“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”. – Jeremiah 29:11

The British Poet, William Cowper (1731-1800), is quoted as follows: “Variety is the very Spice of life that gives it all its flavour.”

I first experienced Christmas in the UK 50 years ago when I was a student and to boot for five consecutive years. Since then it was the warmth of the Caribbean for Christmas every year. So many things are changing so why not add a little variety by trying for a white or at least cold Christmas once again.

We did not get that snow fall on Christmas Day, but with the village church service and a combination of Caribbean and English food, drink and company organised by old friends and my sister, who made England her home many decades ago, what a wonderful Christmas Day it was! Indeed a memorable festive occasion. The snow threatens before the New Year dawns.

I received an email message on Christmas Day from Professor Vishnu Persaud who is resident in London: “Basil, Greetings! Many thanks for your thoughtful contributions and appropriate biblical quotes. Your pieces are helpful to me in keeping up with the Caribbean. Our best wishes to you for a pleasant season and a satisfying new year. Hope it will be a better year for Barbados and the wider Caribbean although I believe any reprieve will be temporary as I do believe we are building long run sustainability. – Vishnu”.

This caused me to reflect on the last year and how we shall tackle the challenges of the New Year.

As the year draws to a close, I thought I would be innovative and assemble some of the terms that have infiltrated the lexicon and piqued the interest of entrepreneurs and of those creating the enabling environment.

Please consider the following:

(1) Focus on business as being easy, lucrative and fun – The ELF principle.

(2) Make sure that you plan with systematic steps and, as you evolve, adopt an approach where the next step is informed by the information gathered in the previous step – the SEA syndrome.

(3) Embrace the business construct – embody the idea (inventor); convert the idea into a product for sale (innovation); start small, make in happen, make a profit, then expand (the entrepreneur); and mitigate the risk of business failure (shepherding).

(4) Engage a Change-Engine consultant who may just need to change the power of the engine rather than to revamp the entire operational system.

(5) Adhere to mindset, skill-set and cross cultural communications changes.

(6) Inculcate the Shepherding process in your business – life coaching for the entrepreneur, business management of the enterprise, an appreciation for Theo-economics which mitigates the wealth divide and the promotion of community service which shows our appreciation for our fellow man. Shepherding reduces the risk of business failure and secures the equity investment.

(7) Seek “DNA of an Elephant” enterprises where the intelligence to evolve into export industries is ingrained in the seed of the idea.

(8) Adopt The CBET Shepherding Model™ which focuses on due diligence of “DNA of an Elephant” enterprises, shepherding and quick response seed/equity funding to facilitate expansion of exports.

(9) Achieve your full business potential by diligently connecting with the five management functions: planning, organising, staffing, execution and monitoring so as to avoid fluctuating fortunes.

(10) Adopt the management of business systems matrix (ManOBiz Matrix), a Shepherding tool, which begins by addressing five planning cultures.

(11) Always start your business with a board meeting and continue interpreting shareholder policy, establishing plans and monitoring the performance of management against these plans at subsequent monthly meetings – The board meeting culture.

(12) Pay attention to customer needs which recognises the customer as the source of business revenue – without revenue forget about profit, without profit forget about business – The customer needs satisfaction culture.

(13) Grow profits by introducing new profit centres, increasing markets for existing profit centres, decreasing costs or enhancing productivity. The larger the profits the greater the ability of the business to repay loans, pay dividends to investors, pay taxes in return for government services, expand business and increase wealth – The profitability culture.

(14) Motivate and train staff, adopt and adapt new technology, and re-engineer business process flow – The productivity culture.

(15) Keep your credit rating in stellar shape so that you do not stymie the chances of obtaining additional funds when it is time to take the business to another level – The investment payback culture.

(16) Get the organising function right, it is paramount in expediting the journey towards sustainable business success.

(17) Design the agenda and format of the board minutes in a way which facilitates the optimal conduct of board meetings and subsequent actions.

(18) Introduce the marketing matrix which provides a template for matching products/services with potential customers and thus provides a systematic way to generate revenue projections.

(19) Establish product costing, estimate expenses and make cash flow projections.

(20) Introduce abundance and prosperity affirmations to help the entrepreneur develop prosperity consciousness and practice one-on-one shepherding.

(21) Recognize that “benevolent” loan/equity instruments induce confidence in the entrepreneur.

(22) Choose all staff carefully.

(23) Execute all business management systems in a timely manner.

(24) Monitor performance regularly.

Foremost on my mind at present is the expansion of the food and beverage export sector as the Global Business Innovation team launches the Caribbean Food Innovation Revolution in Trinidad on Tuesday, January 13, hosted by ExporTT.

Now let us put our shoulders to our respective ploughs to give us a future and a hope.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)