“It takes an entrepreneurial fire in your belly to start a business - and make it succeed - and not everyone has it” - Joseph Anthony, Money Matters.

Now that the spending spree is over and the family gatherings in full swing,  our next challenge is to face the New Year with renewed vigour and cheer.  Over the last year we have seen many mergers within the financial services industry, the concept of CSME is evolving and there is the ever constant global wave of  change that influences our every move. Whereas before we may have indulged in the luxury of a casual approach to New Year resolutions, I think that these changing times will provoke a more disciplined strategy if we are indeed going to strive for continued success.   Economic success is necessary but not sufficient for sustainable success, but because it is necessary we should take a little time out to address it.  

I think that the one common theme for our strategic thinking in 2004, must be the concept of future partnerships. These partnerships must take place at the personal, family, community, business and international levels. At the personal level, this implies sharing of ideas so that one can experience the synergy of interaction which usually gives a greater yield than the characteristically myopic focus by an individual. Partnerships at the family level, especially when the family tree is resplendent in its many branches, can be the nucleus for growth in economic success. This is true whether you mobilize family savings to invest in bigger yielding projects or whether you garner family resources to  support the entrepreneurial fire which might be evident in the bellies of some members  of the family. Partnerships at the community level are an extension of the family concept but obviously have a greater potential for impact on the nation, as a whole as community projects develop and are linked to the major drivers in the economy.  

As Joseph Anthony says: ‘You might excel at promoting a business. Maybe you love running the financial end of the enterprise. You could be someone who starts a business because you have unique creative or technical know-how to create a product.  Any of the above is possible, but it's unlikely that you are going to excel at all of these tasks - or at all of the tasks involved in running any business. Forget all that ‘lone wolf’ stuff. No matter how ‘go-it-alone’ your philosophy is, you're going to need some help sometime. The willingness to get that help - having employees, partners or consultants for those areas in which you are not an expert - is one indicator of likely future success’. As development consultant Ernesto Sirolli writes in Ripples From The Zambezi <link> , ‘No successful entrepreneur has ever succeeded alone. . . . The person who is most capable of enlisting the support of others is the most likely to succeed’.

Partnerships at the international level allow for greater expertise, experience and technology to be assembled to effectively manage the marketing, operational , human resource and financial pillars of a business. Taking a strategic approach to New Year resolutions at all levels allows us to see clearly and to benefit from the linkages at the international level right through to the community and personal levels.  

One of the major challenges on which we shall embark in the New Year is the establishment of a vertically integrated 100% pure sea island cotton industry.  At the international level the strategic thinking has led to plans to embark on production partnerships between Barbados and other countries, as well as partnerships between the industry and the marketplace. At the business level there will be partnerships between the public and private sectors so that the private sector chariot can experience a smooth ride as the public sector provides a user friendly enabling environment. This partnership has already been demonstrated by growers and investors from the private sector responding to the attractive incentives which have been articulated by the Ministries of Agriculture and  Finance. At the community, family and personal  levels, there will be opportunities to participate in the handpicking of cotton initially, to be followed by mechanically assisted harvesting, before full mechanical harvesting is introduced. Also there will be opportunities for artisans to produce handmade cotton products for specialised global niche markets. These are the opportunities that abound in just one prospective innovative industry.  

The New Year resolution which I recommend is to adopt a mindset change and if necessary a skillset change, both of which are necessary for the successful implementation of innovative projects. The management of this new company will continually communicate with the general public to apprise them of the opportunities which will develop as this new industry emerges. May I wish you great success and prosperity as you engage in future partnerships and effect the recommended New Year resolution.

( Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET) -