Friday, January 31, 2014

Some Serious Considerations for Getting into Business

Lately, entrepreneurship is a word that's being touted around. With the amount of business schools that are available, not to mention the online courses and articles, there are many who want to do business that are unprepared.

I hope that this would be a sort of guidance for some of them since as I interact with the various supporters of SMEs from investors and financiers, through professionals - accountants, attorneys, operations, marketing, statutory bodies, and general business advisory services; there's a growing intolerance that can be detrimental to those with sound businesses. There's a need for entrepreneurs to understand that business goes past the point of - A Great Idea.

  • Governments are looking towards it for job creation
  • Universities and tertiary level institutions are offering it as courses 
  • Those who are upset with their jobs decide they will embark upon it so that they won't have to work for the man
  • Young people leaving school have decided that they will embrace it so that they won't be treated like their parents 
  • Agencies are set up to encourage it and to sometimes teach aspects of it
  • Training programs are developed, Investors are predatory, yet with all these interest groups it is a sad day when the true realization is as follows

Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship are by and large unprepared for Entrepreneurship 

Beyond all the industry knowledge about your product / service idea some other real things are needed. Fortunately . Unfortunately, depending on where within the system you fit / have to function within you will find that you need some if not all of what will be listed below shortly. 

Business can be done internationally, regionally, and locally. However at the end of the day, it must be done well. 

Entrepreneurs why should any of the aforementioned groups wish to invest more in your business than you wish to invest yourselves. I may offend some of you with what's going to be suggested shortly, if you are thin skinned - STOP NOW and leave this article alone. If you're serious, you'll know what to do. 

  • You need to know where to find information that will ensure the success of your business. You need to know your business inside-out. You need to surround yourselves with professionals. They are:
    • accountants to calculate the feasibility of your idea in a numerical format - it's been my experience they don't do great business plans but can offer fantastic insights into the planning process 
    • attorneys-at-law [yes a few of them - law is a vast area, you can't be all things to all people] 
    • business advisory services [someone who knows a little bit about a lot of the different aspects of business, and who can find the specialist - those who know a lot about a little bit] 
    • bankers, financiers, investors, friends and family - you will need money to begin a business is about as gentle as I can say it. the aforementioned support is not always free
    • Marketing and Operations are key and vital functions for any business. Again these areas receive too little respect and are so critical to a business 
    • Human resources will be offered separately since this area is evolving with the rise of so many small businesses, yet it is so vital with labour laws and employee rights being a major cause for concern in business 
    • Your friends in government are a great source of information and are readily available to assist you. Do not believe the hype about civil servants. They are wonderful if you're respectful. 
  • You need to bring the following to the table
    • Commitment, Trust, Loyalty where necessary, Competence, Willingness to Work
    • You need to show that you're organized
    • You need skills in negotiation - however don't be ridiculous thinking that everything comes for free because you have a great idea that will be profitable. Expect that you will not get everyone willing to work and wait until the back end to receive their payment. Often they will not know you unless they are a part of your develop team. 
    • Money - there's no gentle way of saying it so I won't try, but money needs to be present at the event of your business. 
    • You'll need a working knowledge of how to utilize the skills and abilities of your professional "team". 
 There you have a place to start, and be assured that this information though is on the surface will help you to be a bit more prepared on embarking on your next business venture. 

Richie B. is responsible for Business Development with Blades & Blades Consultancy Services LP. He has experienced many successes for his clients over time and enables them to realize their business dreams. The above information will help you fast track your business to success; saving you time and earning you money. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Getting your marketing in gear

So you've moved from idea, through concept, and now you have a business running. When you started your ideas were the best thing that everyone needed. Your friends, family and supporters certainly told you so. So where are they now?

If you were in business for some time and are aware of your statistics, you'll find that your friends and family are seldom within that cluster of numbers. To truly succeed you have to engage people you don't know to do business with you. They need to find out about your business, what is being offered and how.

In short form - You have to Market!

Now marketing has many aspects involved. In today's world, someone who's not well versed in marketing can become overwhelmed with all the terms that jargon associated with the field. What do I mean?

  • Public Relations / PR
  • Sales
  • Strategic Marketing 
  • and so many other areas 
The oversimplified marketing approach is to turn a suspect into a prospect into a paying client into repeat business

What are you doing to move towards your fourth sale with a client. Too many in business experience the musket syndrome - only one shot at a client, then leaving the client in limbo. Move towards the provision of a complete service, and you'll be surprised at the difference it makes in your business. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Attraction of a City - The creation of jobs

Those who know me well have often heard me say that I go to Bridgetown for two reasons only:
  1. To apply for a passport
  2. To pick up the passport when its ready. 
Recently I had reason to just pass through Bridgetown for the night and just seek the ice-cream lady for a family treat of old fashioned ice-cream. Nostalgia for my wife and I, while it was a new experience for our youngster. While waiting I was able to look around and noticed that they were a number of buildings that seemed to be closed. There was nothing appealing about the town and this was supposedly a time of celebration when it's supposed to be lit. 

My heavy dislike for traffic does not in the least entice me to wish to come into the city by day, but as I stood on the sidewalk by the ice-cream lady, there was a brief glimpse of opportunity where my mind ran wild with an idea that I had since the mid 90s. In my minds eye, Bridgetown became transformed into The City of Lights.  I will not put any markings of intellectual property there since I believe that it's for the people to develop. Though I have the idea, and have shared it with a group of designers - The Janus Group of Associates. I don't have the resources to develop it in full, therefore I'll share it with you to see if there's anyone out there who can pull together the teams needed for such a reality. 

The time is now ripe, since it would provide a new activity that would be of benefit to Barbados in the following areas:
  • Employment creation and economic development 
    • Commerce
      • Duty Free 
      • Retail 
    • Tourism
      • On island and Cruise ship traffic
        • May encourage longer stay of cruise ship traffic on island 
      • Locals 
      • Food and beverage 
        • Themed foods [regional and international] 
      • Entertainment 
        • Photo blogging and social media 
    • Manufacturing
      • Foods and condiments 
      • Beauty and skin care 
      • Confectionery and preserves 
      • Craft and memorabilia 
      • Renewable energy displays which add light and attractions to the event
    • Designing
      • Clothing 
      • Accessories 
    • Education 
      • Talent showcases
      • Poetry reading 
      • Drama and dance 
      • Science and technology 
      • Innovation displays 
    • Services 
      • Concierge and information 
      • Food and beverage 
      • Sanitation 
      • Transportation 

  • Cultural development and diversity
    • With art in all ifs forms being showcased and displayed from various segments around the city in an organized yet confused way that allows artistic expression that cannot / should not be contained in to cubicles of space
    • Stages at strategic locations, where talent is shown / expressed in a manner that would encourage foot traffic of spectators, who are well dressed for an evenings' entertainment 
    • No vehicular traffic since the park and shuttle concept is well accepted in Barbados now
    • Boutique-like sidewalk food stalls adorning the sidewalks, with tables and chairs in the streets where people can sit an chat, grab a bite, or just relax for a little from their shopping and shows. 
    • Fancy dressing is encouraged, where people wear clothes that are well tailored and the underwear no longer has a place in public domain other than to be discreetly worn under the clothing. 
    • Education alive, where students of various institutions exhibit their creations and share their information with others who many not have had the opportunity to have the more formal education.
    • Games zone filled with bright lights and promotions for regional board games existing and prototypes 
      • Wari, dominoes, card games of various types, backgammon, etc. 
    • Festival and attraction tie ins
      • Cricket at Kensington Oval
      • Crop Over Festival 
      • Showcases of excellence in the aforementioned 
      • Island Nights in tandem with UWI, BCC and SJPP highlighting the best features of our Caribbean neighbours
      • World themes with the introduction of key celebration points through their embassies e.g. US Independence / Canada Day 
Once we use our imaginations and creativity, the list of things we can do to ensure our economic survival is seemingly endless.

Richard Blades is a Business Development Specialist. He is also the Founding Partner of Blades & Blades Consultancy LP. Contacting him is easy - 

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