RACE AGAINST TIME!

Time and money never seem to be adequate for anyone but in this new dispensation, time may have surpassed money! Because their brain is always spewing new ideas, entrepreneurs often complain of not having enough time to fulfill their entrepreneurial passion; some even hope and pray that one day they’d wake up to a 48-hour day rather than 24.

Be that as it may, the challenge remains developing an uncanny ability to manage time using smart strategies; with the old adage “time waits on no man”, it’s advisable for young entrepreneurs to begin opening up their arms and welcome some important time management tips. Begin by using every resource available to support your business – though this is seemingly obvious, many entrepreneurs miss golden opportunities; seizing the moment to understand the resources at your disposal would save a lot of time and mistakes in the long run.

Create a priority list of tasks whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly; a priority list is deemed the greatest master of time accomplishment! Don’t be afraid to ask questions as this is perhaps the most critical aspect of managing time effectively as an entrepreneur. Seeking information from individuals who’re more knowledgeable on a subject matter saves a considerable amount of time.

Maintaining a schedule goes without saying; learn to stay focused even when multi-tasking; most importantly, start auditing your time on a daily basis which would help in monitoring and measuring goals set for a particular day and/or time. Last but by no means least – always set aside some unstructured time to take care of any unforeseen situations.


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CAPTIVATING YOUTHS THROUGH MENTORSHIP

Boasting about his relationship with YBTT  which began about three to four years ago as a Mentor, Marlon Espinoza reminisces on his long, yet historic and fulfilling  experience in  nurturing and motivating young entrepreneurs. “YBTT developed an ideal model of promoting mentorship which is customer-friendly and timely” said Marlon; he firmly believes that mentorship is about giving back and not a job.

“YBTT developed an ideal model of promoting mentorship which is customer-friendly and timely” said Marlon; he firmly believes that mentorship is about giving back and not a job.

According to Marlon “YBTT knows exactly what it’s doing as putting humans with humans creates an opportunity to spark unique synergies which are the underlying pillar of successful mentorship relationships.” He lauds YBTT as a small organization creating a huge national impact especially in the area of mentorship.  Marlon is particularly heartened by the organization’s response to the young entrepreneurial community in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, that was offered through a group mentorship initiative which he affirms resonates strongly with the people component of entrepreneurship.

Describing the Covid-19 crisis as hard-hitting for young entrepreneurs …”entrepreneurship may have been their only choice at the time; however, youths do not have the level of maturity and resilience like older individuals and therein lies the challenge which was softened by this group mentorship initiative” said Marlon.


Shaking Up the Ecosystem


Based on his analysis of the current market environment, Marlon laments that Covid-19 has certainly pushed the re-set button in the entrepreneurial ecosystem forcing players to re-examine conventional business models adding “business processes are becoming more efficient as many transactions are being done virtually; young entrepreneurs would be more inclined to adapt easily to do business in this new dispensation.”


What’s in the Entrepreneurial Charisma?


Alongside the forthrightness that is built within Marlon’s character,  young entrepreneurs are usually attracted by the special kind of charisma that he exudes when connecting with them Why? “I usually share real stories with young entrepreneurs because I’ve also led a very interesting life and so, I try as much as possible to avoid the use of text book language and instead keep conversations real, believable and most importantly honest.” 


Mentorship equates Passion!


“If money is your goal then mentorship is not for you” – a firm belief shared by Marlon as he describes the characteristics of mentors. They must possess high levels of generosity and passion if they’re serious about helping young entrepreneurs along their journey of success. He is also convinced that mentors must know the difference between sympathy and empathy. According to Marlon “mentorship is a 24/7 task and he does not want to corrupt his attitude and approach by accepting payment.” He adds that the combination of mentorship skills and entrepreneurship is very rare, and therefore, one must have a certain level of empathy before becoming an effective mentor. Marlon’s love for mentorship has evolved into supporting YBTT’s efforts in further enhancing the program to assist mentees to develop a franchising model that would result in a multitude of opportunities; creation of a mentee directory with contact details and photos and support from exporTT in sponsoring trade missions.


SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ!

With social distancing being the new world order coupled with a bundle of health and safety protocols, online platforms have now become our best friends; in fact, social media is now deemed to be man’s lifeline!

But for young entrepreneurs, social media must move beyond just plain old “likes” and transition into connecting with customers in a targeted and strategic way. So essentially instead of waiting for customers to come to you, you  can actually meet them in the middle of the social networking ocean that lends to easier interaction.

The beauty about social media is that it costs nothing to create a mind-blowing presence on every available platform; be mindful though that quantity does not always translate into quality so it’s important to know which networking site would help in reaching your target market. For example if most of your customers are on Facebook and Instagram then expend your energies on those two (2) platforms.

Your social media presence allows you to build community and express your brand that would be aligned with the desired public perception both offline and online as consistency is key; it should also be reflective in the content you publish and the way you connect with your audience. Having one-on-one conversations with your customers or having them jump in on conversations on your page is excellent in building  relationships.

Social networking opens doors for customers to share feedback that can be positive, negative or simply constructive.


KEEP BUILDING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ!


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DIGITIZING ENTREPRENEURSHIP – TAMARA MON LOUIS, FOUNDER OF MONIVAN DIGITAL MARKETING, USA & YBTT MENTOR

“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.”

You can reach Tamara on the following platforms.

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/monivandigital/

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/monivandigital/

EMERGING TRENDS IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE!

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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CHECK YOUR GAME!

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!

RE-SHAPING THE CREATIVES!

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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CHANGE YOUR MONEY GAME!

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!

TOO MUCH INFO IN ONE GO!

As entrepreneurs swim in a sea of uncertainty, their thirst for knowledge keeps widening with some even grasping at straws to ensure that they capture the best catch! With so many so-called social media pundits spewing information by the ton loads, wisdom must step in to help in deciding what is credible and what is not.

Let’s take you on a journey that can assist in streamlining what comes to you and what should be accepted or rejected. You must first verify the source and research its credibility; then proceed to filter the information which requires setting up processes that can aid in categorizing and responding to data; do a brain dump to get the unnecessary stuff out of your head whilst jotting down important notes.

Whilst you need to remain informed, experts warn that individuals must pay close attention to elevated feelings of anxiety. “Consuming an overwhelming amount of information and possibly difficult news can negatively impact one’s mental health,” says Canadian psychiatrist, Dr Carolyn Boulos. But how can you conquer all of this?

Start by limiting the amount of time spent, reading or listening to new information about the pandemic; be mindful of misinformation coming from unreliable sources; choose trusted sources to obtain information updates as well as new business techniques that can salvage and/or reconfigure your business; identify at least three (3) credible sources that can share both psychological and business-related information.

Develop strategies to disconnect from fake news and social media distractions – some of these include switching off notifications on your phone; learning a non-digital hobby; engage in a fun activity daily like reading, listening to music or exercising; don’t listen and/or read the news just before bedtime as that may prevent you from getting a good night’s rest; establish a daily routine for self-care, and most importantly, ensure that your networks are heavily infused with the potential to uplift you and your business!


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CORPORATE COMMUNITY TO THE RESCUE OF YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS!

The lens of the corporate community became stronger amidst the Covid-19 pandemic as the significance of the entrepreneurial community has begun to bear greater fruit, with world leaders seeking to develop strategies infused with the broadest levels of resilience and risk mitigation.

It’s no doubt that the cries of MSMEs are becoming louder as Covid-19 is yet to fully make its departure from mother earth; in the meantime entrepreneurs are attempting to regroup, restore or re-model what was once known to them as a business. All is not lost as regional and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Union and the Caribbean Development Bank have been responding to those cries through various types of support.

Along the European continent, the International Trade Centre has developed a fifteen-point action plan for MSMEs, business support organizations and governments; the plan supports internationally-minded MSMEs through this crisis and allows them to be at the forefront of generating resilience, inclusiveness, sustainability and growth in the future. As a leader in youth entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago, Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is extremely thankful to the corporate community for sharing in its vision to support both start-ups and existing entrepreneurs within the 18-35 catchment at multiple levels. Standing at YBTT’s side to ensure that its goals are achieved successfully are Shell Trinidad  & Tobago Limited, Republic Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, TSTT B-Mobile, Unit Trust Corporation, Massy Foundation and Bankers’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago. With continued support from these stakeholders, YBTT has been able to fulfil the demands of its publics….and in particular young entrepreneurs who need sustainable shoulders to lean on at this time.  Re-building of economies must begin with a well-structured and viable pillar which is entrepreneurship.