Abstract Business Guide Issue 4

Page 1



Mortgage Mania Engulfs T&T


udio, visual and print media is currently experiencing an onslaught of advertising surrounding mortgages. Almost every major local financial institute has some form of promotion going on. Why not? The republic is going through what can be termed ‘Mortgage Mania’ as the government has begun the distribution of homes and land and there is a general shortage of available homes for purchase (especially in the low to middle income bracket). Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance (TTMF) has undoubtedly been at the fore of the mortgage craze. They have been the government’s implementing agency for several programs. They have been allocated 200 million dollars by the government to subsidize the cost an initiative to provide those with salaries of under $8,000 a month with homes. In addition, TTMF has been heavily marketing its new “Fixed at 6” promotion. The promotion effectively allows a

person to get a mortgage for any amount and any purpose, fixed at 6 percent for the duration of the loan. While the low fixed interest is indeed an incentive, they have upped the ante by providing up to 100 percent financing, debt consolidation, same day approval and no mortgage indemnity. When this particular project was launched, Ingrid Lashley, managing director and chief executive officer announced that applicants were not required to be first time homeowners to benefit from the new fixed interest facility. Scotiabank is offering a fixed rate mortgage to suit individual financial needs. Prospective clients can choose from open term, closed term and flexible fixed mortgage rates to buy their dream home. When posed with the question of the reasoning for the current mortgage marketing drive Scotia’s General Manager of Marketing Heidi Bason posits that it is a measure of keeping up in a highly competitive market of financial institutions. Moreover,

it is a way to assist the public while being mutually beneficial to the company. "Buying a home is an important step in your personal life therefore obtaining mortgage financing that best suits you means having options. At Scotiabank, we aim to offer our customers the best possible mortgage options in what is a very competitive sector for all financial institutions that provide mortgage financing” she says. She also urged those interested to visit the Scotiabank website or call 62-SCOTIA for in-depth information. RBC Royal Bank was not to be left out of the race for relevance. They currently have attractive mortgage specials on offer. Senior Manager of Marketing at RBC Hazel Ann Marshall directed us to some of their mortgage incentives. For starters, those who source credit for mortgages at RBC are offered free prequalification to enable them to house-hunt with confidence. In addition, the bank offers up to 90percent financing. Plus, as part of their promotion

to entice clients to RBC mortgages, a $30,000 home makeover is up for grabs for those who have been approved. As part of first Citizens Bank’s 20th anniversary celebrations they have also embarked on a mortgage initiative of their own. 85percent financing on land and 90 percent financing on land and building with up to 35 years to repay is on offer for clients. Much like RBC they also have an additional promotional incentive. Those approved have a chance to win a Solaris water heater system for their new abode. Of course, all mortgages go through stringent approval processes. All individuals seeking to acquire a mortgage will have to face up to credit history standards no matter which institution they seek their loan facility. What is for certain is there is currently a mortgage freefor-all as many institutions try to stay competitive. However, this will only be available for a short period of time.

www.abstractbusinesstt.com • JUNE, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS




Wendy’s On An Expansion Drive


Written by Philipa Paul

endy’s/ restaurant began in Columbus, Ohio, in the United States in 1969. Originally called Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, the restaurant was founded by Dave Thomas but since 2008 has been owned by a company called The Wendy’s Company. In 2011 Wendy’s became the number 2 hamburger chain after McDonalds in terms of sales. A large percentage of Wendy’s outlets are franchises and the company dictates the way the stores should look on the outside, what’s on the menu and the quality of food that the store must provide but the individual owners determine the opening hours, the prices, uniforms and what the workers are paid. Wendy’s opened in this country for the first time in February 2011. It was the first restaurant in the Eastern Caribbean. The owner of the franchise is a company called Desk Restaurants Limited and their plan is to take Wendy’s throughout the Caribbean. When Wendy’s opened its first

it was mostly in chicken and pizza and that we were just beginning to develop a market for burgers. The company therefore was excited about getting in just as things were beginning to warm up. Wendy’s plan was to open 24 outlets in its first ten years in the region with the first five being in Trinidad and Tobago. Included in the overall plan for the country was an investment of approximately $18 million. When the restaurant first opened Mr. Darbasie said the brand was well known and he believed that the company would thrive in this country. Wendy’s trained their managerial staff in the US and had them run outlets there as practice. The restaurant has a broader menu than most quick service outlets and the owners believe that this will stand them in good stead because they have something for everyone at a price that is comparative to other restaurants of that type. The first outlet was opened on Ariapita Avenue and its drive through caused some major pile-ups in the first couple

Wendy’s plan was to open 24 outlets in its first ten years in the region with the first five being in Trinidad and Tobago restaurant in this country Managing Director of Desk Restaurants, Dane Darbasie told the Guardian newspaper that Wendy’s felt confident about opening in T&T because ours is a very well developed market for quick serve restaurants but 2

of months. Things have settled down a bit since then but the branch still has a steady stream of customers. Wendy’s opened its second outlet at Gulf City mall in La Romain in December 2011 and that restaurant has been doing very well. There are

ABSTRACT BUSINESS • JUNE, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

now also outlets in Tacarigua and most recently Montrose, Chaguanas. Wendy’s experienced a glitch in its expansion plans in October of 2011 when public health officers shut down the outlet on Ariapita Ave. for health violations. Wendy’s used the time to reorganize the way it prepared and served food and drink and does not seem to have suffered any negative reaction from consumers as a result of the closure. Managing director, Dane Darbasie believes that it is their attention to customer service that is giving them the edge in terms of sales on the island. While this may be true,

a look at the comments on the company’s facebook page indicate that they may be slipping in this area. With the opening of the Montrose outlet this year, Desk Restaurants is meeting its targets in terms of expansion. The stated goal is to open 11 outlets throughout Trinidad in the next five years and to be the most recognized brand in the region. Desks Restaurants entered into an agreement with the parent company of Wendy’s when they took on the franchise. The agreement was to open 25 outlets in the region and they are already in 17 countries so things seem to be on track.

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Samba Goes Beyond Brewing


hen Samba beer first hit the monopoly centric Trinidad and Tobago market well over a decade ago, many thought that it would be destined for failure. In fact, after the introductory marketing campaign subsided and visibility of the product ran low, people thought Samba was gone for good. Little did they know that its trial run was ultimately successful and expansion was underway. Now, the premium Pilsner quality lager is joined by a host of other brands under the Samba Brewing Company umbrella and they have made great strides throughout the region. The company’s products are being exported to USA, Canada, Surinam, Guyana, Grenada, Barbados, Dominica, Antigua and Jamaica. Among the Samba Brewery stable are Xtra Malt (2010 Gold Medal winner in Monde Selection), Stud Stout, Sparx Shandi Coolers, Big One Beer and Disney’s Mini Malt.

The success of the Sparx shandi brand has lent to expansion as well. Four flavours of the low-alcohol beverage are being produced. The company has had great success with these decidedly more family friendly products and as such, most of the local marketing is done surrounding them. Marketing and Advertising executive at Samba Brewing Company Sandy Joseph admitted as much to Abstract Business Guide. “We do not market our products heavily as our focus is largely on export. There is pretty much a beer monopoly in Trinidad and we are focusing on our niche markets. We do very little advertising, apart from when we embark on big projects.” Despite that, there are several marketing initiatives underway for their products. There is a collaborative project with Hot 93fm where Disney Mini Malt is a title sponsor for their competition with a prize of a trip to Disney world. Also,

To those who think that Samba Brewery is merely a beverage company churning out their signature products, they will be surprised to note that there has been some expansion in the services offered by the company Yes, you read it correctly; the company is an authorized International licensee to the Walt Disney Company and as such is producing and distributing three variations of the kid-friendly malt beverage. 4

the company has a back-toschool promotion. It is believed that a focus on community sponsorships and donations is what is needed right now. “We are focusing on the kids for our local marketing campaigns”

ABSTRACT BUSINESS • JUNE, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

Adds Joseph, further cementing the stance that actual Samba Lager is no longer the main focus of advertising locally. To those who think that Samba Brewery is merely a beverage company churning out their signature products, they will be surprised to note that there has been some expansion in the services offered by the company. Its business branches have stretched enough to enable partnership with other conglomerates on varying levels. Samba is also a distributor for the well known Grace brand. Plus, the company recently started co-packing for Pepsi.

Pepsi’s glass bottling needs are met by Samba while the Blue Waters Company deals with its plastics. No doubt, the General Manager of the brewery Luke Gittens would be proud of the progress the company is making. As the manager of human resource, he has hands on knowledge of the hard work each of his staff at the company’s El Socorro compound has to put in to ensure standards and targets are met. They will have to be extremely vigilant to keep up in a tense regional market and to continue to grow beyond brewing.



Infrastructure A Hurdle To Indian Investment Opportunities


hile physical currency may be local for the most part, the opportunity to acquire wealth remains global. There are numerous openings for business activity around the world as nations continue to feed off of each other’s resources. Plus, businesses often outgrow local niche markets and in order to fully facilitate expansion a need for overseas investment is required in order to facilitate continued growth. In 2013, Foreign Direct Investment opportunities continue to rise and few countries present a landscape as attractive as India. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has a history of combining with India in business. However, much of that has been on a governmental level. There are opportunities for the

the top 2 for horticultural products and accounts for 18 percent of global milk production, the largest in the world. India is also the largest exporter of beef in the world, shipping 1.5 million tons abroad via reefer containers. Nevertheless, several issues prevent the country from becoming the true business hub it can. Physical infrastructure is the biggest hurdle that India currently faces, to the extent that regional differences in infrastructure concentrates FDI to only a few specific regions. There have been efforts to remedy many of the issues that plague India in the aspects of telecommunications, highways and ports, but that cannot be accomplished overnight. Plus, the slow development and improvement of railways, water and sanitation continue to de-

Physical infrastructure is the biggest hurdle that India currently faces, to the extent that regional differences in infrastructure concentrates FDI to only a few specific regions private sector to infiltrate India as well, but as you will read this is not without its challenges. Ernst and Young’s European Attractiveness Survey three years ago (2010) ranked India as the 4th most attractive (FDI) destination with potential to be 2nd (behind China) by 2013. So far, this report has proven to be true. India is ranked globally in 6

ter major investors. The large production in horticulture and dairy sector has received the brunt of this. The country is not able to export enough of its surplus and as much as 40% of fresh produce is wasted, mainly due to lack of satisfactory handling in the supply chain. Several international consumer food retail-

ABSTRACT BUSINESS • JUNE, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

ers have bemoaned the inability to easily expand throughout India. The consumer retail market is already worth 15 Billion USD and food chains such as McDonalds and Dominoes have announced plans to double the number of outlets in the coming years. Yet, there are constraints due to lack of efficient supply chains to service their expansion. It may come as a shock to many that India does not have proper shipping and cargo infrastructure in place. Numerous goods are exported out of India, but the country’s containerization is perceived as only 20percent. Currently, Indian ports handle over 900 million tons of cargo and there are plans by the government to double the capacity and take this into the trillions in less than five years. Still, there remains no fast-track corridor for perishable cargoes in the country. The country is instead focusing on developing more container handling depots to build up greater capacity. There are roughly 175 container handling depots across the country. To combat the scourge of waste due to improper storage and handling, several investors –including the governmenthave invested in cold storage. Unfortunately, this does not solve the issue of coping with supply volumes since not much has been invested in transportation. Inter-India travel can take days to weeks via reefer trucks (which is the most popular transportation mode). Traffic gridlock can mean drivers travel at under 40km an hour and because of the country’s

size, there is a vast distance and sometimes disconnect between growers, storage and consumers. Apart from the infrastructural issues, federal legislation is another impediment for India. The country is known as the world’s largest democracy and where there is democracy there is often bureaucracy. Bureaucracy also harbours corruption. Local authorities in India are not part of the approval process and the paperwork system of operating at the highest level is a slow and inefficient process. Nobody likes red tape; especially where finances are concerned. One aspect of India’s FDI that is blossoming is real estate. Several worldwide corporations in IT and outsourcing have led investment in real estate. India is one of the world’s IT production capitals and an estimated 66 million square feet of IT space are to be developed by 2016. Where business and technology grows, so too will other aspects of commerce and industry. Residential and commercial complexes, amenities of the hospitality sector, healthcare facilities and leisure organizations run the gamut of popular real estate infrastructure to come. Diverse Foreign Direct Investment continues to be attractive in India due to a readily available work force or skilled and talented individuals, as well as lower costs of logistics, a constantly growing Indian market, steady growth of the Indian economy. The major hurdle to overcome is internal infrastructure.



Labour Productivity A Scourge


rinidad and Tobago has a large and diverse population in relation to its size. The country can boast a high education level and a host of highly skilled individuals in several technical fields. All that taken into account, there are still major issues surrounding the country’s dearth of labour productivity. The nation is well below its optimal level when it comes to productivity due to high absenteeism, poor customer service, employee retention and a shortage of specified skill sets. Plus, there is a general feeling that there are cultural issues which dictate the manner in which locals approach work. Trinbagonians have often perpetuated a laissez faire mentality that is very much anti work ethic. TTMA C.E.O Ramesh Ramdeen has firsthand experience with the problem having had to deal with this “major issue” of his since the start of his tenure. Mr. Ramdeen believes that our productivity level is “one of, if 8

not the biggest threat to trade” our nation currently faces. He posits that there are several issues which have contributed to the labour productivity crisis and he says government has a big part to play in enabling this social/industrial ill to continue. “All of the social programs like URP and CEPEP have created a dependency syndrome in some people where they can go to work for three hours a day and collect a check” says Ramdeen. “Not only have this government, but past regimes facilitated this.” He also thinks that love of self is a major deficiency. Trinidadians do not appreciate anything local and hence will not strive to protect or build anything locally. Therefore local industry is suffering a great deal. He cites Trinis who go abroad and work multiple jobs and are always on time, while they do the opposite here as evidence of this. While the government has been cited as a facilitator of low productivity, several regimes have attempted to pro-

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vide an increased productivity framework from which a productive workforce can operate. A large part of the population would agree that they are often denied jobs due to lack of experience. On the Job training was implemented to curb that. Similarly, there are those employers who claim that improper qualifications have inhibited the growth of Trinidad’s industrial human resource field. Gate and other forms of universal education have assisted in turning that around. Unfortunately, even with free education, several people have neglected to take advantage of it (especially those most in need). The country’s lack of technological savvy and innovation is also an issue that has led to poor productivity since we are currently in an age where physical paperwork is becoming obsolete. Students have been afforded laptops in an attempt to usher in a wave of technical independence, but the results of this will not be immediately seen.

There are some immediate signs that there may be an improved labour market. The Central Statistical Office has revealed that several industries have improved marketwise including construction, wholesale and retail and the hospitality industry. There were noticeable declines in the number of persons unemployed in those sectors yet, a marked decrease in productivity was seen. Various members of the health sector have stated that an unhealthy country is an unproductive one, saying that we are failing the nation’s economy with the number of terminally ill and disabled patients. UWI economist Karl Theodore said HIV/AIDS has had a destructive effect on our economy by lessening or workforce while costing a large part of the GDP to treat. The list of reasons for labour productivity issues in T&T is numerous, but one thing that is constant is the need to stem this to avoid further inflation.



A Sick Health Industry Written by Jiselle Douglas


n unhealthy nation is an unproductive nation. Our health care system is dwindling away whilst economists argue that our society has the funding to enhance this sector. Over the last decade our hospitals and health centers have been slowly dissipating. Our elderly, sick and babies are all becoming victims of the severity of this unkempt sector. Every financial year our health sector receives a large chunk of the budget, the underlying question is always “where is the money?” A source at the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) revealed that some of the major inefficiencies of

and procedures would increase the speed of some of its findings, quickening the process and the response to ailing patients. They all had one major concern and that was the shortage of staffing. The collective body exclaimed that they are overworked and underpaid. One nurse who spoke under the condition of anonymity complained that when long hours are worked staff is refused the adequate compensation. She expressed that there are also too many disparities in the care provision. She suggested that the ministry should have more drives in communities educating the population

They all had one major concern and that was the shortage of staffing. The collective body exclaimed that they are overworked and underpaid. One nurse who spoke under the condition of anonymity complained that when long hours are worked staff is refused the adequate compensation the local health industry are the lack of funding, she claimed that some basic necessities to make a shift productive is at times a struggle. She disclosed that the pharmacy is without the adequate supply of medicine, forcing families to source the medications outside of the hospitals. Another one said if they got proper Information systems to keep track of the patients and their history, life may be easier. She went on to say that advance technologies

that prevention is better than cure. Acquiesce to the public, provide relevant information, strategizing methods to better care of oneself. Become advocates in the prevention of life style diseases. Conversely, research has shown that these problems are not only affecting local forces but regional and international as well. Those are some of the forces that exert pressure on our health care delivery. A representative at the

Ministry of Health alleged that the ministry is moving toward a diversified and a holistic approach geared towards the enhancement of the system. He stated that the ministry is evolving, but before this drive happens, the managers have to recognize that we live in a much different world. He proclaimed that they have formulated a new package that includes some of the following strategies. Safer Patients he further explained that, this is where the patients are in an environment that protects them form harm.

preferences and values, they should all be treated individually. Timely care he collated his thoughts and said this is an expeditious strategy whereby it would decrease harmful delays leading unto untimely demises. Effective Care this is the core of all the strategies because this would instill discipline in persons of the system to prevent the wastages of supplies, equipments, ideas and energy.

Effective Care should be provided on accuracy of scientific information available. All other unnecessary information should be avoided when dealing with a patient or his family.

Equitable Care we are on a drive to eradicate favoritism based on gender, ethnicity, geographical location and socioeconomic status. In keeping with all of that we no have to consider Pro active leadership and proper incentives.

Patient Care Centre demonstrates that all patients have different needs,

Our focus is also to maintain a healthy nation because it produces a healthy workforce.

www.abstractbusinesstt.com • JUNE, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS




Financial Misconceptions That Will Ruin Your Business


usiness financing is a difficult business in itself. Handling the various money matters can pose serious problems if you do not have adequate knowledge and tact when making your decisions. Several business owners are hurt by the misconceptions that they think they know. Here are some financial misconceptions that can cripple your business if they aren’t dealt with. You determine your own price Many business owners think people want to purchase their product or service at the business owner’s price. This is probably one of the biggest financial misconceptions a new business owner can have. You need to understand your marketplace and your actual costs before you can set pricing. Many new business owners look at their cost of production, add the markup they want to make, and Sales means financial solvency Another issue many new business owners neglect to consider is the time it takes for payment. Selling $100,000 in product doesn’t mean your business will immediately receive $100,000. It may be 30 or 60 days before the payments come in. During the time between the sale and the payment, you need to be able to continue to operate your business. That means having enough working capital to purchase new materials, continue making payroll, and meet all of your other obligations while you’re waiting on

payments. set a price. This ignores how much demand there is (or isn’t) for the product or service, and it ignores the actual value in the marketplace. Instead, a new business owner should understand what the market is willing to pay and work backwards. If you can sell the product or service at the market rate and still afford to produce it while making a profit, it’s viable. If you can’t, it’s not. You don’t need insurance Does your company have adequate life insurance policies on its key personnel? Do you have lost income insurance in case your facility catches on fire? Do you have enough business liability insurance to protect your company from potential lawsuits? One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is to fall short on their contingency planning by not having enough

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insurance. The worst attitude a business owner can have is to think that catastrophe could not happen to him or his business. If your manufacturing facility burns down or your customers bring a class action lawsuit against you, then your business could be in jeopardy. Analyze your current insurance coverage and make sure you have enough to protect your business in case of an emergency. Credit is cool There’s nothing worse than making sales, doing the work, sending your customer an invoice and then not getting paid on time … or worse still not getting paid at all! It’s a well-established fact that the longer a debt isn’t collected the less chance it will be collected. Typical credit terms in most established businesses are 30 days. However, due to a culture amongst some customers of paying late and small

businesses not operating a strict credit control, a business can often not get paid on time and fast run out of cash. How do you avoid this? Appoint someone in the business to be in charge of credit control It’s vital that someone is responsible for sending out invoices and statements; reminding the customer that payment is due, handling queries on invoices etc. Let them reinforce your payment terms and conditions on your contracts, on your website, on your invoices, etc. It’s important that customers are aware of your payment terms and the consequences of late payment (cessation of service, interest charges and so on). Also, Send your invoices on time and include a statement of the account with each invoice. If you don’t send your invoice out at the end of each , how can you expect to get paid by the end of the following month? Saving is the same as Investing The financial planning industry have led us to believe that saving and investing are the same thing. They are not. The money you have in savings is money you don't want (or can't afford) to lose. Money you invest is subject to loss. Most people today invest to save, and as a result, have no idea what their nest egg will be worth when they plan to tap into it. Don't put money you can't afford to lose into stocks, real estate or other traditional investments. Before investing, ask yourself if your money didn't grow for 20 or more years, or even went backwards, could you live with that?



Is Venture Capital Funding A Good Option?


sually, the biggest obstacle between a great idea and actually realizing that idea in the scheme of a business is cash. Getting the right amount of capital to quell your business needs can be difficult. Not to mention, banks and other lenders usually have high interest rates to compound the hoops you already had to dive through. With VC financing, companies can acquire large sums of capital that would not be possible through bank loans or other conventional methods. While many are wary of venture capital investors, there are some benefits to consider. One bonus of venture capital investment is it provides you with more money with which to expand. This is the most obvious benefit of getting money from venture capital funding. You do not necessarily have to be in the red to ask for this type of funding. You can also use the capital in order to expand your business. You can buy new equipment, improve your

where along the way. Venture capitalists also provide expertise and industry connections that can be extremely valuable. Call it mentoring if you will. Venture capitalists provide companies with ongoing strategic, operational and financial advice. They will typically have nominee directors appointed to the company’s board and often become intimately involved with the strategic direction of the company. They do not usually try to influence the direction of a company until things go bad, but their advice is there if and when needed. Additionally, a VCI will bring with them a wealth of helpful alliances. Venture capitalists can introduce the company to an extensive network of strategic partners both domestically and internationally and may also identify potential acquisition targets for the business and facilitate the acquisition. A lot of business is about who you know as opposed to what you know so this is a vital benefit.

One bonus of venture capital investment is it provides you with more money with which to expand. This is the most obvious benefit of getting money from venture capital funding research and development, or some other aspect of your business with the extra capital. You may also choose to use the money as a form of insurance just in case your company runs the risk of losing money some-

Plus, you will be hard done by finding investors who are this willing to take risks. The venture capitalists are generally prepared to take high levels of risks in return for high potential profits when financ-

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ing start-ups. In fact, the very first risk is that venture capital funding does not require collateral nor charge interest payments, which is one of the main advantages of venture capital funding. However, they do assume a large part of the ownership of the company until they have fully achieved their returns set out. Most venture capitalists seek to realize their investment in a company in a short timeframe (usually three to five years). If an entrepreneur’s business plan contemplates a longer timetable before providing liquidity, venture capital may not be appropriate. There is also the disadvantage of having to secure a deal that can be a long and complex process. You'll be required to draw up a detailed business plan, including financial projections for which you're likely to need professional help. Also, if you

get through to the deal negotiation stage, you'll have to pay legal and accounting fees, whether or not you're successful in securing funds. Overall, the biggest issue with acquiring venture capital funding is that when accepting venture funding you are essentially trading away ownership of a portion of your company. The investors are nameless and faceless in many ways, and their one true goal is to ensure that money is earned through the company. Though the timeliness may be generous, you will be required to do all you can to ensure the investment is as lucrative as possible. Also, as you don’t know how successful your business may become, you may end up “paying” more of your business once it is profitable than the interest you would have paid through traditional loan methods. The choice is yours.




Synergy TV & OBM Concepts Marketing and Consulting

O ’ B r i a n


’Brian Haynes has been a pillar in the local entertainment industry for over 25 years. Once a popular figure at the forefront of the local media and entertainment landscape; Haynes used his merciless work ethic and commitment to excellence to help transition to the behind-the-scenes administrator few can rival. These days he spends his time developing the next wave of Trinidad and Tobago talent. He started as a young southern boy with his feet in the fashion industry. Soon he became the face of the groundbreaking Television programme Party Flava. He parlayed that into a radio career which began as an on-air announcer at FM 98.9. O’Brian rode to the top becoming Programme Administrator in charge of a staff of 45. And then his dream materialized. Mastering the art of radio, O’Brian was engaged to conceptualize and manage a radio station. He did. And Boom Champions 94.1 FM was born. That it is an acknowledged success is the stuff of dreams. But beyond being a dreamer, O’Brian works his dreams creating magic out of challenges. As he was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the two radio stations in the Radio Vision Network – the gritty, urban 94.1 FM and the edgy, talk station

H ay n e s

102.1 FM where he managed a staff of over 104 employees. He currently functions as General Manager of Synergy TV an urban formatted television station in Trinidad and Tobago. He is also the General Manager of OBM Concepts Marketing and Consulting. His veritable wealth of knowledge and experience in the media and entertainment fields are what makes him the epitome of the business Trump Card. We caught up with him for a brief chat. ABG: What does OBM Marketing and consulting offer? OBH: As the name suggests, it’s marketing and consultation services. I have always been

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an ‘ideas’ person. I bring new concepts and strategies to the table for a variety of people. I have opened every Francis Fashion store from the flagship on the Corner of Queen and Henry Street onward. We have been instrumental in putting together the mechanics and logistics of the marketing for several well known brands across the region. We also offer training and development for Television and radio presenters. We have been sanctioned by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union to develop media personnel on a general and practical level. We also figure into putting events together. We handle protocol and Visa clearance issues for artistes who are to come to Trinidad and Tobago. Soca Monarch is another event I have invested my energies into. ABG: How do you find the time to handle a role as demanding as the one Synergy presents? OBH: For one, the operations involve a lot of people so it’s not only me. Also, I have a serious work ethic. Ever since I was young I was that way. I never sit back and relax. I am always working. I feel weird when

I don’t. It is not uncommon for my workdays to go from 6am to 9pm. For example my workday at Synergy officially starts at ten, but I am here since half past seven. By ten all my emails would have been cleared and I would have done some strategizing so when the other managers come in I can start detailing how things should go. I am very results driven so I set that example for myself. ABG: What are some areas of weakness in the local media/ entertainment industry? OBH: Our industry is like a force ripe mango. Some areas are sweet and juicy and others are tart and sour. There is an innate insecurity that people in the spotlight have and it is keeping us from progressing. There is also no succession planning. We have people who are in parties and on the radio playing music and their children are in their late teens partying where their parents are playing music. There must be another avenue for them so that fresh new blood comes in. These are limitations in both the media and entertainment. Nobody is taking time to nurture the next crop. Who are the next Machel and Destra?


TRUMP CARD Who is helping them? This is a fast turnover industry. There is no appetite for or value placed on quality. Look at the Jamaican model. I brought Luciano here several years ago and he requested 16 people in his rider. His band consisted of 10 people including himself. While he was singing a young boy was with a towel occasionally wiping off Luciano’s sweat. Luciano gave the boy an opportunity to sing and some years later that boy turned out to be Sizzla. Vybz Kartel did the same with Popcaan and Bounty Killer did the same with Elephant Man and Mavado. Why can’t our stars include promising talents on their riders and give them a chance? Usher signed Justin Bieber and Akon signed Lady Gaga. Our entertainers could easily take someone abroad and give them that experience. Ego is killing too many stars here. Nobody wants to see someone get bigger than them. I remember investing time in Kevin Baker when he was young and giving him a chance on 98.9fm. The CEO back then said she did not like what he brought to the table and asked me to get rid of him. I said if he has to go then I’m going because I saw the potential. Now, Kevin Baker is a senior announcer on the Boom. Even on the radio stations, it was always a war… no unity. ABG: Have you made attempts to join forces with other CEO’s and major figures in the industry? OBH: I made attempts while I was on radio, but we are working on a platform of consumption. The other heads are only interested in getting what they can now. There is no growth. For example, 96.1fm and 96.7fm are not innovators. They didn’t build anything. They used their resources and bought up the best people they could find. When I started with Boom Champions, I had

a bunch of nobodies and was able to build the brand. When I was at the boom I introduced a Jouvert band (Colour Me Orange). That band made serious losses for the first three years. In the fourth year it made a substantial profit with over 2500 masqueraders. The school tour also lost lots of money. It made a $60,000 loss in the first year and over $120, 000 in the second year, but we grew and now it is in its 16th year. It is important to know the seed you are planting and know the germination time. That’s why I’m happy to be at Synergy where I can take my time and plan and build again.

O'brian (right) with Media colleague Tamara William

ABG: Apart from Crime Watch and the news there has been little local content garnering interest on television. Gone are the days of Calabash Alley and Sugar Cane Arrows it seems. OBH: That is because we don’t have innovators and builders in top positions on local networks. They just follow the crowd. They try to please people and get what is popular overseas. However, people are programmable. If we give them something enough they will accept it and learn to love local. It’s just a matter of giving people a chance. Right now on Synergy I am exploring several avenues that are educational and can be used as quality reality TV programming. The content on local TV is mostly foreign stuff you can get on cable or the internet anyway. Why are they paying so much to buy these shows when we can give someone local a chance and build something here?

goes in separate directions and we only talk about unity. However, there is too much bureaucracy and hidden agendas. I’d place the emphasis on what we can build and not what we can immediately gain. I would also stress the need for planning. The Government is giving 2million dollars to the winners of Panorama and Soca Monarch, but what are the returns? The Miss Universe model shows how it can be done. The pageant winners are obligated to represent various entities once they have the title. Our winners are not obligated to do anything. They should have to appear in ads for the Ministry of Tourism or something that would benefit us. Planning is a farce. Every year we have to rebuild the North Stand and up to now we can’t get parade routes or anything right for Carnival.

everything I needed to know about television. Without him, I’d be lost. Brenda De Silva taught me the power of a microphone. She helped me in broadcasting. Hamilton Clement is a genius who taught me the business side of media. He is still around actually and unfortunately I’m not sure if anyone is tapping into his wealth of knowledge.

ABG: If you were the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism, what would be the first thing on your agenda? OBH: To have a long talk with the major players in the industry. Culturally everyone

ABG: Who was the most influential person in your career? OBH: There is no one person. Jacqui Koon How taught me the importance of family and working as a team. Wendell Constantine showed me

ABG: Anything else you want to add? OBH: I just think we need to be serious about planning and giving our people a chance to grow. We need to put aside the egos and work together and truly build something.

ABG: What are your views on censorship? Have you witnessed attempts of media colleagues being censored? OBH: I personally cannot say I have. I think the word censorship is one that has been bandied around for personal gain by different people. Government is a business and people will say what they have to in order to create public distrust. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

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raffic in Trinidad and Tobago remains an elusive problem. It insights congestion, unlawfulness and contributes to economic losses via lost man hours. Our transport infrastructure consists of the network of roads and related structures which allow the transport of goods and people by vehicular traffic throughout the country. The city of Port of Spain is a prime centre for economic activities and as such bears the greatest demand on its road network. Growth of the economy along with the extension of consumers buying power as it relates to vehicles further fuels an increasing traffic volume. Despite the varying modes of transportation, traffic continues to be an issue amongst our population. We possess a well-developed highway system that links east to west and north to south communities. In this regard, we have also developed several means for transportation. The state owned bus company, Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) operates 300 medium, full sized and articulated buses per day. There are taxis throughout the nation and buses which operate on the Priority Bus Route (PBR) from Arima to Port of Spain. The ferry service runs from Port of Spain to Scarborough while the Water Taxi system links north to south. In addition, there are two major ports handling international and regional cargo as well as two international airports. In light of the various forms of transportation available one may then question how effi-

Written by Leah Lewis

cient these services really are. The heavily utilised modes of transport are: PTSC, bus, taxi and recently water taxi. The water taxi does in fact provide relief to some members of the population who revel in this hassel free mode of transportation. It is a convenient and allows one to be able to safely park their car and beat the traffic into the city. Several daily commuters utilising the PTSC service commented on the long waiting periods between buses and the issue of not being on time with the advertised schedule. The exact opposite is the case for bus and taxi services which operate without published schedules and rarely work odd hours. As a result, informal taxis operate on rural routes and unsociable hours. Although this is an illegal practice it does aid in alleviating transport woes. The Ministry of Transport is aware that the current means of transport are not adequate. As a result, they have embarked upon several initiatives. In an effort to ensure security PTSC has embarked on a project to equip its fleet with GPS tracking systems. The Corporation is also in the process of acquiring specially outfitted buses to cater to the needs of the differently abled in the society. The Corporation has also recently re-opened the Arima Terminal Facility and has introduced services to many rural communities including Brasso Seco, Carapo and Mundo Nuevo among others. They introduced the water taxi service system at a heavily subsidised rate. The PBR has also been extended for a further six

The Ministry of Transport is aware that the current means of transport are not adequate. As a result, they have embarked upon several initiatives (6) months during the period 4:00am – 6:00am and 8:30am3:00pm. This extension is a pilot programme to analyse its effect on reducing traffic during the rush hour periods. In addition, there is also the draft bill for PH taxis to function in the capacity as H taxis. Looking to the future of transport the toll system, carpooling and the rapid rail system are options that can be explored as alternatives to reducing traffic congestion and increasing road efficiency. The toll system would require drivers to pay a fee to access roads or highways. Carpooling is another initiative that

can be under taken. However, in order for this method to be fully effective legislation has to be in place for proper monitoring of this mechanism. The option of introducing the rapid rail system seems quite plausible. However over the last few years there have been 2 sub sector transport studies and less than 50% of the recommendations have been undertaken. Until we exhaust all options for further development of the road infrastructure there is no room for the rapid rail. The implementation of this system may result in gridlock across the nation’s already crowded roads. www.abstractbusinesstt.com • JUNE, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS 17





Written by Leah Lewis

ustomers want security and convenience when carrying out their banking needs. In this fast paced era, simplicity and ease of access in a timely manner are key tools that the everyday customer greatly appreciates. The bank offers a variety of tools and services to help customers maximise on their investments. However, long lines are a convincing factor that often deters persons form completing their transactions on time. To curb this discrepancy and further ensure the satisfaction of customers banks have now gravitated towards online banking as a means to keep customer appreciation at the pinnacle of importance. After all, happy customers spend more and a bank is a business. Local banks such as First citizens and ScotiaBank are now utilising online technology to attend to the needs of their customers. Larry Nath, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer stated that they are intent on strengthening their commitment to their customers. They hold true to this promise with their online options. First Citizens online banking is available 24/7 free of charge. It keeps you informed and allows you to acquire on the go account information via email alerts. Their customers can make queries and attain general information via the online banking secure messaging facility. There is no longer a need to wait on statements since you can view your account, credit card balances and transaction history online. The dreadful hassel of long lines is a thing of the past since

one can simply pay credit card bills, make payments to over 30 institutions, including banks, financial institutions and merchants on the go or right in the comfort of your home. This is a great way to save time and energy. You can even open an account or apply for a loan online. In the same way, ScotiaBank also offers the option of online banking where you can pay bills, check your account balance, transfer funds etc. However, they have gone a step further and also offer banking services through the smartphone Scotia Mobile app. In addition to this they also launched Scotia Premium banking. According to Ms Anya Schnoor- Managing Director, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, “The Scotiabank Premium Banking offer is focused on clients who want a more personal service and who need more tailored products and solutions”. She states that their goal is to

banking officer and team of specialists: priority processing and teller services, dedicated branch space and a premium banking contact centre that is available 24/7, seven days a

The dreadful hassel of long lines is a thing of the past since one can simply pay credit card bills, make payments to over 30 institutions, including banks, financial institutions and merchants on the go or right in the comfort of your home understand the customers’ financial goals and find solutions to help them discover what’s possible. This system of banking pairs the customer with a relationship officer who understands their financial needs. Scotiabank Premium Banking offers clients priority service through a designated premium

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week. Clients also have access to a specialised premium banking package that includes a deposit account, ScotiaCard card and a credit card. They would also enjoy exclusive privileges such as an annual priority pass membership with four annual complimentary passes to more than 600 lounges around the

world and invitations to local events. While some customers appreciate the human touch of one on one confirmation others gravitate towards speed of access and efficiency. Banks are aware that in today’s modern world technology is at the fore front of business decisions. Hence the pull towards mobile apps and online banking services that enable customers to carry out a plethora of banking transactions at the click of a button. Customers appreciate variety and the ease of doing business on their own time. The banks’ ability to acknowledge this need and their efforts to provide options for quick banking is a sure sign of how technology and acute service can brighten the hopes of banking customers across the globe as they seek to alleviate the perils of the bank.



Local Hospitality and Tourism Industry an Open Market


ver the past 10 years Trinidad and Tobago has seen vast growth in our hospitality and tourism market and the quality of our products offered. We have several major International Hotel Chains and several locally branded signature hotels; Hyatt Regency, Hilton Worldwide, Courtyard by Marriot, The Carlton Savannah, Holiday Inn Express and in late 2013 the expected opening of the Radisson at the location which was previously branded as Holiday Inn and then Crowne Plaza. These brands carry with them a level of service in keeping with their brand standards and trademark signature amenities. Some locally grown brands are Crews Inn, Kapok, Chancellor Hotel, Royal Palm, Cascadia Hotel, Paria Suites, Cara Suites, Coco Reef, Turtle Beach Resort by Rex, Sandy Point Village, Magdalena Grand and many others. A full list can be found on the popular travel website www.tripadvisor. com which is a great online resource when searching for accommodations for any country in the world including our very own twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago is known as the mecca of entertainment and festivals. Our Carnival generates millions every year in revenue and creates jobs for many of our citizens yearly. We are also known for having some of the largest meeting and conference spaces in the English speaking Caribbean. We can boast of hosting the first African American US President, Barack Obama for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which ran from Nov 27 - 29 2009. We also hosted the CARICOM meetings that same year along with the visit of Queen Elizabeth II on Nov 26.

Written by Leon Williams

Hotels are great for meetings, weddings, graduations, conferences, trade shows and more. These events were possible because of the existing infrastructure which permitted it. It has allowed for the emergence of an event planning industry. In fact, event planning has become a fertile career choice for many over the years. An average wedding at a Hotel can cost someone from $10,000TT - $1,000 000TT and more. This cost is broken down into many expenses, but one of the main expenses is the right wedding planner who is considered a specialist in the event industry. The cost for a planner can start from $6000TT $30,000TT+ depending on the package offered. Some event planners are multi-faceted individuals and they may also do décor, floral arrangement or catering. Others may outsource these talents, further creating employment for others in the process. Within the last decade many government and private investors have invested in standalone conference facilities such as The National Academy for The Performing Arts (NAPA), the Centre of Excellence, MovieTowne Banquet Facility and Queen’s Park Cricket Club, just to name a few. A conference or meeting facility is a great investment for the wise investor. Weddings, birthday parties, retirement functions, graduations, awards ceremonies and board meetings need space and having the right available option is always great. The Conventions Bureau was set up to aid in the support of this growing industry where event planners can register and benefit from a network of resources and also to bring standards to the industry. Beyond the many signature events known to Trinidad and Tobago one can look around and

see a plethora of beautiful hotels and resorts; as well as local attractions such as nature parks, museums, a zoo, beach facilities and historic and religious sites. Who these attractions are really for? Why did the government invest in these multimillion dollar tourism development projects? Why are they still investing? Who else is investing and what does that mean to us as local tourists or are these investments just for international visitors? Domestic Tourism or what we commonly refer to as “Local Tourism” is the term given to natives of that country traveling and exploring within their country. Trinidad and Tobago’s domestic tourism market is a growing one that is yet to peak; we have seen an increase in domestic travel between both islands especially during the periods of holiday/long weekends and the July-August vacation period. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the few countries in the world with many national holidays. These long weekends are great for travel, but many persons are not willing to spend thousands of dollars just for a 3-4 day trip. They would rather choose cheaper options such as spending between $100 -$300 in gas and food supplies and take the family on a road trip to the beach, river or to one of the local attractions. Some attractions frequented during these long weekends are the Asa Wright Nature Resort, Fondes Amandes (Forest preservation), Nature Seekers (hikes and turtle watching), Wild fowl Trust, Chaguaramas (hikes, kayaking, caves, down the islands) or to Tobago via the fast ferry or Caribbean Airlines. Many of the local attractions are managed by the government or private bodies. Such places create employment for people within the community and bring

in substantial revenue as a minimum cost is attached to enter some of these sites. Some are free to visit by the public and they may be required to pay for the various amenities offered. Over the Easter weekend of 2013 the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago calculated transporting 3410 individuals for this period alone with sold out trips to and from the sister isle over a 5 day period. Caribbean Airlines usually has to add additional flights the meet the requests of many domestic tourists hoping to get to Tobago for some rest and relaxation. While domestic tourism is doing well, there is always room for improvement. There is still a need for more hotels and resorts within Trinidad and (especially)Tobago. Whether it is funding from the government, from the private sector or joint ventures there is great room for investment that will stimulate economic growth within the industry locally. Tourism is not just about the gaining foreign visitors it is also about us, the locals, who partake in the natural and manmade resources we have to offer. We are fortunate to have the best of both worlds in Trinidad & Tobago; a busy bustling Capital City full of thriving business within the energy industry with vibrant nightlife to match. Part of that nightlife revolves around our fabulous cuisine. Our chefs are known for serving out gourmet dishes of five star standards to internationally known nightspots. This adds the perfect balance to our myriad cultural expressions throughout the twin islands. Local Hospitality and Tourism is indeed an open market. With the current rate of investment it seems to be one that may be open for a very long time to come.

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Getting the Most From Your Website


lmost every business needs a website and the ones that don’t need one should get one anyway. If you are considering building a company site or you already have one; these tips should help you maximize your site’s worth. Regular updates: In the online world, content is key. Creating quality content on a regular basis is the most effective way to attract and retain Web traffic. One of the best ways to add more content to the site is to have a blog. Sharing expertise can be a great way to add content and provide additional value to the website. Other ways to improve the content include simply changing some of the featured images and graphics throughout the site to make it feel fresh and revived. Doing this every few weeks can pique interest and allow returning

giving me the information I need - and can I find it quickly? Ensure the style of your site makes it easy to read. Avoid things like black backgrounds with white text (inverse text is harder to read) ALL CAPS (humans read by identifying word shapes - writing in all caps forces people to read every letter and quickly becomes annoying - plus on the net it is used as an typographic method of indicating you are screaming) You should also check your web site using a colour blind test to ensure that visitors with the various types of colour-blindness can still actually read your navigation. Branding: Before attempting to design a website, businesses must first identify their core brand values. It is essential that these values are reflected in the company’s online presence and that they meet the demands of

Before attempting to design a website, businesses must first identify their core brand values visitors to investigate other parts of the website they may not have explored. Consider Style: In the grand scheme of things the "looks" of a web site in the classic sense are not really that important - honestly! Once people have looked at a web site for a few minutes they will quickly discard their first impression (based on looks) and move immediately to asking - is this site

the company’s target audience. One way to achieve results is to invest in market research that asks the target audience what they like view. Also, by looking at competitors' pictures and their visual language, businesses can improve their own websites. Create A Mobile App: With mobile device usage skyrocketing, a mobile-friendly web site is practically essential. A mo-

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bile site means your customers can access information on the go, wherever they may be. It also means they'll be more likely to share your site with friends, since they'll be able to pull it up and show it to others, even when not at a computer. As an added bonus, mobile sites can often be more accessible to those with visual impairments, or who may have difficulties using a mouse, but find touch displays easier to manipulate. If you can't afford to go all out and have a separate version of your site for mobile users, then at least speak with your developer and make sure they are aware that you want the web site as functional and legible as possible on mobile devices. Feature Your Social Media

Channels: For those businesses investing in their social media presence, missing widgets or links back to your channels from your website is a gross oversight. Consumers today expect to be able to engage local businesses through Facebook, Twitter and other platforms; if you have a presence on these sites, they should be visible on your website. Since social media content is updated so frequently and easily, featuring corresponding widgets on your website will enable visitors to see a constant stream of relevant (as well as personable) information about your business and its offerings. For search and consistency purposes, do your best to use similar vanity URLs for each of your social media channels.



IT Safety Tips


here are many different kinds of cyber crime. A criminal might try to gain access to your information – like your email password, banking details or social security number. They might do this by installing malware on your computer, trying to hack into your account, or tricking you into giving them the information. Then they could steal from you, impersonate you or even sell your details to the highest bidder. That can be especially nightmarish for those operating a small business. Don’t let all your hard work go down the drain because some nerd with daddy issues decided to use your information for their own benefit. Instead, follow the rules of IT safety mentioned here. Use discretion Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy." Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads from freeware or shareware sites. Install protective software and use firewalls there are numerous quality virus scans which are available for free download for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. However, since free downloads can be dangerous, feel free to invest and buy one for your business. When installed, the software should be set to scan your files and update your virus definitions on a regular basis. It is also important to note that Macintosh and Windows computers have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating systems. When set

up properly, these firewalls protect your computer files from being scanned. Choose strong passwords Choose strong passwords with letters, numbers, and special characters to create a mental image or an acronym that is easy for you to remember. Create a different password for each important account, and change passwords regularly. Don't enter sensitive information into a public computer The world of business is just that… a world. Therefore, it is unlikely you will conduct all of your business from the comfort of your office. You may have to use public computers once in a while. However, it is advised that you refrain from entering sensitive information on any pc that is not yours. There are several casual hackers who use public computer after you have and God knows what they may be willing to do with your information. Also keep in mind that an industrious thief might have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that records every keystroke and then emails that information back to the thief. Then it doesn't matter if you haven't saved your information or if you've erased your tracks. They still have access to this information. If you really want to be safe, avoid typing your credit card number or any other financial or otherwise sensitive information into any public computer. Require substantial verification before accessing a company computer To ensure that your business’ computers are only used by

Also keep in mind that an industrious thief might have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that records every keystroke and then emails that information back to the thief approved employees, request that a username and password be given before even gaining access to the desktop. In addition, request a password for access to other programs used by your business. Plus, make sure that employees know the importance of not leaving their computers on or unattended with open access to sensitive information. Map out a disaster preparedness plan Don't wait until it's too late. Identify your critical resources, use appropriate security and backup solutions to archive important files, and test frequently. This is usually

the last thing most people think of doing, but having a working plan is critical to your recovery after an unplanned unfortunate event. Educate yourself and employees This would first mean educating yourself. Keep abreast of the latest security measures and pass on the information where possible. Develop Internet security guidelines and educate employees about Internet safety, security and the latest threats, as well as what to do if they misplace information or suspect malware on their machine.

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Developing the Entrepreneur

Enhancing Your Entrepreneurial Skill Set

he modern entrepreneur is not successful by chance. The business world is far too populated and competitive for luck to be a major factor in success. Moreover, there are important qualities which must be taken advantage of if one is to develop as a entrepreneur. Here are some important additions to that skill set. Planning Being able to project into the future and build a plan to accomplish your objectives is a skill that can take any entrepreneur far. Effective planning is what will guide your business and ultimately define what you’re all about. The skilled business planner knows that planning is only an effective skill when combined with action, so they don’t get bogged down in planning rather plan with flexibility in mind. Don’t exclude strong time planning and management here, as without it, little else can be planned well. Time Management Besides the potential distraction in the form of email, voicemail and the ENTIRE Internet, the other main source of distraction is people who are asking for your time and attention. That’s why protecting your time makes the list of essential entrepreneurial skills because as your business grows, so does the number of people requesting your time and attention. Learn how to filter requests and say no to the ones that don’t fit from the get-go. Adaptability We live and work in a fast-paced

world. Managers have to be flexible, capable of adapting on the fly to changing conditions. If you can't adapt, you'll never last. You won't be able to face the obstacles that competitive markets throw at you and, not just persevere, but come out on top. And you won't be effective working with a diverse group of peers and executives, either. Strong Decision Making Attributes There are a lot of decisions that you are going to need to make, and these decisions are going to impact your future. Nevertheless, you can't afford to spend too much time thinking about these things. Instead, you must simply make a decision and go for it. Of course, you can always make adjustments along the way, but in order to get going you must first make a judgment call.

to trust others to do their job and to do it well. No matter how amazing you may think you are, you cannot work everyone else's job along with your own. If you are confident in the abilities of others, you can allow them to shine. Your ideas are not always the only ideas or the best ideas. By showing confidence in the abilities of others, you allow for new ideas to emerge into the business. Also, in my experience, people try harder to do a better job when they know people trust in their abilities and can count on them. Being confident in your own abilities is critical to your success. Confidence is not only an attribute, but a skill to be mastered. Many people can show confidence when certain things are going in their favor, it takes a great leader to have confidence even when things are not going well.

Confidence Confidence is an important skill to have. You should have confidence in your ideas, in yourself and in others. You have

Communication & Persuasion It is a skill to be able to express an idea in a clear and concise manner. You should

be able to pick out the most important concepts of your ideas and speak about them with clarity. You will also need to understand thoroughly the business industry in order to be persuasive. If you are talking to a potential investor and you get asked a hard question, be prepared to be asked an even harder question if you are unable to answer the first question. If you don't have an answer, it shows a gap in your knowledge. Too many gaps and you are out of a deal. You should also have enthusiasm. If you are not enthusiastic about your idea, it is hard to persuade others to believe it is good one. Knowledge, experience & Expertise Experience allows one to tackle challenges with confidence in a given area. Broad knowledge facilitates the same success in other business areas. Entrepreneurs need this, because their challenges are across the spectrum from technical to legal, operational, financial, and organizational.

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oday, it can be anything from jeans and sneakers, to the traditional office suit in the corporate environment but it all depends on how your boss or manager interprets an existing dress code policy. In these modern days you still see a lot of people that do not know how to dress for the office. Just take a stroll through Port-of-Spain or as a matter of fact, just find a nice shady seat on the Brian Lara Promenade and you will notice all the horrors. After much field research, we here at Abstract Business Guide are focusing on the corporate look. Bright colors, spaghetti strap tops, flat slippers, short skirts/dresses are some of the things that are a definite NO. Having grown weary of seeing the number of persons wearing improper work attire in Port of Spain alone we decided to give some good, basic advice on what to wear at the office. MEN Suits - A traditional suit is preferred to a blazer. The color should either be dark blue or gray in either a solid colour or invisible plaid with a pressed long-sleeved white dress shirt.

If you buy or borrow one, a conservative sports coat and dress slacks are best. Shirts - White shirts are always your first choice. Solid blue is an acceptable alternative. If you don’t own either, you should really go buy one. Get plain or button down cotton fabric. Polyesters and nylon are out. Grooming - Avoid heavy cologne or aftershave. Socks - Dark, neat and preferably over the calf. White athletic socks are a big “no no” unless you are working as a summer camp counselor at a sports camp. Shoes - Clean and polished leather lace-up black or dark brown shoes are best. Avoid shoes with a run down heel. Neckties - Ties can definitely make a statement about who you are. If who you are includes a Bugs Bunny tie, then develop an alter ego for the office. Conservative silk ties are best. Be sure the tie coordinates with the suit, is solid or has small neat patterns. Be sure the knot is neat and centered on your neck. The bottom of the tie should just reach your belt.

White shirts are always your first choice. Solid blue is an acceptable alternative. If you don’t own either, you should really go buy one 24 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • JUNE, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

Belts - Wear a black or brown belt, one inch wide, no large buckles. Hair - Clean, well-groomed and professional looking. If you are attending a job interview, remember, the choice to cut your hair is yours, but the choice to hire you is the interviewer’s. Be sure beards and mustaches are neat and trimmed. Accessories - No flashy cuff links, rings or gold chains. A wedding or college ring is fine. No earrings. Not even one small one. No visible body piercings. WOMEN Suits - Skirted suits are almost always preferable. A solid navy, grey or black suit with a solid or light colored blouse is recommended for most positions. Avoid brown, green or pastel suits. Business dresses are acceptable in fields that are less formal and less conservative. Avoid frilly collars and cuffs. Shirts - A light colored blouse is ideal. Makeup - Natural looking and conservative. Avoid bright colors. Use neutral or clear nail polish on clean and manicured

nails. Avoid heavy perfumes. Hosiery - Light, natural color, plain style (no patterns). Shoes - Should be conservative and complement the color & style of the suit. Low to medium heels is ideal. Basic pumps, toes should be closed, no strappy shoes, and avoid multi-colored trim. Hair - Should be freshly cleaned and neatly styled. Long hair should be worn as conservatively as possible. Accessories - One conservative, non-dangling earring per ear, one ring per hand. No dangling or distracting bracelets. Avoid purses of any size. Carry a portfolio or briefcase instead. No visible body piercings beyond earrings. Your appearance on the job is a mirror that reflects your personal style in the context of the office culture and the nature of your job. What you wear continues to say a lot about your work. So think about your company, your teammates, clients, management, and your position when reaching into your closet and you'll always come out a winner.



The Top 3 Failing and Flourishing Industries


he global economic landscape is a fickle one. One day a company is a relevant, champion brand and then it’s all over and they are trying to salvage whatever profits they can before they are gone. This article is not specific to any one company, but it focuses on the industries which are currently shining or failing globally. With that said, here are the top three flourishing and failing industries worldwide in 2013. Let’s start with the winners… Education There seems to be no slowing down for this industry. Education easily contributed tens of billions of dollars over the last few years and in 2013, the educational services industry is still growing. With millions of students seeking

Green building construction There is expected to be a significant increase in growth in green enterprise. Construction is on the decline in most countries, but this specialty section of the industry has shown significant promise. Cleaner, more energy efficient and environmentally responsible living is being promoted worldwide and constructing to suit is a must. Going green will continue to be the trend as construction rebounds. Newspapers Trinidad and many third world countries are a bit behind the times, but we will get there. In fact, newspaper advertising locally has suffered some even though people have not advertised much online in its place. You are currently reading this in a magazine, but soon

There seems to be no slowing down for this industry. Education easily contributed tens of billions of dollars over the last few years and in 2013, the educational services industry is still growing various levels of certification in order to compete in the world of work, you can bet that this industry will continue to be important. Working as a teacher or a professor continues to be rewarding both from a financial and a professional point of view!

your news will be accessed almost solely via computers or mobile devices. The old print business is dying in many areas, and it's impossible to make up all the lost revenue by giving news away for free online. More papers are starting to charge readers for access, to help

26 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • JUNE, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

augment advertising revenue. Now for a look at the failing Industries… The Tobacco Industry Addiction is hard to conquer, so all the smokers around the world aren’t going to put out their butts just yet. There are close to a billion smokers worldwide. However, that should be no solace to the tobacco industry. They have continued to see steady decreases in profitability. Globally, laws and regulations concerning smoking in restaurants and public places have taken a toll on accessibility. This has determined a dramatic decrease in the number of cigarettes sold in 2012, and this year cigarette manufacturers expect an even bigger drop. Trinidad and Tobago has mirrored most of the world and raised taxes on cigarettes. This has directly impacted sales. Photofinishing How many people you know

still go to photo studios to get pictures developed? Digital photos are archived online now. Plus, those who choose to print photos tend to use online services or do it themselves at home. Those trends are airbrushing traditional retail photo outlets out of the economy. Photofinishing services are disappearing before our eyes. A fifteen percent loss in jobs in that field is expected to be realized. Recordable media Just as photo studios are suffering so too is another aspect of the digital mediascape. The digital revolution is also gutting the market for CDs and DVDs as more people stream music and video over the Internet. DVD and video game rental stores are becoming scarce, and the DVD-by-mail business, which seemed revolutionary a decade ago, is now becoming more and more antiquated with each passing day.



May Stock Summary Courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange

Written Report for Tuesday, 28 May, 2013


verall Market activity resulted from trading in 14 securities of which 2 advanced, 4 declined and 8 traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 460,713 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $9,072,623.16. SAGICOR FINANCIAL CORPORATION

was the volume leader with 171,175 shares changing hands for a value of $1,079,945.43, followed by TRINIDAD CEMENT LIMITED with a volume of 146,740 shares being traded for $140,420.12. ANSA McAL LIMITED contributed 100,000 shares with a value of $6,722,000.00, while NATIONAL FLOUR MILLS LIMITED added 11,290 shares valued at

$7,967.50. TRINIDAD CEMENT LIMITED enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.01 to end the day at $0.96. Conversely, SAGICOR FINANCIAL

Stocks Advancing: Security


Closing Quote ($)

Change ($)








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CORPORATION suffered the day's greatest loss, falling $0.04 to close at $6.31. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 1,450 shares valued at $30,522.50. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND remained at $21.05. FORTRESS CARIBBEAN PROPERTY FUND remained at $5.00. PRAETORIAN PROPERTY MUTUAL FUND remained at $3.50. The Second Tier Market did not witness any activity. FNCU VENTURE CAPITAL COMPANY LIMITED (SUSPENDED) remained at $1.00. MORA VEN HOLDINGS LIMITED remained at $14.97.

Stocks Trading firm: 100,000























28 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • JUNE, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

In Tuesday's trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices: * The Composite Index declined by 0.28 points (0.02%) to close at 1,121.62. * The All T&T Index declined by 0.30 points (0.02%) to close at 1,813.27. * The Cross Listed Index declined by 0.04 points (0.07%) to close at 55.93. * The Composite Index comprises all Ordinary companies. * The All TTSE Index comprises Trinidadian companies only. * The Cross Listed Index comprises companies originating outside of Trinidad & Tobago.

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