SLISBA Looks Towards The Future!!!

SLISBA held a General Membership Meeting on Sunday, March 23, 2003 at the Juliette’s Lodge, Vieux Fort. President Edward Harris reported to the meeting on the state of the Association. He made the point that the Association is experiencing one of its worst years due to the fact that members are struggling for survival and in many cases overwhelmed by the pressures of doing business. He further stressed the fact that the situation is not being helped by developments since 911. The current war with Iraq has further inflected damage to the small business sector.

In spite of the difficulties, he praised the efforts of the members of the Management Committee in assisting him to keep the flag flying. The Association is represented on many Boards and is called upon from time to time to make contributions to debates that impact upon the livelihood of its members and members of the Private Sector in general.

The President pointed to the situation of the membership contribution and involvement in the affairs of the Association and stated that it has become necessary to request assistance from OPSR to undertake a Diagnostic Study to arrive at a conclusion as to the future of SLISBA. The organization cannot continue as an informal group without a Secretariat and paid staff to provide the needs of the membership. One of the members present suggested that SLISBA sets itself up as a Private Company to offer the services that the operators within the small business sector need. This suggestion was debated even after the meeting formally concluded.

Mr. Andre Chastanet, Managing Director of Julian’s Super Market addressed the meeting on the topic “ Managing the Finances of a Small Business ” Mr. Chastanet expressed his concern for the state of small businesses in the country and took the time to draw to the attention of those present the need for prudent financial management. He made the point that Cash Flow Management is critical to the success of a business. He stressed the point that too often money is invested in fixed assets that do not contribute to the survival of the business. He offered suggestions in inventory management to avoid pilferage and advised that employees must know enough about the business that they will be motivated to work in the best interest of the business. He said it is a good thing to offer shares to employees that they would be interested in the bottom line and ensure that the business succeeds. He noted that training at all levels is vital.

Mr. Chastanet advised business persons to utilize the Computer to assist them to maintain their financial records and recommended that the simple Excel Programme be used. He concluded with an offer to members to teach them to use the programme. A lively period of questions and answers ensued.

Members nominated Mr. Patrick H. Joseph, 1st Vice President to head a committee to plan for the Annual General Meeting of the Association which is scheduled for Sunday the 25th May, 2003. The current President, Mr. Edward Harris will not be seeking a another term.

Submitted by Edward Harris
President - SLISBA