Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 6, 2009
Home : Business
Research is key to starting a business
Kimesha Walters, Gleaner Writer

Marlon Townsend* had been working at a major supermarket chain in Kingston since 2003, but as the economic downturn hit home, he was laid off and told to wait for three months to get word of what is to happen.

"It set me back big time," said the skilled meat cutter who graduated from school without any subjects, which he blames on low finances on the part of his parents.

With three children to care for, he is contemplating starting a business but is worried about the finances.

Sekeywi Carruthers, director of strategic management at the International Business Development Company, recommends that Townsend get skills complementary to meat cutting that would help him fashion his business model. She also had a word of advice for a more general audience.

"Be open to partnerships. Sometimes the fact is, you alone just can't do it and as a culture we really don't like to have partners but either you're gonna get one or you're gonna pay the interest rates," she said.

However, for those who share a dream of owning a business, Carruthers says aspiring en-trepreneurs should research industries of interest.

"Not a little, do a lot of research and do it consistently because things change," she said, adding that even loan options should be scrutinised before a selection is made. "Don't just rely on the documentation that is there and just make a decision based on that," she warned.

As for existing businesses, Carruthers suggests they develop resilience to cope with situations such as these, as a major challenge they are having is responding to shocks in the market.

"Resilience and sustainability is important. Make sure you can absorb shocks and changes because sustainability will depend on the extent to which you can change," she advised.

*Real name withheld


Tips for coping with the recession

1. Accept your situation and live accordingly.

2. Prioritise.

3. Spend wisely by making informed choices, monitoring and controlling your expenses.

4. Negotiate with creditors; don't compromise your home or other asset.

5. Be positive and optimistic.

6. Monitor and review your plan.

Provided by Sancia Thompson, financial adviser at Jamaica National Fund Managers.

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