Fri | Sep 22, 2017

'Small Shops Big Businesses' :Helping Rural Entrepreneurs Expand

Published:Thursday | November 3, 2016 | 11:00 AMTamara Bailey

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

The number of individuals who wake up daily with the idea of establishing a business is probably too many to mention, but the number of businesses that are actually established and sustained can be easily counted.

But why is this so? Is it that there is not enough capital? Are the marketing strategies inadequate, or is it that persons are way in over their heads?

It could be one of or several other mitigating factors that contribute to a business' failure, but business developer Annette Salmon is saying that consistent success can be experienced by all businesses.

In a recent forum, put on by a team of experts in the field, themed, 'Small Shops Big Businesses', business owners from the central region and the western region were engaged and provided with the requisite information to take their goods and services to the next level.

IGNORANT

Entrepreneurs from the rural areas are sometimes ignorant as to all that is needed for a successful business and cannot afford a course that offers insight into business development, hence the collaborative effort to host such a forum.

"This forum is really to show small businesses that before the funds are available, you need to understand what needs to be done ... these small people really don't get this kind of training unless they're willing to pay some serious money, and they can't afford that," said Salmon.

The forum covered topics including, but not limited, to sales, sales pitches, marketing, finance and planning, and business management.

"... The challenges that micro and small businesses face are so similar...they'll get a loan, and in no time, the loan is used up and the business has not improved. They don't know what to do with it. The finance companies push them to get a loan, but even before they get the loan, they need to understand what they need to do, who their clients are that need servicing, how they're going to sell, how they're going to market and project themselves," Salmon further stated.

Business owner of Lesa's Home Improvement & Dressmaking Lesa Collins told Rural Xpress that the forum would provide the insight needed to expand her 19-year-old business.

"This function is really to help me get into the bigger sale market. I need to move from just doing it for homes to hotels and corporate areas. Next five years, I see myself with a factory and several employees."

Melissa Thomas of Saints Electronic Security, though with a much younger business, echoed the sentiments shared about the value-added capacity training necessary for the growth of her business.

"We supply, service, and install all security systems ... at first we were just doing it as a side job, but now we have formalised the business, and we want to take it to the next level, and this forum will do that for us. We want to further establish our brand, become recognised, and be a one-stop shop for our clients. Currently, we have two major competitors and I foresee us surpassing them in the future," said Thomas.

rural@gleanerjm.com