March 3, 2006



There are several business models available in the world today and creative minds are constantly at work to implement others. A lot of emphasis is being placed on changing from a cash economy to a non cash means of financial settlements.

Today, we find major businesses getting involved in barter exchange. We hear about alternative currency which is being promoted by major corporations, visit www.creditz.com and see what Fortune 500 companies are doing in collaboration with Creditz Digital Currency System in transforming reward points, frequent flyer miles, loyalty points and other non cash currencies into a digital currency, which will be used as cash at participating national retailers, merchants, vendors and manufacturers. It is time for businesspersons, especially those who travel frequently to consider establishing a USA address so that participation would be possible in several of the programmes being offered in the developed world.

Even Donald Trump leverages his name and expertise in projects. It is amazing what investing your time and expertise in fledgling business could yield. Too many of us are caught up with the “money now” syndrome. Depending upon your contribution, though its non cash, you can demand reasonably as much as thirty three (33) percent stake in a company. In the consulting business I learned very early not to think short term, but think long term, based on the performance of your recommendations. I know this method works.

There is a continuing trend in North America, where small businesses are consolidating. While there are the big business mergers taking place, quietly there is a parallel development where creative entrepreneurs are rolling up dozens of small companies into larger entities to provide greater efficiencies and wield marketing power. What is needed is a cadre of consolidators – ambitious aggregators whose objective must be to bring professionalism to businesses where management is lacking.

As CSM looms, businesspersons must know when to quit doing the same things over and over expecting different results. Unless a new approach is applied and in some cases mergers/consolidations are created, many of our small business people will move from being self employed to joining the long lines of persons seeking employment. In many instances small manufacturers should come together and consolidate production, and distribute their own private labels. The results of such initiatives could only bring about sustainable and viable outcomes. I made this point a few years ago when in my capacity as President of the Association of Eastern Caribbean Exporters (AECE), I supported the merits of Article 56 regarding industry allocation and drew attention to the Pasta industry where there are so many plants in the region, when one in the Leeward and one in the Windward would have sufficed. It is time for businesspersons to come together and rationalize the state of their businesses and be prepared to adapt to the changing business and social environment.

It has been sometime now since I have been labouring the point that Barter as means of settling payments, exchanging services and expanding sales is a system that needs to be revisited. Barter is considered the greatest all time method of trading.

Here is an idea for a private sector association to co-ordinate a unique programme and earn revenue by promoting coupons that are printable by customers. Visit www.coccoupons.com This is yet another system that helps promote a cashless market place. It is happening too often that simple projects are left to others to introduce to our shores. The most recent is Cariblist, a real estate project, an internet driven business that is a big success. You can visit their site at www.cariblist.com This proves the point that if we don’t do it for ourselves, someone else will and that is what CSM is all about.

An interesting thought came to my mind as I was writing this article and it could be a starting point. There are several businesses that have the potential to go regional. If a private sector association could get a consultant to establish the companies in the various islands and provide the business owners with a manual as to how they should approach their particular business and also arrange advertisements to promote the interests of the companies in the region.

I am very passionate about giving back. The time to look for opportunities to help others in life and in business is now! Those persons who have the desire to be change agents in a world that cries out for such persons could Volunteer and offer their time and skills in a structured manner. You can visit www.GlobalVolunteers.org and have a look at how you can have a vacation while serving various communities around the world. Success has been recorded in the local Volunteer Programme. It would be interesting to see how this group advances beyond CWC 2007. I feel that this grouping has a great opportunity for involvement in several areas of human development in St. Lucia and beyond.

I am hopeful that through the websites that I have introduced to you that you will get ideas and form alliances where possible or duplicate ideas that fit our situation. Any initiative that will bring our people together will prove beneficial in the end.

Keep the faith, remember always that God is in charge!!!

Edward Harris
Email: eaharrisdestiny@gmail.com

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