Entrepreneurs learn the keys to success from Saint International boss

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN Career & Education writer honeyghanp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 26, 2017

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He candidly concedes that he made a ton of mistakes on his way to success, but bank staffer-turned-model management mogul and television host Deiwght Peters will gladly tell you that they have served as valuable lessons.

That learning from failing, plus "belly bottom burning passion", developing a "tough outer coat", and a list of other gems, are among the reasons he says he and his boutique model agency Saint International Jamaica Limited have challenged established model houses and have risen to international acclaim. He has been credited with revolutionising the local and Caribbean model scene by introducing televised scouting competitions, live fashion shows, and widening the pool of talent.

Peters was the lead voice in a conversation the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC)-facilitated at Knutsford Court hotel in Kingston on Wednesday. Called ‘Lunch and Learn’, it was intended to equip entrepreneurs with personal and business strategies necessary for the development of their businesses.

"In my personal journey there were lessons learnt, mistakes made, certainly nuff a dat, but I am sure, like you all, I had that dream. I had that belly bottom burning passion for success. And one of the things we can all agree on here is that we will always come across people who want to put spokes in your wheel. [But] to surpass this and many of the other challenges that you will encounter, there are tenets that worked for me that I am sure could be useful on your individual journeys," Peters told the group.

Among the keys he listed were:

• knowing who controls the dynamics of power in the industry;

• knowing the lay of the industry itself;

• developing a tough outer core;

• knowing and believing in oneself; and

• being bold.

"This is extraordinarily important as a business person ,and sometimes when we present ourselves in a certain way they say that we are cocky, show off or ‘boasty’, but I think those are all lovely things so, for me, I appreciate when people say it to me because it says that I have something that you don’t have, " he said.

Peters also warned attendees against two thieves in business. The first he described as internalising negativity, defined by entrepreneurs allowing unhealthy criticisms and rumours to consume and later destroy them and which can ultimately lead to giving up on personal dreams in order to build other peoples. The second, he said, is the fear of falling.

"Know that you will fall, but you must be ready to build the tenacity for when this happens to get up. Be ready to fight your fight," Peters encouraged.

"A fundamental point taken from the conversation for me was being very protective of your company because there are people who are sitting and waiting to hear about someone else’s idea so that they can run with, but we are confident in the guidance because we know that we will secure ultimate protection for our brand," Sasha Petrie, representative of Elsa’s tea, a herbal tea company that specialises in relief for menstrual cramps and recently signed fresh clients of JBDC told Career & Education.

Similarly, Emily Brown, a bridal designer, noted that her Achilles heel was explored in-depth and she had got the advice she needed to develop confidence in her line of business.

"As Mr Peters said, you need to be confident and be bold and make it big. I also will need to research in greater depth the industry that I am in so that I can know more about the business, the expectations of systems, because it is our assumptions that put us back. My biggest handicap to date is holding back, but if I use the tips I got here today my problem is halfway solved," Brown said.

JBDC said it initiated the intervention after witnessing one too many business fail on account of and fear of failure ,and a plethora or other challenges often cripple entrepreneurs and stymie the growth of their businesses in the absence of proper guidance.

"JBDC has recognised that business people are struggling, and sometimes it is just that they don’t have the right attitudes or knowledge of business principles and so while we continuously support these businesses, it is important that we also facilitate their learning, which is the second of two objectives as outlined by our mandate at JBDC," Manager of Business Advisory Services Althea West Myers told the Jamaica Observer.

She said initially the plan was to make the forum open to the corporation’s over 200 existing clients; however, having recognised the magnitude of the challenges on a national scale a decision was made to open it to all interested entrepreneurs who were eager to learn pitfalls, challenges as well as tips to navigate them.






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