When One Ticket
Can Save A Life By Tracey-Ann Wisdom
nder normal circumstances, there aren’t too many Jamaicans who would willingly fork out between $5,000 and $25,000 for a concert ticket, but when it’s for the Shaggy and Friends concert, people tend to dig deep into their pockets. Patrons again turned out in their numbers on Saturday, January 9, for the event, which featured a star-studded lineup of local and international artistes and made a difference for the nation’s children. This year, the foundation focused on raising funds to help furnish a new 15-bed intensive care unit (ICU)/cardiac ward at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
The Foundation has partnered with Chain of Hope, a team of volunteer medical personnel that provides corrective heart surgeries for children in several countries around the world. This partnership is vital because every year, over 400 Jamaican children are born with a congenital heart defect and many others suffer from various heart conditions. The bulk of the funds raised for the hospital comes from the sale of concert tickets, but a significant portion of money is also earned from an auction, which is a major feature of the event. Patrons holding platinum tickets ($25,000) bid on over 20 items, including a diamond watch from celebrity jeweller Chris Aire, exclusive designer clothing from
“We must continue to save our children’s lives, so we can all keep making a difference.” --Shaggy Carlton Brown and Lubica, tickets to the acclaimed Michael Jackson Immortal Cirque Du Soleil tour in Miami, a oneon-one surprise experience with the superstar sprinter Usain Bolt, a catered dinner for four to six people done by chef Brian Lumley, spa and villa experiences, HD cable boxes from Flow and two tickets to the London 2012 Olympics courtesy of Digicel. The last item went for US$21,500 (more than $1.8 million) to Jamaican-born businessman Junior Williams, who was visiting the island. The foundation also auctioned cardiac surgeries, allowing participants to contribute directly to the cost of surgeries for the children who are in need. Figures for this year’s event have not yet been made public, but to date, the benefit concerts have raised a total of $57 million (US$650,000) for the hospital, which has gone towards purchasing desperately needed equipment.
tainment calendar, but this is only one facet of the artiste’s relationship with the hospital. Shaggy adopted the hospital in 2001 after a visit to a young family friend opened his eyes to the many needs the staff and patients face. Since then, he has made several private donations, including two ventilators, an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine and a tabletop sterilising machine. The Foundation has also funded the upgrade of the medical oxygen system and collaborated with Scotiabank to create a recreation area for the children, and every December, Shaggy teams up with friends in the music industry to put on a Christmas treat and perform for the patients and staff. Shaggy remains committed to supporting the Bustamante Hospital for Children. “We must continue to save our children’s lives,” he said, urging the nation to give their support, no matter how small, “so we can all keep making a difference.” Members of the public who were not able to support the concert can still get involved. For more information, visit www.shaggyfoundation.org
The three-year-old Shaggy and Friends concert is a big deal on the local enteryourmoney ezine
Jamaica remains BlackBerry country... for now
he year 2011 was not the best for BlackBerry. Android and iPhone were perceived to have pulled far ahead in mobile technology and available apps; meanwhile BlackBerry’s worldwide network outage left thousands of Jamaican users questioning the viability of the platform for the first time. Adding to this woe, predicted sales of BlackBerry handsets during the Christmas quarter fell to between 11 and 12 million, down from 14.8 million in the same period in 2010. Meanwhile, consumers looking forward to the BlackBerry 10 handsets will have to wait until mid-2012 after the unavailability of new chips delayed their launch from the first quarter. Your Money put the question to Jamaican mobile networks Digicel, LIME and RIM, owners of BlackBerry: How much
longer will BlackBerry remain dominant in Jamaica? “RIM cannot issue local numbers per policy, but I can assure you that Jamaica is still a ‘BlackBerry country’,” replied Sean Killen, RIM regional director for the Caribbean. “Again, we cannot give away local stats but the Caribbean – and Jamaica in particular – are in the high growth range of markets globally for RIM.” Among the networks, Digicel reported that BlackBerry usage increased 65 per cent last year. “We are experiencing strong growth for both Android devices and BlackBerries, but BlackBerry remains the device that Digicel customers want,” said Digicel commercial director, Jason Corrigan.
Messenger remains the most popular smartphone application. But this position is still being challenged as Android handsets are increasing at a faster rate as compared to BlackBerry and iPhone. “This dominance in the market by BlackBerry will continue in the region only to the extent that the BBM messaging application remains very popular in the markets and is pushed aggressively by the carriers as opposed to other types of smartphones,” he said. “With the rising popularity and lower price point of Android-based devices and the improvement in functionality of cross platform messaging applications, it is expected that BlackBerry will lose market share over the next few years.”
According to LIME regional marketing director Kalando Wilmoth, BlackBerry yourmoney ezine
Noticeable during the recently held general election, was that both political parties chose to develop applications on the Android platform – not BlackBerry. They and other local developers have cited the relative difficulty of developing for BlackBerry. However, BlackBerry has been keen to respond. “We took these complaints very seriously in the past and already implemented programs to support our developers better,” said Killen. “The recently announced vision of combining the BlackBerry OS and our QNX tablet OS into one open platform going forward will attract both customers and developers to create a user experience they never had before. In addition to this, RIM is also going to continue with entry level devices that are a good fit for the emerging markets of this region.” Growing consumer demand for apps means that remaining a competitive choice for developers will be crucial for BlackBerry. “Consumers are increasingly asking for mobile applications. While there are lots of applications in the market, there are very few that were designed specifically with the Caribbean market in mind. The development and availability of apps geared toward the Caribbean consumer will increase significantly over the next few years. This is being driven by a large part by the carriers and handset manufactures who are facilitating and encouraging local development of applications for their smartphones,” said Wilmoth. Corrigan contended that the popularity of BBM messenger as well as business needs will help sustain BlackBerry locally. “For the corporate arena, no other solution comes close to BlackBerry Enterprise Server or even BlackBerry Enterprise Express. It offers an excellent solution for wireless synchronisation, advanced email and calendar functionality, remote file and intranet access, easy installation options – not to mention proven security,” he said. Meanwhile in the tablet market, where BlackBerry was beaten back with its Playbook in 2011, RIM hopes to capitalise on growing local demand with a new 4G-compatible version later this year.
Business Lounge Real Business. Real Talk.
Brought to you by:
calling all entrepreneurs!
Launching the Branson Centre in September 2011, from left to right: Bianca Bartley, entrepreneur; Patrick Casserly, Branson Centre Chairman; Amanda Wills, Virgin Holidays Managing Director; Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Chairman; Jean Oelwang, Virgin Unite CEO; Lisa Lake, Branson Centre Chief Development Officer (also pictured on cover); and Joshua Bailey, entrepreneur.
ARE YOU ONE OF twenty YOUNG CARIBBEAN ENTREPRENEURS THE BRANSON CENTRE IS LOOKING FOR? by Ross Sheil
Already assisting 13 young Caribbean entrepreneurs since it launched last September, the Branson Centre in Montego Bay wants to find another 60 to turn their business ideas into reality in 2012.
he doors of Sir Richard Branson’s North Coast outpost are currently open for applications up until February 6, with 20 places available for this latest intake of Caribbean entrepreneurs. Meantime, the centre is also looking for experienced entrepreneurs willing to volunteer advice and mentorship – and perhaps even invest. Successful applicants will enjoy mentoring, access to business networks and professional services. Support is split into two legs: after a 12-week training programme, entrepreneurs must pitch their revised business plans and from there the centre will help them get their venture off the ground and running.
Principles of business Most pressingly, for entrepreneurs interested in joining this growing community, they are being advised to sharpen their business skills in preparation for an as-
sessment day, should their applications be shortlisted. “The reason that we have that kind of evaluation is that although we are a non-profit, we hold ourselves to business principles and we want to help our entrepreneurs to become market ready and at the end of it, we see the Branson Centre as being the facilitator towards making that happen. It’s important that the entrepreneurs that we partner with are taking this opportunity seriously,” explained Branson Centre Chief Development Officer, Lisa Lake. The centre checks in with the entrepreneurs on a monthly basis to assess whether they are meeting their targets and operating as legal businesses, including paying taxes. Launched by Virgin United (the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group), the Bran-
son Centre in Montego Bay is the group’s second such facility, following the first in Johannesburg, South Africa. With Virgin Holidays having committed cornerstone funding of £2 million ($133 million) over 10 years, support from other donors is also welcome, such as that from ATL, which provided the centre with one year’s free rent at its Bogue complex. With the aim of sustainability and attracting support, the centre is committed to returning tangible results, measured every six months. “The only way to grow sustainably is through jobs and the only way to create jobs is to help support businesses who can create jobs. The Branson Centre, like any business, holds itself to key performance indicators and we measure our success through the jobs that are created and the revenue growth of the entrepreneurs that we support,” Lake explained. yourmoney ezine
business lounge nent figure in the Jamaican private sector.
Sir Richard Branson with the first intake of entrepreneurs, celebrating the launch of the centre last September. Early days yet The programme is in its early stages, having launched last September and therefore too early to measure its success, said Lake. However, the centre is “very happy” with the progress of the first 13 entrepreneurs. One additional positive, she added, has been interest from potential investors: “Whereas our goal is not to give direct grants to businesses, there are also a lot of people interested in investing. This investment impact space is really big and growing, so we see ourselves A) getting these entrepreneurs market ready and B) introducing them to a market that is interested in getting them involved with their business – whether that be banking or private investors.” The centre will also host biannual open days where the entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas and mingle with potential investors. “Our feeling is that the biggest problem is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there with great business ideas but need
Besides investors, strong support has come from willing businesspersons who have given up their time to assist with training the entrepreneurs. help getting them better and there are also people looking to get involved from an investment point of view and don’t know where to go; and are happy to offer market rate or below market rate returns on projects if they know they existed and if they are packaged in a way they can understand and make their investment decisions,” Lake noted. Besides investors, strong support has come from willing businesspersons who have given up their time to assist with training the entrepreneurs. Sandals CEO Adam Stewart has spoken to them about sustainability; Wisynco boss William Mahfood about sales strategy and Zachary Harding about his chosen field of marketing. Additionally, Chairman of the Centre is Patrick Casserly, formally of e-Services Group International (ESGI) and a promi-
“There are quite a few pro-entrepreneurship programmes and all of them are doing great things, but where we see ourselves differently is that we don’t take a standard approach to it and two, the networks we are able to leverage [with] the strong Branson name and the strong Virgin name is something that is unique to us,” Lake said. “Because we are a symbol of entrepreneurial success, there are successful people who want to be associated with us and want to help young entrepreneurs become successful so there really becomes this virtuous cycle that we’re happy to be at the centre of and facilitate it.” Meantime, the centre itself plans to expand throughout the Caribbean next year, albeit not physically, but via a travelling roadshow. There will also be a regional business plan competition, held in conjunction with a multi-lateral agency, and an aggressive push to promote the centre online and via social media.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply, you won’t have to submit a business plan but you must answer a series of targeted business questions. A preference is given to persons aged 18-35 years old with experience in business or their particular industry and whose business has potential linkages with the tourism industry. The deadline for applications is Monday February 6, 2012. CLICK HERE TO APPLY ONLINE For more information contact the Branson Centre: +1 876 632-5134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Baker Rises at Branson Centre
Passionate about her business but frustrated by bureaucracy, Alecia Woodbine James, pastry chef and owner of Signature Cakes & Desserts, was an ideal candidate to be involved with the Branson Centre. Woodbine James was referred to Lake by a friend when she was looking to order some cakes. A former pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, she started the business in 2008 and now employs two other persons. You have to be creative. You have to want to do this, you have to want to make a sacrifice. From that standpoint, I have my house, my kitchen and this is where I can start from. But I’ve reached a boundary with this. I’m more than happy to be part of it because this is where I have an opportunity to show what I can do and grow further, instead of doing what I can do with what little I have, pumping back my income because banks won’t lend to small businesses like me. The timing was perfect. I had to sell my car to buy a truck. No bank wanted to lend me the money and I thought, ‘What to do?’ but I’ve gone too far to give up. What I sold the car for was just enough to make the down payment on the truck. Before the Branson Centre I didn’t have a solid business plan. I had something but it wasn’t perfect and now I have a fully-fledged plan so I can go to investors and seek loans. They provide strategic advice about IPOs, marketing, business plans, and all of what you need to grow, we have got so far.
Alecia Woodbine James, owner of Signature Cakes & Desserts Banks look at young entrepreneurs as a liability if you don’t have substantial support in terms of assets or funds for the loan. The Branson Centre will act as a middle person with the business plan and they will know exactly what the bank and the investors are looking for because if the plan is not clear, how are you the investor going to get back your money?
can use it as an office space – you have access to a lot of things.
For more information about Signature Cakes contact: +1 876 878-3032 or email@example.com
What might have taken me five years, the Branson Centre has halved because they provide a foundation – things that you wouldn’t have in the classroom. The mentors that are going to come onboard are seasoned individuals who have grown and made it been through the good times been through the bad times. I have been all over the place for assistance but what makes this different is that you have somewhere you can go and sit and the manager can go through the different stages and its hands-on, with different categories of business broken down so you are not clueless with it. You yourmoney ezine
nalysts are still examining the results of the December 29, 2011 election, determining the various reasons behind the People’s National Party (PNP)’s landslide victory and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)’s poor showing at the polls. A number of explanations have already been proffered by these pundits and in these reasons are several valuable lessons for businesses. Take heed. Do not discount the importance of the poor. This is the majority of the Jamaican population and, in most cases, your largest consumer public. Conversely, targeting richer consumers (or voters) may narrow your target market. That economic hardship was such a critical issue reinforces the importance of products delivered at competitive prices. Never neglect your customers. The JLP seemed distracted while the PNP concentrated heavily on voter enumeration and mobilising their supporters. Businesses should never let circumstances obscure their focus on core business and daily operations. Note that Christopher Tufton, although credited as a well-performing minister, lost his seat having spent time helping in other constituencies and not as much in his own. With work politics, you will gain little from similar altruism unless
The JLP seemed distracted while the PNP concentrated heavily on voter enumeration and mobilising their supporters. Businesses should never let circumstances obscure their focus on core business and daily operations. you concentrate on ensuring you reach your own targets and, more importantly, are perceived to have done so. Young people matter. The reception granted to the PNP’s younger candidates suggests a clamour for youth. This is a worldwide trend as several countries around the world have elected leaders in their 30s and 40s. Perhaps this trend might also extend to business where appointing younger managers might help your company connect better with younger demographics. However, proceed with caution. Andrew Holness, at 39, was the country’s youngest ever Prime Minister, but his appeal to the general public was short-lived. You want your younger managers to still have a wide appeal. Use social media with caution. Social media and the Internet played an active role with both major parties using the various opportunities available to get their messages out. However, their very use of
social media was often harshly critiqued by persons also using these platforms. Keep yourself in check. The JLP denied that they suffered a landslide loss while public opinion and the margin of defeat (21:42) suggests otherwise. When your business dramatically loses market share, it is vital that you conduct an immediate self-examination – no cow can be too sacred when your viability as a company is under threat. Avoid complacency. Akin to a monopoly or dominant market position in business, Jamaican governments typically enjoy at least two terms. When you are a monopoly or the leader in your market, especially if you have led the field for a long time, a sense of complacency or even arrogance can creep in; which Jamaican consumers increasingly rail against. Just as allegations of arrogance and a lack of transparency hurt the incumbent JLP administration and helped the opposition PNP, similar behavior by a business could help boost an incoming competitor. Ensure that your business is always perceived as relatable and transparent, no matter how big it is or becomes. Dissatisfied customers and voters can always switch when presented with a choice. yourmoney ezine
insights by Keresa Arnold
What’s so Appealing about Hurling Angry Birds at Pigs?
lingshots ready? Aim… Fire! No, we’re not doing a re-enactment of the popular Bible story David and Goliath. We’re talking about everyone’s favourite time stealer, Angry Birds. It’s a game that launches birds at greedy pigs located within different structures, with the aim of destroying the pigs and claiming eggs before they’re eaten. Sounds fun enough, right? Many people clearly think so, because it seems to have surpassed the records of all previously released games of its type, becoming, according to MIT Entrepreneurship Review, “the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far” and “the world’s most popular computer game” according to MSNBC. Developed by Finnish computer game developer Rovio Mobile, Angry Birds was first released in 2009 on Apple’s iOS. Since then, because of an evergrowing worldwide demand, it has expanded into different platforms and is now available on other smartphones, gaming consoles and personal computers. With Angry Birds on the fingertips of many persons and the appeal seeming to only get bigger, many unfamiliar with its pull might wonder what inspired 600 million people across the globe to download a game simply to get the chance to hurl birds at pigs for hours on end. It’s a very important question, since the game reportedly costs US economy 1.5 billion per year in lost productivity. The secret might be in the design and Angry Birds’ ever-expanding database of characters, platforms and themes. And of course, the fact that it is completely addictive! The creators of Angry Birds have managed to capitalise on people’s love for addictive gameplay, comedy and low priced products. That’s one of the in-
individuals to engage their minds by finding creative ways to attack the ‘enemy’ using the allotted number of birds as missiles. The game that teaches skill, precision and critical thinking is expected to expand into toys, merchandise and is even taking the birds to the big screen with a film expected to be released in the next two to three years.
The creators of Angry Birds have managed to capitalise on people’s love for addictive gameplay, comedy and low priced products. That’s one of the interesting things behind the success of the game. teresting things behind the success of the game. It’s affordable, which means more persons are able to access and interact with the product. It is even free on some platforms including the Chrome web browser. Also, the game developers have placed great emphasis on user experience, which is crucial for the success of any product. Believe it or not, Angry Birds’ users genuinely enjoy spending what researchers say is a combined 200 million minutes a day, trying to improve their skills and move through the levels. Critics have lauded the game’s design and the fact that it’s simple enough to appeal to anyone. That’s another element that makes it so attractive. Anyone with average dexterity and good hand-eye coordination will find themselves successfully conquering each level and moving closer to total and complete addiction.
Rovio’s marketing chief Peter Vesterbacka told a Finnish paper that the company is planning a 2013 public offering on the Hong Kong IPO, which signals the possibility for even bigger rewards for users. The eventual aim, he says, is to expand the company to a market capitalization level similar to that of Walt Disney Co. Disney’s shares are valued at US$65.3 billion. With the overwhelming interest and loyalty to the brand and the continued expansion, upgrades and additions to the game, it is not farfetched to imagine that those birds might have very good reasons to be less angry. advertisment
Just two years old, Angry Birds has obviously become more than just a game. It’s a lifestyle, an experience, a way for yourmoney ezine
Taxes and Contributions
by C&E Innovational Services Ltd.
mployed persons are subjected to income tax on emoluments paid as well as the deduction of other statutory contributions. These are: Income Tax (PAYE) Education Tax (Ed Tax) National Insurance Scheme (NIS) National Housing Trust (NHT) Contributions payable by the employer are: Education Tax (Ed Tax) National Insurance Scheme (NIS) National Housing Trust (NHT) Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) National Insurance Scheme (NIS) This is a compulsory contributionfunded social security scheme to which both employer and employee contribute. It offers financial protection to the worker and his or her family against loss of income arising from injury on the job, sickness, old age and death of the main income earner. Self-employed persons are also required to contribute. Income Tax Income tax is taken from an individualâ€™s statutory (chargeable) income. It is payable by all employed persons. The tax on income is to be deducted and paid over by the employer. Education Tax Employers must deduct Education Tax from emoluments paid
to employees. All taxpayers who are gainfully employed are liable to this tax. Only ministries or departments of government, Parish Councils, the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) are exempted from paying Education Tax. Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) HEART contributions are only paid by employers whose total gross taxable annual emoluments exceed $173,328 annually. This contribution is to develop, encourage, monitor and provide finance for training schemes for employment of trainees. It is also used to promote employments projects. Some benefits are retirement support, widows/widowersâ€™ pension and funeral grants. Beneficiaries include children with special needs and orphans. National Housing Trust (NHT) Contributions are pooled and used to fund loans to beneficiaries for housing construction and short-term investments. Employee contributions are refundable after eight years if the contributor does not access the benefits. Contributors to NHT include: employed persons, self-employed persons, voluntary contributors and employers.
“i wish we had those when i was in school”
Maths junkies adds technology to education
or decades, teachers have relied on the simple blackboard. And then came the whiteboard. Both worked pretty much the same. The teacher wrote, the teacher rubbed off and the teacher tried to keep the students’ attention.
a need for serious educational reform [in Jamaica] and I’ve been studying education and maths seriously since I was about 17 and saw a need and wanted to fulfill it. Education has been the same for 100 years ... and I mean, really?”
Formed in 2009, Maths Junkies is an entirely different educational experience. Rayan Russell’s company delivers lessons in various subjects via Smart Boards, for which he is the local reseller, which enable for touch-screen and now multi-touch learning.
His core business is private tuition, with students between seven and 18 years old and now includes other subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology and English. And for the past two years, aided by corporate sponsorship, Maths Junkies has cut its teeth with free summer schools for eight-year-olds from the deprived St Andrew community of August Town.
Demonstrating how it works, Russell brings up various lessons on the screen, featuring formulas, tables, graphs and charts, which he can manipulate by finger-point. The latest multi-touch version allows students to use the blackboard in much the same way as an iPad. Meantime, what is produced on the boards can be handed in electronic format to the students. Russell, who admits to being obsessed with maths – hence the company name – has a degree in applied mathematics and a minor in computer science programming. He spent years attending different conferences before he chanced upon Smart Boards’ technology. “From there I decided this was it. This was really what I was looking for and I think I found it,” he said. “There is
Like any summer school, the intention is to provide learning in a more fun, engaging environment. The difference, he believes, is the lasting impact of his approach on a child’s willingness to learn. “I couldn’t even give you 10 reasons; I’d have to give you a 100 or maybe a 1,000 because it makes teaching come alive!” he said. “Once you take the veil from over their eyes, they can really appreciate the concepts and see it in their real life – I can show them every single thing! Most students hate maths, but by the time they are leaving they have a great appreciation for the work.” yourmoney ezine
Maths Junkies CEO, Rayan Russell with students at his summer camp
Smart Boards can help maintain the attention of students with videos that can also be played on the board and also music from speakers attached to the computer.
corporate assistance. Significant investment will be required given that the boards cost around US$7,000 ($607,000) each.
Previously Russell divided his time between Maths Junkies and assisting the family business. He has now outfitted a building, complete with two classrooms in Liguanea to meet rising demand.
“My commitment to education is tremendous and I hope one day, with all this time and investment, we can get this fire going because really, I am just the spark to the flame. We’re already a nation of thinkers, but we have to increase education across the whole island to reduce the level of ignorance and therefore violence.
“This is my joy. This is what I love to do everyday and, where this is concerned, I’ve never worked a day! If you ask me to get up and teach, I do it gladly, but I do it on my terms,” he said. “I just believe life without an education is a life without light, sight, hearing, touch and taste. I will try to provide my students with those qualities to survive in these trying times.”
“We need to make people think, ‘Is it necessary to take the cost of a life if when I do the maths, the addition?’ There’s a too many impulsive decisions made on the fly and education can only reduce that.”
Cagey about numbers other than those contained within his lessons, Russell disclosed that he hopes to double his student count in the new year now that he has the capacity to run two classes of 10 students simultaneously. He also has plans to expand Maths Junkies’ community outreach work, what with the boards being fully mobile.
So, what advice would he give to the new education minister, Ronnie Thwaites? “Call me!” For more information, contact 899 3876 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoping to expand his student base from just children to adults and even into the penal system, Russell is hoping to get more
Steps to Approaching a Potential Investor
Mark Jones, Chairman of the Montego Bay-based Global Gateway Solutions and venture capitalist
ou have nurtured your business idea, shaping and reshaping it from the rough notion it was in your head to the smooth, workable plan you have drawn up. You are ready to go but for one thing – no startup funds. You don’t want to accrue debt to start, so you are seeking equity financing from an investor.
my particular thing is agriculture. [I might be interested] if it’s a tech application for agriculture, but don’t come to me about an iPhone app,” Jones said. Also, each investor has different conditions under which he will part with his money, so determine how much control of your business you are willing to give up for it.
As you fine-tune your pitch, there are a few things you need to consider, says Mark Jones, Chairman of the Montego Bay-based Global Gateway Solutions and venture capitalist, who has investments in the real estate, financial services and Information Communication Technology (ICT) sectors. “The very first dynamic to understand is that an investor is way more worried about risk than excited about the opportunity,” he said. “Don’t try to overwhelm me explaining the opportunity or how big the deal is. Speak to me about minimising risk.” Jones was part of a panel on securing start up funds at last November’s Caribbean Beta seminar.
Come with a solid pitch. Make sure you have a comprehensive answer to each of these five questions: What are you selling? Who is going to buy it? How will the business make money and when will it make money? Who are you? How much money do you want?
Here are his seven steps for approaching a venture capitalist or potential investor:
What’s in it for me? “You need to tell me how I’m going to get my money back… If I’m going to put [my money] out there, I’m going to expect it to come back... with some friends.”
Come through a trusted third party. Chances are you might know someone who knows your potential investor, so recruit that person to your team. Lay out your proposal and have him introduce it to the VC. “If somebody comes to me and says, ‘I need you to meet this guy, he’s got a great idea; I’ve known him for a while and I know his work’, my receptivity when I do meet [the person] is in a whole different place,” Jones said. Research your potential investor. Come up with a profile of your investor: What areas has he invested in before? Is your business in any of these sectors? “Yes, I may have money, but
Have a thorough business plan. “A business plan forces you to think through the second and third level of detail in regards to the business idea… A lot of investors want to see very precise three to 10 page plans with all the elements that explain how it’s going to work,” he shared.
Follow through. “You’d be shocked at how many people come right up to the top and do the first couple of plans and then just stop. They stop pursuing. You need to keep on us with personal, appropriate follow-up. Don’t defeat yourself.” Be patient. “Remember this is a process. Respect yourself and respect the person that you’re asking to invest. I’m expecting you to be in charge of the process, but you can’t take charge of me. I need to have confidence in you if you’re going to take my money.” yourmoney ezine
he Palace Amusement Company has built up a community of movie lovers and with its interactive approach, is encouraging followers to go out to the movies with their friends and loved ones – and rewarding them for their interest. As the cost of movie tickets increase and bootlegging becomes more the norm, it is vital that the company works hard to remain relevant. The cinema company has built up a strong social media presence with more than 3,800 followers on Twitter (@PalaceMovies) and more than 4,800 fans on Facebook, and its community keeps growing. Like or follow to see these four principles in action: Be present: It doesn’t make much sense to have a Twitter or Facebook account if you’re not going to use it. Palace has an active presence on both Facebook and Twitter, posting everything from show times to trivia to movie and soundtrack clips from Youtube. Be engaging: Social networks are communication tools, and communication is a two way street. Don’t just plug your business - interact with your followers and fans. Palace is highly interactive on Twitter, responding to queries, asking trivia questions and retweeting followers, which encourages responses. This also helps to build your profile when your handle (Twitter name) shows up on their followers’ timelines so they can follow, too. Be generous: One of the things that generates the most buzz on Palace’s Twitter timeline is its weekly Palace Movie Trivia (#PMT), where followers answer a series of questions in the hope of winning movie tickets. Be informative: Of course, one of the main reasons to join a social network is to get your company’s information out there. Palace constantly provides updates on the movies they are showing, new releases, show times, special offers and more. They also address questions posted by followers and subscribers. Do this to keep your clients updated with the right information.
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