This year we will support our local Guyanese businesses (Part II)
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Every big business had to start small

LAST week, I started a discussion on supporting local businesses in Guyana. I do hope that many of you heeded my message and understood the importance of supporting your own. If you ask me, our mindset towards local businesses in Guyana is quite the irony. For instance, we would turn a blind eye to the man at the corner of the street selling plantain and sweet potato chips, but we would consciously buy packeted and imported versions of the same chips. Why? Or did I miss that lesson in Business or Economics class where they taught that imported, foreign and even more expensive is somehow; ‘better.’ Call the jury, because I am guilty of doing such as well. However, as I grew, I developed the urge to start my own business; I later realised the importance it has. My mother owned her very own business, a hair salon that she tirelessly worked to establish and build. It was a part of her livelihood and my mother is very proud of who she is and what her business became. It opened my ‘feminine eyes’ a bit more, as I also realised a female owning a business and a man owning a business can be two completely different things. Yes, this is my inner feminist speaking. Males certainly might have a better chance at flourishing in society in specific but yet significant fields– business is no exception either. Nonetheless, I am determined to change the mindset of what we traditionally know and how we view a local business.

Rebecca D’Andrade is the owner of Bliss Makeup Studio. Rebecca is self-made and built her business from scratch;she is a makeup artist and a young entrepreneur. Apart from being a makeup artist, she is also a baker, who also owns the small cupcake company, Delight Treats. Rebecca wanted to share some advice, tips and tricks for running a successful small business. She said, “Balance passion with wisdom. One of the most important aspects of a successful business idea is passion. Passion will consistently drive you to improve your process so your business grows, but don’t let passion take over all your decisions. Passion will move you forward, but knowledge will point you in the right direction. As your business starts to come together, think of it like driving a car. Let your passion hit the gas pedal and your mind control the steering wheel. That way, you can be confident about the direction you’re headed and sustain the momentum you need to get there. Earn while you build. If you want to start a small business, don’t quit your day job, yet.” This successful makeup artist continued by saying, “Launching a successful start-up is a process. Build your business in stages and gradually transition from employee to entrepreneur. As a new business owner, it will take some time to earn a steady income.

Keep your nine-to-five and work on the business during off-hours so you can earn during those tough first stages. Once you have a healthy inflow of cash from your company, you can tackle business ownership full time. As you see your dream grow from an idea to an enterprise, your opportunities to cut corners will multiply. Grow your character as you grow your business, so the latter doesn’t crush the former. Take the risk and believe in yourself. We never know the outcome of our efforts unless we do it. No one succeeds immediately, and everyone was once a beginner.”

I want young and upcoming entrepreneurs to understand that it is not mythical or impossible to establish a business. For many, the main issue may be money/finances. The small business bureau and banks across Guyana can assist you with such. Attending business workshops are great ways to expand your knowledge and it can also help you to network with other small-business owners and other business persons of interest. Havendra Sookraj is also another successful co-owner of the popular Berbice family water park, Outback Adventures. Havendra stressed that “Running a successful business is an uphill challenge. It requires innovative thinking, while offering a dynamically new product or service on the market.” He further stated that “Any entrepreneur that wants to make the cut in the 21st century has to be well acquainted with the demands of the local market, cost-effective means of production and customer friendly, after-sale services. It’s always about getting the right product, to the right customer, at the right price, in the right way, and on time, every time.”

Seventy per cent of all small businesses are owned and operated by one person. A business can be overwhelming even for co-owners, much less one person. I hope this article gives small business owners of Guyana a beacon of hope and inspiration. There is a saying that suggests that every big business starts small and without a doubt in my mind, it’s true. You do not only support a small business whenever you choose to buy/ be a client of theirs. You are supporting someone’s dreams and aspirations. I shared the advice and stories of Rebecca and Havendra to give you living examples, that anything is possible if you truly put your mind to it. Owning a successful business is possible– even for Guyanese!

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