12 Thoughts on Caribbean Entrepreneurship

1) Get paid. A compelling reason to start a business is to make money. Start a business that earns you money from the first day, even if it at the onset you are only able to reinvest with supplies and marketing.

2) Start out planning for growth. Entrepreneurs are usually thought of as one-person operations but why limit yourself? Expect to grow. Expect to have employees. Do work that you cannot execute by yourself.

3) Solve a problem. Your problem should you choose to acknowledge it, is that you need a job and no one is hiring. Stop the blame game and employ yourself.

4) No limits. So your island has a population of 2000, that’s no reason not to start your venture. Now you’ve got the makings for creating an “exclusive” and “high value” product or service.

5) Get connected. There are others like you. Find them and support their dream. Team up to purchase raw materials or to ship packages overseas. Share showroom or office space.

6) Find a mentor. Why learn everything the hard way? Don’t be afraid to ask for help and ask questions when you need answers.

7) Use technology. Even if you are not interested in going global, you can deploy software and equipment to make your business more efficient. Being able to track your sales, expenses, hours of work will help you to make better decisions on how to grow your business.

8) Solve a bigger problem. Is there an obvious gap in the market? A frequent complaint that has earning potential? Do the research, then solve it for a price.

9) Brag about it. This is not the way most Caribbean people were raised but if you don’t let people know what you are doing, then you are limiting your opportunities to attract new customers and build brand loyalty.

10) Be a pro! I’m not talking about positioning yourself as an expert when you are only getting started. Be a real professional. Show up daily and deliver consistently good service, high value and quality work to your customers.

11) Solve an even bigger problem. When you have an established business and brand with a loyal customer base it gives you leverage and the resources to tackle those issues which have community, sociopolitical and global impact. Championing a cause should never drain your resources or joy. You need to have both to live and thrive.

12) Be a giver. Choosing to wait to champion a cause doesn’t exclude you from giving to others even from your first day. When you give to others (time, money, advice) you are keeping the channels open to receive.