Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A new consideration to business planning

One thing that has been noticed by me is that entrepreneurs and SMEs are working hard at just trying to open and keep their doors open. They need help accessing funds and sometimes need more access to much-needed markets due to poor connections through gatekeepers. 

There are some who make money while others, the majority, struggle. What is lacking across all those plains is enough guidance on how not only to make money but also how to keep more of what is made. 

In many instances, some try to employ rules of governance as if they are dealing with employees rather than business developers; however small they may be. The end result is that many don't know or understand the rules within which they must/can operate so that they are more profitable and efficient in their daily dealings. 

Apart from consultations and training, there is a growing need for business advisory services. Accountants may think that certain things fall into the realm of attorneys and vice-versa; and this is only when the prospect actually works with either of them. This is particularly common with issues pertaining to incorporations and related matters. There are too many poorly structured entities from the get-go. Unfortunately, this is only recognized when the entity is seeking funding.  

Business planning needs to start before the business even gets up and going. There are a number of issues to be addressed with reference to the type of structure you are going to use and why. Too often the answer to questions asked is that they were told to do so, but they never understood why? 

A good business advisory service will have a battery of other professionals with who they function so that the client benefits from the expertise for their required levels. This can range from rudimentary to those who have significant wealth. 

E.g. I tend to work with a battery of legal professionals since the law is a vast area, and one cannot be everything to all people. Those I use for incorporations are different from those I would work with for real property deals, and would be different from those who deal with international trade law. 

For a long time, the shoestring budget has been touted as a method of starting a business. However, it gained such a reputation that the ongoing trend is to underfund startups and expansions within this sector. Businesses need access to funding and to technical assistance to help them get structured correctly; this increases their chances of survival. 

Not enough businesses have plans in place for what they should do with the funds that come in as revenue so that they can keep more of what they make and then move to be not only a business owner but enter the realm of investment if they so choose. 

Given the contributions that SMEs through entrepreneurs make to economies, it's time for them to have a bit more respect given to them. They create substantial employment, make significant contributions to the GDPs of countries, yet they are marginalized by many in terms of access to finance, little to no incentives, and taxes at levels that make absolutely no sense. 

Too many people, in government who plan for the SMEs don't have a full understanding of business. E,g, An entity moving from just a few thousand dollars to five figures within a short time doesn't mean that you extrapolate the information and say that they are making money and therefore pull the plug on them. They haven't even reached breakeven and are therefore unable to meet such onerous demands of the tariff structures imposed on them. In many instances, the owners haven't even been able to pay themselves yet since they are pouring back the revenues into the entity without personal remuneration. Yes, the struggle is real. 

All the money that you make is not yours to keep. Plan to keep most of what you make legally of course, but it's a process that requires careful planning. 

There are a number of moving parts to consider when you're getting into business that must be included in your planning. Look us up via our website: make contact and let's discuss how you can plan your future sensibly when we make an appointment. 

Happy Independence Barbados, we wish you the best as you consider your planning for your entity going forward for the years to come. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The importance of business plans [10 reasons]

 The debate continues about whether or not business plans are necessary. Some say they are not needed, yet in today's world, the functionality of the business plan cannot be eradicated. They have been used for various purposes; govern operations and funding are two of the main areas. 

The process allows the business owner to critically think about their business and then along with the writer/preparer of the document develop a document which cements these plans. 

If we were to look at 10 reasons for a business plan and the processes required well the following should help to make it clear. 

  1. Good business plans are NOT cheap. You have to research the information that goes into the business plan and it needs to be current; not over a decade old. This was seen in many instances where people opted for cheaper plans and they didn't realize their objective and the client then had to seek additional help. Accessing the up-to-date information to go into the plan is expensive, they are prepared through studies done by individuals and institutions who fill that role. 
  2. You can get technical assistance for preparing a business plan; some even provide total/partial funding to assist you in getting this process completed.
  3. You need to work with your team to get a solid business plan done - Yes, your team should comprise an accountant, legal, financial advisor, operations, marketing, and your business advisory support. These are broad headings since your team may be larger when you drill down. 
  4. Proper business structure - too many people are forming businesses without using the correct structure for their operation. Your business structure is key to your success, especially if you operate under the broad categories of for-profit/not-for-profit. 
  5. The business plans, especially those seeking funding, will be scrutinized heavily by financiers. Don't try to sell heat with your financials, they will be converted using ratio analysis to see a more realistic picture than the currency's initial stories. 
  6. Use assumptions that make sense. Telling someone that the market is a certain large size and that you can control 1% of that market as a segment is not as easy as one would initially think. You end up shooting yourself and your business in both legs when you cannot deliver. Your credibility is then shot and it seems like you are not competent to run such an operation. 
  7. Understand money follows management. This is not a cliche. Have a solid management team in your planning complete with what their required roles entail. 
  8. Due diligence will be done. Are you statutorily compliant? Is your reputation for treating staff well sound, do you pay your bills on time; these and others are questions that will be asked and answered. 
  9. Is your business well thought out? 
  10. Not all the money you pay for the business plan is for the vendor to keep, they have resources they have to pay for as well to ensure you get the best results for your plan. 
Also, consider getting your business model worked out. This enables you to enhance your performance within a competitive market. To get more information and access to resources, contact and learn what you need to do. We have teams that can help you. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Why people begin SMEs

 Wow!!!! What's going to get you to ensure your SME business started or grown? 

One thing is certain. You will have to fulfill quite a bit of criteria. Ignorance will not be an excuse and you will have to get professional assistance to get going. The rules and regulations governing businesses will begin to change at fairly rapid rate under the guise of compliance. 

The trend has started but the pace is picking up. Governments are strapped for cash and will therefore use SMEs as an approach to justify the provision of employment. However, they will essentially kill the goose that lays the golden egg. 

There was once a time where incentives were given to encourage people to get into business. These are now few and far between. Start up costs were written off over a grace period of years. Technical assistance programs and funding programs were in place to ensure that businesses got a good start. Were these the good old days? Hardly; back then businesses had their share of challenges but they were different. 

In short, business people need to serious ask themselves why they should get into business. With some serious thought, we would find that the reasons have changed. 

Business people want:

  • More control of their time and talent
    • To be their own bosses, in short to have autonomy
  • To have choices regarding their pay 
    • To work on what they have "control" over
  • To travel to areas they believe would benefit their businesses
  • To work when they want, if they want
  • To match their wits against the market
  • To surround themselves with people they want to interact with on a timely basis
  • To have access to finance and banking support to facilitate their capitalizing on opportunities that become available 
    • To have quick turnaround times on such expansion/significant revenue making opportunities
  • To network with peers and colleagues at times suitable to them
  • To get educated about their line of business so they can work more efficiently and effectively
If this resonantes with you and you can think of others reasons not included here, feel free to comment below. Thank you for stopping by. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Unplug

 Have you ever come to the stage in your life where you needed to unplug? 

You're probably thinking that this may be a strange question. The discussions that result can be awkward. But, are they really? 

Life has become too much:

  • Too exposed
  • Too open 
  • Too out there 
  • Too many things vying for your attention
  • Too available
  • Too many other things. 
If left unchecked, it can make one become overwhelmed. What can you do in order to take a break and catch yourself? Simply unplug. 

Unplug from the matrix of life, those seemingly important things are deemed as necessary but really aren't. The difficulty is the discipline that you're going to need to demonstrate to yourself. 

Your peace and sanity will thank you for the benefits that will accrue from the unplugging. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Too many local companies function like this.

 There are a lot of people who are in business under the guise of entrepreneurship but don't really understand why they have set up their entity the way they did. What do I mean? Let's take a closer look. 

  • Many register business names due to the following reasons. It is cheap and easy. They don't have a plan for how their entity should be set up to protect them. 
  • Many do unlimited/general partnerships. They want to get into business and figure this is the best way to do it. They know precious little about the exposure they're inviting into their lives. Again there is no plan. 
  • Those who incorporate sound more when asked like the popular saying "the devil made me do it". The attorney/accountant says that they should incorporate and give them some overview as to why this is necessary, but there's no strategy. This is clearly reinforced when a deeper dive into the company is taken. 
In all instances, there is insufficient planning and not a comprehensive understanding of why they did it. The sentiments are more emotional than strategically sound and practical. 

Here are some findings based on observations: 
  • The investment in setting up the businesses in whatever form is ill recorded. Therefore equity is always questioned/questionable. 
  • There is scanty knowledge of the statutory requirements and how the use of the various business formats can benefit/disadvantage the business person.
  • Business owners use incorrect terms for identifying elements of their business. For E.g. they speak of partners in an incorporated set-up. 
  • There is often no tax planning. The entire aspect of taxation is reactive rather than proactive. 
  • Incentives for establishing certain formats for business are little understood. This is clearly apparent when they seek financing and begin to realize the limitations they encounter. 
  • Businesses mainly embark on planning when there's a crisis as opposed to being proactive. 
  • Business owners can put their funds into the business but are uncertain how to get them back out to facilitate additional investments. 
  • They are unclear of/have no understanding nor knowledge of capital gains. 
  • They don't understand the use or benefits of using various types of shares. 
Given the number of people who have studied business, isn't it time we become more sophisticated in our approaches to the business establishment? We need to stop taking the easy way out. Implement systems that can save and in some instances earn business owners and investors money. 

There's so much more than can be told. However, it's best to get consultations that are best suited to you. In a climate of growing expenses, isn't it time that we grow our wealth of information and prosperity? I think so. Please stay tuned. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Troubling trend in work places

Can anyone take the blame for a hazard/social upheaval/a pandemic? 

Increasingly, there is a cry that seems to be permeating the workspaces around the region. It sounds like this: 

  • No one is returning my calls!
This is the lament of product/service providers who serve other businesses and on occasion government entities, both core and quasi. Here are some of the comments being experienced by those who offer products/services. 

  • Send me a proposal that I can review and get back to you.
  • Why don't you WhatsApp me what the requirements are, I'm in a meeting. 
  • I thought that I had paid for that already. 
  • You were supposed to send me this information weeks ago. [When the proof is provided that the info has been sent, they vanish]. 
  • Is there anything you can do about the costs of the assignment? 
  • I'm travelling soon.
The thing is budgets are usually in place and available, just not getting the clearance to execute the projects. There seems to be a fear since the pandemic and the uncertainty created a crippling environment. 

There are many who wish to contribute, only to be met with comments like this: 
  • Your rates are like that of an overseas consultant. [Wow!!!] Consultants work all over. It shouldn't matter that you may have worked with them before, in another life, and they continued to develop themselves whereas you may not have done so at the same rate. 
  • There's also a developing trend where people try to read and spell for you. Here's what I mean; since they see you representing your organization, they think that the invoice represents what you make and that you're going to keep all the funds. Your team has been hired to work in the background, and you have to access information [which is expensive for current reports/ documents]. They think that you're making more than they are and create obstacles. 
There seems to be an atmosphere of busyness. Where workdays are extended due to online meetings. Most seem to be unprepared for meetings and there is a lack of agendas to keep on target. Life has become ad-hoc for many and it's creeping into the workplaces. 

Some are hiding behind the guise of working remotely and productivity is quite low. 

We are surrounded by more information, but it seems to be more of a distraction than actually useful. Our social skills and graces are becoming lost within the world of technology. Basic manners are basically becoming extinct. 

Organizations are going to need to clearly redefine what they expect of their cultures internally and engage in training to realize these objectives. All entities are going to need to examine the value they offer both internally and externally and implement programs that ensure their entire teams reflect these ideals. 

  1. So can the problems we are experiencing be solved? Yes! 
  2. Will those who are responsible be willing to solve them? If they want to succeed there's no other option. 
  3. When will they need to address these anomalies? The sooner the better for all involved.
  4. What can be done to address this on the part of the various organizations? There are a number of entities offering technical assistance. 
The environment within which we do business has gone global and therefore we are not subject only to the impact of our immediate environment. We, therefore, need to be prepared and roll out enhanced versions of ourselves at personal and organizational levels. When we do this, we will be well on the way to eliminating the troubling trend in the workplace. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

From de Islands

It's amazing how many people think that island life is easy and laid back, and that we don't have a care in the world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. 

In recent times some people are now getting to experience island life as a result of the work travel visas, an initiative which is consequent of the pandemic we've been experiencing from early 2020 through to current in 2021. It impacted the globe, and NO ONE was prepared. 

They are realizing though that it's not all coconut water and rum with Caribbean edibles to eat all day long. Here we actually work, some quite hard. Many live here and hardly get to put their toes into the water at the beach, let alone even get to walk in the sand. 

Barbados was recently seen on a listing among the most expensive countries in the world. Yet, that does not mean that people here are rich or wealthy. 

Living on the islands, we have to pay twice as much to experience half as much. Fortunately, we tend to have a good work ethic which does not permit us to compromise the standards to which we have become accustomed. Are we where we need to be? No! Success is a journey, not a destination. 

As we reopen, visit the islands, there are no two alike, and experience the events, food, beverages, culture, arts, crafts, people, and sights. I have found and have often described "Barbados, my island home, as the pendant of the chain of islands, where you can fly over, drive through, sail around and dive under.

That being said, I join with all the other citizens of the Caribbean and say, welcome to paradise, where the experiences you will have is from de islands. 

A new consideration to business planning

One thing that has been noticed by me is that entrepreneurs and SMEs are working hard at just trying to open and keep their doors open. They...