On the Corner with EPOC | Own businesses the aim but not sure how to get there
They all stated that establishing their small business is their goal in life, but only two of seven had ever heard the term 'business plan', and neither of those two had any clue about how to create one.
The seven were participating in the latest Gleaner on the Corner with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) at the Dollaz fi Dollaz Chill Spot on Red Hills Road, in Cassia Park, east central St Andrew.
"Me never hear about a business plan yet. I don't know about that, I just want to start my own shop and do hair and those things. I want to get the hair them from China and sell them. How business plan involved?" asked Shada Henry, one of two aspiring cosmetologists, as she spoke with The Sunday Gleaner on the margins of the main discussion.
Her friend Trudy-Ann Wright, who wants to operate a make-up studio, was also clueless about the planning that would be needed to make it a success. But she was adamant that once she found the right place she would "just do it", even though she might need a loan to get started.
Heather Johnson, an aspiring restaurant owner, said while she would like to ask a lending agency for money to start her business, she finds the idea of writing a business plan too cumbersome.
"Me cyan bother go through that," quipped Johnson, flashing her hand in annoyance.
Michelle Tatham declared that she wants to expand her chemical sales business, but that she will need a $30,000 loan to do so.
"I would prefer to have a business plan because then you would work out the budget, the profit and how to pay back the loan," said Tatham, as she indicated that the loan would be used to purchase bleach and other household disinfectants.
Friends Simon Dillion and Christopher Johnson both would like to enter into the automotive industry. They have never heard of a business plan but believe they do not need one as they do not plan to borrow any money.
"You see this borrowing thing; I don't too like it because you borrow a set amount of money that you will have to pay back and the interest rate high. What happen if the business falls through?" said Dillion.
Responding to the residents, co-chairman of EPOC Keith Duncan underscored that while many financial institutions are eager to facilitate loans to young entrepreneurs, they are turned off by a lack of a cohesive business outline.
"In Jamaica, we have a lot of entrepreneurs, we have a lot of people with great ideas, but we lack the skills and the ability to put it in paper, to put it in business plan format and be able to articulate a strategy and build out the financial projections," said Duncan
He pointed out that while not all small business would require a detailed plan of operations, to be successful, owners must put mechanisms in place to manage the day-to-day operations.
"I have a friend, he has a bar in Stony Hill, which he manages out of his head, but I want his daughter to understand what it means to have a three/four page business plan so she can be a better business person than her father," said Duncan.
"You can't just go to a person, or a lending agency, and say, 'Hey, I have a good idea and I am going to need some money'. That is not going to happen," added Duncan.
EPOC provided residents at the forum with an introduction to agencies such as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, which could help them in creating business plans.