To All COVID-19 Businesses

Master Your Craft in Doing Business

This year 2020 has been a year full of potential and motivation. The Coronavirus hit Jamaica in March, and a turn for businesses to take on an online presence got everyone on edge. There are business owners and employees who have had no experience with social media, and this is one of the reasons why they never had an online presence in the first place, and this has caused a tremendous amount of problems with switching things up to prevent their business from drowning due to the pandemic. There was a phase of adjusting and adapting, no matter how long it took. The schools for example, are pretty much getting the hang of online teaching and learning.

The pandemic has created this trend that has fast developed within months. It is now the month of November and Jamaica has over 100 ‘COVID businesses’ to date. Yes, this name was given subconsciously due to the number of businesses seen on social media. Obviously, not all these businesses are registered but they are earning from the skillsets they possess. This makes me so happy to see that our Jamaican people are so creative and interesting, in the sense that they can earn from their creativity in designs whether it be clothes, jewelry, makeup, graphic design, photo editing, web designs, and so on.

These people/businesses are earning, which is all good… but there’s a strong ‘BUT’ for me. There is something that I was taught and I never forgot going through different jobs and working with people generally. To effectively master your craft in doing business, you MUST have great Interpersonal Skills and Customer Service Skills. These two go hand in hand and they will allow potential customers to feel confident in you enough to actually become your customer, and existing customers to remain.

While I am excited to see the creativity stemming from our Jamaican people, I am truly mystified by the way they portray themselves “as a business”. Speaking from experience, I have taken interest in the things friends and other associates of mine are selling to the public and I chose to buy from them because that’s one way of supporting each other. Now I wish that I was able to take a peek into their business relationship lives to see how they operate, because I don’t know if I’m the one who takes these small things personally, but one has to be cognizant of the many ways they can put a dump on their business without even trying. And that’s the thing, they aren’t even trying! Let it not be said that the way you communicate with a friend who is a potential customer, will dismiss the opportunity of them buying from you, or never buying from you again. In such a situation, you put a dump on your business by losing a customer, not being able to solve their problem, you get no satisfying reviews, you get no referrals or your business will be spoken of as “one of the worst”.

How To Effectively Conduct Business In The Future

If you have already started your business or you want to start your business, consider the following:

  1. Your business must have a plan. What are your goals? Do you have a business structure? What will your business provide to the public? Do your customers actually have a problem that needs to be solved? How are you going to solve them? Do you have a startup capital?
  2. Once you have started a business, you need to understand your business model. A successful business model is flexible not rigid or adhering to strict guides or rules. It also makes way for multiple revenue streams. Having multiple streams of income inside your business means that should one fail, your business is still able to generate revenue.
  3. Your business should be registered. Every successful business started out small and eventually sorted out the legalities of their business overtime. Reasons you should register your business are to claim the name of the company and to patent your identity, to pay taxes as this provides your business with benefits, you are qualified to apply for a business loan or ask for investments from Investors, your business is more grounded as you are able to operate in a legal and mature environment, your business will attract established brands and industries, your business comprises of different finances other than your personal finances, and your company liabilities will not affect your liabilities. Note that it is also illegal to advertise without having your business registered.
  4. If you’re a sole proprietor, you still need a team to assist you in conducting your business. If you try to handle all aspects of the business by yourself, you are setting up yourself to fail. When the technicalities arise and you get overwhelmed, you need to know that you have a team to carry out specific roles to ensure that you deliver the best of your business. You make a greater profit from hiring a team to help you carry out an effective functioning business, and in return, you earn enough to pay your team. Each member of your team should have their skills and talents to contribute to your business. Therefore, each member is trusted to carry out their specific task in a professional manner.
  5. While there are a lot of businesses or brands in the same industry as you, you might have the mindset to stay in your own lane and do things your way. You cannot expect to have a fully functioning business and remain naïve. Get in the know. Competitors will uncover new tactics in operating their businesses and you do not want to be left alone in the dark. Analyze them and figure out which can be implemented and make it flexible. Keep abreast with social media so you can learn and apply them to your business. Be focused but keep your eyes and ears affixed for new developments. Let me mention that defaming your competitors can lead to legal issues. Understand the law of unfair competition. Take note of larger companies and how they compete for example, Apple and Samsung. Knowing what accounts for unethical advertising will help you and your business stay competitive without any legal issues.
  6. Communication is one attribute of a business that will determine customer loyalty. In the world of business, it is advised to be honest with your customers. Yes this is encouraged as much as possible to avoid any problems in the future. Remember I just mentioned advertising? False advertising can really damage a business’s reputation so be very cautious with what you say.
  7. You are dealing with people’s hard earned money here. Make sure that your product or service is legitimate and you do not have your customer confused by having the wrong name on their package, wrong order delivered, where to pick up an item, and a bunch of other complications that you can possibly think of. Your business should not carry out an insensitive and irresponsible nature to anyone. According to smallbiztrends.com, it is estimated that by the year 2021 cybercriminal activity will cost the world more than $6 trillion. It is already a burden for people to do business online, so behave as a business and in a professional manner.
  8. As a business, you should be open to hear what others have to say, whether it be a family member, friend, team member, or client. It is a possibility that they have identified something that you might not have seen or heard of. Your listening skills and the ability to understand and respond accordingly should prevent any communication barrier. There should not be any room for anyone to be rude or act out of character, as this can erase any chance of them sharing valuable insights with you.
  9. Whether it be a physical or online meeting, or physical or online event, you must be punctual. Remember time is value, so consider partners, clients, or your team who have to sacrifice their time for this gathering.
  10. A business encompasses of people that work together to achieve a common goal. Therefore, these people make mistakes including the owner. Be honest. Own it. People will recognize your honesty and humility and will praise you for that. Hiding or blaming others for your mistake will limit your chance of growth and lessens trust in you.

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