“Digital Marketing is one of those things some big companies usually have a problem with” says Tamara Mon Louis, Founder of Monivan Digital Marketing. Operating between the Caribbean and North America, Tamara is convinced that in the absence of a sustainable digital strategy many businesses would be left behind particularly in light of the Covid-19 crisis. She admits “we don’t approach companies as fixers but instead show how revenue can be generated.”
Tamara admits that the perspective is different for small and medium-sized businesses….”they must spend time educating their customers before indepth engagement and also help them to understand the synergy between metrics and revenue; everything must add up” she said. In November 2018, Monivan hosted “Beyond The Likes” workshop which spun the wheel of digital marketing quite differently from layman’s perception to the extent, that it has now become a critical pillar of understanding for customers.
Debunking mythical views around “likes” on social media platform Tamara argues “getting likes must be enhanced by follows which is the first step in progressing; persons liking your post must start following you and engagement on your post is critical in understanding related pain points.” She stressed that small businesses need a digital space that can be called home which may lead to developing a website where messages can evolve into continuous engagements from likers to followers to consumers of your information, and ultimately result in customers.
Helping others and sharing knowledge are embedded in Tamara’s DNA…..”it’s natural for me to share knowledge and I like to see people succeed; I need to give back and being a Mentor is an ideal way to do so.” She has been teaching young entrepreneurs that digital marketing must be infused into the mentorship experience. Tamara boasts of her mentee Shauna Grant who she helped with developing a Digital Marketing Plan that would position her business differently.
Moving beyond Covid-19, Tamara would like to see young entrepreneurs build stronger relationships with their customers ; they must take time to understand the interactions with their customers at all times in order to safeguard the relationship. She believes that successful customer experiences must be complemented with strategies that demonstrate how SMEs can add value to what customers already have; take time to understand their pain points and be a good listener. In closing Tamara reiterated “the customer is always right and so negative feedback must not be taken personally; instead look at it as a journey that would evolve in a positive digital experience.”
With a changing trajectory compounded by evolving strategies, the food and beverage industry is set to unearth some of the most amazing modifications. Whilst many stakeholders along the food supply chain were literally brought to their knees by the Covid-19 pandemic, the food and beverage industry immediately went into re-imagine overdrive to salvage its sustainability, not forgetting the sanitation and health protocols that govern survival.
Re-imagine is the buzz on how technology can enable delivery, value chains, value proposition , loyalty and value for money; a re-imagined philosophy, better equips businesses to provide employment opportunities to persons who are currently out of work, re-shape the industry’s ecosystem, and also work closely with business partners in transitioning towards a renewed paradigm shift.
Reliable supply chains must now embrace technology particularly in warehousing and transportation with the aim of reducing the burden on labor and overheads. E-Commerce is another important tenet that can accelerate investments creating a seamless online to offline experience that proactively shifts spending to a model that engenders a better customer experience. Even as stakeholders address the short-term challenges, time must be spent in re-thinking businesses to become more efficient, less exposed to shocks and of course remain relevant.
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At this time the global entrepreneurial community is working round-the-clock to step up their game ensuring that their relevance remains on par with the “new’sual” or what is commonly known as the new normal; every sector has started evolving quite differently from their founding pillars.
Current unprecedented shocks have triggered outcomes impelling diverse types of institutions and/or businesses to re-think their modes of operations and even their business strategies. Well-established business beliefs related to supply chains and communications along with other areas have been fatigued by the global disruption.
With the dissipation of the pandemic, inclusive and candid conversations around re-configuration of the entrepreneurial ecosystem have begun globally as cross-cutting methodologies and seamless networking opportunities become the order of the day.
Virgin Atlantic’s Managing Director, Andy Fishburn has three (3) compelling pieces of advice to help young entrepreneurs stay ahead of their game – think lean, keep it simple, prioritize what’s important and focus on products and services with minimum outlay; add value – people expect more from businesses than ever before – think about how you can give back, and finally keep telling your story – share your journey with your community ensuring that your communication is really honest and personal. Join the conversation for a change!
Expressions of change and adjustment can be felt in almost every business sector with many searching for answers to some burning questions – “How Do I stay relevant?” Should I reconfigure my business model or transition into a new sector?” Whichever question fits your circumstances, the pivotal message remains a renewed paradigm shift to what existed previously.
The creative industries have been hard hit with a profound absence of any type of physicality which is a natural aspect in the delivery of creative artefacts; with stringent Covid-19 protocols on the de-operationalizing of theatres, art galleries and other related activities, creative minds dived into immediate overdrive.
Ecosystems globally have been connecting relentlessly to support the creative industries along with the supply chains that keep them glued together. The discourse on this critical sector understandably focuses on the negative side, seemingly ignoring the fact that crises are known to present a whole host of opportunities some of which evolve into new beginnings, and a spiral in collaboration and innovative dialogue.
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The loudest noises usually heard from entrepreneurial camps mostly relate to financial woes of one kind or another; more recently a number of young entrepreneurs have been struggling to manage their finances in the midst of a challenged business environment. Some have even admitted to continuously mixing up their personal cash with their business finances which negatively impacts their bottom line.
Coupled with noises for help, the pandemic with its unique and unnecessary burdens all flanked by a pressured marketing space, it’s advisable to connect with Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) to seek out a Mentor to begin creating a renewed game plan!
Your GP may include fundamentals such as financial goals (short, medium and long-term); developing a budget is also critical as you’d need to factor in your expenses (rent, food, utilities, entertainment) among others. You may be encouraged to develop a risk profile for your business which can lead to exploring investments! Discussions with your mentor could potentially point towards succession planning which is necessary for the sustainability of your business.
Don’t wait – connect with YBTT today to change your game!
Describing her success into the second cohort of the Shell LiveWIRE program as a life-changing experience, Shauna Grant affirmed “the program made me re-think many things that I’d taken for granted; it’s helping me to streamline my business and I’ve realized that running a business is a team sport.” Shauna added that the various elements of the program have been expanding her thought processes and have also contributed to her success in securing a retailer, as well as enhanced her ability to work with industry professionals.
Sharing the experience that led to the establishment of her business “I’ve always been interested in health foods; my Mom began experiencing the onset of arthritis symptoms and I decided to conduct research to understand the cause, and found gluten-free food was a solution to reducing inflammatory conditions like arthritis.” Established in April 2018, the Flour Bag Baking Company offered gluten-free bread, banana bread, sweet and savoury muffins, donuts, cupcakes and brownies; but knowledge is constant and Shauna was determined to increase her knowledge bank.
As she puts it “I decided to temporarily halt the business for one (1) year to enhance my skillsets in baking as well as gain a better understanding of new methodologies to rise to perfection.” Standing at Shauna’s side as business partner and Company Director is her Mom – Sharlene Lewis who chronicled the journey as an exciting one and in particular, the versatility of the product offerings… “Within the next two years I’d like to see our products throughout Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean which means more work in terms of marketing and educating people about the benefits of the products.” The duo is also aspiring to own a manufacturing facility fully equipped to respond to increased demand.
Overcoming Covid-19: The untimely visit of Covid-19 spun things differently for Shauna as she experienced difficulty with supermarkets refusing to accept new products. In true entrepreneurial style Shauna and her team quickly took some calculated risks. “We introduced the ‘Better Batter Bundle’ which persons can customize by choosing any combination of our two mixes plus one jar of honey infused with either cinnamon or lavender” which Shauna claims is perfect for pancakes! Also making this happen is her partnership with a honey producer from Blanchisseusse who willingly rose to the occasion. Shauna also offered deepest appreciation to her YBTT mentor, Tamara Mon Louis who has been assisting her in charting a broader vision to transition her business to the next level.