Tight squeeze for MoBay small business
KINGSLEY Henry and Nevin Nish, partners at H&N Auction House, have fallen prey to the brutal Jamaican economic climate, which has been gnawing away at the gains of local small businesses.
Henry and Nish are the owners and operators of the small auction house in Freeport, Montego Bay that is struggling to keep its head above water. Both men are disappointed that after a year of operating the business, with a unique model, they are still unable to make a profit on the millions that they invested.
"We are in the business of selling things at ridiculous prices and yet the buyers are few. We envisioned that our sales would have been at least three times what it is now," Henry said.
The two dumped most of their life savings into starting up the business with the
hope that their children would benefit.
"We want them to grow up seeing and experiencing what it is like to own their own business. We wanted to break the cycle of them seeing their parents as employees and thinking that that is all they can become," Nish commented.
Henry and Nish are full-time workers with families of their own.
"It is extremely challenging for us to work full-time and operate our own business. We have less time for our families sometimes, during the week," Henry stated.
Both agreed that choosing to be business owners had led them to spend several nights outside of their homes, and lunch and break time away from work. The business itself is unable to function efficiently because of their inability to spend enough time with it.
"We usually say that we are running a full-time business on a part-time basis...
we need four full-time employees; however, we have only been able to employ one person full-time and on auction days we take on up to two additional persons to assist us," Nish stated.
Henry and Nish, like most entrepreneurs, have their share of disappointments in their quest to be successful.
"Our worst decision has to be entrusting our website development to a 'friend' who turned an active website into a non-functioning webpage," Nish added.
This was a low blow for the partners as the company does most of its marketing online, and is often limited in its use of traditional media, because of finances.
Studies have shown that almost half of the Jamaicans who decide to start a business fail to make it past their early years. However, with only one year gone, Henry and Nish are optimistic about the future of their organisation.
"We see H&N Auction House being a household name that individuals and companies consider as a first choice when liquidating their assets and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in sales," Henry