereas the other sucks salt.
  2. Is attitude all it's cracked up to be? Identify which is better - good attitude with action / good attitude without action. 
  3. There are times we question, why are we doing this? Would it not have been better to get s job and be paid more money?
  4. Why does it feel like we work to pay everyone except ourselves?
By now you should have noticed that I've made a faux pas and changed tenses; why? It's because I too am in small business, I too am self employed. It can be difficult to continue in the third person for something that impacts so directly.

For instance, you can write employment letters for employees to take to various institutions for them to obtain financial benefit of hire purchase or even loans. Yet when you have to do likewise for oneself, even when the business is thriving there's always some excuse / objection to be realized. You know the categories, but they all align themselves to justify why you cannot obtain the assistance you require. The objections are easily categorized under; cash-flow, revenue potential [too great / too small, too fast / too slow], age of business, age of applicant, collateral backing the finance request, and the list goes on.

There are times when it seems like we're not celebrated for our efforts, despite all that we do. It also seems that our work must go unrewarded, and profit is a sin. Most small businesses are uncomfortable with the word profit, often leaving their hard earned value at the negotiation table for their products / services. I don't do this anymore, as I have had the opportunity to contemplate the value that I bring to any situation. I also function by the premise that not all money's good money. It has saved me from entering ridiculous deals.

What do you say to yourself? I want to ensure that I am worthy of providing the best solutions that are practical, leading the client and our own business into mutually beneficial territory in terms of revenues, earnings, profits, and opportunity. This has to be done while maintaining privacy, wholesome relationships, health and wellness, and a true sense of purpose. One thing is certain - Success is not an overnight process.

Know that you have what it takes to succeed in a big way. Know that success is what you want it to be for you, and not the world's definition of it for you. When you speak with yourselves, speak in the can do, the I can, the willingly doing it.

Take time to work on your business rather than be constantly working in it. Remember when polishing anything, you have to step back to see the shine. Self employment is not easy. There are lots of uncertainties, but know that there is help along the way. People who are willing to also celebrate your success in as much as you prepare to embrace it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Taxdiculous" Barbados....There has to be an alternative

By now, seventy cents of every dollar must be attributed to taxes. If it isn't it sure feels that way. Ever so often, it feels like we're either hearing of a new tax or having the tax rate increased. Yet the truth of the matter is that there is a smaller workforce to pay the taxes with all the retrenchment. The constant taxing of fewer people must have diminishing returns at some point.

We have the constant bantering of entrepreneurship which if you look through the fluff at the main target, it is only a ploy to say that the employment has increased or put differently unemployment has declined.

The use of micro economic approaches by taxing at the individual level rather than using macro economic strategies and initiatives to arrive at plausible solutions to address our economic situation seems non short of taxdiculous. Yes I coined the word.

Taxation, cannot be the only solution out of our economic situation. The seemingly selfish approach to take without any giving, not handouts, but a fair opportunity at making and being able to thrive from one's efforts at financial upkeep, the financial bullying of "we document and implement" without accountability is stressful.

Can we research and examine creative opportunities for economic empowerment? Surely those versed in economics can offer some solutions, or perhaps it is time to find alchemists to help us identify the plenty of which is said to be in abundance.

The systems of collection seem inefficient, punitive, and in no way user-friendly.  Why hasn't anyone sought to create a user-friendly way of collecting taxes where hospitality is exhibited? There are lots of people who were displaced from the workforce and the learning curve of running your own business is steep.

You no longer deal with just the requirements of your "job", but you are now faced with handling all elements associated with running a business. Elements that you were previously sheltered from within the organizational structure you functioned within. Many of you never even wanted to run a business, now you are here due to necessity of survival. Your comfort levels have shifted, leaving your equilibrium upset.

Government, create avenues where people can learn and earn . If taxes are reduced and the blanket widened, more taxes can be collected and everyone realizes their objectives without the overburdening of a few, dwindling, often middle classed people.

It is time for us to stop being taxdiculous and create a new model of economic thriving and dominance for small economies that are functional and not burdensome. With the level of human resources we have available at our disposal, I believe it is possible to realize the rebuilding of our economy through leveraging our talents, skills, and abilities.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Is my attitude right for today?

Many of us are getting up to go to work today. We are going to get dressed and ensure that we look our best for the situations that we expect that we'll face. Yet despite all that we do to make the external perfect, we do little to address our attitudes. THINK for a moment; if you used these characteristics coming up, how would your day be different?

  • Courtesy
  • Patience 
  • Courage 
  • Congeniality 
  • Hospitality 
  • Charity 
Many people waste a lot of time in the traffic. This is a key time that they can use to really advance themselves if they planned to use their time efficiently. They could actually turn the commute into a learning experience. There are a series of positive podcasts and audio books that can be listened to on the way to work / school. The information contained can be life changing; but it only works if it is utilized. 

Try this - Have a life mission for today. Decide that you're going to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone with whom you come in contact. Share your experiences with us:
  1. How were you received?
  2. How did the other person feel? 
  3. How did you feel as a result? 
  4. Did your day improve as a result? 
  5. Are you going to do it again tomorrow to prove that the experience enhanced your life and identify how?
Your testimonies would be great, if you care to share. That way you can contribute to making a difference to others you may not even know. Have a superb day everyone! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Invest in your Business

Many small / medium sized businesses are incorrectly set up. The thing is many of them try to short cut their way to success and it always comes back to get them at a later stage. Often that stage is when they seek external funding.

When going into business you need a few things from the outset. There will be listed below:
  • Money - You will need funds to establish your business properly regardless of your strategy. Your business needs to be registered. Depending on the nature of your business, you will need a structure that limits your liability. They will be differences in your jurisdiction, but will serve similar purposes. Allocate some of your funds to seek sound legal counsel and establish your business on a proper footing. 
    • Money is also needed for a business plan if you do not yet have one, they are not cheap; though when compared to the costs of not having one they are priceless. 
    • Stationery, Office Equipment, Tools, Marketing Material, Other Assets necessary for your business. There's just no way to really shortcut this, if you have to borrow it more than twice, you need to purchase your own. Besides it is usually a tax deductible in most jurisdictions.
    • Working capital - to facilitate operations including inventory, salaries and wages, and rental / purchase of a location.
    • Support and access to funds - good relationship with your banks and close finance network which may comprise of family members and close friends. Especially necessary for quick turnarounds of various opportunities.
  • A team - real or virtual; you need support. At the minimum, you will need the following and should secure their services or at the very least make contact to have representation for your business based on your agreed terms - an accountant, an attorney, business advisory (all aspects of operations), tax planning. Identify and work with a human resources professional, you would want to be compliant with the rules and regulations governing employment of staff and independent contractors. 
When you have these basics in place, you will have a better chance at succeeding in your venture.