Toying with the idea of starting a business? Though it takes time, give your desire a chance by examining the steps you must take.
Once you decide, do research to see if your product or service is worth offering. Questions such as, "what are people buying and who will buy it?" are what you must ask yourself.
For starters, you should conduct a feasibility study on your potential product or service and markets, said Shomarie McLeggan, business development officer at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
This will allow you to determine your competitors, target audience and potential demand for your product or service, he said.
People weren't keen on drinking Howard Coxe's ackee wine. This forced Coxe, the CEO of Journey's End Wines, to present samples to customers who then developed a liking for the unique product.
Doing a market research also meant he saved on unnecessary advertising costs, the wine maker said.
"I could have spent thousands on advertising and people probably wouldn't have bought the products," said Coxe.
Then there are others, who already capitalised on a demand that was visible. Frazer Ceramics boss Headley Frazer got his business idea from his full time job almost three decades ago.
Among the items Frazer makes are vases, plates and cups. He took notes on what his boss was doing, and learnt that there was a market for ceramic items.
It's impossible to start a business without any capital, which must be contemplated from the outset, as the level of capital needed versus what may be available will ultimately determine the level of success of the venture, said JBDC's credit manager, Paul Chin.
Chin suggested looking to the traditional banking products or loans from small business associations such as the JBDC and the Small Business Association of Jamaica.
Equity financing is also an option, but it will mean giving an ownership stake in the business to the investor.
Ensuring the business won't fail after putting time and money into it means you must register the company. There are a number of legal requirements that the prospective business owner should know about establishing a business in Jamaica.
Jamaica's Business Name Act of 1934 makes it illegal to start a business without first registering it with the Companies Office of Jamaica.
After registering your business or company, it is necessary to register with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); apply for your business's Taxpayer Registration Number at the NIS office and register for general consumption tax at the Inland Revenue Department.
You will also need to register with the National Housing Trust, according to the JBDC.
Depending on the type of business you are in, various regulatory bodies and licensing agencies should also be considered.
The Scientific Research Council (SRC) deals with product formulation and analysis. As for certification, you would need to approach the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).
If you plan to deal with food, you must go through the Ministry of Health (Public Health Department) to acquire a food handler's permit.
Don't try dodging the agencies.
"It makes no sense you hide and try illegitimate ways of getting your products to market," said Frazer.
It also helps when you have to protect your ideas, cover your tracks against legal battles as it relates to brand naming.
Once you have gone through the necessary agencies, there are practices you must apply to the business.
Charis Lee, a director of Banyan Creations, which sells hand-made candles and body products, said she learnt the hard way by selling some items on credit. While you want them to take your goods, you have to be very careful, noted Lee.
"It's not until you've established a relationship with them that you extend credit," she said.
Frazer added: "Some customers may need credit, but strike a balance, don't have them all owe you."
Adjusting the price of products is also a consideration to make, according to the JBDC, which notes that pricing is the critical element in achieving a profit and maintaining positive cash flow.
The business will also go through some unexpected transition. You will find yourself altering some of your products and the way you do business.
It may be that as a business, you will get certain opportunities that weren't part of your original plan. Think of the possibilities as being limitless.
"You must keep evolving, watch the market and see what people need," Frazer said. "Be prepared to add and job products."