Struggles most Caribbean entrepreneurs know too well

While we all want to live comfortably and get through life making a name for ourselves, not everyone is cut out for the life of a nine to five. In modern day, some have opted to start up a business, branding their idea and backing it both financially and with a positive mindset for success.

Struggles most Caribbean entrepreneurs know too well

Photo – ayeonline.org

Realistically, not everyone is cut out for the life of an entrepreneur either. Many businesses start up, and fail, get to their first year then are not properly sustained and fail, or end up being sold due to more loss than profit. On the other hand, some businesses do become successful with the right determination, attitude and advice. With success there comes stress and strain, but the rewards are deemed plentiful and pleasing once they are reaped.

There are several testimonials on social media today that speak to the success of persons who target those who are thinking of starting a business but don’t know how, or who is in the process of launching their idea.

I’ve always wanted to have a business of my own, so I revisited all the business ideas I hoarded in my mind and decided to execute the ones that I am more passionate about,” – 20-year old Entrepreneur Kim-Loy Chung of Kymmy-C’s Collection, adapted from the Jamaica Star Newspaper, a bow-tie business of the Clothing/Fashion Industry.

Struggles most Caribbean entrepreneurs know too well

Photo – timeslive.co.za

To get where some of these entrepreneurs have gotten they had to go through some amount of struggle, which tested their perseverance and how much a passion they really had for their business. Here are a few struggles experienced by Caribbean nationals who decided to be entrepreneurs:

  • Limited buyer-seller opportunities

Unless you find every nook and cranny (corner and crease) to sell your product, you are going to have a hard time getting your product to the masses. Your target audience should be engaged at all times, or at least most times. However, if you are in a specific business like baby products, you would have a hard time marketing your product which is fairly new compared to the big name businesses who have taken up most of the market already.

“Coming into the business as a new product and new company was really hard for me because everyone seemed to be in the chocolate business and as such they were all making a name for themselves. It made it more difficult for me as a newbie to enter the market to appeal to persons who could potentially buy my product considering they were already committed to other businesses and their products being offered. I found I had to work twice as hard to prove myself to those who were undecided or just love to experiment and try new things.” – Entrepreneur in the Food Industry.

  • Fear to take risks in the name of uncertainty

Deciding to go all out or when to fold is by far one of the toughest decisions to make as a budding or even seasoned entrepreneur. Especially if you have a small target audience and limited funds to invest in your business the risk to take that big leap seems more daunting and impossible the more you think about it. However, if you don’t take the risk in hope that things will work out you would never know and even if things took an unexpected turn, you would still have put yourself out there and learned valuable lessons along the way.

  • Lack of advice – especially financially

It is few and far between the amount of times you will find valuable advice from persons who will give you a run-down of everything and the steps to take to gain success. From experience persons usually draw their knowledge to then impart it on others who come into the business afterwards. Sometimes persons are blessed with the advice which comes at no cost, other times budding entrepreneurs have to go the extra mile to outsource and gain knowledge from those who are willing to impart pearls of wisdom – some of which may cost a pretty penny.

  • Individuals who begrudge and will not want you to succeed

Often times there are persons who want you to succeed and while there is positivity and support for your product there are also those persons who want you to fail. Positivity cannot exist without negativity, good cannot exist without bad. All this to say is that you have to learn how to cope with the persons who don’t want anything good to come of you and your budding business. Keep those who support you in your corner always, you’ll realize how blessed you are to have them amidst the critics and bad wishers.

  • Being undervalued for your product by buyers and sellers alike

This is a common sentiment shared by Caribbean entrepreneurs alike. While there is the backlash of recession, and no matter where the US dollar has reached in your country, we still have experienced the undervaluing of your product. This is where in the event that you pitch the value and product cost to a potential customer and they proceed to haggle down (lower) the price. Often times this happens because they ‘can’t afford it’ or they believe that the product ‘is not worth that amount’.

“I remember when I would share my products at the events which support budding fashion designers and I would brand my clothing line and have them reasonably priced since I was just coming into the business and persons would still ask me to lower my price. I got things like ‘this is too expensive, who are you again?’ trust me, they were the worst. But worst is that I did my research and my prices were quite lower than the going price; any lower and I would not be able to develop my business or earn a profit.” – Entrepreneur in the Fashion Industry.

Do not worry dear entrepreneurs, know your worth and the value of your product and stick to it. If you want to opt to initially selling low then rising when the demand gets higher or just enter the market with a bang, it’s your choice. Never compromise your market price because of persons who are trying to buy things cheap. However, don’t sell your product extremely high that no one would want to buy it, nor really low that you cannot sustain yourself.

  • Lacking innovation, creativity or uniqueness

There has been a lack in the innovation and uniqueness of new products hitting the markets. Budding entrepreneurs just opt for the safety net of products, that is, products that they know have a higher probability of succeeding with less turning of the gears in their brain. As such, customers sometimes want to see something different or unique and thus shy away from the same old same old. Not to say that the ‘same old’ isn’t what some consumers look for, but they would prefer a modernized or creative version to the product, for example, cupcakes with more diverse flavors and decorations than just chocolate or vanilla, etc. Customers love to be WOW’d.

  • Deciding when to take a loan or use out of pocket funds to cover expenses

Deciding to take a loan is one decision Caribbean entrepreneurs have thought of at least once or more than once in their business life. Some might admit that it has given them the push they needed to grow their business while others reveal that they should’ve just stuck to covering expenses out of pocket since they are still paying back the interest. Whatever one chooses to do where this is concerned, it is for the growth of your business not just to temporarily see gains in your account and call it quits. Before you take a loan, you must be one hundred percent positive that you will be able to pay it back (interest included) without taking a nose dive, if the latter occurs just take your time saving to reach your dream. It might take a bit longer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in sight.

Struggles most Caribbean entrepreneurs know too well

Photo – startups.co.uk

By Alexandra Daley

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