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ALCOHOL COMPANIES BRACE FOR DEMAND Written by Leah Lewis
very corner of Trinidad has at least a basic roadside bar where you can perhaps shoot pool, sing karaoke and thief a whine while downing a six-pack. Trinis love a good time and the accompanying element of liquor overflowing and in abundance. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the economy is booming or in deficit. Somehow, consumers conjure wads of cash dedicated to fulfilling the alcohol craze. Of course, this must have aura of alcohol consumption is best appreciated by the alcohol companies or various bars that fuel the increasing demand for alcohol. The district of St. James has been called “the city that never sleeps” because of its pumping music, sidewalk vendors and straightforward, downto-earth drinking dens. There
At Christmas alcohol is needed for corporate events, local parties, boat rides, family likes, band launches and even prE carnival pump events are tonnes of bars along the Western Main Road. Around Port of Spain, Ariapita Avenue – sometimes just called “The Avenue” – is a microcosm of the bar and lounge experience in Trinidad. Other night spots on the Ariapita Avenue strip include the Corner Bar, Studio, Coco Lounge, the Squeeze, Shakers, and Satchmo’s. There is no shortage of locations, with so many places to go around one can only wonder if the alcoholic nectars would be depleted. The year is almost over as we head into Christmas and soon we shall be sipping for carnival. These are what many
may deem as the peak periods in Trinidad and Tobago for alcohol consumption. At Christmas alcohol is needed for corporate events, local parties, boat rides, family likes, band launches and even pre carnival pump events. Around this time certain premium drinks and wines are in high demand. If, for some reason, (bite my tongue) the alcohol runs out is a contingency plan in place. According to Alston’s Marketing Company Ltd, they are fully aware of the impending demand that Christmas brings. Certain drinks such as Grey goose, Riunite, Asti Riccadonna and Appleton are hot sellers.
They noted that having a good relationship with their supplier afforded them the ability to simply re-order in a worst case scenario. Outside of that they try their best to always keep an eye on their stock levels. Frank’s Liquor Bank a newly opened bar in Curepe is also experiencing the early chills of the impending Christmas alcohol rush. There have been several orders for a few choice drinks so he has taken the initiate to keep extra stocks of those drinks. In the East corridor the palette may be a bit on the edgy side when it comes to drink choices. Frank listed drinks such as: Black label, Puncheon, Forres park, El dorado reserve, White Oak , Black n White ,Hennessy and Johnnie black as the prime suspects for the lime scene during this christmas period. Tequila Twist’s Bar Manager, Solange Eligon, gave some insight on the various drinks that are at the top of the list during the Christmas into carnival season. Wine, red or white, Hennessey, Johnny Walker and all the variations of vodka are the season’s refreshing delights. She noted that during the mid-November into December time frame, consumers usually wants these items. They have resolved to use market trends of past buying experience to reference their stock levels for the upcoming rush periods of consumption. In this way, they are able to prepare for the various requests that come their way on a nightly basis. It seems that companies are keeping their ear to the ground to ensure consumers are happy during the season and beyond. Patrons have no fear, the bar owners and the alcohol companies have yuh back. The alcohol will not run out so you could call for a next rounds or order a next case.
www.abstractbusinesstt.com • OCTOBER, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
PTSC: MAJOR STEPS TO IMPROVE SERVICE
Written by Leah Lewis
t appears that we possess more cars than the roads can hold. Every day we are faced with countless lost hours stuck in traffic. This is a small price to pay for the comfort of owning your own vehicle. What about the rest of us unfortunate commuters who are forced to use private cars as taxis and public transportation? It is a daunting task to navigate the dreadful terrain of the public transport system. Commuters are thrust into the dismal arena of taxi, maxi and bus woes. The delightful institution of increased transport fares has resulted in an influx of many persons towards the bus service in hopes of saving an extra dime while reaching on time. Sensing this, the Public Transportation Service Corporation (PTSC) is now taking steps to improve the level of service given to the public. The Public Transport Service Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (PTSC), sole operator of the country’s commercial bus service, has been in existence since May 1st 1965. This was a result of the Transport Service Act number II of that year. The Act outlined that PTSC should provide a safe, clean and inexpensive transport service for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. PTSC’s mandate is to place customers first whilst providing high quality services to all and con-
tinuously looking for ways to improve service. In keeping with their outlined aforementioned goals they have expanded the range of services that they offer. PTSC provides safe, reliable transportation to get you to your place of work, leisure and more. Their services enhancements are completed regularly and most routes operate from 5:00am to 11:0pm, Monday – Saturday. Sunday service is available from 6:00am10:00pm on selected routes. The types of services offered include express, transit, city, disabled, executive and rural services. The bus services for disabled are busses equipped with wheelchair ramps and lifts. These special features make it easier for adults and children with special abilities to get around. In addition, there is the Elderly and Differently Abled Mobile Service (Eldamo) which involves a fleet of 24 buses, three of which are based in Tobago. Each bus is equipped with special features such as a wheelchair-lifting platform with an automatic and manual lifting system in each. Buses are also fully airconditioned and include nine seats and three wheelchair fixing places. There is even a San Fernando/ Port of Spain City Service for those of you who wish to move within the parameters
PTCS provides safe, reliable transportation to get you to your place of work, leisure and more 2
of the city in Port of Spain in the North and San Fernando in the South. The City Service departs from the The PTSC Depot in the City of Port-of-Spain through Belmont, Edward Street, Wrightson Road, St. James via Western Main Road, St. James via Long Circular Road. City Service also departs from the PTSC Depot in the City Of San Fernando through Cocoyea Village, Pleasantville, Pleasantville / Orchid Gardens, Tarouba, Union Hall /P.O.S. For those that frequently utilise the bus service there is a PTSC Travel card that gives you a choice of unlimited travel along specific routes being operated by the Public Transport Service Corporation. The Travel Card allows you to hop on and off a bus within the specified period without searching or fumbling for your ticket. This will surely make the travelling experience a bit easier and hassel free. Re-appointed chairman of PTSC, Dr Vincent Lasse, has stated that their main objective is to have value for money. However, the board has taken a decision to concentrate on avenues, programmes and processes whereby they could generate some revenue as opposed to total dependence on the treasury. Some of the bus services offered are bus tours and charters, the Deluxe coach service and bus rental services are avenues to generate their own self-sustaining revenues. The bus tours offered are to various scenic locations. It is an afford-
ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
able avenue to visit many cultural attractions across Trinidad and Tobago. The Deluxe Coach Service (DCS) by the PTSC is equipped with spacious luggage compartments elevated above the ground, luxurious interior, five (5) TV screens, overhead individual reading lights, AM/FM radios and CD and DVD players. Deluxe Coach Service travels from Port-of-Spain to San Fernando route and commuters of Sangre Grande. Both the Port-of-Spain to San Fernando DCS service and the Sangre Grande service operate two times per day, Monday to Friday and at a cost of only $10.00 one way. PTSC also offers bus rental services to individuals, schools and public and private institutions. Another one of these value for money initiatives is a new fleet of 100 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) busses which will be both environmentally friendly and cost effective. In addition, there is an area in Tarouba where there would be a “one-stop-shop” where it could be a gas stop, a rest stop and persons would be able to purchase items from shops. It should be noted that the introduction of new bus routes to facilitate patrons of different areas would cause some difficulty in regularity with the buses until the issues were worked out. In the interim the public would continue to utilise the many facets of PTSC as they continue to work on delivering an optimum product to the traveling population.
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ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
Costume Demand Inelastic Despite Economic Decline
Written by Crystal Cassie
he International Monetary Fund expressed “guarded optimism” about the state of the global economy, forecasting 2.9% economic growth by the end of 2013. Despite an improved performance by developed economies, sluggish output in the developing world coupled with the US failure to raise a US$16.7 trillion debt ceiling has paved the way for a deep global downturn similar to that in 2008/2009. How will this affect Carnival 2014 in sweet T&T? Let’s take a look at the global financial crisis of 2008/2009. Adversely affected Americans and other foreign mas lovers had to prioritize spending due to wage cuts, reduced work weeks and industrial closures. Carnival 2009 was met with a surplus of costumes and reduced patronage at preCarnival fetes. Many overseas party-goers who had booked costumes online with leading Carnival bands had cancelled bookings and forfeited deposits, or sold their already purchased costumes online at a discount. Figures from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) supported this trend as there was a 17% drop in UK visitors to the Caribbean region between 2008 and 2011. In T&T,
tourist arrival figures show a periodic increase in total visitors from 1995 till 2005, peaking in December 2005, with arrivals hitting 463,190. Since then however, there has been a continuous decline to 437,000 in 2008, 419,000 in 2009 and 386,000 in 2010. Falling tourist arrivals means loss in revenue and foreign exchange for band leaders, hoteliers, restaurateurs, the ground transport industry, fete organizers and tour operators. In 2009, Trinbagonians also adjusted their Carnival season spending as financial institutions reported a decline in applications for Carnival loans. However, Minister of Community Development and Culture, Marlene McDonald assured at that time that no budget allocations were cut for Carnival interest groups such as Pan Trinbago, National Carnival Bandleaders Association and the Trinidad Unified Calypsonians’ Organization. Despite these past trends and a potential loss in revenue for Carnival 2014, the Carnival Band industry is not adopting the usual tactics in response to a global recession. While airline, hotel and retail industries drastically reduce prices and offer discounts and incentives for tightening budgets, costume
While airline, hotel and retail industries drastically reduce prices and offer discounts and incentives for tightening budgets, costume prices remain exorbitant 4
prices remain exorbitant. A contributor on Trinidad Carnival Diary investigates that across the board the cheapest backline costume is $4200, which excludes a larger headpiece, collar and leg pieces. Many frontline costumes that average in excess of $7000 are what backline costumes were a few years ago, except for a different headpiece. The reduced quality of mass produced costumes was also highlighted, as “mas man” Brian Macfarlane states in an interview with the Trinidad Guardian that “I know for a fact that you can land, in bulk, a costume from China, bikini and beads at $300 (TT).” Despite these steep price increases, demand for costumes seems to be inelastic as the majority of top bands have long claimed to be “sold out” soon after band launches. In an interview with a band manager at YUMA, he stated that all the sections have been sold out and there was no change in the positive response of both local and foreign masqueraders as compared to previous years. In fact, he noted that this year there were a lot of new registrants as
ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
“everyone wants to be a part of the YUMA vibe.” A representative at TRIBE also confirmed an overwhelming demand for costumes, which had to be filled by loyal customers of TRIBE and BLISS before new persons are accommodated. It was noted however, that the number of individual and frontline costumes have been dwindling over the years, as more people opt for backline costumes perhaps due to increasing prices. The industry will also feel the loss of Brian MacFarlane, who has opted to sit out from Carnival 2014. Those that are more concerned with the artistic and creative aspects of mas offered by MacFarlane, Stephen Lee Heung, Raoul Garib, Wayne Berkley and Peter Minshall are left wonting. It seems unlikely that this group will opt for the “bikini and beads” experience. These persons are more likely to be absorbed into bands such as K2K Carnival that offer a “contemporary, edgy, fashionforward product.” With 5 months to go, only time will tell whether Carnival 2014 will feel the brunt of the looming global recession.
EYE ON FDI
The T&T Economy and the US Government Shutdown: Cause for Concern
he US sneezed when its government shut down for the first time in 17 years, putting the rest of the world at risk of catching a cold. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned that such a move could tip the world into recession. Coupled with a spending cut, crucial parts of the US economy that depended on government services including national parks, national security and federal courts had been partially shut down on October 1st 2013. Approximately 800,000 federal employees were sent home indefinitely and another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates. This situation was triggered by a budget row over healthcare reform between Democrat President Barack Obama and the Republican-led Congress. The latter refused to withdraw demands that parts of the Affordable Care Act be delayed in return for approval of a mandatory government funding bill. The shutdown lasted a mere 16 days and regular government operations resumed on October 17 2013, when an interim appropriations bill was signed into law. The shutdown may be over… but is the small open economy of T&T in the clear? There seems to be mixed views on the long term impact of such a move on the nation, in terms of loss of export revenue, foreign direct investment, remittances and tourism inflows from the US. Abrahim Ali, President of the San Juan Business Chamber states “I do not think there would not be an immediate impact from the federal govern-
Written by Crystal Cassie
With respect to foreign direct investment, Ramkissoon believes that the shutdown will affect business confidence in general which will have a detrimental impact on levels of FDI in T&T ment shutdown but there will be an impact in the long term,” as he believes a significant amount of employment hinges on the state of US affairs. Trade Minister Vasant Bharath, when interviewed at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of T&T’s Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, stated with confidence that no impact would be felt in terms of trade and investment from the US. Surely, for several years T&T has diversified its energy export-markets to South America, Europe and Asia. He assured that despite the US being the largest buyer of T&T’s main export of LNG, within the last six months the commodity had been diverted to other viable markets which would ensure revenue for the economy. Republic Bank economist Ronald Ramkissoon paints a different picture, alluding to the fact that our exports can
be dampened. He states that “While the world, the Caribbean included, is more and more turning to emerging economies for trade, dependence on North America and Europe is still critical for this region. As such, if the situation in the US worsens there will be implications for the Caribbean.” This sounds more like the case since in 2012, 40.3% of export revenues and 30.8% of imports originated from the US for T&T. With respect to foreign direct investment, Ramkissoon believes that the shutdown will affect business confidence in general which will have a detrimental impact on levels of FDI in T&T. He states that “the developing world is still struggling to achieve strong and sustainable growth and a failure in fiscal management in the US can only make the situation worse for that country and all its trading partners.”
ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
The potential fall in business confidence and expectation is alarming since FDI into T&T is already on the decline by 90%, between the peak year of 2008 at US$2.8 billion and 2011 at US$293 million. But Executive director of the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) Ian Chinapoo is confident that the T&T economy can stand strong despite international shocks. He asserts that as a small open economy that is trying to create value, the investment institutions are “savvy.” With good international connections and advice from international advisors, adequate risk protection action has been taken to preserve investor’s funds. Thomas Helbing, Chief of the World Economic Outlook Division of the IMF brought attention to the fact that the shutdown could adversely affect tourist arrivals to Caribbean economies from the US. As of 2012, 48.4% of total tourist arrivals to T&T come from the US. Local Economist Dr. Roger Hosein observes that with consumer spending accounting for approximately 70% of economic output in the US, consumer demand will fall with workers being laid off. T&T will feel the blow at least for the rest of the year, with the USA accounting for almost 200,000 of tourists annually. Remittances, or funds sent back to the country from citizens who live and work in the US, will also be impacted. In T&T, 48.7% of total remittances originated from the US in 2012. So with these potential impacts looming in the near future, the T&T economy will have to weather any storm that the US shutdown has brewed.
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
Viable Prospects are Ahead for Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Sector
Written by Lindian Mars
he Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs ably attracted eleven (11) bids for its Ortoire, Rio Claro and St Mary’s blocks - some 63,715 hectares of acreage in the country’s southern basin. It’s the first land-based Bid Round endeavoured in 15 years. Speaking at the close of the 2013 Onshore Bid Round, on October 31st, Energy Minister – Kevin Ramnarine said the “Bid Round is linked to the Government’s policy to increase oil production and realize growth in the country’s hydrocarbon reserves”. The five companies submitting bids include A & V Oil and Gas Ltd., Glint Energy LLC, Lease Operators Ltd., Range Resources Ltd. and Trinity Exploration and Production plc. Describing the event as successful, Minister Ramnarine said that “the Bid Round can only result in an increase in exploration and a commensurate increase in oil production beyond the 100,000 bopd level which we last experienced some 3 years ago”. He added that activity related to land-based oil production is high and signs
of a turnaround are evident. “I was advised that there were 20 work-over rigs in Trinidad and Tobago all of which are currently engaged and that there was a waiting list for companies wanting to use those work-over rigs. This is a proxy for activity taking place on land”. The 2013 Onshore Bid Round was opened on May 16, and closed on October 31. An optimistic Ramnarine revealed that very interesting prospects exists for another Land-Based Bid Round in the Biche / Charuma area, sometime in the future, although most of the land acreage was absorbed in the 2013 Onshore Bid Round. On the heels of the close of the 2013 Onshore Bid Round, the Energy Minister signed a production sharing contract (PSC) with a consortium between BHP Billiton and Repsol for Block 23b. Located off the Northeast Coast of Trinidad and Tobago, Minister Ramnarine said 23 (b) has “prospects for both oil and gas”, with an estimated capacity of 304 to 907 million barrels of crude and 1.6 to three trillion cubic feet of gas.
An optimistic Ramnarine revealed that very interesting prospects exists for another Land-Based Bid Round in the Biche / Charuma area, sometime in the future, although most of the land acreage was absorbed in the 2013 Onshore Bid Round 8
It comprises approximately 2,600 square kilometres and lies in water depths of between 700 and 2,000 metres. He was at the time speaking at the signing ceremony for the Block 23 (b), held at the Ministry’s head office on November 5th, 2013 where he revealed that the Block was part of the 2011 Bid Round, but the initial proposal fell short of the Ministry’s benchmarks. A subsequent revised proposal with improvements to the offer and the compliance with the Ministry’s benchmarks were accepted. The vested interest of the BHP / Repsol consortium is 60% and 40% respectively. According to a Ministry statement “the consortium is
ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
committed to a three-phased Minimum Exploration Work Programme valued at US$120.5 million. During the obligatory, first phase which runs for three years, the consortium proposes to acquire over 1,100 square km of 3D seismic and undertake additional geological studies. For its second and third phases, the consortium proposes to drill two wells, each to a depth of 3,300 metres”. Meantime the 2013 Deep Water Bid Round is currently open. Six offshore blocks TTDAA 1, 2, 3, 7, 30 & 31 located in the East Coast Marine Area and Trinidad and Tobago’s Deep Atlantic Area are offered for bids. The process comes to a close in January 2014.
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
Transparency Issues Affect Business Health
Written by A. Martin
he term transparency conjures up a range of words including frank, open, opaque, clear and candid to name a few. According to dictionary.com it means easily seen through, recognized or detected; manifest or obvious. Transparency is integral in business as it is one of the defining elements of a healthy climate for investors and clients in particular. Like relationships in general, business transactions are built on trust, faith and reliability. Businesses must therefore be open with their operations and strategies and forthcoming in sharing basic information and data. Financial statements should be valid and timely. This arrangement ensures that companies are accountable to their clients. It also reduces the likelihood of illicit activity, particularly white-collar crime. Transparency is directly linked to corruption and according to Transparency International there are three main reasons why businesses should try to avoid corruption. These include stakeholder pressure, for instance from customers, investors, export credit agencies and development banks; changes in laws and regulations; as well as the damage, which can be caused to reputation via the media, social networking and civil society campaigns. Private companies should consistently seek to ensure that current and potential customers respect and trust their brand. One such way to do so is to ensure that they always con-
duct business in a transparent way. A failure to do so can lead to a breakdown in relations and ultimately a decline in profitability. One middle manager at an advertising agency explained how important it was to keep a precise paper trail so that clients could see exactly how their money was distributed upon demand. According to her, “If you don’t have transparency people then wouldn’t be able to trust what you are telling them.” Transparency is also an important component of good corporate governance. The more open governments are with their handling of state funds and taxpayers money, the more faith citizens would entrust in political leadership and state machinery. Ms. Susan Gordon of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) noted that, “…corruption in the public sector can have disastrous consequences for the entire society as nepotism, kickbacks, wastage of public funds can undermine citizens’ trust and destroy institutions…” That said, there is often an important correlation between white-collar crime and a lack of transparency and this affects more than just the morale and behaviour of a country’s citizenry as foreign investors are not motivated to invest in countries, which score low in transparency ratings. This likelihood can negatively affect national social and economic development. The Corruption Percep-
The more open governments are with their handling of state funds and taxpayers money, the more faith citizens would entrust in political leadership and state machinery tion Index (CPI) ranks each country on a scale of 0-100 with the smaller numbers representing greater levels of corruption. In 2012 Trinidad and Tobago received a rank of 39 out of 100 and was positioned in place 80 out of 176 countries. According to the Chair of Transparency International, “Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people.” The Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, launched in 1998, which represents the global Transparency International
body. According to Ms. Susan Gordon of the Institute, corruption can be defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” and the Institute seeks to create “a world in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free from corruption.” One way in which this is done is by actively seeking to improve the transparency ranking of Trinidad and Tobago and to provide a framework for effective corporate and anti-corruption practices. This involves getting companies to; commit to an anti-corruption programme, assess the current status and risk environment, plan an anticorruption programme, act on the plan, monitor controls and implementation and report internally and externally on the programme. Ultimately open business makes for good business and the cost of corruption is frankly too high.
www.abstractbusinesstt.com • OCTOBER, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
Good Corporate Governance makes Good Sense
Written by Crystal Cassie
elson Mandela once said that “The time is always right to do right.” Organizations today are finding it increasingly lucrative to adopt corporate social responsibility practices and objectives. It is the foundation of sustainable business, as company image is becoming more important to retaining value customers over time. Good corporate governance falls under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility, along with integrity, code of ethics and obligation. Good corporate governance, simply put, is the way an organization polices itself. It provides a framework of rules and practices by which a board of directors ensures accountability, fairness, and transparency in a company's relationship with its all stakeholders including financiers, customers, management, employees, government and the community at large. This framework consists of firstly, explicit and implicit contracts between the company and the stakeholders for distribution of responsibilities, rights, and rewards; secondly, procedures for reconciling the sometimes conflicting interests of stakeholders in accordance with their duties, privileges,
and roles; and thirdly, procedures for proper supervision, control, and information-flows to serve as a system of checksand-balances. Good corporate governance brings benefits to the company such as lower cost of capital, lower risk of scandal and failure, stronger leadership and better operations. For society, good practices can ensure stronger business sector and state owned enterprises, greater benefits from better management of national wealth, greater investor confidence, a stronger civil society and lower risk of corporate failures. In T&T, the recent collapse of CL Financial and Hindu Credit Union which tainted the reputation for the industry brought corporate governance issues to the forefront. The commission of inquiry revealed numerous cases of management inefficiencies and greed which led to the failure of the companies, causing the State to inject $20 billion into CL Financial in an effort to save the investment of depositors. In fact, a study carried out by Syntegra Architects Ltd in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at the T&T Stock Exchange Commission, found that T&T
The commission of inquiry revealed numerous cases of management inefficiencies and greed which led to the failure of the companies, causing the State to inject $20 billion INTO CL Financial in an effort to save the investment of depositors
competitiveness has been hampered by poor corporate governance. In the 2011/2012 survey T&T ranked 87 out of 142. T&T had the lowest disclosure requirement in 45 countries reviewed by the United Nations, and of the benchmark of 61 disclosure items, T&T had 5 disclosure items. It was also noted that legislation in T&T does not go far enough in giving specific guidelines to company directors as to what they should be doing with regard to disclosure. Furthermore, according to the 2012 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, T&T ranked 114 out of 144 on the efficacy of corporate boards. This does not fare well for T&T since according to McKinsey Global Investor Opinion Survey on Corporate Governance (2002), corporate governance has been established as a key investment criterion to the point where investors may claim avoidance of not only companies with poor governance but also countries, as 31% of investors claim avoidance of certain countries when making investment decisions. So it is increasingly important for local businesses to align with best practices to ensure sustainability and overall global competitiveness. Andrew Sabga, President of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce advised that the good corporate governance practices can be achieved with combined efforts from the government and the private sector. The government must devise proper policies, while local business organizations must
10 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
“make a commitment to good corporate governance and incorporate ethical behavior in business strategy, operations and culture.” He urged that the companies that have already engaged in CSR practices to go beyond law obligations and show a genuine concern for the environment and the nation. He stressed ethical business for the interest of the wider community, and giving back to the valued citizens of T&T. Janet Peters, lecturer and attorney at law, states that in T&T society, good corporate governance requires a “culture change” and a significant “paradigm shift.” It goes beyond simply management and law, as local companies have to adopt new a culture and value system. This new culture has to be integrated into how business is done, how decisions are made and the thought processes behind actions in the organization. She strongly suggests effort at the national level before it can trickle down to the firm level. A step in the right direction, in November 2012, the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the T&T Stock Exchange and the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute partnered to develop the T&T Corporate Governance Code (TTCGC). Sabga notes that successful companies in the business 50 years old and more in T&T have made strong corporate governance, core values and the nation’s watchwords of Discipline, Production and Tolerance “the backbone of their companies’ policies and procedures.”
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
Analyzing the Worth of the Advertising Industry
Written by A. Martin
dvertising in Trinidad and Tobago represents a viable industry as can be seen and heard in the plethora of ads selling diverse products to targeted audiences and potential clients. The industry is one, which has gone through a number of changes over recent years. Given its connectivity to the global network of advertising, agencies here are not immune to global changes and it is therefore necessary to do an assessment of the worth of the industry as well as to ascertain how it is standing up against the tide of change. According to advertising agents who were interviewed, the industry in Trinidad and Tobago is a successful one. One senior employee at Ross Advertising noted that across the board, profitability in advertising is dependent upon the efficacy of an advertising campaign. “If you plan a campaign and it’s not just creatively well produced, but it’s also placed in media in such a way that it causes an impact, you will find that the clients might want to then continue with more campaigns … so it’s really how good the campaign is.”
An agent from another leading advertising agency stated that advertising success is contingent on the ability of the agency to negotiate with and satisfy the demands of its clients, “The success of a campaign is dependent upon a clear brief and a tailored message to the audience because when you have that they will buy into it.” So how is success measured in terms of figures? A representative from a leading advertising agency noted that the profitability of a company depends upon the amount of clients an agency secures as well as the number of placements, which the client requires. As such, a smaller agency can make up to $3,000,000 in placements while a larger agency can make approximately $30,000,000 and even up to $60,000,000. Ideally each company profits off of commission, a flat rate, which is usually around 15%. Representatives noted that television ads were more expensive than radio and print ads and that an agency could make more money on television ads if they applied commission to the smaller elements of the total production such as makeup, sourcing a graphic artist or
Representatives noted that television ads were more expensive than radio and print ads and that an agency could make more money on television ads if they applied commission to the smaller elements of the total production such as makeup, sourcing a graphic artist or scouting a location
scouting a location. Radio ads were described as the cheapest or the most cost effective because whereas a print ad might cost approximately $8000 a radio spot could cost about $150 though one could put a lot more frequency to it. The process of getting the ad to air was also much easier, “With radio all you need is studio time and a voice … and you get it done in two twos so even production wise it would be cheaper to go radio rather than anything else.” Despite the acknowledged success of the industry it is impossible to ignore increasing moves away from from traditional advertising and the panic, which this has caused some in the industry. The local industry is not divorced from global forces and as such it therefore becomes imperative for agencies to keep au courant with what is happening in media worldwide. While some sources believed that the industry had taken a hit in recent times others did not. One particular concern though is the increasing use of social media in advertising. “It is slowly gaining momentum. A lot of the corporate clients, older institutions are still not there yet but the younger brands they are more flexible and willing to spend money behind social media now” said one advertising executive. The representative from
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Ross noted that the rise of social media as a legitimate advertising medium would require advertisers to find innovative ways of blending traditional advertising models with non traditional ones and ultimately to be as creative as possible in their productions, “It’s just really that people in advertising need to keep up to speed with how to engage people through the different media…” Another threat to the industry rests in the increasing trend of clients to deal directly with media houses in a bid to reduce the amount of money spent on advertising, “Lets say before if you did a press ad you used to go to a studio take photos and all that, now the client could just buy the image and get like a lower end graphic artist and they would pay together…” Either way even though some clients are trying to cut traditional media spend and utilize Mark Zuckerberg’s gift of a Facebook page, print, radio and television advertising spaces have not become obsolete. The mark of a successful agency is therefore the way it treats with innovation as well as its ability to prove to its clients that it can reach their desired target audience. Ultimately clients want value and as long as the agency can provide such value, advertising would always be a worthwhile industry.
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
Cherry Ann Francis-Lau
Board Member of the Caribbean Institute for Quality Limited
Written by D. Nandlal
works with many organizations for the implementation of Food Safety Management, Quality, Health and Safety, Environment and other major projects in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. Cherry Ann’s current experience also spans Professional Training Programmes where she executes, guides and manages public and in-house training. She also guides and manages students’ projects for their final examination. Some of the companies Cherry Ann has worked with includes but are not limited to the Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Social Services, Ministry of Health, T & T Prisons Service, PETROTRIN, T & T Electricity Commission, DEXIA (Dominica), Arcelor Mittal Steel, BPTT, Nestle Trinidad Ltd., the Government of St. Kitts - the Ministry of Health, Communication, Works and Public Utilities, Industrial Plant Services, Tucker Energy, Neal and Massy Insertec, Angostura, British Gas, WITCO, the Ministry of National Security, Incorrtec, among many others. This accomplished individual is this issue’s Trump Card.
s. Cherry Ann Francis-Lau is certified as a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). She holds RABQSA Certified Quality Management System and Environmental Management System (ISO 9001:2008/14001:2004) Lead Auditor Certifications. She is a Member of the American Society for Quality, is Recertification Chair and is Chief Proctor for the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Examinations. Ms. Francis-Lau was a mem- dium size organizations to sucber of the World Bank Project cessfully achieve certification aimed at Business Expansion first time. Cherry Ann was also and Industrial Restructuring responsible for the initiation ABG: In your own words, (BEIRL) for Global Competi- and development of the Audio/ what does CIQ specialise in? tiveness in T& T and the wider Visual unit as a business for the CAF: Caribbean Institute for Quality (CIQ) specializes in the Caribbean Region in 1993-1996. UWI/IOB. In October 1999, Cherry- business of enhancing organiDuring that period she held responsibility for enhancing Ann founded the Caribbean zational performance through quality competitiveness of lo- Institute for Quality Ltd. (CIQ) specialized training, consulwhere she is Programme Direc- tancy and audits in the areas cal and regional industries. Cherry Ann was solely re- tor, Project Manager, Consult- of Quality, Health and Safety, sponsible for the development ant and Auditor. CIQ; a knowl- Environmental, Food Safety, of the Quality Department edge, information, training and Laboratory and Information at the University of the West consultancy multi-disciplinary Systems, Organizational DevelIndies, Institute of Business entity with its corporate phi- opment, Executive Develop(UWI/IOB) (now Arthur Lok losophy placing particular em- ment and professionally certiJack) during the period (1996 – phasis upon quality, reliability, fied course. 1999). During that period, she expertise and capability, faciliheld position as Programme tates the growth and develop- ABG: How long have you Director where her responsi- ment of globally competitive been involved in the quality bilities included the admin- organizations in the Caribbean assurance business? istration and management of and Latin America and ensures CAF: Over 20 years quality training programmes individual professional enand the design and manage- hancement for business excel- ABG: What are some of the ment of ISO 9000 and EMS lence and international recog- challenges that you faced in the early stages of CIQ? consultancy project. This ef- nition. Under CIQ, Cherry Ann CAF: In the early years, the fort led several large and me14 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
challenges were in the area of convincing organizations about the importance of standards and its value to the overall improvement in business performance. Being a new approach, there was unwillingness of organizations to invest in what they consider an un-proven approach to organization development and transforming problems into business opportunities through standards and monitoring systems. Basically, it was creating value out of nothing and proposing a new way of conducting business. Competition in some areas was also a challenge but I used it as a benchmark for creativity, innovation and quality. Limited resources was another challenge ABG: With respect to those challenges, how did you overcome those obstacles? CAF: CIQ has never gone into business purely to make money. I felt I could have made a positive impact on the lives of organizations and individuals through my knowledge. This was strengthened by bringing the right information with the right people and the support of Quality Gurus, like Mr. Robert Peach, our late Director of 14 years. With perseverance, honesty, integrity, commitment and providing world class quality service to all our customers and with a profound belief and trust in God I stood strong in the values and beliefs of CIQ. ABG: What are some of the new challenges you currently face? CAF: This area of business is growing in popularity. This is so due to organizations’ focus on corporate governance. Standards are now more important than ever as organizations manage its business and at the same time take into consideration the impact of business on communities. The competition has grown tremendously to meet the challenges, CIQ has to continue to stay ahead of the game. The competition’s reaction however is to use any means necessary and we con-
TRUMP CARD tinue to face dishonesty and poor ethics by some. ABG: What made you decide to open this type of business? CAF: In my line of work at UWI/IOB I became passionate about quality. I knew I could have made a difference to the business community. This, coupled with my love for assisting individuals and organizations as a personal endeavour, created the foundation upon which CIQ was built. ABG: What are some of your goals for the next five years both professionally and personally? CAF: I would like to expand the business and continue to create a cadre of persons loyal to the quality mantra as espoused by the Quality Guru Deming - "Continual Never ending Improvement." Quality is a JOURNEY. I would love to assist a wider group of quality professionals in realising that quality is not something which you espouse in an organisation but an approach to both your professional and personal life. Coupled with this is the understanding that leadership is a critical skill in the implementation of any system. Therefore my next big move is the development of an institute of leadership development. ABG: What would you consider to be a dream achievement? CAF: CIQ’s work has already reached the entire country so my dream is to continue to spread the mantra of continuous improvement to the wider Caribbean islands and at an international level making a difference and creating a significant positive impact on both the organizations and individuals. ABG: What are some of the ways persons can benefit from taking courses at CIQ?
CAF: We offer a team dedicated to ensuring that each student is successful and putting in place lecturers, staff and schedules which support personal and professional development and achievement. ABG: Do you think companies who send their employees to CIQ are helping to maximise their profit? CAF: Absolutely, enhancing knowledge and skill, improving processes and implementing systems in the organisation is one guaranteed way to maximise profit. Since CIQ’s approach to training and consultancy underpins the core philosophy of Deming’s Quality Continual Improvement Model, the Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle - PDCA., CIQ ensures that quality is consistently achieved and delivered and that internal operations are efficient and effective. Our model also focuses on doing the right thing first, focusing on the right metrics and creating the environment to do the right thing, all of which aids to tremendous improvement in bottom line figures. Through our courses, individuals and understand and place greater focus on customer satisfaction and become more responsive to customer needs and requirements, ABG: What are some of the issues that you think the education sector is faced with? CAF: There is often a disconnect between what is taught and what is required by the business community, so transferring what was learnt to the workplace becomes a difficult task. Additionally, too many individuals continue to pursue qualifications without any intention of applying knowledge to solving real world problems. Students study and think of the knowledge they gain as eso-
teric and not at all applicable to organisations and organisational outcomes. One of the ways CIQ excels is designing training/consultancy projects that meet the organization’s objectives and in reinforcing the connection between training and real world application. All of our facilitators actually work in the fields they train in and bring to the classrooms practical understanding of business issues which are used as examples and case studies. ABG: How can society at large benefit from the services offered by CIQ? CAF: Installing the notion of quality first and quality second, supporting adults continuous education and upgrading of skills to maintain relevance in the ever changing market place. ABG: Any advice for those wishing to enter a similar field? CAF: Find your passion. Confirm it’s something you are good at. Get the education you need and jump right in. ABG: Are there any upcoming events for CIQ? CAF: The year 2013 is about to close and we are in the planning stage for next year. However CIQ will be embarking on a comprehensive marketing drive and concretising its effort to provide development for leadership. A few upcoming events already on stream are: Risk Assessment and Management Incident and Accident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis RAB/QSA Certified ISO 14001/9001 and OHSAS 18001 Lead Auditor Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Water Quality Testing Policies and Procedures Documentation
Some on-going programmes are which will come to a close in December 2013 and March 2014 : ASQ Certified Quality Engineer ASQ Certified Reliability Engineer ASQ Certified Quality Technician ASQ Certified Quality Inspector ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence ABG: It appears that the dynamics of the business world are changing with more young entrepreneurs entering the business world. How important do you think formal education is? CAF: Education whether formal or informal is important to give you the platform for interacting with other persons in the business world. Of course everyone’s learning ability varies. Are the courses designed in such a way that a person with learning disabilities will be able to grasp the information being taught? Courses are designed using Blooms Taxonomy which emphasises the following so that all abilities are accommodated. Remembering Understanding Applying Analyzing Evaluating Creating ABG: Is there anything else you would like to add? CAF: By improving quality – the way we conduct business, it is possible to increase productivity which results in improved competitiveness of a business enterprise. We are open for business and would love to partner with you. Give us a call to instil quality in your life and business.
www.abstractbusinesstt.com • OCTOBER, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS 15
Are We Disaster Ready?
Overcoming The Economic Impact of Natural Disasters Written by Leah Lewis
rinidad and Tobago has been somewhat fortunate not to suffer the fate of many countries that have experienced the ravaging results of natural catastrophic events. This is not to say that we are not prone to them. Even with only two seasons we endure a fair share of nature at its best. During the rainy season we navigate through the murky flood waters and the various landslides that send houses walking into the streets. Roofs are blown off and destruction cascades over parts of the country. In the past we have been witness to earthquakes as well. This year has been a slightly more active hurricane season and seismologists warned that given the pattern of major earthquakes over the decades, the nation is overdue for a major shakeup. Following that prediction, on October 11th an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 occurred north of the Paria Penninsula, Trinidad. That event was reported to have been felt not only in Trinidad but across Grenada and Guyana. These instances are evidence that Trinidad and Tobago is prone to disasters but
not necessarily on a severely dangerous level. However, it is never too early to be prepared and have a developed plan in place for a worst case scenario. This provokes the thought of whether or not Trinidad and Tobago’s economy and prevention framework can withstand the effects of natural disasters. According to a study undertaken by Inter-American Development Bank on Indicators of Risk and Risk Management, extreme events such as earthquakes and storm surges would cause the major losses in the future in Trinidad and Tobago. These damages also inflict financial constraints on the economy. The disaster Deficit Index (DDI) outlines the country’s capacity to economically manage disasters. It also outlines the impending resources that would be needed to address the situation. The DDI encompasses the relationship between the demand for contingent resources to cover the losses that the public sector must assume as result of its fiscal responsibility caused by the Maximum Considered Event (MCE) and the public sector’s economic resilience (ER). The ER is ob-
tained from the estimation of the possible internal or external funds that government, as responsible for recovery or as owner of the affected goods, may access or has available at the time of the evaluation. A DDI greater than 1.0 reflects the country’s inability to cope with extreme disasters even by going into as much debt as possible. In keeping with this economic measurement scale for disaster preparedness it seems that Trinidad and Tobago may possess the financial capacity to cover impending economic loss. In this regard, the frameworks established by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) are crucial in the country’s ability to properly navigate the effects of catastrophic natural events. Education Officer of the Seismic Research Centre, Stacey Edwards, noted that hundreds of earthquakes are recorded in Trinidad annually and warned given the type of tectonic plates around the Caribbean, statistically the region should generate a magnitude 8 earthquakes every 100 years. “Constructing
buildings to withstand earthquakes, public education and just being prepared will go a long way to reducing personal and commercial losses,” she added. In addition, the National Response Framework along with support from key local stakeholders is crucial in establishing a fully functioning prevention system. The NRF outlines the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders within the national response framework. It entails the process for the coordination of their efforts to provide a range of services which include early warning, assessment, emergency operations and relief. This partnership would greatly increase our country’s ability to offer rapid response in times of need. Recently the ODPM partnered with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AUS AID) to build Earthquake Capacity in Trinidad and Tobago. This three day workshop was conducted through consultation with forty (40) national stakeholders with the aim of improving the country’s earthquake contingency planning.
www.abstractbusinesstt.com • OCTOBER, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS 17
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
TEDx is Back Written by D. Nandlal
here is always a significant buzz whenever Ted X comes around, but a large percentage of the local public still don’t seem to know what it is all about. What started off as “an interesting idea” quickly developed into one of the most important business and innovation conferences globally. Not to be left out, Trinidad and Tobago boarded the TedX train two years ago and is now preparing for the latest incarnation of the conference later this month. A description taken from their website states: “Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. These “TED-like” experiences are entrenched in fostering innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. The third annual conference is geared to take place in Trinidad on 30th November at the Central Bank. However, ticket reservations will be closed off by 1st November at 11:59 PM. Cost of the tickets are $400.00 TT. This year’s theme is “Con-
necting” and there will be a full day of presentations to suit. The first conference was back in 2011 and it has evolved since, with many more people interested in the whole TED experience. Organizers of the event confirmed that the seating in Central Bank is excellent and food is available to purchase in the Plaza. As for parking, they are currently working with NIPDEC to prove such facilities at a low cost. Keita Demming - Founder and Licencee, TEDx Port of Spain described the event to the Abstract Business Guide as “A day to connect with other Trinbagonians who are changing conversations in their sectors; Trinbagonians who are thinking differently. TEDx Port of Spain attracts the future doers and thinkers of the country." She went on to add “TEDx Port of Spain is a hub for the generation of ideas and concepts which will foster innovation throughout our community. Businesses thrive and grow in societies of thinkers. Anything that stimulates thinking and the generation of ideas will positively impact the business community.” A total of 10 speakers are charted for the conference, each with very unique and diverse backgrounds. Based on the theme, Dennise Demming, lead consultant at Demming
A day to connect with other Trinbagonians who are changing conversations in their sectors; Trinbagonians who are thinking differently. TEDx Port of Spain attracts the future doers and thinkers of the country
Communications believes that the concept will allow speakers their own spin on it, but even more importantly, it will help society as a whole. She goes on to say that each one of us is connected in some way or the other, and in order to make the country a better place, we need to improve our connection with each other. She further added that this connection has nothing to do with networking. Both Scott Hilton-Clarke, a parallel entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of Inspiration Laboratories and Charlotte Elias, committed to movements for positive social change, will host the conference.
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So far the confirmed speakers are; Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh, Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Attillah Springer, Etienne Charles, Gabriella Jamilah Hosein, Erle Rahaman-Noronha, Dominique La Gendre, Keegan Taylor and Rondel, Debrah Lewis and Father Clyde Martin Harvey. Each speaker is given a maximum of 18 minutes to speak and are encouraged not too use power points. Denning, believes by doing this, it allows speakers to focus and ask themselves, what is the core idea I want to communicate to the audience. A full background description about each of the speakers can be found on TedX Port of Spain website.
Trinidadian Entrepreneur wins prestigious P.M.I. Award
Managing Director of Trinidadweddings.com and Editor-in-Chief of the annual Trinidad Weddings Magazine (TW Wed-Zine) Simone Sant-Ghuran
rinidad And Tobago’s Simone Sant-Ghuran has made history as the first female T&T native to receive an award from the highly recognized international body, The Project Management Institute (PMI). At the recent ceremony for the PMI Southern Caribbean Chapter’s Excellence in Project Management Award Competition, which was held in the ballroom of the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, SantGhuran was presented with a special award in the category ‘Most Creative Application of Project Management (PM) Tools and Techniques’. Sant-Ghuran, who is the Founder and Managing Director of www.trinidadweddings. com/ and Editor-in-Chief of the annual Trinidad Weddings Magazine (TW Wed-Zine) was
Simone Sant-Ghuran receives a Special Award for the project ‘Publication of the TW WedZine 2013 Magazine’ – a project from the non-traditional project management sector.
bestowed with a Special Award for the project ‘Publication of the TW Wed-Zine 2013 Magazine’ – a project from the nontraditional project management sector. TW Wed-Zine, was the first glossy-format, locallyproduced, commercially distributed wedding magazine in Trinidad and Tobago. Now in its 5th year, the annual publication (available to a global audience in both print and digital format) is a one-stop resource and forum for soon to be married couples and for various wedding industry practitioners, vendors and stakeholders in the fields of event management and corporate communication. The 2013 PMI SCC Excellence in Project Management Award Competition coincided with the 7th Bi-Annual International PMI SCC Project
Management Conference the theme of which was, ‘Improving Performance In Challenging Times; Transformation, Diversity and Sustainability’. In keeping with this theme the PMI SCC was pleased to realize its goal of embracing diversity when Mrs. Sant-Ghuran was awarded with this international distinction. According to Chief Judge Mr. Raoul John, “All three judges for the Excellence in Project Management Award Competition consistently judged the project ‘Publication of the TW Wed-Zine 2013 Magazine’ as deserving of an award for excellence and for the creative application of PM Tools and Techniques”. Most notably, PMI SCC President, Ms. Cynthia Gloria Hayes, also congratulated Mrs. Simone Sant-Ghuran on her monumental win.
Sant-Ghuran who was elated about receiving such a highprofile recognition shared, “I don’t only view this as an industry acknowledgement for my own personal efforts but also as a professional victory and affirmation for the local and regional creative sector as a whole”. About the PMI SCC The PMI Southern Caribbean Chapter (PMI SCC) is a chartered component of the PMI since 1999 and was registered as a non-profit organization in Trinidad and Tobago in 2001. There are currently over 600 members in 13 nations representing various sectors such as: energy, ICT, financial, construction, manufacturing, training/education, services and consulting. Courtesy Sonique Solutions
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ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
The Top CostEffective Innovations for your Business
hink your job is tough? Just think how much more difficult it would be without technology. These advancements are the top products that can help take your business to the next level. Oh, and they’re cost effective too. Linux and open source Linux and open source have not only matured into a business-ready platform, they have pushed innovation forward on a number of fronts. From the server all the way up to the desktop, Linux and open source have helped force the competition to reevaluate how the user and business interact with hardware and customers. The Linux desktop has proved that more can be done with a user interface than the wornout Start button/task bar metaphor. And with the power of the Linux server, businesses can work with tools like customer resource management, human resource management, and other platforms they might not otherwise have access to. Along with this innovation comes considerable cost savings.
tronic invoicing is making it more efficient for small businesses to get paid. And speaking of getting paid… Mobile payment systems Mobile payment systems have finally become mature enough to be used, reliably, by any small business. You really see these popping up in the restaurant industry and small boutique shops. Apple iPads are quickly establishing themselves as the new world cash register system, and nearly any smartphone can now accept payments thanks to tools like the Intuit's GoPayment. With these new, reliable, cost-effective payment systems, your business can easily travel, and it can quickly and effortlessly take payments for services and products. Blogging platforms Blogging shouldn't be shoved off your radar simply because it has empowered everyone to seem like an authority on every subject known to man. Blogging platforms can enable your company to easily and cheaply connect to your customers and audience in ways never before possible. And with platforms like WordPress, you have at your disposal a wide-range of add-ons that can transform that simple blogging platform into a full-blown business-centric, content-driven Web site. So don't pish-posh blogging platforms and the innovations they bring.
of the easiest forms of keeping your finger on the pulse of your customer/client base. Using various tools, you can keep abreast of what your client base wants. You can also quickly post to multiple social networking services to announce specials, promotions, and much more. And what business would be willing to turn down free marketing? Ultimately, the innovation of social network (and the aggregators that make using them easy) has helped bridge the gap between company and client faster and better than most other technologies -- at little to no cost. Cloud-based groupware If you don't want to pay for an Exchange server and your needs are fairly minimal, cloudbased groupware could be the answer. Both Google and Zoho are amazing platforms for your groupware needs. Small companies may be able to get by with the standard Gmail and Drive. Larger companies might need to turn to the more enterprise-focused Google Apps. Zoho offers numerous tools on its platform – a la cart -- that can have you and your business expanding in a variety of ways without having to drain your company budget.
Electronic invoicing/receipts Electronic invoicing and receipts have started invading Tablets small businesses, and with good Tablets offer an inexpensive reason. The ability to email reway to get your employees and ceipts to customers helps busiyour business mobile. Not only nesses save the cost of receipt do they allow for serious work printer paper -- and on printto be done on the road, they ers altogether. Although it may enable you to conduct transacseem like a negligible cost at tions more efficiently, thanks first, over time all that paper to the myriad software titles adds up. And the continued Social media aggregation growth and evolution of elec- Social media aggregation is one available. Combine powerful 20 ABSTRACT BUSINESS • OCTOBER, 2013 • www.abstractbusinesstt.com
productivity tools with invoicing and payment software, and modern tablets provide a complete office-on-the-go experience. Eventually, the tablet will completely replace the laptop as the go-to hardware for mobile business users. DSLR cameras DSLR cameras and videoediting software have come a long way, even though they've been around for a while. With these tools, you can create professional-looking marketing content in-house. And the DSLR cameras aren't limited to still photography. With amazing sensors and lenses, DSLR cameras can shoot HD movies brilliantly. You can take your marketing to the next level and create perfect YouTube-ready commercials to help promote your business. 3D printing 3D printing is offering a world of promise for many markets. These amazing devices enable the small business to easily fabricate products that can serve as three-dimensional mockups or even as the final product. 3D printers have come far in the last few years, and the results are close (if not dead on) to a finished product. From clothing, to casts, to models, to -- well, just about anything. Compare this to the price of having mock-ups and products machined, and the cost savings is apparent. On top of that, you can easily "print" one-off products geared specifically to individual customers, which will set your business well apart from others.
The Bad Side of Business Communication Technology
very business must consider startup costs when implementing any type of information technology system. In addition to the cost of hardware and software, some technology vendors require businesses to purchase user licenses for each employee that will be operating the system. Businesses must examine the cost of training employees in unfamiliar technology. Although basic information technology systems may be user friendly, advanced programs still require formal instruction by an expert consultant. In addition to the startup expenses, information technology systems are expensive to maintain. Systems malfunction, and when they do, businesses must engage skilled technicians to troubleshoot and make the necessary repairs. These expenses present a major disadvantage of information technology in business, particularly to businesses that are entering the technology era for the first time. Impersonal Perception A significant disadvantage of business communication technology is the perception that a business is impersonal. Consumers who are consistently peppered with electronic communication from business organizations are more likely to have this perception. Businesses often use this method of communication to respond to consumer inquiries about orders placed on the company’s website. Consumers attempting to contact a business who are unable to reach a human being may become frustrated by electronic communication
methods. Employees may also see electronic communication as impersonal if they only receive messages from managers or other employees through email. Email can also create confusion requiring employees to seek more feedback than normal compared to more personal communication methods. Security Issues Using business technology in communication can create various security issues. Emails, text messages and other website communication are often vulnerable to hackers or other individuals who should not have access to certain information. These security issues can create serious legal liabilities if a customer’s personal information, such as a credit card number, or driver’s license is accessed by illegal means through a company’s business
technology. Companies must also create internal controls to safeguard information from inappropriate actions by company employees. Job Elimination Implementing information technology into business operations can save a great deal of time during the completion of daily tasks. Paperwork is processed immediately, and financial transactions are automatically calculated. Although businesses may view this expediency as a boon, there are untoward effects to such levels of automation. As technology improves, tasks that were formerly performed by human employees are now carried out by computer systems. For example, automated telephone answering systems have replaced live receptionists in many organizations. This leads to the
elimination of jobs and, in some cases, alienation of clients. Unemployed specialists and once-loyal employees may have difficulty securing future employment. Difficulty Training Employees Businesses can face difficulty training older employees to use business communication technology methods. These individuals may have a difficult time understanding the technology and how these processes work. Businesses may need to spend copious amounts of time or resources to train these individuals so that they can use this technology to communicate with internal and external business stakeholders. Hiring practices often need to be adjusted to ensure new potential employees are familiar with the company’s business communication technology.
www.abstractbusinesstt.com • OCTOBER, 2013 • ABSTRACT BUSINESS 21
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Developing the Entrepreneur
Developing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
nyone can own and even run a business. Taking a unique idea and transcending the bounds of business to get to a new plateau is being an entrepreneur in the truest sense. These tips show how to promote and maintain the ‘entrepreneurial spirit.
Resist Your ‘Comfort Zone’ Nobody wants to be uncomfortable with a decision or mode of operation, but where Entrepreneurialism is concerned, too much comfort is not a good thing. If the call of entrepreneurship is important enough for you, take care with your life and never succumb to the comfort and apparent security of your comfort zone. Instead make constant and consistent efforts to be required in an area where you need to grow. Face these challenges that life brings with courage and faith. There are no victories without battles. There is no growth without challenge and fall into mediocrity.
Meritocracy Matters Create a work environment in which the most talented employees and the best ideas get recognized and promoted, regardless of age, experience or position. Not only does this create healthy competition, but it encourages employees to be vocal and participate in the bigger vision. However, you should not just take a back seat and look on as these inspired individuals operate. It is important to lead by example. If you’re not moving with a sense of urgency and adding your own ideas to the mix, it will be hard to motivate a potentially innovative team. When all levels of staff are involved in the change process, you create a broad support base within the organization. Hire the Right workers From the Onset Your workforce should mirror the DNA of your particular corporate agenda. So hire those that match it as best as possible. These employees should be committed & motivated. They will act in line with expecta-
tions, making many procedures redundant. That means managers can now move their priorities beyond stimulating motivation and collaboration among staff. In order to get the right crop of people with entrepreneurial minds you have to have an open mind. Rebels cannot be written off. Even candidates that have rebelled against authority should be considered especially if they rebelled in the name of a cause or belief. True innovators have always swum against the stream. It is also important to look for people who have a history of thinking big. Thinking out of the box is the big difference between being just a businessman and being an entrepreneur. Once these criteria are met in staff, make sure to align actions, objectives and remuneration with your (long-term) corporate strategy. Take risks If there’s one thing most entrepreneurs are good at, it’s risk taking. In fact, this is often the key to their success. You can take on big risks in your career, but those
opportunities can be few and far between. The best way to handle risk is by reducing your own personal limitations. Many people make up excuses for why they aren’t doing what they love, but another of the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial spirit is boundlessness. You may be conditioned to accept your life as it is, and move through it as you’ve been told to–realistically and practically. But if you can’t dream big and see yourself in new places and situations, your career will remain stagnant. Dare to dream and see your opportunities open up. Look Forward to Learning John Donahoe, CEO of eBay once posited that “The best leaders learn the fastest.” With business growing more global by the minute and the distinction between virtual and physical transactions fading fast, the importance of understanding subtle shifts in the pulse of the market cannot be understated. Stay on top of the game and research your industry as much as possible.
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ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
DEVELOPING THE ENTREPRENEUR
Common Employee Issues
veryone complains at some point, but really nobody likes a complainer. This is especially true in the workplace. Employers should be open to the concerns of employees, but these concerns should not become issues. It is important to know what affects your staff and move to make show these things do not become problematic. Here are some of the most common issues. Lack of Accessibility It is not uncommon for the executive level leaders and senior managers to become isolated from the employees of the company. Maybe their offices are located at the top of the building and they always stay on that floor for the entire day. This creates a feeling of a hierarchy at play, and as an employee, if they are below the totem pole, they will feel so far removed from the decision makers and it is really inconvenient to ask a decision from the leader. Internal Pay Equity Employees are concerned particularly with pay compression, the difference in pay between new and longer term employees. In organizations, with the average annual pay increase for employees around 4%, employees perceive that newcomers are also often better paid. Complaints About Their Colleague Employees also complain about their co-workers. Per-
sonality conflicts and other disputes might be brought to you to resolve. Wrong Fit An employee is hired to do the work and the first day he shows up, he ends up in a completely different role. This may be basically a form of lying to an employee. If an employee is hired to do this job, but is placed in another, he will forever be miserable. Favoritism Employees want the feeling that each employee is treated equivalently with other employees. If there are policies, behavioral guidelines, methods for requesting time off, valued assignments, opportunities for development, frequent communication, and just about any other work related decisions you can think of, employees want fair treatment. Working Conditions Working condition is always the main topic which the employees complain frequently. Such as the facility cleanliness, employees want a clean, organized work environment in which they have the necessary equipment to perform well. And other safety concerns, issues related to comfort or convenience, and even complaints about discrimination or harassment could arise. Higher Salaries and Wages Wages is a frequent area of concern for most employees, so the complaints about this are always exited. The employees
With outsourcing, downsizing, globalization and pressure to meet the bottom line, job security has become a scarce commodity may complain about raises, job classifications, errors in payments and deductions, overtime calculations, or incentive systems. The salary is also the main area in which employees seek change. You can foster a work environment in which employees feel comfortable asking for a raise. Job Security With outsourcing, downsizing, globalization and pressure to meet the bottom line, job security has become a scarce commodity. A substantial amount of employees have been made to feel as valuable to the company as a paper clip. Therefore, the backlash has been that workers are changing jobs at a clip of every three years. Changing jobs has become a way of life in today’s workforce. The average person will have had 6 jobs between the ages of 18 and 38. Every year, about one-third of
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our workforce changes jobs, largely to take advantage of better opportunities. Freedom from Financial Insecurity Startup employees do not receive much in the way of salaries. But it does motivate them if they can get some benefits that would keep them at bay from financial insecurity. Even small loans and emergency funds work fine to address this. Workloads are Too Heavy The employees feel as if their workloads are too heavy and their time is spread too thinly if departments are understaffed, and it may become worse as layoffs; if you want to find educated, skilled, experienced staff, and your business demands grow, to combat this, each company should help employees participate in continuous improvement activities.
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
GLOBAL FINANCE & WORLD REVIEWS
Facebook revenue surges 60% on strong ad sales
ocial network giant Facebook reported a 60% surge in revenue, to $2.02bn (£1.26bn), in the third quarter. Revenue from advertising grew by 66% to $1.8bn, with nearly half of that coming from mobile ads. "The strong results we achieved this quarter show that we're prepared for the next phase of our company," said Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. Shares initially rose, but fell back after a suggestion that activity in younger teens was down. The increase in revenue led to $425m in net profit in the three months to September. That compares to a loss of $59m in the same period last year. Initially, Facebook's shares surged 15% on the news, but
then fell back after the chief financial officer, David Ebersman, said in a conference call that internal analytics suggested that fewer "younger teens" were using the site. "Our best analytics shows use by US teens overall stable, but a decrease in use by younger teens," said Mr Ebersman. However, he cautioned that it was tricky to measure young people's engagement, as the age entered by a user on the site was not verified. "That market is incredibly fickle," said Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle. "You don't want to see a trend that kids no longer think Facebook is no longer the place to be; that it is now their dads' service." "The kids are Facebook's seed corn, and you don't want to lose that." he added.
Mobile push Shares in the company have nearly doubled in value since July, when it first announced a big jump in its mobile advertising revenue. The company has made a concerted push to boost its mobile offering, and now says that 874 million of the site's more than one billion users access Facebook on their phone. Speaking during a conference call, Mr Zuckerburg called Facebook a "mobile company" and noted more than half of people are only using Facebook from their phones. "It's a pretty incredible sign of how Facebook has evolved as a company," he said. By growing its mobile users, the company has also been able to sell more mobile ads, a crucial
metric that is widely watched by analysts. Facebook has grown its share of the mobile ad market in the US from just 9% last year to 14.9% this year, according to research firm eMarketer. But Google is still by far the leader, accounting for close to half of all mobile ad spending in the US. Revenue from mobile ads was around $880m this quarter, compared to just $150m a year earlier. However, Facebook's user growth in the US and Canada appears to have slowed dramatically. This is significant as the site earns about $4.19 for each user in the US and Canada, compared to just $0.74 for users in highgrowth areas such as Asia.
China economy would be 4pc bigger if data was believed
iscrepancies between statistics posted by local government and what officials in Beijing actually believe means China's economy takes a £320bn hit China's economy would be at least 3.7 trillion yuan (£320bn) bigger than Beijing thinks if the country's central government believed the data coming out of local government statistics offices. Chinese newspaper The Economic Information Daily tallied up GDP data from 28 of mainland China's 31 provincial-level authorities, totalling 42.4 trillion
yuan in the year to date. But the figure for the whole country, already announced by Beijing, is 3.7 trillion yuan lower. If the provincial data were to be believed, China's economy would be about 4pc bigger. The World Bank puts the size of China's economy at £5.1 trillion, making it the second largest in the world after America at £9.8 trillion. The UK's economy weighs in at £2.4 trillion. The discrepancy between China's local and central data which has been in place for more than two decades - has been widening rapidly in recent years, the newspaper said.
The reliability of Chinese economic data has long been in doubt as local officials tend to massage the figures upwards in pursuit of promotion and the newspaper, which is run by the official Xinhua news agency, pointed to the same problem. "Some regions may have inflated the statistics due to their distorted perception of achievements given the fact that the performance assessment of local governments is often linked with GDP growth," the report quoted an unnamed National Bureau of Statistics official as saying. China's Premier Li Keqiang said in 2007, when he was the
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governor of Liaoning province, that some Chinese data was "man-made", according to a confidential memo released by the WikiLeaks website in 2010. He told US diplomats that he focused on only three figures - electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and the amount of loans issued - to evaluate his region's economy, the leaked document showed. Chinese President Xi Jinping said in June that officials' performance evaluations must not be based "simply on GDP growth rate" but take into account factors such as the environment and improving people's well-being.
ABSTRACT BUSINESS GUIDE
October Stock Summary Courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange
Written Report for Wednesday, 30 Oct, 2013
verall Market activity resulted from trading in 12 securities of which 2 advanced, 2 declined and 8 traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 723,762 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $10,412,239.51. ONE CARIBBEAN MEDIA LIMITED was the volume leader with 504,000 shares changing hands for a value of $9,172,800.00, followed by NATIONAL FLOUR MILLS LIMITED with a volume of 121,000 shares being traded for
$114,950.00. SCOTIA INVESTMENTS JAMAICA LIMITED contributed 41,096 shares with a value of $80,127.20, while FIRST CITIZENS BANK LIMITED added 15,556 shares valued at $551,915.07. FIRST CITIZENS BANK LIMITED enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.48 to end the day at $35.48. Conversely, GUARDIAN HOLDINGS LIMITED suffered the day's greatest loss, falling $0.10 to close at $15.15. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 30,321
shares valued at $651,828.95. CLICO INVESTMENT FUND remained at $21.50. 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 $14.97.
Stocks Advancing: Security
Closing Quote ($)
FIRST CITIZENS BANK LIMITED
NATIONAL COMMERCIAL BANK JAMAICA LIMITED
Closing Quote ($)
Closing Quote ($)
ONE CARIBBEAN MEDIA LIMITED
NATIONAL FLOUR MILLS LIMITED
SCOTIA INVESTMENTS JAMAICA LIMITED
CLICO INVESTMENT FUND
TRINIDAD CEMENT LIMITED
Stocks Declining: Security GUARDIAN HOLDINGS LIMITED ANGOSTURA HOLDINGS LIMITED Stocks Trading firm:
POINT LISAS INDUSTRIAL PORT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LIMITED
REPUBLIC BANK LIMITED
NATIONAL ENTERPRISES LIMITED
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In Wednesday's trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices: * The Composite Index advanced by 1.16 points (0.10%) to close at 1,178.05. * The All T&T Index advanced by 1.83 points (0.09%) to close at 1,959.44. * The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.06 points (0.12%) to close at 51.95. * 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.
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In this Issue Alcohol companies prepare for busiest period T&T to get Energy Boost A renowned innovator and educator opens up
Published on Nov 29, 2013
In this Issue Alcohol companies prepare for busiest period T&T to get Energy Boost A renowned innovator and educator opens up