Despite all the challenges, impediments and red tape currently associated with the growth of small businesses and start-ups, I still see a world of possibilities out there for those persons really determined to be their own boss, especially in the tourism sector.
A recent case in point was a small farm offering free range eggs with complimentary delivery on what appeared, relatively small quantities.
Years ago, one of the more creative delivery drivers with a major distributor devised a simple fax back list where you simply indicated required quantities or weight of vegetables and fruits in stock and the order would magically be delivered later in the day.
Surely, this is a potentially wonderful opportunity for a group of small growers and farmers to mount a co-operative mobile service spearheaded by a simple website.
Many of our smaller accommodation providers would welcome a reliable collection, clean and return of linen and towels, where often it is not desirable or economic to do it in-house.
What other entrepreneurial enterprises are out there waiting to be exploited?
For decades, we having been hearing about the woes and problems that the tenants of Pelican Craft Village apparently have and seem unable to resolve. But how many of those artisans display and sell their offerings on a regular basis at our small to medium sized hotels?
A few of our restaurants do a superb job in displaying local artwork for sale, but when we took a decision to turn one of the architectural highlights of our Ian Morrison trademark designed buildings into an area to display local art, destined to be called ‘Artcoves’, sadly not a single approached artist even bothered to respond, even though there was no cost element to them involved.
When open, we used to invite local craft people to display and sell their products on a regular weekly basis, at our property and I graphically recall one of them proudly boasting they had sales value at over $6,000 during one day. Or, in their own words ‘more than they normally sold in a major department store in a month’.
With yet another financial giant indicating they are considering withdrawing from Barbados and the region, together with all the political uncertainly, there is probably no better time for people considering becoming the master or mistress of their own destiny and creating their own business.
Personally, I have never regretted being a ‘small business person’ for most of my working life. Of course, I was fortunate to have had options.
At the tender age of 21 years, I was a majority shareholder and Managing Director of four companies in the UK. In my mid-twenties I was offered the position as executive Chairman of a leading British travel company.
If I had accepted that position, certainly my personal wealth would have been substantially higher than it is now. Sometimes though, as I tried to point out to a ‘successful’ hotel mogul fairly recently, private jets and yachts are not always the prime motivators.