Stay up to date with trends in your industry, maximise the use of technology and social media, and be willing to change the direction of your business as the market changes, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes has advised a group of up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
He gave the advice to 192 graduates of the Small Business Association’s Entrepreneurial and National Vocational Qualification Training Programme at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle in the Tom Adams Complex this afternoon.
Haynes commended the graduates for seeking to advance their education by taking their courses of study with the SBA, which included courses such as Business Start-Up; How to Develop and Market a Small Business; Managing Your Small Business; the National Vocational Qualification in Accounting for Small Business Level 3; and Quickbooks Basic and Intermediate.
He told them: “Continue to take classes, attend seminars, workshops and conferences, read articles, join associations and network with others in the business community.
“In virtually every profession, there is a need for lifelong learning, and entrepreneurship is no different.
“Given all the aspects of business you will have to deal with, such as marketing, strategy, financing, accounting, marketing and human resource management, ongoing training is essential.”
He also told the budding entrepreneurs they must leverage technology effectively to be competitive in today’s business environment.
He suggested they use financial technology for payments. He said: “In 2018, point of sale debit card transactions totalled $573 million and personal credit card transactions were valued at $607 million.
“You can use these along with the traditional cash and cheques.
“You can use social media to promote your business, not only by having a presence, but use it strategically to better understand your current and potential customers, and then use that information to promote your products on the right platforms, at the right time and with the right messages.”
The Central Bank Governor reminded the graduates that “Inertia is not the key to long-term success, and this is true of both large and small businesses”.
He cited the example of Blockbuster, the defunct home video chain, which has dismissed the idea of entering into a partnership with the digital on-demand movie provider, Netflix, in 2000 when the latter was just emerging with a different approach to giving customers access to movies.
Haynes explained: “At the time, Netflix’s subscribers ordered movies online and the DVDs were mailed to them, while people had to visit Blockbuster’s stores to rent movies.
“Netflix proposed a partnership between the two companies, and by all accounts were laughed out of the Blockbuster CEO’s office.
“Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010, while Netflix has gone from strength to strength.”
“The lesson here is not to become complacent and unwilling to change because you are successful.
“Times change, the market changes, and your customers are always looking for more.
“While most people are risk-averse and may not want to invest in something new because it may be costly or they think of it as a passing fad, it helps to do your research and manage your risks, but be willing to change.”