Wed | Jun 28, 2017

Be innovative, know your customers' needs - JNSBL

Published:Wednesday | April 16, 2014 | 4:00 AM

GENERAL MANAGER of JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL), Philip Bernard, has urged students in the final-year marketing programme at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), to be innovative and know their customers' needs if they plan to operate businesses in the current economic climate.

Bernard was speaking at the 33rd staging of the annual Marketing Seminar, by students of UTech's School of Business Administration, under the theme, Business Ventures: Empowering Innovators, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston recently.

Pointing to the economic challenges which businesses in Jamaica have been experiencing since the global financial crisis of 2008, Bernard said entrepreneurs had to be different to survive.

"The dollar continues to slide, impacting all aspects of doing business. However, some people are finding the right solutions, and despite the challenges, their businesses continue to thrive as a result of their novel approach," he stated.

Bernard highlighted several strategies which small-business operators use to maintain their businesses despite the stagnant economy, including "repackaging goods" at wholesale prices; and adding services to their existing business. He drew attention to the resourceful way in which Jamaica Producers had repositioned its local sale of ripe bananas in the market place.

innovation is important

"In developing and maintaining a business, innovation is important," Bernard declared. "A few years ago, Jamaica Producers came up with an inventive way to package and sell bananas when the industry was down. They transformed how they marketed the product, which provided jobs and helped to revive the industy," he said.

Bernard also emphasised that being creative was not the only way to guarantee that a business could survive; as it was also important to know one's customers and their needs.

Drawing attention to a report on customer needs in Forbes Business magazine, the JNSBL general manager said, "Many businesses go under because they fail to meet the needs of their customers, in other words, they do not offer what their customers want."

He pointed out that another reason for the failure of some persons was that there was no differentiation between the products and the services offered in one shop and the next. Hence, their products and services were not unique and the client could find several other places to purchase the same product and service at the same price.