I had to share this video from Gary Vee himself because in it he gives some valuable and timeless advice. Listen and give your own opinion.
About three weeks ago, I was at JFK International Airport awaiting a flight to Toronto. Since I had some time to spare, I decided to look around. I went into a store, and I saw a lovely bracelet. If I were a cartoon at that particular moment, everyone in the store would have been blinded by the brightness of the lightbulb that went off above my head. I thought to myself, my wife would love this! Satisfied by my excellent choice, my movement appeared to mimic that of Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as I gleefully bounced with the bracelet to the store’s sales representative to the to make the purchase. She took the bracelet, looked at it, skimmed through a stack of papers then said to me, “I don’t know the price of this.” At that point, I knew exactly how the Wile E Coyote feels when one of his anvil traps for the Road Runner backfires and gets him instead because I was crushed. I was unsure how to respond, and with a confused look on my face I asked, “You don’t know the price?” She said, “No.” I then asked, “Okay, so what now?” Then I followed my question with, “I want to buy this bracelet.” She then apologized and mentioned that she was new and unsure about a lot of the prices of the items. I am sure everyone in the store heard the thud my jaw made as it hit the floor from utter shock. While scooping my chin from the cold surface, I thought to myself, if someone wants to buy $1000.00 worth of items, the store easily runs the risk of losing such a sale because of
an untrained and poorly equipped salesperson.
One of the few positives that came for the encounter was that it caused me to evaluate my life’s experiences. I wondered if I was ever unprepared to seize an opportunity when it when it became available. Moreover, opportunities present themselves in a multitude of ways on a daily basis. They may come in the form of job prospects, new contracts, and the chance to sell some more products just to name a few. Unfortunately, many opportunities are wasted because we are unprepared for them or untrained just like the sales representative I encountered in the store.
Therefore, you must always be ready to seize any opportunity that comes. Here are a few tips that should be followed to help in that regard:
· Always be Prepared– Preparation is key. Being prepared allows you to be like a sharp shooter with your eyes peeled on the target and ready to pounce once opportunities present themselves. Don’t be like the lady in the store. She was unprepared and unequipped which led to the loss of a sale, and it is safe to assume that if ten people came in after me seeking the same product, she would have left their money on the table as well. Take the international scouts motto as your lives’ directive and always “be prepared”.
· Don’t Listen to Critics– When opportunities come along, all the critics come out to play. They may tell you why your vision is a bad one, why your idea won’t work, or why you shouldn’t take a class to improve your understanding to increase your chance of success. Steve Jobs opined best when he says, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Consequently, use their negativity as the fuel to ignite and perpetuate your burning desire to succeed.
· Believe in yourself– If you want to become a successful entrepreneur or land a huge contract, you can’t let fear and self-doubt hold you back. You need to have self-confidence. I am a firm believer in the notion that believing is half the battle won. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Additionally, even if you fail, don’t let doubt creep it in. Dust yourself off and try again. Use failure as an opportunity to learn because in many cases a lot more can be learned from failure rather than success.
Wonders can happen when one is ready to seize opportunities as they come. Always believe in yourself, filter the voices of the critics, and be ready to exploit any chance that may become available at all times. You never know when a great opportunity may come along.
Identifying Your Target Market
In Part 3 of this Business Start-Up Series, we will be taking a look at the Target Market and correctly identifying your target market for success. Find a PDF version of this presentation Here
In part one and two we took a look at what type of entrepreneur you are, and you came up with a great idea for your business so now you are ready to rumble. However not quite, now that you have your business idea, you need to now try to figure out your market. Generally you can sell to consumers and also to businesses, and in some cases to both businesses and consumers.
One of the mistakes businesses make, especially small businesses is that they try to be everything to everyone. The best thing to do here is to segment your market, the narrower you can make your market the better. Many business experts recommends this approach, it is a process known as creating a niche. Many businesses try to do everything and are surprise when things don’t work out , not realizing they may be confusing themselves and their potential customers.
There are demographic and psychographics one can use to segment their target market some demographic factors include:
- · Age
- · Location
- · Gender
- · Income
- · Education
- · Occupation
- · Ethnicity
- · Marital Status
- · # of Children
Some Psychographic factors include:
- · Personality
- · Attitudes
- · Values
- · Interests/hobbies
- · Lifestyle
- · Behaviour
According to Lynda Falkenstein, the author of “Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market and Make Customers Seek you out”. Creating a good niche is a seven step process.
1- Make a Wishlist- This involve taking a look at with whom you want to do business and try being as specific as possible.
2- Focus- You need to clarify exactly what you will like to sell, you should already have identified this from part 2 of this series.
3- Describe your customer worldview- Look at the world from your customers view point and try to determine their needs and wants
4- Synthesize- Your niche should start taking shape by now
a. It takes you where you want to go
b. Somebody else want it
c. Its carefully planned
d. Its unique
e. It allows you to develop different profit centres and maintain the core business
5- Evaluate- evaluate your product or service against the qualities in 4 above
6- Test- This happens once you have found a match between a niche and a product, test market it
7- Go for it- Now it’s time to go hard or go home, it’s time to implement your idea
Identifying your target market is of utmost importance because it allows you to build a solid foundation for your business. And as a small business, it becomes easier to compete with the larger companies if you go after a niche market. All this does not mean however that if someone who isn’t part of your target market comes to buy, you will not sell. You will, however, you will direct all your marketing and promotional effort to a particular type of people.
Having a target market is crucial, ensure that you identify clearly who your target market is, and follow the steps above and comment below if you believe anything is missing or you wish to add to this post.
The Caribbean is filled with many successful entrepreneurs, and many of them understand what is really means to be a true Entrepreneur. However, as talented as many Caribbean Entrepreneurs are, many of them do not do many of the things listed below. The info-graphic highlights the 10 Commandments of Entrepreneurship for Caribbean Entrepreneurs.
Generating Your Business Idea
Download and save a PDF version of this topic to your computer Your Business Idea
In part one of this series we took a look at what type of entrepreneur you are or what type of entrepreneur you can be. We also took a look at some of the myth surrounding entrepreneurship, part one of this series can be found here Business Start up Series: Part 1.
In this part of the business start-up series, we will take a look at where business ideas come from and how you can generate a business. Many of us wonder when it is a good time to turn their idea into a business, there is never a right or wrong time for doing this. Some of the most successful businesses have been started in depressions when the economy was not doing well. Greg Brophy once said “ it’s not the business you’re in, but the way you do business that makes the difference. Every business has a formula for making money; you just have to figure out yours. “
So how exactly do we start the process of idea generation, one of the first things that are to be done is to do an audit of you, make a list that highlights?
- · Things that you’re good at
- · Things that you’re not good at or dislike doing
- · Things you enjoy about your current work
- · What skills you possess, whether you excel at them or not
Once you do this, you should start looking for emerging patterns such as whether or not there is a need for one of the skills you have or whether you can start a business doing one of the things you’re good at.
Hobbies are a great way to generate business ideas. If you like writing, there may be a business in there for you. You may be able to write articles for businesses and other publications or do freelance writing work.
Is there something that you observe that can be improved in your community, maybe your peers and friends and families keep complaining about the way a particular business or company are doing things? How about taking a look at what they are doing and do it differently and better, you will already have a ready market, because these persons are frustrated and will be willing to make the switch to you if you offer a better alternative. Listening to people`s frustration is another way to generate several solid business ideas. Even if persons are not complaining, searching for a better way of doing things tend to lead to some positive business ideas that can result in being successful for many individuals.
In school maybe we are involved in certain projects, this is another great source of business, and can a school project be converted in a business. In Grenada, many students leave the Junior Achievers programme having run successful small businesses. Can these businesses be continued even after school? Even if these students do not want to continue these businesses. It is a source of inspiration to visit the JA expose to see what businesses these students have developed and get ideas from this to start your own business.
Many individuals have what I call an AHA moment, maybe they’re in the shower and an idea just came to mind. AHA moments are powerful and once they hit, you should take a look to see how feasible it is to take to the market. Another way the idea can just hit you is by being present in life, being present in life means being fully observant of what is happening around you, going places where you may not normally go and from these great ideas can come. You will also need to think outside the box for many of these.
Business ideas may come in the form of an“ add on“ for a particular product. You may be using a product and wonder, wouldn’t it be nice if this product can have this feature, this works well with technology. Many technologist are now developing apps and other products that can work well with smart phones and computer programmes, these are a great way of getting a business idea.
To wrap up this second part of this series, I would suggest that you read a lot, meet new people, hear their stories, share your ideas with people you trust, do research, and take a look at your working experience; these are all great ways for generating your business idea. Anyone can start a business; you just need to have that drive that willingness and it can happen, entrepreneurship is not for a very few select people. Steve Jobs said it best when he made this statement
When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life and try not to bash into the walls too much…that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact—everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you…shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live in it versus make your mark upon it. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again. Don’t just live a life; build one
Look out for part 3 of this series right here
One of the essences of Economics is trying to satisfy unlimited needs with limited resources. Small businesses and large businesses all have this in common, they all have limited resources. Small businesses and entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting up a business may be even more limited and some of these may not always be physical. Some of their limitations can include: lack of access to funding; ability to penetrate a market and position themselves and poor focus, some may know how to build a product but not how to build a business.
In today’s information age it is always a bit surprising to encounter an entrepreneur who is not using the internet and its resources effectively and to their advantage. One of the great things that the internet has done is make resources available to help everyone be successful at no cost or cheaply. One of the mediums that many aspiring entrepreneurs are using to help launch their business is that of Social Media. Small businesses or aspiring entrepreneurs all set up their Facebook business page or twitter account and some believe this is sufficient. Without a proper plan in place this can basically be a waste of time.
Content marketing is one of the vehicles that can be used together with Social Media to help build a business. Sharing business insights and information with consumers without selling to them directly can help boost an entrepreneur’s reputation and also establish them as a thought leader. It also makes their customers feel more intelligent which can be a plus for him/her. Some of the many contents that can be created include videos, info graphics, blog post and articles. There are some facts of content marketing that many people may not know and some of these includes,
1- Content Marketing is used by some of the biggest and well-known companies- Companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Nike, and Apple are all using content marketing to their advantage. Small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs can have this same luxury, there are many online resources available to help create content. Websites such as canva, Moovly and many others have provided effective ways for help create content. Many of the larger companies use celebrities in their contents which may be the reason they are so successful. Small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs still have an online resource to compete; bookingagentinfo.com can allow them to get in contact with representatives of celebrities to help boost their content strategy for a small cost. Basically there is no excuse for small businesses to not be successful if they use the internet to their advantage. contentmarketinginstitute.com can provide all small businesses with timely information to be successful in content marketing.
2- There are numerous benefits to be obtained by getting involved in content Marketing- Content marketing can help you increase sales and is very cost effective, you can reach people you may not have reached normally, and allow you to build valuable relationship with them. It helps boost your reputation and brand image and help set people apart from others. One of the most important benefits is that it helps create a levelled playing field for large and small enterprises.
3- Having content and not spreading it is a waste of time- Some people says content is King, however if the content is not being distributed and not being consumed its nothing. This is one of the most important facts of content marketing. One website that can help with this is quicksproute.com.
In a world filled with uncertainty, factors such as job security has been eroded, one of the better decisions that an individual can make is to become an entrepreneur. The internet has eroded many of the barriers to entry for many industries. Businesses has never been easier to start up, the resources out there are many. Content marketing should never be ignored when entrepreneurs are starting their businesses or looking to grow their business. Today’s consumers have already blocked out many of the traditional marketing medium and content marketing present a new and different approach to doing things. Though content marketing is not new, it is most definitely not going anywhere soon and everyone involve in business should think seriously about it.
I have been an advocate for entrepreneurship for many years, I believe in the opportunities that entrepreneurship can offer, however I also know that not everyone can be an entrepreneur. I have also come to the realization that there are different types of entrepreneurs, while someone may succeed as an entrepreneur in one field, that person may not do so in another field due to the fact that it may not be his entrepreneurial type. I believe the first thing one needs to do is to determine whether or not they are an entrepreneur or have what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
Many individuals decide to get into entrepreneurship without much preparation. They come from different walks of life and decide to go full steam into becoming an entrepreneur without really taking stock of one self. The fact that you may be able to become an entrepreneur doesn’t mean it is the right time for you.
It is very important for someone to understand their strengths and weaknesses when deciding to become entrepreneurs, it is important to understand that:
· – Proper work ethic and discipline needs to be developed, time needs to be spent working on your business and not slacking
· – Control your spending, in deciding to become an entrepreneur, it’s important to know how and when to spend money.
· – Have a strong urgency of now. You need to understand that things need to be done in order to get your business off the ground and procrastination is the greatest hindrance to entrepreneurial success.
· – Reinventing the wheel is overrated. When deciding to get into entrepreneurship, many individuals try to do something that has never done before. That’s overrated, as an entrepreneur you can look at what already exist and try to make it better, or execute it differently and become successful.
· –Your wellbeing is very important, your health is your wealth, according to Arianna Huffington, wellbeing is the third metric of success, taking care of your body to avoid burnouts that could lead to health problems. Ensure you balance work and play
· – Keep people around that can guide you, having a mentor can be an indispensable part of entrepreneurial success
Many writers may tell you that to become an entrepreneur you need to
1. Be a risk taker
2. Excellent at sales
3. Willing to work 24/7
5. You need to have a killer idea
While all this is really nice I do believe that every entrepreneur I know violates at least one of these and many more not listed there. I believe that what aspiring entrepreneurs need to do is take a look at themselves and figure out what type of entrepreneur they can be or need to be. I believe Rhonda Abrams hit the nail on the head when she broke down your entrepreneurial type into 9 categories, once this is understood, we can all have more entrepreneurial success.
A. First there is the Advisor/Counsellor, these are the individuals who gets paid for giving their opinion. They have a great deal of knowledge and experience that people are willing to pay for. It takes time to build credibility here, but it’s worth it
B. There is the Builder/Creator; these people excel at making things, whether it’s a cake or building a house or just painting. It’s for people who have the desire to create stuff.
C. The Caregiver/Maintainer is the person that provides consistent and reliable nurturing to others. Society has a need for maintenance, be it for peoples, plants, animals or things. If that’s you then you can look towards this route for entrepreneurship.
D. This is one of my favorites, the Communicator/Trainer, these individuals are exceptionally good with words, written or verbal and does very well with communicating complex ideas to others. The number of communication channels has increased in recent years and so has the need for communicators and trainers.
E. There is the Entertainer/Host, these people love parties and love to be the life of the party, they thrive on being with people or in front of people, outgoing and enjoy the spotlight. They can command attention and love making others happy.
F. The Investor/Owner is good with numbers, and loves to take calculated risk and have money available to them (or is able to raise the money) to make investments).
G. The Organizer/Administrator is the one that keep things running daily. They excel at managing multiple task, details and deadlines. They are not the star of the show but without them there is no show. They are detail oriented, making sure all details get attended to.
H. The Seller/Broker are true hustlers, everyone needs good sales people. If you can sell then you’ll always be in demand since there are opportunities to sell anything. Sales are great for self-employment.
I. Then there is the Technologist/Engineer, these people designs, makes, sells or service all those technology gadgets that we all need. They liked figuring out computers, cars, engines when they were only kids. If you can do this you can build a business around it.
Once you understand the type of person you are, it becomes easier to fully understand what kind of entrepreneur you can become. Not everyone can become an entrepreneur, some persons are better at working for entrepreneurs and that’s OK. Not everyone can handle the pressures of entrepreneurship, however everyone is capable of becoming an entrepreneur if he so desires. Look out for more articles and videos in this series that will help you launch you into the path of entrepreneurship.
Many Caribbean countries have been plagued with many problems over the years. These problems range from crime and violence to high levels of unemployment especially youth unemployment among others. In these countries a phenomenon that has been on the rise is that of self-employment. Though this trend seems to indicate that entrepreneurship is being fostered in those countries, it can be said that persons who get into this type of business is out of need; a need to feed themselves and their families and not necessarily because they saw an opportunity and decided to take advantage of it. Nevertheless, if this is nurtured and the correct policies exist then this can be the engine to power the economies and alleviate much of the problems being faced.
To reduce poverty and hunger, eradicate extreme poverty, create dignified and decent work,
and raise the standard of living of all our people, we must achieve higher levels of business
development and sustainable economic growth with equity (OAS, 2009)
According to Kuratko and Hodgetts 2007, Entrepreneurship is a dynamic process of vision, change, and creation. It requires an application of energy and passion towards the creation and implementation of new ideas and creative solutions. Essential ingredients include the willingness to take calculated risks–in terms of time, equity, or career; the ability to formulate an effective venture team; the creative skill to marshal the needed resources; the fundamental skill of building a solid business plan; and, finally, the vision to recognize opportunity where others see chaos, contradiction, and confusion.
In the Caribbean, whereas many persons have already accepted that the only way they will move forward is through becoming entrepreneurs. There is a problem that is faced by many in that there isn’t an entrepreneurship policy that helps guides and propels an entrepreneurial model through our economies in many of the Caribbean countries. Though this has not limited or hindered many of the most successful entrepreneurs throughout the Caribbean, it is believed that if one such policy was to be developed, countries such as Grenada could have less dependence on the outside world and more locals would be willing to take more risk to help build their economy.
It is believed that the main issue affecting many entrepreneurs and the development of entrepreneurship in most Caribbean countries is that of the lack of a policy that guides the entrepreneurial process. Although many countries have a ministry that deals with small business or international business among others, there isn’t in many cases a ministry that guides the development of entrepreneurship. According to Lundström and Stevenson, there are six areas that can be focused on to develop an entrepreneurial policy and they are:
1. Entrepreneurship promotion
2. Entrepreneurship education
3. Reducing administrative, legislative and regulatory barriers to entry and exit;
4. Business support for start-ups
5. Business and start up financing; and
6. Target group measures
Developing such a policy can help alleviate some of the problems that are inhibiting entrepreneurship in many countries such as, Lack of access to funding and lack of technical support. One of the biggest problems that this can address is lack of education about the importance of entrepreneurship and how it can help improve economies and people also, another problem this can address is that of a lack of training.
In many situations persons grow up in a culture where entrepreneurship is not something that is seen as important and mainly persons who grow up in business families are the ones to get involve in business however such a policy can help curb this problem and help build better societies.
In conclusion there is a serious need for a policy in the Caribbean centered on entrepreneurship in order to help foster this phenomenon and propel economic growth and development. Entrepreneurship, as identified by many scholars and business persons in the Caribbean, is a very important avenue for economic growth, it helps alleviate unemployment and help create wealth, and more emphasis needs to be placed on it.
As of June 30th many employees of RBTT Bank will be out of a Job. Very soon the employees of First Caribbean Bank in Carriacou will be facing the same fate. I can count a number of organizations that have laid off a huge percentage of their workers in the past 2 years in Grenada; things are looking bleaker every day.
Unemployment is very high, and in my calculations it is in the 40% range; even though officially it’s much lower than that. How easy would it be to find a Job in an economy that’s currently “laying off” people to cut cost and deal with the new adjustment programmes being implemented by the government? My guess is, not very easy.
If finding employment is getting more difficult every day and more positions are being made redundant in both the private and public sector, shouldn’t there be some sort of alternative? Why is it that people are still going out job hunting? I believe that the answer to this is that Grenada has developed a culture of job seekers. Our schools have trained us all to be employees, to develop the employee mindset. This employee mindset is what is helping damage our economy.
A new culture needs to be bred within our society; a culture of entrepreneurship, a culture where people are not only seeking jobs, but also job creators. With more and more people entering the labour force, and less and less jobs being created, this will lead to serious problems for the country: economic instability and political and social unrest.
Something needs to be done to help foster this culture of entrepreneurship. Persons need to know that they do not have to go looking for jobs. Instead, they can create their own! The Government need to finds ways to provide incentives for entrepreneurship by providing support, training and tools for entrepreneurs. Also entrepreneurship needs to be a subject taught in school. Business management and accounting and other subjects offered in our schools are taught from the perspective of a prospective employee and not from the standpoint of entrepreneurs. Products of this school system end up being successful managerial capitalists. However there is a need for real capitalists, those who will see an opportunity and take a calculated risk to combine factors of productions and create their own path in life.
While unemployment may be high in this time, and many people are home wondering what they will do. There are many opportunities out there that persons can make use of:
- Freelance Opportunities- Sites such as Freelancer.com which is the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing marketplace for small business. With over 11 million users, you can hire a freelancer to do your contract work at a fraction of the cost. If you have a skill or talent, you can register on the site as a freelance worker and bid for projects. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you can go on the site, register and bid for many of the thousands of freelance projects available and generate an income from this.
- Fiverr.com- This is similar to freelancer.com where you can register freely and do freelance work for people and get paid to work.
- Network Marketing- This is another big avenue that is steadily growing. Persons can join a networking marketing business and build an enterprise from there for a very low cost. Some popular network marketing opportunities available are Syntek Global and Oregano Gold. Take a look at some at some of these opportunities and see if it’s something that can work for you.
While these opportunities may not work for everyone, they are worth looking into. It can be the start you are looking for as an aspiring entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is what will be able to save our economy and it’s about time we begin to give it the attention it needs. It is time for students be given the option of creating their own jobs as opposed to leaving school and searching for Jobs.
Finally amidst everything, to be successful as an entrepreneur, one needs to Think Big, Work Smart and Hustle Hard.