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Fri Oct 11, 2013

This article was written by Youth Business St. Vincent and the Grenadines Inc as a contribution to ECCB’s Financial Information Month 2013. It aims to provide some helpful advice for entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs to help them to successfully navigate the slowdown in our country’s economy.{{more}}

According to the St Vincent and the Grenadines 2007/2008 Country Poverty Assessment Report, 48.2 per cent of the population was at risk of falling into poverty in the event of an economic shock or other disaster. It is important to note that poverty is defined as a situation in which an individual, a group or community possesses less than some standard of living that is deemed generally acceptable. Additionally in 2008, 18.8 per cent of the population was unemployed while 15 per cent remained underemployed.

Approximately five years ago, several developed countries of the world, including our main trading partners (the USA and Europe) were plunged into an economic crisis. Today, they are still facing severe difficulties such as low growth, high unemployment and severe fiscal and debt issues. It is therefore no secret that our entrepreneurs and small business owners are still reeling from the adverse effects of the crisis experienced by the developed countries.

The above mentioned problems are indeed a cause for concern for our policymakers; however, it also provides another opportunity for our people to show their resiliency:

  •  Make every effort to find out if your potential customers are willing and able to purchase your product or service. This will help you to decide whether your business will be viable. Moreover, having well trained employees will help you to operate an efficient business, increase employees’ productivity and will ensure repeat business.

  • Minimize wastage by keeping track of your utility bills and print only when necessary.
  •  Always maintain a professional image so that persons will take you seriously and it will also let customers know that you take your business seriously also. Remember to speak and dress properly when conducting business.
  •  Prepare a business plan to help you to track the progress of your business. Ensure that you have a way of measuring your business’ goals. Additionally, staying organized will help you to achieve your goals.
  •  Invest in yourself and maintain a good personal and professional reputation. This will help you to make yourself more marketable and help you to maintain good contacts because you are trust worthy.
  •  Make wise financial decisions. Eliminate your wants and focus on saving money which can be used as working capital during slowdown in business.
  •  Develop a competitive advantage to persuade customers to purchase from you instead of your competitors. A competitive advantage may refer to better service, a superior warranty, greater selection of products, flexible business hours, more payment options, lowest price, personalized service, better customer service, better returns and exchanges policy.
  •  Be known as an expert in your business area. This will allow more people will seek you out to tap into your expertise, thereby creating more selling and referral opportunities for you.
  •  Sell the benefits of your products. Your advertising, sales presentations, printed marketing materials, product packaging, website, newsletters, trade show exhibit and signage are vital. Every time and every medium used to communicate with your target audience must always be selling the benefits associated with owning your product or using your service.
  •  Design your workspace for success. Carefully plan and design your home/office, office workspace to ensure maximum personal performance and productivity, and to project professionalism for visiting clients.
  •  Build a solid business team which includes suppliers, customers, employees, sub-contractors and the community. Any or all may have a say in how your business will function and a stake in your business’ future.
  •  Master the art of negotiation and follow up constantly. Constant and consistent follow-up enables you to turn prospects into customers, increase the value of each sale and buying frequency from existing customers, and build stronger business relationships with suppliers and your core business team.

Youth Business St Vincent and the Grenadines Inc is a non- profit company which is committed to helping young potential entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into sustainable businesses. For further information about our services, please call 457-2132 or visit our office located opposite Rent and Drive in Arnos Vale.

 
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Youth Business St Vincent and the Grenadines Inc

Financial Information Month 2013

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