What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s
More people are striving to be entrepreneurs now than ever before. From YouTube sensations to star Amazon sellers, there are now more options to create a successful business using your skills and internet savvy. However, starting a business in Jamaica requires the will to be different, to think outside the box and to utilize the world of opportunities presented in the global marketplace. For many Jamaicans, it is not as simple as creating a YouTube channel and watching the video likes roll in. In fact, understanding how to find the right business idea is a challenge faced by many people around the world.
It amazes me daily how comfortable Jamaicans are with replicating existing ideas. There seems to be no forethought about the business demand in Jamaica. Sure, there is nothing new under the sun but I think we take the knock-off idea concept to another level. I am certain that there are over 20 clothing stores, more than 10 car marts and more than 20 cook shops in Mandeville alone! We are playing the same song repeatedly and making no effort to change.
You may not be Jamaican but you can probably relate to what I am saying. Look carefully at the businesses in your hometown. You will probably see a pattern of people opening the same types of businesses because it’s what everyone else is doing and there seems to be a demand. Have we lost our flipping minds? It makes no sense creating another business that is just like our competitors. Guess what happens…the only element the business can compete on is price and that’s a terrible way to compete in the long-term.
Here are some important questions that you should ask so that you can create an innovative business in Jamaica or anywhere else in the world.
What business should I start in Jamaica?
The best business to start in Jamaica depends on your skills and how well you understand the Jamaican audience. As Dave Thomas said, “You have to know your product better than anyone.” Entering a unfamiliar niche with no skills to support your move creates opportunities for people to take advantage of you. Your business will either be dead before it really begins or will be taken over by someone who is skilled and passionate about that area.
Here are some tips that can help you identify the right business to start in Jamaica.
- Identify your top 3 skills.
- Think about a gap in the market that these skills can fill.
- Research your competitors.
- Think about a way to make your idea unique so that it stands out from the competition.
- Do market research.
What are examples of innovative businesses in Jamaica?
Innovative businesses can provide you with some inspiration to create your own business. You may not be Jamaican but you can find some examples of innovative businesses in your country. Here are some examples of innovative businesses in Jamaica.
Farm Price Jamaica
Farm Price Jamaica is an example of a company that has put a unique spin on an existing business idea. Here is a breakdown of what they have done.
The Problem: Jamaicans want fresh produce but don’t want to travel to the market to get it.
Their Solution: Create a fresh produce delivery service where people can order their favorite produce and have it delivered directly to their homes. They bridge the gap between farmers and customers.
Lavish Luxury Kids Spa
Lavish Luxury Kids Spa is an example of a company that has revolutionized the Jamaican beauty industry.
The Problem: Parents wanted a place where they could take their little girls to experience a spa and feel like a princess. Sure, there are kid friendly hair salons but none offer a luxurious manicure, pedicure and hair care experience.
Their Solution: Create a salon exclusively for little girls where they can feel like princesses and have princess parties.
Cut Right Designs
The Problem: There was no Jamaican company that offered event and decorative signs on a small scale.
The Solution: Create a company that provides customized decorative signs for any purpose or occasion.
EduFocal has been around since 2012 but has shown an amazing ability to adapt to Jamaica’s changing education landscape.
The Problem: A fun way to prepare for major Jamaican and Caribbean exit exams did not exist.
The Solution: Create a social learning platform that uses gamification and rewards to create a fun learning experience for children of all ages.
Why Start a Business in Jamaica?
Jamaica is at a pivotal point where more is being done to facilitate a healthy business environment. The recent tax package presented by our finance minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, has created incentives for you to start and grow a successful business in Jamaica. Now is the best time to make that business idea real. Here are some other reasons for starting a business in Jamaica:
- You create your own income instead of depending on the government to create jobs.
- Jamaica is strategically located; you have access to some of the most prominent countries in the Western hemisphere.
- Economic growth in on the horizon. Our economy grew by 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
- You help provide jobs and build the economy.
Putting it All Together
Get your business idea mojo going and start making strides towards creating a strong business in Jamaica or wherever else in the world you live. There is no one-size-fits all answer to the question of what the right business idea really is for wherever you live. You can make almost any business idea work if you:
- have the skills and passion
- put in the work
- stick with it for the long haul
- understand your target market and adequately fulfill their needs