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BUSINESS LOUN G E

Can the automotive industry safely navigate the downturn?

W

ho would be a car dealer in this economy? The automotive industry has always been perceived as the barometer of our global economy and the readings it has been giving over the past two years has been nothing short of dismal.

Automakers have been one of the hardest hit in this recession as consumers, short of disposable income in the challenging economic environment, are shying away from cars. The upshot? Local car dealers have been slammed with excess inventory build-up, many of which are at the Kingston Wharf attracting hefty fines.

Meadowbrook High school in Kingston. He worked at Air Jamaica and was with the Jamaica Tourist Board both locally and overseas before joining the ADA in 1992.

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In Jamaica, Kent Lacroix has been tasked for a fifth term as the Chairman of the Automobile Dealer’s Association (ADA); Your Money sat with Mr. Lacroix to get perspective on the way forward. Mr. Lacroix emphasized that now, more than ever, dealers will have to go the extra mile, through customer service, to get into the pockets of consumers. “The main focus of a car dealer is to sell cars, but in these times we have to be prepared to sell service to a customer who is not prepared to buy a new car, said Mr. Lacroix, adding that “Helping our customers will eventually help us in the long run.” Elaborating on the state of the industry and the role of the association in the operations of its members, Mr. Lacroix had this to say. “Each dealer is a savvy business owner in his own right, so the association’s main role is to lobby for conditions which will make it easier to better service our customers,” said Mr. Lacroix. “We work with government to try to effect changes in the duty structure and the prices of different categories.” The ADA chairman reiterated that the association had had some success in lobbying Government to lower duty charges as well as to enact some changes in the categories as recently as last year.

Tourists and cars aren’t normally paired together unless one is the proprietor of a car rental agency which Mr. Lacroix is not. “I’ve always been interested and involved in cars and motor sports, stated Mr. Lacroix, so when I left the JTB it seemed a natural transition”.

“The relationship between the government and the association is very cordial, our biggest challenge is meeting who we want to meet when we want to meet them,” stated the Chairman. Born in Belize, Mr. Lacroix later moved to Jamaica where he was schooled at

yourmoney | ezine


An Entrepreneur’ s Life Unpretentious - Don’t be insincere or condescending in your communication. People will appreciate and respect a message that’s honest and down-to-earth.

Communicate or perish! By Cherryl Hanson Simpson

Nice – It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Learn the skill of sharing negative news or critical concerns in a way that doesn’t depress or defeat your audience. Innovative – In today’s fast paced world, use technology to find new ways of reaching your audience. A great message can be lost in the crowd if it is presented in an unimaginative medium. Concise – Get to the point. Don’t use fancy words to express yourself, and don’t waste people’s time by asking them to wade through pointless rhetoric to find out what you want them to do. Appropriate – Make sure that your message relates to the experiences and educational level of your audience. Try not to be controversial as you might offend people’s sensibilities.

“Clear communication is the most important key to a business leader’s success. So to grow as a leader and manager, you must learn how to be an effective, compelling communicator.” - lee froschheiser. Without a doubt, proper communication plays a vital role in every business. I recently saw how easy it was for confusion, mistrust, low productivity and disruption to occur once the communication lines had broken down in a particular company. This not only affected the business partners, but it threatened the entire operation’s viability. As entrepreneurs, let’s commit to putting communication at the top of our priority lists. Here some of the characteristics of great business communication:

Timely - Be proactive in passing on crucial information. Many problems can be prevented if you give prior warning about new developments or service issues. Effective – You must have a method of judging the results of your communication. Use feedback forms, performance statistics and informal surveys to test if your message has accomplished its objectives. © 2009 Cherryl Hanson Simpson ……………………………………………………… Cherryl is a financial consultant and coach, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. See more of her work at www.financiallysmartonline.com. Email Cherryl at advice@ financiallysmartonline.com. Please add this address to your email address book in order to ensure you receive a response.

Clear - While you may know what you want to say, will your audience be able to decipher your message? Get your meaning across to others by ensuring that you are not vague or ambiguous. Don’t leave your audience with unanswered questions – make sure all the important details are included. Opportune – Always address your audience at an appropriate time. No matter how well-crafted your message is, it will fall on unresponsive ears if your listeners are unprepared to receive it. Methodical – There must be a strategy around what, when, why and how you communicate. Don’t speak impulsively without considering how your message might affect the bigger picture. Meaningful – Don’t pass on messages that are not relevant to your audience’s needs. Information overload can cause people to tune out, and you will risk them ignoring really vital communication.

yourmoney | ezine


YOUR MONEY INSIG HT S

What are the ramifications of the recent S&P ranking?

I

t isn’t that people have forgotten about that other economic malady, (hereafter referred to as “The Fund that shall not be named”), it’s just that our new long term credit rating is the new kid on the block.

By now, even the residents of Under a Rock avenue have heard that international credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has downgraded Jamaica’s rating to a “CCC+” from a “B-“. But what exactly are we facing at this juncture and how important is an opinionated release from a US based financial services company? Unfortunately for us, a negative rating from an institution such as S&P is actually very important. S&P is one of the two leading institutions that publish ratings on companies, sovereignties and even universities; the other being Moody’s.

At present S&P is embroiled in a series of civil suits regarding the stellar ratings it gave to overleveraged American firms such as Lehman Brothers shortly before the crash. S&P’ argues that their ratings are akin to a newspaper publishing an article and should be adjudged as such. The truth is, they have a valid point. They publish their rankings and our markets quiver accordingly, but when free speech begins to cost, is there a point where the line is drawn?

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S&P rates borrowers on a scale that runs from a perfect “AAA” to a dismal “D” and separates the borrowers into “investment grade” and “non investment grade”. According to the S&P website, “Credit ratings are opinions about credit risk. Standard & Poor’s ratings express the agency’s opinion about the ability and willingness of an issuer, such as a corporation or state or city government, to meet its financial obligations in full and on time.” That being said, the operative word is “opinion” and their opinion is worth its weight in gold and therein lies the issue. A “CCC+” rating indicates that Jamaica is “currently vulnerable and repayment is dependent on favourable economic countries”. This is akin to being made to wear the scarlet letter in olden times. Even with our impending agreement with the “Fund”, should we need to source additional funds; borrowing will be that much more costly for the government and put further pressure on the economy. Not that there is any evidence that S&P are misguided in their assessment but should a privately owned company with its own vested interests wield this much clout?

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Credits Publisher eZines Limited Managing Director Tyrone Wilson Your Money Reporters Andre’ Burnett Ryan Blake Kenartur Mitchell Jr. Latoya Hutchinson Columnist Cherryl Hanson Simpson Financially S.M.A.R.T Services Design and Layout Omar Phinn

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August 12, 2009

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