Abstract Business Guide Issue 6

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Disclaimer: The views or opinions presented in this publication are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Employees of ABSTRACT MEDIA GROUP COMPANY LIMITED are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right. Any such article is contrary to company policy and is outside the scope of the employment of the individual writer concerned. The company will not accept any liability in respect of such article, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising.



Guardian Group To Benefit From Regional Rebranding


calculated and strategic approach aimed at producing the right mix of long and short-term returns for the company and its clients alike. Put simply, that is how the recent rebranding of the wellknown insurance Holding company Guardian Holdings Limited to Guardian Group can be defined. The move sees former individual brands which were under the Guardian Holdings umbrella assume one name and one brand. Guardian Life, Guardian General, Guardian Asset Management, Globe Insurance, West Indies Alliance, FATUM, and RSA all assume the simplified name and branding of Guardian Group. The rebranding initiative which officially took place in

ing what the core value proposition of insurance is, and really, it’s quite simple. The core value proposition of insurance is that we deliver financial peace of mind. Our customers want to know that in times of stress in their lives, whether it’s the loss of a loved one or the loss of a piece of property that the financial consequences of that loss are going to be taken care of. Now, for us to be successful, we have to be able to deliver that value proposition better than our competitors, and the best way for us to do that is to offer superior customer service at all of our touch points and we have to do that in a very efficient way and in a very caring way. Now, the key success for our group really lies in the size of our group but at the moment, we really don’t www.abstractbusinesstt.com • AUGUST, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS 1

July was actually almost three years in the making. In 2010 a decision was made to examine the impact of the Guardian brand in the market. In order to facilitate this in the 22 territories in which various entities of the Group existed, there was born a need for uniformity. For years Guardian Holdings grew largely by acquisition and spanned much of the English and Dutch Caribbean. Now, Guardian subsidiaries such as Fatum Holdings, Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) and Globe Insurance Company will be absorbed under one name hence adopting a single identity. Group Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications, Larry Olton shared some insight on the rebranding process with the Abstract Business

Guide. He revealed that it was essential to helping clients and potential clients better connect with the brand. “The group is one single group doing various lines of business, but there is limited market understanding of the size, strength, stability and spread of the group across the region. That was because there was disconnect. Nothing tells you that Fatum is part of Guardian. Nothing says that West Indies Alliance, is part of Guardian etcetera. We took a strategic decision to solidify the presence of the group.” These sentiments were echoed by Group Chief Executive Officer Jeffery Mack who stated via the group website: “People ask me why we’re rebranding. The answer to that, I think, really lies in understand-


local business take advantage of the size of our group. We need to be able to operate as one integrated financial service organization that has a shared vision, a shared corporate culture and a shared image and that image needs to be of a large, strong, reliable and caring organization that delivers on that financial peace of mind. Operating as one team and with one vision, delivering superior customer service is how we’re best going to be successful.” Yet, it should be noted that the move to rebrand comes at a time when public trust in financial institutions is low. With that said; questions were raised concerning the timing of the rebranding and if a name change at this time would lead to uncertainty about the group’s stability and health. Mr. Olton posited that all of these concerns were taken into account and the decision to rebrand was indeed better for all involved. He said extensive research since 2010VP Integrated Marketing Communications, Larry Olton 2011 revealed that customers and non-customers alike were in favour of united representaRight now under the various brands tion as long as the equity in the you won’t be getting any bundled brand they were familiar with packages, but in future under the remained in the new brand. single brand, we may be in a position Apart from the assurance that the equity would remain, to introduce loyalty programs, that Mr. Olton went on to say that would add further value to our the benefits of merging into client relationships one brand extended way beyond scope. In fact, he hinted at future incentives in the form brand was far stronger against with the signature purple colof bundled services to clients. competition. No longer would our being a feature. However, “You may have life insurance subsidiaries have to stand up on the new logo reflects the verwith Guardian or property with their own against competition. satility the brand is aiming for. guardian or mutual funds and Now competitors faced one big, Derived from a smile, the logo with its blanket-like shape can investments with Guardian. united force. In order to better promote be transformed into a variety Right now under the various brands you won’t be getting any the changes to the institution, of options including a hambundled packages, but in future Guardian Group has gone on mock, parachute and umbrella under the single brand, we may an extensive marketing drive. (all emphasizing the company’s be in a position to introduce loy- Omnipresent advertising cam- penchant for client safety and alty programs, that would add paigns creatively show off the security. In fact, the tag line further value to our client rela- Group’s new logo on everything for the new marketing drive is from print ads to billboards and ‘Live Easy.’ As Olton puts it “We tionships ,” posits Olton. Continuing to focus on the television and online media. (Guardian Group) take care of positives of the rebranding he The new logo and word mark everything you care for.” What stands out about this also stated that an important still retain traditional elements from the old Guardian Holdings new and flexible branding tool aspect of adopting a single and other subsidiary brands, is its appeal to all demographbrand was the fact that a unified 2 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • AUGUST, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com

ics. At first glance, one can easily identify the theme of coverage. It is a theme the Guardian Group holds dear since it prides itself as a company with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. Olton believes that consumers largely prefer to give business to those who give back to their community. He says that while individual brands showed corporate social responsibility before with dilution of expenditure, now the Group will combine to tackle several social ills. The main focus however, is on health and wellness. “Our focus is on the preventative as opposed to the curative side of health and wellness. We are in the business of providing assistance, awareness and advocacy around this social issue within every territory in the region. We are investing heavily in the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices.” Guardian Group is working expansively with various NGO’s across the region whether big or small to meet this goal. Since public welfare was deemed paramount, the question arose of investing in the improvement of infrastructure in high risk areas prone to flooding and other natural elements which could cause large insurance payouts. We were told that there are indeed some measures which are undertaken, though infrastructural development is usually deemed a ‘public good’ and is largely left up to the government. Yet, over the years the various entities within the group have been instrumental in placing streetlights, reflectors and signage on the nation’s roads in an effort to curb the carnage. This ties into health and wellness as it is all about saving lives, so that their stakeholders can “live easy”. This is a mantra the Guardian Group will undoubtedly strive to maintain as the move forward following their latest transition.



Mitsubishi Signs Project Development Agreement Written by Leah Lewis


itsubishi is a well known vehicle brand among people in Trinidad and Tobago. These vehicles are produced by Mitsubishi Motors of Japan. However, little is known about Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Inc. The aforementioned companies are both involved in a project development agreement which is a collaboration with the government of Trinidad and Tobago. The project represents the first phase of gas-based petrochemical developments by Mitsubishi Corporation in conjunction with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Inc., for the manufacture of Methanol and Dimethyl Ether (DME). The proposed site is in Union Industrial estate, La Brea. The signing included the following seven organisations:

and Tobago with respect to the further diversification of the energy sector, growth of the economy, regional security and further development of the South Western peninsula. Among the benefits to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago, the initial project proposes to expand direct foreign investment of $US850 million or $TT5.4 billion. The project will create 3,000 construction jobs during the construction phase and eventually lead to 180 permanent jobs in south west Trinidad. The initial stage of the Methanol to DME project

1) The Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs 2) The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago 3) The National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago 4) Mitsubishi Gas chemical company Incorporated 5) Mitsubishi Corporation 6) Neal and Massy 7) Caribbean Gas Chemical Limited- a joint venture formed for phase one of the project.

will produce one million metric tonnes per year of methanol and one hundred thousand tonnes per year of DME. Phase two of the Mitsubishi consortium will consider the production of mono ethylene glycol (MEG) from syngas and/ or ethane extraction. MEG could be used to develop additional downstream manufacturing operations such as automotive coolants, polyester fibre and PET resin. The production of Acetic Acid and Acrylonitrile are other projects under consideration which could lead to further

The project includes several opportunities for Trinidad 4

downstream industries in plastics manufacturing. The project will focus on the production of dimethyl ether (DME). DME is a green molecule. Basic chemistry states 2 molecules of methanol

The project will create 3,000 construction jobs during the construction phase and eventually lead to 180 permanent jobs in south west Trinidad give one molecule of DME and one molecule of water. DME can be considered as one of the next generations of clean fuels as it can be used as a liquid transportation fuel in vehicles and also as a substitute fuel in diesel power plants. Existing vehicles can also be retrofitted to achieve compatibility, providing another option for the local automotive market and a potential answer to the pressing question of how the fuel subsidy can be reduced without placing excessive strain on the motoring public. DME is also more environmentally

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friendly than diesel, since it produces no particulates, little or no oxides of sulphur and low CO2 emissions. Currently, DME is used in China, Japan and Northern Europe. It can be used as a substitute for propane and as a propellant for spray applications. The project is in the early stages of development and the final investment approval is subject to environmental approval and financial closure. One may enquire as to where the natural gas to be supplied for this project is coming from. The Minister of Energy stated that an established natural gas supplier in Trinidad and Tobago has advised that they could have gas available for 2016. In addition, BP’s discovery of one trillion cubic feet of natural gas in its Savonetta 4 well last year has mirrored the proven reserves outlined in the 2012 Ryder Scott gas reserves audit. A Dimethyl Ether workshop is planned for later in 2013 to sensitise potential customers to the merits and opportunities of this new fuel.



Foreign Carnivals Providing Increasingly Sustainable Market For Locals


Written by Leah Lewis

rinidad and Tobago boasts of its carnival as being the greatest show on earth. Well it is! Our brand of carnival is known across 100 territories. Tourists even visit our island just to experience the exuberance of our unique festival. The appeal of our local brand of carnival is so captivating that it has garnered international attention and attracted several wellknown celebrities. It still remains great business to be able to attract both the regional and international markets. We have welcomed all to our shores and even allow regional artistes to participate in our fetes as well as the International Soca Monarch competition. Now we have gone global. Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival has made its way onto the regional and international spectrum. Bands such as Legacy, Island People and Ronnie and Caro are a few names that represent at Crop over,

inside scoop on the intricacies of foreign carnival. For over 25 years he has been participating in Barbados’ Crop Over as well as at several other events. He listed St Kitts and Nevis, Paris, St Maarten, New Orleans, Labour day in New York, Miami and as far as Nigeria as a few of the many carnivals that he has been involved in. Apart from producing mas in these territories he also functions as a consultant and facilitator. In order for participation in foreign carnivals to be successful, collaboration is crucial. What actually occurs is a sort of master meets student type show down. Mr Antoine or Big Mike as he is favourably referred to, enriches each territory with the know how to produce mas as only a true Trini can. In each new place he helps to create local band leaders, assists in design and costuming. This allows each host country to maintain their local identity

A good partnership enables mutual effort for a great end product and beneficial results. It also helps to split the bill and share in the profits Vincey Mas, Spicemas and Miami carnival celebrations. Here we take a closer look at what it takes to make mas abroad. Legacy is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s longest standing mas bands with a wealth of knowledge and experience. We caught up with Mr. Mike “Big Mike” Antoine who gave us the 6

with a Trini flavour. A good partnership enables mutual effort for a great end product and beneficial results. It also helps to split the bill and share in the profits. In relation to the many challenges that naturally follow events of this magnitude, he stated that it is specific to the

territory and easily lessened by having an understanding of your market and your customer’s desire. He noted that Trinidad and Tobago’s style of carnival is quite popular across the Caribbean and does not receive the credit or branding for doing so. In the same breath, Barbados is paying close attention to our carnival concept and is quickly becoming the fastest growing carnival after Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados has observed quite intently and is making strides to boost their industry. As a result, several of our local fetes are now staples in crop over. For instance, they have Glow, Wet fete and even Brian Lara’s fete. They have also mimicked a few other local fetes but renamed them, so our Insomnia is to them Ten to Ten and Jouvert is Fore Day Morning. Along with carnival bands, artistes as well as event associations are also taking that leap across to our neighbours. One such entity is Beach House En-

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tertainment. They collaborated with the band Baje International to put on the first Beach House Barbados in Bathsheba. Scorch events staged a boat ride aboard the Jolly Roger and a breakfast party the next morning, while Julius Caesar Entertainment held its popular Ambush party. Local entertainment stalwarts Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon, Patrice Roberts, David Rudder and Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons and the Asylum Band, in their first ever Cohobblopot performance were a few of the locals representing. Machel Montano and Destra Garcia were also among those who performed at various shows. The presence of Trinidad and Tobago in foreign carnivals is welcomed across the board. However as we move to enhance carnival across the Caribbean and internationally our festival should remain as the original basis since in actuality we influence most of the region’s carnivals we participate in.



Local Customer Service Lacking


here are too many businesses in Trinidad and Tobago that provide poor customer service. There are too many stories of persons experiencing injustices and abuses from business places on a regular basis. Some of the worst offences that Trinbago’s business places are guilty of include failing to answer phones, poor over-the-phone service, poorly trained employees, employees with no knowledge of the business’ procedures, having no channels to deal with complaints and buyer’s problems and a general disposition that the business is more of a service to consumers so it can take them for granted. There are few businesses in Trinidad that can boast of being consumer favourites but those businesses that can have realized the value of good customer service. They see an obvious link between business growth and treating customers like the back bone of the business. Whilst within every business there is room for improvement, businesses that appreciate their customers, listen to their needs and reviews and go the extra step to make their business comfortable often thrive. The best sellers on Amazon.com are the ones who send cards with orders asking users to contact them if there is a problem with the product delivered before posting a bad review. These sellers often bend over backwards to replace the item or refund customers money before they receive a low rating for service. This is done because they know that if a customer is not happy and writes a bad review it can ruin future business. Mr. Barry Bibby is the Managing Director of Insight Eval-


Written by Osei Valdez

Within Trinidad the consumers are often accused of having to adopt “a take what you get” stance because there is often no avenue for a customer to voice their dissatisfaction or report a grievance uations which is a company that conducts market research, customer service training and evaluations for restaurants, hotels and other service companies. Barry’s company seeks to improve customer service in Trinidad and Tobago by focusing on the experiences provided by participating businesses to their customers. The company sends representatives to act as clients who then report on their experience with the business. His definition of customer service involves an organisation “understanding its customer’s wants and meeting them there.” He added that “companies must live out their brand’s promises” and indicated that lots of brands don’t meet their

promises or lose sight of their service goals somewhere along the line. Barry’s own evaluation of the current customer service climate of T&T indicates that a lot of people are not satisfied because too many businesses emphasize the wrong things. He states that “service starts from within and the attitudes of those managing the company towards the employees are reflected in the employees’ attitudes towards customers.” When asked what were the worst infractions with respect to customer service he indicated that any situation where managers belittle employees in front of customers or employees do the same to customers

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creates an uncomfortable atmosphere within the business. Within Trinidad the consumers are often accused of having to adopt “a take what you get” stance because there is often no avenue for a customer to voice their dissatisfaction or report a grievance. Barry agrees that whilst the Consumer Affairs division does exist and its visibility has been on the increase over the past few years, they do not provide a channel that is clear and simple enough for persons to have customer based issues resolved with businesses. He indicated that many businesses are aware of this and actually use the customer’s ignorance of what action they could take to continue their dubious practices. Mr. Bibby says that his evaluation company emphasizes three things that a business should do in order to thrive. He stresses the value of training employees. This training is not just for the employees at the operational level of the business but must include employee management and emotional intelligence for supervisors and managers. He indicated that a company must set standards and conduct periodic measurement and evaluation in order to measure their progress, adjust their priorities and address mistakes to ensure continued growth. Lastly, companies must focus on providing a positive experience for all of their stakeholders as a good working environment for employees usually translates into a great overall experience for the consumer. When these things are implemented correctly, consumers become very loyal to a business and the only direction any business can go is up.



Unregulated Herbal Health Industry Growing Steadily Written by Crystal Cassie


tamina, stamina, stamina! Trevor Sayers’ song went viral on E TV’s The Soup in 2011, but herbal medicine in T&T is no laughing matter. Despite breakthrough advancements in pharmaceuticals, citizens are increasingly turning to products offered by Mother Nature’s Naturalized Herbs and the like. According to the Ministry of Health, one in every three adults suffers from high blood pressure and one in five has diabetes. These two diseases emerge as the two major causes of death in T&T. Advertisements by Mother Nature claim to cure these, along with asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, high cholesterol and obesity. Some claim products can “help cure all body illnesses.” Recent efforts have been made by the Minister of Health, Dr. Fuad Khan, to regulate the herbal drug industry. Claims to cure diseases have not been approved by the Food and Drug Association and violate the Consumer Protection and Safety Act. Furthermore, improper labeling infringes the Food and Drug Act. So why are these natural remedies gaining increasing popularity? Perhaps herbal remedies provide a refreshing alternative to the messy health care system. Dr. Austin Trinidade, Public Relations Officer of the T&T Medical Association, states that people are opting for these traditional methods because they are dissatisfied with the treatment offered by the private

and public bodies. Inefficiency sends “subliminal messages” to patients that it is acceptable to seek medical help from herbalists, thus fostering the growth of the industry. Tied in closely is the cost factor. Herbal medicine is far cheaper than chemical drugs, especially when mass produced. Michael John, manager at Mother Nature, claims that a weekly supply of tablets to combat cancer would cost $295 and the entire treatment would take six weeks. This option fares well against thousands of dollars for chemotherapy over several years. Medicinal herbs are also easier to obtain. Persons do not need a prescription from a doctor or pharmacist. Besides the 13 outlets of Naturalized Herbs, several herbal shops have emerged. Dr. Fuad Khan described these practitioners as “drug dealers-you take one out and ten will take their place. “ The public is also increasingly aware of the benefits of herbal medicine. These natural remedies are often acclaimed by medical icons such as Dr. Oz. Information is also readily available. Types of herbs and their uses, side effects and current scientific research are just a Google away. Strong cultural beliefs grounded in family, community and religion play a very important role in the use of traditional medicine. It has been long practised by indigenous people, Africans, Indians, Chinese and people from the Mediterranean

Strong cultural beliefs grounded in family, community and religion play a very important role in the use of traditional medicine in T&T. The current generation has simply replaced going by the “bush doctor” with herbal shops because of convenience and information on their uses. Word of mouth and testimonials attest to the effectiveness of local herbal remedies and further boost its popularity. Herbal treatment is holistic in its approach, and treatment depends on the person’s health, lifestyle and symptoms. Persons experience better health and well-being as herbs cleanse, support and strengthen the body’s immune system. Combined with this, herbal medicine is seen as safe, gentle and chemical free with very few side effects, unlike synthetic drugs. This is denounced by Dr. Fuad Khan, who says herbal

medicines can cause toxic reactions. He also warned about unknown compositions of tablets, herb interactions and herbs that are simply a “laxative.” However, herbal remedies seem to have a time and place in T&T’s formal health sector in the future. UN’s Biodiplomacy Initiative has an ongoing project to research traditional medicine and integrate it into the local public health system. Similarly, The Caribbean Herbal Medicine Research Institute is working to assess the benefits and risks of herbal therapies. This is on par with the global movement towards herbal treatments and supplements, an industry that is expected to reach US$107 billion by 2017.

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




Budget Predictions Explored Written by JB Minister of Finance Larry Howai


n September 9, the Minister of Finance Larry Howai will make his sophomore presentation in Parliament as he reads the National Budget 2013-2014. Looking back at Howai’s maiden contribution in the Lower House, the National Budget for 2012-2013 focused on, among other things, a review of the tax regime for fuel subsidies, a lion’s share for the Ministry of National Security for the sake of crime prevention and tax incentives to housing developers so that the housing stock is improved. That budget was the largest ever in the country, with a price tag of TT$58.4 billion and based on a calculation of US$80 per barrel of oil. It was a seven percent leap from the 2011-2012 offering that was billed at TT$54.6 billion and based on US$75 per barrel. For the fiscal year 20132014, however, it will not be surprising if expenditure increases, thereby presenting a

heftier national bill. Among the requests for the upcoming year is the need to further stimulate the Small to Medium Enterprises. Howai’s predecessor Winston Dookeran referred to SMEs as one of the pillars of the non-energy sector to strengthen the economy and announced TT$10 million was set aside specifically to generate such development.

some people are still finding it difficult to get funding for their businesses,” he said. Ali suggested SMEs be allowed lower interest rates akin to first time homeowners who receive a 3-to-4 percent interest rate from the Home Mortgage Bank, a concession which incidentally was announced in last year’s budget. That way, he said, the measure would ease up small businesses and get

The budgets have failed in implementation; there is no mechanism in place to account for expenditure. It is a recurring pattern. What we do not have is clear accountability However, Ibrahim Ali, president of the San Juan Businessmen Association said regardless of the attention given, SMEs are still struggling to access funding. “Although there are facilities such as NEDCO (a State agency to assist in the development of small businesses),

the sector off the ground. But Indera Sagewan-Alli, economist and executive director at Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, said the problem is not the funding but an issue of moving from articulation to implementation.

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She said this applies to all elements of previous budget presentations that declared incentives to generate a stronger GDP but the declarations remained just that. “We need to have a performance-based budget. We need to have measures in place so we can assess the movement,” she said. “The budgets have failed in implementation; there is no mechanism in place to account for expenditure. It is a recurring pattern. What we do not have is clear accountability.” Such measures, she said, will enhance competitiveness strategies based on comparative and competitive advantages. Consequently, she said, this would provide a better picture of T&T on the world market. Sagewan-Alli insists there must be a strong accounting statement from the Ministry of Finance about last year’s initiatives before he launches into the new national budget. There must be a record of what was achieved. As for this year, although she prefers not to discuss what issues or items should be given priority, Sagewan-Alli said she would like to see the national budget be couched in a developmental context. “There should be articulation of policy direction over the next three years. For example, I would like to hear the Minister tell us what programme expenditure is intended to move the economy from a heavy reliance on the energy sector,” she said. She also suggested the Minister of Finance mandate to all Ministries to construct an annual plan and hold them to all actions that should be listed.



A Closer Look At The FCB IPO Written by J. Morgan


n 2011 First Citizens Bank (FCB) announced that it would be going public, a first for any state owned enterprise. The company’s initial public offering (IPO), launched on July 15th 2013, and closed on August 12th 2013, offered 19.3% of its shares at TT$22.00 each, which should raise approximately TT$1,000,000,000.00. Despite this significant inflow many experts were quite reserved about this move as they saw the government relinquishing control over one of their most lucrative assets, as well as the potential loss of jobs for the local workforce. However, FCB has implemented several measures to ensure that the balance of power does not shift significantly within the company, including, not opening the sale to interna-

that individual citizens’ participation in the IPO exceeded 50% of the activity within the first week of sale. If investors purchase all 48,495,665 shares offered, this will immediately remove some of the excess liquidity in the financial system, which, if unattended, can have serious impact on monetary policy. Expert opinion suggests that the “IPO has already diverted some demand away from the governments’ recent offering of 10 Year Bonds at 2.5% which ended undersubscribed”. The price point for FCB shares also has the potential to influence the price of other shares within the banking sector (FCB @ TT$22/share as compared to SBTT @ TT$70/ share and RBL @ TT$110/ share). The diversion of demand from these other finan-

FCBs IPO will raise over $1,000,000,000 in capital for the company, and also is expected to increase the market share of the bank as members of the public will be encouraged to come to the bank tional investors, and splitting the share allocation in six different sectors. Anyway, enough preamble. The move by FCB has already led to wider participation in the stock market. Larry Nath (FCB Group CEO) noted

cial houses may cause their share prices to fall in order to remain attractive to investors. In the same way, buyers may anticipate FCB share price to trend upwards to better reflect their value, and therefore this will cause demand to be sus-

tained for as long as this may take. FCBs shares will be offered for sale on the secondary market from September 16th 2013 (pending approval from the TTSE). Considering the aforementioned allocation of shares into various sectors, demand from investors who were unable to initially purchase shares may drive the share price up even more when they become available for trading. Both of these factors may entice seasoned and first-time investors even more, the former because they are aware of the forces at work and the latter due to their limited knowledge of the trends, they would be drawn in by the rapid improvement in the stocks’ performance. Experts anticipate that the share price will adjust by the end of FCBs next fiscal year, as

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dividends will be distributed, and investors will get returns on their investment, and we can see how these compare with the distributions of the other banks. However, these returns may also inspire another flurry of trading activity as the dividends may fall short of, or exceed expectations, leading some investors to dump their shares, or creating increased demand for FCB stock, depending on the payout. FCBs IPO will raise over $1,000,000,000 in capital for the company, and also is expected to increase the market share of the bank as members of the public will be encouraged to come to the bank. Nath has also stated that if the need for greater capital investment arises in the future (for expansion and otherwise), FCB may issue more shares for purchase, but only time will tell.



Gregory Stewart CEO of Life Success Caribbean


t is all well and good to own and operate a business, but it is another thing completely to truly maximize the potential of an organization and the employees within it. That is what separates the businessman from the mogul – the ability to enhance and maintain productivity in order meet and surpass goals as opposed to simply existing. Some companies are lucky enough to have teams that work together like welloiled machines whilst feeding off each other’s strengths. Other institutions need a little help in order to get their specific HR combination to gel effectively. This is where the expertise of Jamaican born, Trinidadian resident Gregory Stewart comes in. Stewart is a certified facilitator and productivity coach of international repute whose company Life Success Caribbean Limited has been making waves for the great work they have done with and for corporate bodies across the region. As described on the company website www.lscaribbean.com; “Life Success Caribbean Limited empowers individuals and Teams across the English Speaking Caribbean & Central America, the Caribbean Diaspora and people around the World, to transform RESULTS for the better, by developing and utilizing the magnificent capabilities of

Gregory Stewart

their MIND.” This mode of development was born out of the globally renowned Thinking Into Results (TIR) program which was founded by Sandra Gallagher and Bob Proctor. As Stewart puts it, TIR is a selfdevelopment program for people who want to improve how they perceive themselves. Once those changes are moved from perception to action, one will begin to see results. Stewart, an innovator in his own right, teamed up with his wife to start the program in Trinidad after a successful run as an entrepreneur overseas. He was the first Microsoft employee in the West Indies having convinced the brand that there was a need for a division in Jamaica with some craftily produced videos. After functioning as Country Manager for the brand in Jamaica he was promoted to head its Marketing and Communications Unit for the entire West Indies region and was instrumental in bringing Microsoft to Trinidad. A true modern innovator, it is no surprise that Stewart’s true passion is technology. In fact, one of the services his company specializes in providing is the much underrated aspect of Digital Productivity Coaching. Stewart explains that there are a lot of people who have access to the right forms of technology in order to

Gregory with wife/business partner Nicole Pouchet-Stewart

be successful, but do not know how to fully capitalize on the tools they have. “I have experience with people who have Macbooks, iPhone’s and tablets in their possession but they do not know how to effectively make it work for them,” he says. “I help people to better utilize their workspace and prior-

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itize better in order to be more efficient and generate more productive output,” Stewart adds. Since he started offering his services locally, Gregory has worked with several clients from the small community group to the high-powered executives at major corporate


TRUMP CARD Bob Proctor, Gregory Stewart and Sandra Gallagher

firms. He is often called upon to share his TIR knowledge in an effort to broaden the scope of his students so that tasks not only seem, but become more achievable. “This way of thinking will change the way you treat with everything. It introduces you to how your mind really works. Once you understand how you think then how you view tasks changes. It wakes up the mind to understand what drives it. You begin to have a greater appreciation of Will, Perception, Reason, Memory, Imagination and Intuition. The recipients of his hands on training range from sales people in marketing and distribution companies across Trinidad to agents and management at Guardian Group as well RBTT (now RBC), BHP Jamaica National and more.

In terms of a specific look at how businesses can be affected by his teachings, Stewart postulates that his programs will help you to effectively manage your progressive activities, utilizing tools such as MS Outlook, or other Apps from Apple or Google. In addition, he teaches how to prevent information overload including paper, email and electronic hoarding. As an IT specialist you are even taught potentially project saving tips such as managing and tracking deleted items. Plus, he aims to enhance productivity by integrating smartphones and tablets via cloud services. These tools are intended to get people to complete a lot more in less time via the 80/20 principle.

However, it is important to note that while Stewart’s teachings are great for business, they are also applicable in many other aspects of social and personal development. The TIR program (while not a magical solution for the scourge) can be added to other efforts as a crime initiative. In fact, the program has even been utilized in several penitentiaries in the United States. Stewart posits that it would be an ideal addition to the school curriculum as he has evidence children as young as eight years old can benefit from TIR. He does believe that it becomes even more effective when introduced to teens, since that is the time when children begin to think for themselves. A change of the thought process is a great

way to change the cultural paradigms which exist and create stagnancy and conflict among all ages. Stewart regrettably admits that there was no such program for him in school and he had no choice but to follow the regular curriculum. Things seemed to have worked out very well for him anyway, but the possibilities could have been even greater. Getting to work with this amiable, yet professional character is not as difficult as it may seem despite his extensive resume. Stewart boasts some of the most attractive prices available for conducting corporate workshops or one on one training. No doubt this trump card can be beneficial to you business’ success. www.abstractbusinesstt.com • AUGUST, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS 15





ver the last decade we have seen major developments in Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism products targeting both domestic and international tourists. The current drive of the Ministry of Tourism is to develop sustainable tourism and one of the key areas to capitalise on is the area of our tourism industry that attracts not just foreign visitors but our local tourist. This is our EcoTourism sector and this market sector’s best target for its products is the domestic traveller. The domestic traveller is a local resident who is looking for an outdoor experience for their family and friends without having to spend a substantial part of their savings to do so. Trinidad and Tobago is an eco-tourism haven because of its bio diversity with hundreds of species of birds, mammals, butterflies, and reptiles alongside picture perfect beaches, historic sites and nature trails for the hiking enthusiast. The Ministry of Tourism, along with many non-government institutions has begun to invest

more in these areas. Sustainable tourism can be a viable source of income for the smart investor not just on a large business scale but also for the small business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur looking to start his own business. Eco tourism encourages the development of tour operators and small business owners; from vendors, taxi drivers, to caretakers of budget lodging in the remote areas of our island where most of our eco-tourism products are located. When we look at such community-built companies within the eco-tourism sector that employ people from within the community you can see the potential of the market. Examples of such companies are Asa Wright Nature Centre, The Wild Fowl Trust, The National Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Nature Seekers, The Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project, Chaguaramas Development Authority and Trinidad and Tobago Hike Seekers. These are just a few known organisations making a name for themselves within the eco-tourism indus-

try. They have been very sustainable and continue to grow. Within the last 5 years we have seen major renovations done at the National Zoo through the inclusion of new animals, enclosures and the return of the lions, as well as new species of reptiles, turtles and birds. The zoo is a must attend outing for a family trip. The 2nd phase of the renovation is well on its way by the Zoological Society and we look forward to its completion in the near future. Also down on the western peninsula the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) is making waves with its overall rebranding and development of the Chaguaramas beach front area. There’s the boardwalk with all the needed amenities for the family day trip to the beach, along with the many vendors plying their trade as well. This boardwalk has created not just the opportunity for leisure but has good been for the business community in Chaguarams as well. The CDA recently launched its zip line which has becoming a number one attraction for the July/

August vacation period with avid fans posting pictures and giving great feedback on their experience on the company’s Facebook page. These such additions add value to the product without damaging what drives Eco-Tourism, which is the natural and unspoilt nature itself like our many beaches and forests. Eco-Tourism in Trinidad and Tobago is a viable market that can generate substantial revenue with room for growth and development. As we all know with every developing product and business there are always challenges that can hamper growth but according to a candid conversation with Mr Laurence Pierre of Trinidad and Tobago Hike Seekers EcoTourism is alive and well and will continue to be part of our tourism sector. Eco-Tourism is about the beauty of our island, its culture and its history. He sees his tours and hikes as not just an experience of fun but one of education. You can visit his website or contact him to book your hiking experience at www.hikeseekers.com .

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Evolving Business Model Promises High Returns From Niche Markets Written by Crystal Cassie


conomist Joseph Schumpeter’s paradoxical process of “creative destruction” seems to be at work in various markets in T&T. This phenomenon occurs when intense competition in the free market allows for messy but guaranteed progress. Who wins in the end? Customers, of course. But what is even more interesting is that competition has reared a new face, revolutionizing the way markets worked for years, and changing the existing business model. Let’s take the Trinbagonian’s favorite. Fried chicken: crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, spicy, well-battered and well-seasoned. In the English-speaking Caribbean, T&T has the most developed fast food restaurant industry. For

at their sole Sangre Grande branch fueled huge returns that led to the opening of a new branch each year except 2011, totaling eight outlets nationwide. In 2011, Darryl Mahabir, owner of the Japs Fried Chicken chain and Brent Sancho, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pro League team DIRECTV North East Stars, launched the first franchise, a mobile Japs outlet called “Japs OnThe Move”. Similarly, Trini Fried Chicken Limited opened its doors in 2012, with seven branches nationwide. Their success seems to stem from serving scores of hungry people wanting a quick meal, “bringing great food at great prices.” Their two piece and fries costs $24. Meanwhile, KFC’s “snack pack” costs $26. While the

More importantly, marketing strategist and managing director at Pepper Advertising Dennis Ramdeen points out that customer loyalty can come from quality of food, meeting customer expectations and price four decades the market was dominated by the international franchise KFC. In 1968, Royal Castle was established and remained the only locally owned fried chicken outlet offering local ingredients and taste. Then in 2007, Japs Fried Chicken took the market by storm, with their extra-large pieces and $22 “two piece and fries” crowd pleaser. Long lines

global fast food chain can still boast of millions in profit per year, they have lost market share locally to these growing businesses. KFC maintains profit margins via higher prices and huge investments in promotion, such as advertising and publicity. Worldwide, KFC and its franchisees contribute to a national advertising fund, spending more than $200 mil-

lion annually on advertising in all types of media to create links in the local community, frequently sponsoring teams, holding events at the restaurant or by being part of local business groups. So these small businesses have emerged and enjoyed success with big returns. In the marketplace they have been just as effective as competitors without the glitz and glamour of promotion. They have mastered targeting a low income demographic with low prices. With small budgets advertising and promotions, they rely primarily on “word of mouth”, and successfully so. Other factors can also attribute to their success. With respect to fast food, lifestyle has changed. More people opt for eating out rather than preparing meals, leading to growing demand for cheap food. More importantly, marketing strategist and managing director at Pepper Advertising Dennis Ramdeen points out that customer loyalty can come from quality of food, meeting customer expectations and price. They have competed success-

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fully by "owning a clear position in the minds and hearts of customers". A similar trend is taking place in the clothing industry. Rattan’s Wholesale Liquidators and Rattan’s FreeZone originated in San Fernando, and within the last five years have emerged in all corners of T&T. Known for their ridiculously low prices, the company faces some negative perception of poor quality and imitation products. However, serving their niche of the market, their popularity has grown with minimal advertising. They have become a household name… where else can someone get a kitchen towel for $1 and a tshirt for $10? Perhaps the larger players have not ignored the impact of these smaller competitors, as Church’s Chicken has responded with a wide range of daily specials, including 2 pieces of chicken for $15 on a Tuesday. Even KFC has reduced its Mega Meal from $120 to $99. So it’s a win-win situation for Trinbagonians, as we move towards greater value for our hard earned dollar.



The Need for a World Class Tertiary Technology Institute


Technology Institute is a hub for innovation, scientific research and development. It is a learning institution awarding different types of degrees specializing in science, engineering, technology and other technical subjects. Currently in T&T, there are a host of technical programs offered by the major tertiary institutions, and pure vocational schools exist such as John Donaldson Technical Institute and Automation Technology College. While successive governments continue to invest heavily in education as a whole, there is a strong case for establishing a world class technology institute at the tertiary level. A huge capital outlay in the short run can mean paramount benefits in the long run for T&T. As globalization pressures mount, the knowledge revolution has manifested itself and demanded that developing countries take heed. Now there are closer links between science and technology; innovation is more important for economic growth and competitiveness; there is increased importance of education and life-long learning; and more investment is undertaken in intangibles such as R&D, software and education which is even greater than investments in fixed capital. And of course there is the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) explosion which brings worldwide interdependency and connectivity. The World Bank emphasizes that in order for developing countries to ride the knowledge revolution to maximize their welfare and competitiveness, they must carefully plan

Written by Crystal Cassie

“appropriate investments in human capital, effective institutions, relevant technologies, and innovative and competitive enterprises.” Countries such as Korea, Ireland, Malaysia, and Chile illustrate the rapid progress that can be made. Investing in a tertiary technology institute could help our economy thrive. It could push T&T in the direction of becoming a knowledge based economy. This is one where organizations and people acquire, create, disseminate, and use knowledge more effectively for greater economic and social development. As human capital develops, it has two positive effects. Firstly, it is seen as a business product, which can be exported for a high value return. This is because persons with greater skills, abilities, knowledge

and education generate more ideas and intellectual property through creativity and innovation. More business ventures and new product development is undertaken. Secondly it is a productive asset. More efficient ways of producing goods and services can be found, delivering them more effectively and at lower costs to a greater number of people. Essentially, knowledge is generated and exploited to create wealth, and boost economic growth. This is in keeping with “Endogenous Growth Theory” in traditional economics, which states that growth is achieved via the dynamic and interdependent relationship between human capital, capital accumulation and technology. With respect to T&T, it can lead to the enhancement of certain industries and the revival of others. For instance, the manu-

facturing industry can receive a boost. More firms may be established, producing better quality, more unique products in greater quantities that can be exported to compete globally due to economies of scale or to simply replace imports. New and improved technology may be the solution to drive agriculture, which now contributes only 3.8% to GDP in 2012. This can boost food production and reduce the high food import bill. These two industries when strengthened can help the T&T economy diversify healthily away from the heavy reliance on petrochemical revenue. Another compelling reason to invest in a technology institute would be to reduce the dependence on foreign technology, which may not be appropriate for our production methods in the first place. The highest level of investment in research and development in T&T’s history was 0.13% in 2002. Developing nations stand to lose as the “knowledge divide” between those countries that create technology and those that adopt it can eventually erode the natural resource advantage. Failing to tap into a large, growing stock of knowledge due to limited awareness, poor economic incentive climates and weak institutions can reduce competitiveness. T&T is the economic hub of the Caribbean so why not become the technological hub? James Graham Ballard once said that “Science and technology multiple around us. To an increasing extent they dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages, or we remain mute.”

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21st Century Students Create 21st Century Workers

The Importance Of Technology In Schools


rinidad and Tobago is a nation full of first world ambitions. Yet, there is much to be done in order to emerge from the third world status that is attached to the country. Undoubtedly, education is the way forward. However, there is much that can be done to improve education at the lowest level to ensure that more people transition into tertiary level thinking. Traditional methods worked excellently in the past, but the changing cultural, economic and social climate requires changes in the methods of education available. Technology must be incorporated at the earliest of stages of education. We are already exposed to various levels of technology from a young age. Even two year olds have shown some capacity to use smart phones. Therefore, the power of technology cannot be overstated as a learning tool. Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups,

frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to realworld experts. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals. Here are some points for using technology in the classroom. It Can Be Tailored For Specific Needs Technology is useful in that it can provide a variety of accommodations for students with different learning needs. For example, if students have difficulty seeing, screen size and print can be enlarged for ease in reading. There are programs available online or for the desktop, which can translate text to other languages or even read it aloud to students as they follow along silently. In addition, many programs and activities are interactive and allow students to manipulate objects while exploring new concepts in subjects such as mathematics and science. Technology Empowers Students Being able to access current information is great, but the benefits of technology in the classroom go far beyond that. Technology-based learning gives students the opportunity

to take charge of their educational process. No longer do students sit passively while a teacher talks at them. In the 21st Century classroom, the students are an essential part of the lesson. They can use an interactive whiteboard for group projects. They have the ability to connect with experts and mentors from the “real world” beyond the schoolhouse doors. They are encouraged to explore creatively and make multi-media presentations of their own. Students feel proud when they learn how to use the computer technology in their classroom, and they are also motivated to help their peers learn how to use the interactive whiteboard and other smart technology. When students are motivated to learn and to work cooperatively, the benefits of technology in the classroom are clear for all to see. Classes Become Less Boring It may irk some educators to hear this (especially the old-school ones). However, boredom in classes is nothing new and will always continue to happen as part of any curriculum which features inactive students. Constantly asking questions is not the answer to keeping kids involved. The need to focus on

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what is at hand and technology makes that happen more naturally. Students are engaged from the onset and the teacher is merely a tool that guides the student on what to access with a little added reinforcement. Technology is Less Restrictive The last point is one which can be deemed the most important from a business perspective. Exposure to technology broadens the thought process. Too often, teachers stymie the development of students with hard and fast doctrines. While subject matter hardly varies even with the use of technology, the mental confines of the teacher are surpassed since more information is available to the student than the teacher has prepared for based on his/her knowledge of the curriculum. Education serves as a window through which our imagination and curiosity can take flight into the unknown and enhance our creativity, and the use of computer technology in education plays an enormous role in helping students to achieve their full development potential. Creativity and innovation are essential to bringing the local business community up to first world level.




Social Media Business Blunders

hese days, having just a website is good, but it is not ideal. Properly utilizing social media platforms are a great way to maximize the potential of your products and company as a whole. However, there are some mistakes to avoid where social media is concerned. Social Media Overload In this digital age there is no shortage of social sites on which to market yourself and your business. However, there is only so much the average business person or consumer can wrap their brains around. There is no need to have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, MySpace, FourSquare, Pinterest and YouTube account. You may think this makes you more visible, but it can be time consuming and costly to fully operate them all. Otherwise, you’ll be spreading yourself way too thin. The best bet is to choose just one platform and master it. Your website should already give people the info they need, so don’t feel you need to be everywhere. Maybe for your niche you’re suited to Pinterest best. Maybe your demographic lives on facebook. If so, stick to the one that is most beneficial to you. It’s not about which one you like the most either. It’s about where you can get the most quality engagement and where you can invest some time. Inconsistent Branding Your branding must be recognizable on all platforms and consistent throughout. You’re going to have variations

your company's products and services.

of backgrounds, etc. on the different platforms, as the specs are different on each. However, your branding should be clear when someone bounces around to your different accounts. Too many times people vary between platforms and that causes a dilemma. There isn’t much that’s worse than to go to someone’s Facebook page and see a certain color scheme or logo and then to Twitter and it’s different… and then to their website and it’s different again. Then you find their YouTube account and it looks different. Forgetting To Cross Promote One important, but commonly overlooked, aspect of social media is the ability to cross promote. Social media sites are good ways to advertise products, goods and services for free. However, many businesses tend to focus only on their products. Why not link back to your other media resources? Where else are you telling people about your social media accounts? Email signature? Signage at your store? On your website? Newsletter?

Not Adding Personality to Your Page Yes, social media is another channel, but it's unique in that it really allows your true voice to be heard. If used properly, social media can be used to "humanize" your brand. Keep it interesting. Share good stuff. Don't be afraid to let a bit of your personality shine through. People do business with people, not companies. Lack of Interaction This is similar to the aforementioned point. It is important to be active on your social media page. There is nothing worse than having a page that only updates every month. In addition to being active, you also need to do so in a meaningful way that visitors can relate to. Besides posting news and photos on your social media account, try to solicit other people’s thoughts and ideas as well. Ask for feedback. Do polls. Take advantage of your ability to ask your audience questions to learn what your company can do to improve your products and services. Take note of your audience's feedback and use their suggestions to improve

Neglecting Social Media Security Although a lot of terrible social media behavior can be blamed on accidents or publicity stunts (including all those “accidental nudes” celebrities so commonly send out), some of this stuff really is due to hacker involvement. Social media security is a serious issue, and phishing attacks that attempt to abscond with your Twitter and Facebook credentials are unbearably common. Lock your business’s accounts up tight with strong passwords, and ensure that the only people who have access to the accounts are those who truly need it. Being insensitive We’re not saying you should open your page to people proverbially crying on your shoulders and make a ‘Pat on the Back’ app. However, it is important to maintain a certain level of social responsibility via all online platforms. Making insensitive marketing moves and comments on social media websites can draw adverse public reaction, which can jeopardize the reputation of your company. Make sure you think about whether or not someone might be offended by your social post before you hit send. This can be a big issue especially if you put video and links from foreign sites on your page. If you want to win the favor and loyalty of your customers, it is best that you refrain from making comments that may suggest that you are trying to profit from other people’s misery.

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Developing the Entrepreneur

Overwhelming Signs of Being Overworked


he current economic climate has led to downsizing by several companies locally and abroad. This has led to less specialization and more multifunctioning within roles. Of course, the increased workloads many have had to deal with are not without drawbacks. It has at times led to employee burnout, which causes office inefficiency. Being overworked is neither good for the employer nor the employee. If you are being overworked it can lead to a myriad of issues, which can hamper production and reduce profit. Here are some telltale signs of being overworked that should get the attention of both the employer and employee. Sleep Deprivation This is the most common sign of over-working. If you happen to be excessively stressed, then insomnia is inevitable. At times, sleep deprivation can lead to a nervous breakdown. Such an issue is of grave

concern, and can hold your burgeoning career hostage. It is best to avoid such circumstances where one has to take a capsule to put the mind and soul to rest. Deteriorating Health If you keep finding new health problems every day, you are probably overworked. If you get frequent headaches coupled with eyestrain, neck pain, and back pain, you might be putting in way too many hours on the work computer. If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome, you might have just pumped one coffee too many at your job. If you start developing issues with your heart, you maybe should stop managing in a high-pressure industry. Take the time out once a year (at least) to visit your doctor and reel off your symptoms. You might find that your job is to blame. Fluctuating Weight Lose or gain more than a percent of body weight from one day

to the next and something’s wrong. Maybe yesterday was incredibly stressful and you failed to notice you didn’t eat and drink enough… or maybe you failed to notice just how much you actually ate. Lack of nourishment and hydration can put the hurt on higher-level mental functions (which may be why when we’re overworked and feeling stressed we instinctively want to perform routine, less complex tasks.) And eating too much food—well, we all know the impact of that. Frequent Irritability If you find that you are irritable at work and at home, you have probably been overdoing things. You may feel too much pressure to be at your best, complete all tasks, and impress your bosses. If something does not go your way or you make a mistake, your irritability most likely increases and you may lose your cool over even minor mistakes. This is often a sign that you need to take

some time away from the job. Allow someone else to worry about such things while you are away. Take care of yourself when you need it. The job will get done and when you get back, you will find that you feel much better. Mental Lapses Chronic stress can have a negative influence on your memory. An over-secretion of stress hormones limits your brain's ability to store and recall information. This can lead to little mistakes which may or may not have big consequences. If you have trouble remembering details, this may be a sign that you're pushing yourself too hard in the workplace. Strained Relationships If you spend too much time at work, you will start to feel out of touch with family and friends. If your relationships feel strained and others comment on social withdrawal, cut back on your work hours.

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A Guide To Meeting Work Deadlines


eadlines… where would we be without them? A good guess is we would be considerably later than we usually are. However, the world of business requires us to be timely and efficient. Therefore, deadlines must be implemented to ensure the best results. Unfortunately, many people have issues keeping up with deadlines. This article is dedicated to such people. Here are some tips to meeting your business deadlines. The first step is to be realistic. You must be real about the time frame as well as task you are set to face. Once you are sure you can complete the task you would have an estimate of how long it would take to do so. When you tell your client that you can do something in a week, it should not be something you usually take two weeks to do. Another part of being realistic is comprehension. You cannot make realistic and in-

they’re only moments away from completing a task that is way more complex than they had estimated. If you’re going to avoid stress and make meeting deadlines easy, you’re going to need to learn to recognize fully what each task entails. Understanding allows you to better operate with a structure. Organization is the key to meeting deadlines. If there's one sure way to miss a deadline, it's to completely forget about it. If you have a complicated schedule with lots of deadlines, meetings and projects going on, it's essential that you keep a calendar with all your deadline dates on it. Even if your schedule isn't that busy, you still need a place where you can record vital deadlines. A desk or wall calendar will do the trick, and there are lots of productivity software packages that will help you track important dates. Your cell phone or smartphone probably has a calendar function as well, so you'll always have it with you. You can also

If there's one sure way to miss a deadline, it's to completely forget about it. If you have a complicated schedule with lots of deadlines, meetings and projects going on, it's essential that you keep a calendar with all your deadline dates on it formed decisions without fully understanding what is required of you. It is imperative that you completely understand each task. A lot of people miss deadlines just because they believe

keep track of important dates via your work e-mail service. The more elaborate productivity software also lets you organize other information with the calendar. You can keep the

names and contact info for the other people working on the project with you, record any research you do regarding your project, or even maintain folders of important files and documents. Once you have done that, the next step is to block off adequate time. When you’re going to work on a step, be sure to have it blocked off on your day’s schedule. If you’re not blocking off time for your most important tasks, you’re probably not getting the important stuff done. People are always going to want you to do something or the other. You can’t allow distractions during the periods you have set aside. Block off a good amount of time for each step, and treat it like a doctor’s appointment — you can’t miss it. While you may have a structure set, it is wise to give yourself a cushion in which to operate. To get a clear idea of how long a project will take, break it down into smaller pieces. If you aren’t sure exactly how long each of those pieces takes, break them down into even smaller pieces. And for each piece, add a small cushion to your time estimate. Then add

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up the time estimates of all the pieces and you’ll have a cushion built in. This will allow for delays, and if you finish early, the client will be pleased. Another great way to beat the procrastination bug is to apply a small bit of pressure on yourself. This can be done by keeping everyone in the loop about what is going on. Create regular checkpoints for the project, so your clients know when to expect a status update and never lose sight of the progress you’re making. Having open lines of communication with frequent check-ins is even more important if you’re working with subcontractors and/or other providers. Everyone should be working from the same timeline, task list and project information. Finally, an understated yet essential tip is get help is necessary. Many people tend to go into solo mode when problems arise. We get reclusive and pretend we are fine when we know that is not true. If you're crunched for time, ask other people to do specific things that will help you pick up the pace. It is better to get help and succeed than be stubborn and fail alone.



Blackberry Goes Up For Sale After Years Of Struggle In Smartphone Market


lackBerry, once the global leader in smartphone technology, has put itself up for sale after years of falling sales and failed revamps. Once seen as so habitforming its users dubbed it the "CrackBerry", Blackberry has suffered a calamitous decline as rivals revolutionized the business it did so much to start. On Monday the company previously known as Research in Motion (RIM) announced it had decided to "explore strategic alternatives". Buyers are being sought, though the company could also go private or be broken up. Few analysts expect a turnaround. Unable to match Apple's iPhone for cool or the sheer range of devices from Samsung and others using Google's Android mobile system, its market share has collapsed from close

selling for $199 when it was launched earlier this year. For BlackBerry watchers, the news is no surprise. The company lost $84m in the last quarter and announced 5,000 layoffs last year. "The beginning of the end started some time ago," said Stuart Jeffrey, analyst at Nomura Securities. He said the company's statement suggested it no longer had any confidence in its ability to get out its current predicament. BlackBerry, he predicts, is likely to re-emerge as a software company, perhaps with some contracts for supersecure government devices, but "without the handicap of all those uncompetitive handsets". How a company that once defined the smartphone messed up so badly is likely to become a classic case study for business schools around

How a company that once defined the smartphone messed up so badly is likely to become a classic case study for business schools around the world to 50% in the US in 2009 to less than 3%, according to figures released last week by the analyst IDC. On the day the news broke, the Z10, BlackBerry's latest, much-hyped device was being offered for $19.99 by US mobile retailer Wirefly. It was

the world. The first BlackBerry device, an email pager, was released in 1999 and allowed busy execs to collect and reply to their messages on the go in a way that revolutionized business communications. The BlackBerry Curve, Pearl and

Bold followed shortly after, adding cameras and features to broaden the company's appeal to consumers. But then in 2007 came the iPhone. At first BlackBerry relied on its ties to the business community and its perceived advantages in security to fend off Apple's attack. It didn't work. Apple's Steve Jobs had spotted that mobile devices were becoming media devices – powered by the increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi and more high powered mobile networks – music and games were set to be as important as email in the smartphone future. Google was soon chasing Apple in the mobile market with its Android operating system, Blackberry fell further behind. The arrival of apps let people personalize their mobiles and further changed the ways they used their devices. When Apple launched the iPad, BlackBerry responded with its own tablet the PlayBook, which proved a massive failure and underlined how far behind the company had fallen. Blackberry was left looking clunky and uncool in a sector that was becoming ever more fashion conscious and fast moving. In 2012 Marissa Mayer, a hotshot former Google exec, was drafted in to revamp Yahoo, another tech giant with an image issue. One of her first moves was to scrap company

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BlackBerrys. "We literally are moving the company from BlackBerrys to smartphones. One of the really important things for Yahoo's strategy moving forward is mobile," she told Fortune magazine, suggesting BlackBerry was neither a smartphone nor important in mobile. BlackBerry launched its latest operating system, BlackBerry 10, and three new devices this year. They got positive reviews. But, says Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Gartner, it was too little and way too late. "They have suffered a fate a lot of big guys suffer from. They were the first to market, they created the smartphone as we know it. They just didn't see what was coming next," she said. "People can choose what device they want for work these days, and they don't want BlackBerry. Brand is important, cool factor is important, and BlackBerry lost out on that. But even that's not enough these days," she said. "You need the eco-system, you need to offer the same experience on different devices." Smartphones these days are more about music, photos and video than they are about email. BlackBerry for too long relied on its business customers to keep it in the game, said Milanesi. "But these days you don't want to be boring in business."



July Stock Summary Courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange

Written Report for Wednesday, 31 Jul, 2013


verall Market activity resulted from trading in 10 securities of which 4 advanced, 3 declined and 3 traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 1,678,395 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $8,263,067.29. TRINIDAD CEMENT LIMITED was the volume leader with 1,073,792 shares changing hands for a value of $1,438,904.48, followed by

JAMAICA MONEY MARKET BROKERS LIMITED with a volume of 355,100 shares being traded for $152,693.00. ONE CARIBBEAN MEDIA LIMITED contributed 120,500 shares with a value of $2,170,205.00, while ANSA MERCHANT BANK LIMITED added 101,124 shares valued at $3,903,386.40. SAGICOR FINANCIAL CORPORATION enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.26 to end the day at $6.50. Conversely, JAMAICA MON-

EY MARKET BROKERS LIMITED suffered the day's greatest loss, falling $0.02 to close at $0.43.

Stocks Advancing: Security


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In Wednesday's trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices: * The Composite Index advanced by 0.53 points (0.05%) to close at 1,125.81. * The All T&T Index advanced by 0.05 points (0.00%) to close at 1,830.25. * The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.12 points (0.22%) to close at 54.95. * 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.

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

CLICO INVESTMENT FUND was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 5,725 shares valued at $122,343.25. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND advanced by $0.01 to end at $21.37. FORTRESS CARIBBEAN PROPERTY FUND remained at $5.00. PRAETORIAN PROPERTY MUTUAL FUND remained at $3.41. 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.

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