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Category : Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship Featured

Developing a Culture of Entrepreneurship in Grenada

Over the past years, Grenada has been plagued with many economic problems which unfortunately don’t have a “one size fits all solution”. In an effort to eradicate Grenada’s financial concerns, one of the most popular approaches often taken is that of “passing the buck”. It appears as though persons are content with playing the proverbial “blame game” regarding the country’s economic woes in an effort to stray from the issues at hand. However, such a method doesn’t point us in the right direction towards obtaining a suitable remedy. Personally, I do not believe the persons responsible for our current economic difficulties matter; instead, I do believe our focus should be to identify solutions to these growing problems.

A major problem Grenada currently faces is an extraordinarily high rate of unemployment. Annually, thousands of young people who graduate from the T.A. Marryshow Community College, local and foreign universities as well as other secondary and tertiary learning institutions are in search of jobs. Unfortunately, with every new batch of graduates, the private and public sectors cannot provide the much needed jobs, so the unemployment rate continues to increase. In the past, many poorly planned and run programs and initiatives have been taken to help alleviate the unemployment crisis; however, I believe that if we are to find a better, more effective solution, a change of mindset and a revised curriculum for Grenadian schools are required.

To alter the course or change the mindset and focus of the average Grenadian to steer us away from the turbulent waves of the rough unemployment waters, I firmly support the notion that a culture of entrepreneurship has be cultivated since it is a great avenue for employment generation and wealth creation. Consequently, in an effort to have the most impact, a pro-entrepreneurship philosophy needs to be introduced into our school system. In all honesty, one of the most disappointing statements I constantly hear parents and teachers say to children is, “Go to school and get good grades so that you can get a good job.” Therefore, from a very young age, we are inadvertently cultured to follow the status quo. We are expected to get educated to hopefully have a successful job search, which Robert Kiyosaki rightly calls, “the employee mindset”.

In my opinion, entrepreneurship should be the key driver of our economy, and I firmly believe that fostering an entrepreneurial atmosphere can maximize individual and collective economic and social successes, locally, regionally, and internationally. We need to present entrepreneurship as a viable option to our young people, especially at the secondary school level. Students need to know that after school it shouldn’t be compulsory to look for jobs. Instead, they can be the job creators for themselves and possibly others. Thus, if entrepreneurship is encouraged, young people will be empowered to create their own opportunities which will aid in the fight against youth unemployment.

I have always thought that the help required to foster an entrepreneurial culture in Grenada is insufficient until a friend told me about Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) and “StartUp Grenada”. CARCIP aims to increase access to regional broadband networks and advance the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enabled services industry in the Caribbean region.  Also, “StartUp Grenada” through CARIP supports activities which will leverage the regional broadband infrastructure not just to foster employment but to grow the IT of ITES industry. After checking startupgrenada.com website myself, I am convinced that such an initiative is the positive push we need to help propel Grenadian entrepreneurship.

You may ask however, exactly how does CARCIP intend to accomplish its aim, or what does its mission have to do with a push for entrepreneurship? CARCIP will provide financial assistance via grant funding. The programme’s intention is to provide funding to at least 60 small startups or existing businesses in Grenada.  Under CARCIP, approximately 2.2 million USD have been budgeted for that purpose.  A business can get up to $150,000ECD to fund its project, but the venture must have an ICT component since one of the CARCIP’s objectives is to advance the development of an ICT-enabled service industry.

Unfortunately, because of “StartUp Grenada’s” eligibility requirements, which can be found on its website, startupgrenada.com, everyone won’t qualify for CARCIP’s assistance. Some of the basic prerequisites applicants must fulfill are that their companies must be registered in Grenada and their businesses must be legally and financially autonomous operating under commercial law not dependent on the Government of Grenada. Also, don’t think you’ll just get funded without any commitment on your part. Instead, you’ll need to come up with 20% of the amount you’re looking for, but it does not necessarily have to be in “cash”. It can be “in kind”.  So what does “in kind” mean or, where will I get $20,000 upfront if I am seeking $100,000? Different ways to tackle such a situation exists. A practical method for instance could simply be foregoing a few months’ worth of salary. Some entrepreneurs have sacrificed years’ worth of income to get their businesses off the ground, so such a feat isn’t impossible.

In addition, be focused on the task at hand, which should be starting an economically viable business venture. Therefore, when funds are disbursed you shouldn’t have the urge to use the moneys unwisely in any case. However, to aid the ill-disciplined, funds don’t go directly to the recipients who are being assisted; instead, it is paid to the service provider/suppliers assisting with the business’ developmental activity. Additionally, a lot of other useful information can be found on the website, so take a look at it because I sincerely believe “StartUp Grenada” is a step in the right direction for Grenadian entrepreneurship.

You may not have a business, and you may convince yourself that you do not have the potential to be a business owner. However, because of the relative amount of ease to begin a business venture nowadays, with a change in attitude, you too can become an entrepreneur. To start off, one of the first things that you need to do is to have a business idea. Start-up ideas can come from a number of different places such as a skill you possess that you can profit from, you can find a solution to a pesky problem, determine a more efficient way of performing certain a task, or maybe you recognize something that is being improperly done that you can do better.

Once you have your business idea, you need to identify your target customers or the ones who will be paying for your product or service. You also have to decide how you would present the idea to others. Would it be via drawings or working protocols? The ability to effectively sell your vision to other individuals is quite critical. Additionally, you need to identify a team of people who would share your dream and desire to make your business happen. Other areas you will need to know or have a working knowledge about are the resources that would be needed, the purchasing cycle for the product or service, and the sales forecast which should be assessed to determine whether the venture will be profitable. It is also very important to consider whether you have the necessary skills to take this business forward. These are just some of the basic pointers that persons can use to start developing a business.

Grenada and other countries struggling with economic hardship should move towards a culture of entrepreneurship. Such a culture also needs to be supported by government and other institutions such as CARCIP by providing technical support, access to funding, and other forms of assistance to young people. If Grenada strategically cultivates a more entrepreneurially focused atmosphere, the country can make significant strides in many facets especially relating to the constantly growing unemployment rate.

 

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship Featured

Should Caribbean Nationals Get Involved in Entrepreneurship?

On Thursday September 3rd, I had the pleasure of hosting the first blab discussion of the Caribbean Entrepreneurs Mastermind Group. We spoke about why Caribbean nationals should get involved in entrepreneurship and we had some solid advice worth millions from people like Monique Welch, Daniel Williams, Lovell Felix, Cemal Copeland, Dwayne Clement, Donald Thomas and Devon Wells. I want to share the experience with you as we had a really great time, talking about Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. We will be hosting this show every Thursday at 10pm Eastern time.

Comment and share your thoughts below and you are welcomed to join us on the next Show on September 10th 2015.

 

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Business Start-Up Entrepreneurship Featured

5 Things Entrepreneurs Do Not Need to Start a Business

 

There are many articles and blog posts out there that take a look into some of the things that every entrepreneur needs to do. While different people have different views as to what entrepreneurs need based on their experiences and expertise, I believe, however, it is important to note some of the things that entrepreneurs do not need when starting a business.

Though this list is not exhaustive, these are some of the things that an entrepreneur does not have to worry about when starting a business. Some of which, such as, having an office or having a business degree or large start-up budget can confuse some entrepreneurs as entrepreneurial requirements but they really are not.

Below is a list of five things that entrepreneurs do not need when starting a business

1. Permission — As kids we were always taught to seek permission before doing things. Failure to do such could result in severe repercussions for us. Even when working in a company we are required to get permission before doing certain things. With entrepreneurship, this rule does not apply. You don’t need permission from anyone to become an entrepreneur. Some persons are pessimist by nature, and so they won’t hesitate to tell you your business will fail but always remember what Ghandi said,” First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you then you win”. You don’t need anyone’s permission!

2. An office — Gone are the days when having a fancy office was part of the ingredient for entrepreneurial success. We are living in an age where going into a coffee shop with free wifi can become your office; your garage can become your office. This is not a requirement for entrepreneurship.

3. An investor — Whereas it will be nice to have an investor, an investor is not required to get involved in entrepreneurship. There are many businesses out there that can be started for very little or no money. Having an investor is not en entrepreneurial requirement.

4. A business degree — This does not downplay the importance of training and workshops and some of the other good stuff that can help boost your business. But it’s not a necessity to have a business degree or a degree in entrepreneurship to become and entrepreneur.

5. A huge budget to market your start up — In this day and age with the advent of social media sites and other mediums, it is quite convenient and cost effective to market your start-up venture. Gone are the days where by advertising company is needed to prepare an advertisement for you, nor do you have to pay huge amounts for radio and television spots. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pintrest has made it very easy to get the word about your business out there in a very cost effective manner and in some cases free.

HERE IS WHAT YOU DO NEED TO START A BUSINESS

Once entrepreneurs can understand some of these things and realize that these are not indispensable for entrepreneurial success, more persons may be more willing to become business people.

Click on this link for Something you DO NEED to start a Business CLICK HERE

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Entrepreneurship Social Media

How To Brand Yourself Online

The internet has provided different opportunities and ways for individuals to brand themselves. The following infographic highlight some of the ways you can do this.

Personal Branding Online

Branding Yourself Online

 

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Entrepreneurship Social Media

Avoid this Facebook Fanpage Mistake

The first thing everyone does when creating a Fanpage for their business is invite all their friends to like the page. Whether their friends are interested in their business or not. This is one of the biggest mistakes that are made, while it will build your Fanpage and increase your likes, it will do nothing for your business. At the end of the day, it is customers and sales that grow your business not friends and likes. You need to ensure that the people on your page are either customers or prospects, or people interested in what you have to offer. In this way, when you create valuable and engaging content, these people will interact with your content and build a relationship with you which will make it easier when you want to sell them something. In order to get targeted likes on your Facebook Fanpage, it is best to use a Facebook Like Ad, when targeted properly, you can build your fanpage with people that are interested in your business at a very low cost and these are the people that will engage with your content, build relationship with them and can eventually sell your products or service to them.

Check the video below to hear more about this mistake

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=457742107722891&pnref=story” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”1″]

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Business Start-Up Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Small Business

One of the most important pieces of real estate that small online businesses can have is their website. While having social media profiles such as Facebook business pages or twitter handles for your business is smart, entrepreneurs do not own these sites. For instance, Facebook can remove a business’ page at any time of their choosing if they think it violates one of their policies. Therefore, for this reason, it is important that business owners create a website for their businesses. One of the most important aspects of a website is the domain name. Consequently, just as entrepreneurs are expected to take the time to carefully select a proper business name, they should do the same for their company’s domain name. The domain name is used for identification on the internet, so it should be easy to find and it should match the business it represents. Below are 5 tips that business owners should employ when deciding on a domain name.

 

  • Make the Domain Name Easy to Type– Using names that are easy to type is crucial because it increases the chance of being found easily online. Persons also should avoid using slangs or even words that have multiple spellings which may affect their ability to be found by customers.

 

  • Use Keywords in the Name– The use of keywords in the domain name will help with the search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that drives organic traffic to the site. Therefore, business owners should always include keywords that are associated with their business in their website’s title. For example, if an individual has a business that is focused on grooming dogs, the person’s domain name can be doggroomers.com. From the onset, such a name clearly indicates what the business is about.

 

 

  • Use the Proper Extension– Depending on the type of business, different domain extensions may have to be used. Whereas the typical domain is .com, there are a number of other domain extensions that can be used such as .org, .net, .info, .co .bi among others based on what the domain name and by extension the nature of the company.

 

domain name

choose the right domain name for your small business

 

  • Keep the Domain Short– When determining the best domain name, it is important that the name that is settled on is short and easy to spell because using lengthy, complicated names have a many disadvantages. Names that are long and difficult to spell increase the likelihood that persons will have trouble memorizing and spelling it which in turn will directly affect the traffic that the site will most likely receive.

 

 

  • Protect your Domain– Protecting a businesses’ domain name is quite important. To illustrate this concept, a real life example from a popular figure Sara Palin will be used. Unfortunately, she learned this lesson the hard way. She purchased the domain name sarahpalinchannel.com. However, Steven Colbert purchased thesarahpalinchannel.com where he makes a mockery of her because as the owner, he can basically do what he wants on the site. The lesson here is to buy different extensions of your name, misspelled versions of your name, and other versions of your name if necessary. Taking such an approach will help prevent competitors from purchasing and tainting the brand’s image. Plus, protecting the domain makes it easy for customers to find the business.

 

The domain name is an important part of a business, and to reemphasize, entrepreneurs should spend the necessary amount of time to ensure that they have a proper domain name that fulfills the criteria outlined above. Additionally, other useful tips about domain names can be obtained from sites like godaddy.com.

After choosing the right domain name, ensure you are not making these mistakes when naming your business

 

 

 

 

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Entrepreneurship Featured Social Media

How to use Social Media to Build Your Caribbean Brand

Many great brands and even small businesses have been experiencing a lot of success with Social Media over the last couple years. Businesses in North American and Europe have all taken to Social Media to amplify their brands’ presence. These companies have all been experiencing different levels of success with Social Media. There are even ordinary people who have been able to build a brand for themselves and a community around themselves using Social Media. Caribbean Brands have been using social media for the same purposes as well, however there are many brands in the Caribbean that are still resistant to change and resistant to the idea that social media can be the vehicle to take their business to the next level.

 

Why Caribbean Brands Need Social Media
There are many reasons why Caribbean Brands should be using Social Media, some of these includes;
1. Increase Exposure – Businesses, especially small businesses can get more exposure on social media for little or no cost to them. People spend one hour on average on Facebook alone, and more time on other platforms. You need to be where your audience is.
2. Grow your business – There are three ways to grow a business, you can increase the amount of clients, increase the average amount of transaction per client or increase the average transaction value per client. Social Media is ideal for this because you can achieve all three business growth strategies there.
3. Connect with your clients on a personal level – Social Media allow you to connect one on one with your clients, you can speak to them and they will respond. Also social media allows you to offer customer service to your clients, it’s always amazing when I have a problem with a company and I can tweet them and someone from their customer service team reaches out to me.

How to Implement Social Media in your Business
Implementing Social Media in your business as part of your marketing strategies or business growth strategies is easier that most people would think
1. Conduct A Social Media Audit – The first thing that a business need to do is conduct a Social Media Audit
• Find all your Social Media Profiles and document them, ensure you know
-Why you’re using this profile
-Why you want to use it
-Your main goals for using it

-Whether your Target market is using it

• Check the details of all profiles and fine-tune them, ensure consistency across all platforms with the message being sent and images

Amplify Your Business Online

Go from unknown to well-known online with the proper strategies. Get your free audit done and learn the strategies needed to do so

Click Here to get your Free Audit

 

2. Create a Social Media Policy – A policy will mandate how Social Media will be used in the business. What will be your voice on Social Media, who is allowed to post on behalf of the company, how the company will respond to critics, what type of contents will be posted. Also what employees should be allowed to post since they are a reflection of the brand even on their personal profiles

3. Objectives – You need to decide what your objective is for using Social Media, whether it is brand awareness, brand engagement, to sell a product, launch products among others. Objectives must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely (SMART).

4. Create a Social Media Strategy– Your Social Media strategy should include the following:
• Tools that will be used to manage your social media
• How you will be using Earned, Owned and Paid Media
• Your Content Calendar
• Your Editorial Calendar
• Your Tactical Plan

5. Create a content plan– Many businesses today are having tremendous success from operating like a media company. Creating and curating valuable, informative and entertaining content for your community is a sure way to gain credibility with them. Share useful information with your community and build your influence among them.

These are some quick steps to implement social media in your business as a Caribbean Brand, every Caribbean Business, large or small should be taking advantages of Social Media to help them grow their business. In many cases if they are unable to implement it themselves, they can seek out the services of a Social Media Consultant and amplify their brand presence online. Some Caribbean brands are doing a good job of this right now while there are other up and coming Brands using social media to build their brand online such as Greenz Elite which is a Grenadian reality game show where five contestants go through elimination challenges to come up with a winner. They began with a promotional campaign by spray painting their logo and the words “The revolution will be televised” on abandoned buildings along a main travel area to intrigue potential audiences earning a spot on their local news. Using this as a springboard they opened their Facebook page, (facebook.com/greenzelite), twitter and Instagram. The social media is being used to share production updates, create hype and connect with their audience while “feeling” out the reception of the concept’s pilot from pre-production and its evolving direction during production.

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Entrepreneurship Social Media

How To Create A Call To Action On Your Facebook Cover Photo

I have been having my doubts lately about how effective Facebook is for small businesses. I sometimes wonder why people would force to build a huge following on a Facebook Business page and get to reach only 2 to 3% of them. But still according to Alexa.com, Facebook is still the second most trafficked site on the internet. Which means every small business should be using Facebook since that’s where everyone is, however we all need to think strategically about how to do it to make it work. One of the best and most effective ways is to use Facebook advertising which I will explain in a subsequent post. Facebook however has recently introduced a “Call to Actions” button on their Cover Photo. How amazing is that, someone can click on your Facebook cover photo and take whatever action you want them to take. Whether it is to download a file, sign up for a newsletter, visit a website, send traffic to sales page, watch a video, visit an app and I am sure they will be adding more call to actions soon.

The following is a walk-through of how to do this, start by clicking Create call to action on the cover photo

Facebook Call to Action

Facebook Call to action

You will then see a drop down menu where you can select an action, choose one

 

Facebook Call to action

 

These are the different options available for now

Facebook Call to action

Facebook Call to action

After you select your option whether shop now or another, enter your website or landing page

Facebook Call to action

Facebook call to action

 

Next step is to choose whether you want to send people to an app or otherwise, this options is available for android and iOS devices.

Facebook call to action

Facebook call to action

 

Finally you select create and you’re good to go. Your cover page is one of your most important piece of real estate on Facebook and if you use it wisely, it could make the difference between success or not.

 

 

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Entrepreneurship

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Naming a Business

One of the most difficult parts of the entrepreneurial journey is in naming the business. On many occasions, entrepreneurs are stumped for extended periods while brainstorming to decipher the appropriate name for their businesses. In many cases, some enterprises pay large sums to business naming companies to determine the best name for them. For entrepreneurs whose companies represent a brand, the naming process is easy since the business will simply take the name of the brand. However, in a more general context, the previous situation somewhat demonstrates an outlier, so the naming process it is not always as easy. Thus, many businesses sometimes get it wrong. A company’s name is quite essential since it can be considered as the foundation on which it is built; therefore, everything else will be dependent on its success. Below we take a look at some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when naming their businesses. These should be avoided at all cost.

business name mistakes

  • Naming Based on Location– Creating a name that is centered on the current location of a business is one of the mistakes that many businesses make especially if the entrepreneur intends to expand in the future. For instance, many businesses name themselves after their country, village, or town such as St John Pizzeria thereby limiting the owner if he/she decides to open another pizzeria outside of St John. Therefore, business owners should always try to make their business name more open in anticipation for future growth.
  • Having an Obscure Name– Over the years, I have come across many businesses with names that are difficult to pronounce, challenging to spell, and in some cases, I simply do not know what the name is supposed to mean. This situation should be avoided at all cost. While many entrepreneurs try to be unique with their business’ names, they should ensure that they are not shooting themselves in the leg with a poor naming strategy.
  • Choosing a Name and the Domain is Unavailable– Many entrepreneurs go crazy after they select a name for their business, start building the foundation for the business, construct their website then attempt to register their domain name only to realize it is already taken. If such an unfortunate eventuality occurs, they then either have to rethink their business’ name or try to buy the domain from whoever owns it. Therefore, to avoid such a situation, business owners should ensure that as soon as you select a name find out if the domain is available, and once it is unfilled, purchase it immediately. Taking such proactive steps would save considerable amounts of time and unnecessary stress in the future. The same goes for twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Business owners should also ensure that their businesses’ names are available on those platforms since social media can be used as a vital marketing tool.
  • Infringing on Someone Else’s Name– When entrepreneurs decide on a name for their business, it is greatly advised that they search in the registry for trademarks in whichever country they reside. Not using a name that is already registered can help avoid costly legal problems in the future. If business owners do not have the time to do a thorough search, it is advised that they get someone to do it for them.
  • Choosing Names that do not relate to the Business– While a name is being chosen, entrepreneurs should be mindful that they do not choose a name that has nothing to do with what the company will be engaged in to avoid confusion of their customers. They should ensure that people can relate what the business does through its name.
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Entrepreneurship Featured

Upgrading Your Small Business Online With Content Marketing

For many of you, the idea of content marketing might be a foreign concept or one that has not been explored too deeply. Therefore, what is content marketing and what does it entail? The concept is simple. Content marketing is the consistent formation, organization, promotion, and circulation of material that current and potential consumers may find useful and may ultimately alter and/or enhance their pattern of consumption. Content marketing can take a variety of forms such as using apps, videos, podcasts, blogs, and other forms of online media.

With the growth, reach, and promotion of the use of the internet as well as the proliferation of social media, an open and willing audience is at your mercy. Once it is done well, positive results are guaranteed like shooting fish in a barrel. Additionally, smaller businesses that have limited budgets should gladly jump on the content marketing bandwagon. Creating thoughtful, well researched content would only serve to benefit their companies through the free or inexpensive generation of leads, branding for their businesses, reduction in market costs, and interact with patrons who may consider them authorities in their fields because of the production of high quality content.

However, for content marketing to be effective, a strategy or some sort of methodology should be employed. Nothing should be done on the basis of guess work. You must be deliberate in your approach. To effectively understand the demands of the market and the information people are willing to invest in, it is advised that some sort of research is carried out before delving into the world of content marketing. Once done well, content marketing could be a sustainable venture so taking a shot in the dark is not encouraged.

Another useful component of creating effective and helpful content is to always keep in mind that the information should appeal to the patrons’ emotion and senses. Generally, most individuals would consider themselves to be rational beings. However, we are guided and sometimes overtaken by our instinct and emotions. Just ask the lady in the mall who just bought her 50th pair of shoes or the NBA fans who bought their latest teams’ gear. These persons may have practical, rational reasons why they forked out the cash, but in many instances, purchases are made because of the emotional connections individuals have with certain products. Therefore, created content should be engaging and emotionally charged.

Consequently, with the benefits that content marketing could generate, you should seriously consider using it to get ahead. However, ensure that you are strategic in your approach and formulate content that tugs on the emotional heart strings of your current and potential patrons.

 

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