Entrepreneur and co-founder of Bresheh Limited, Randy Makk, is encouraging fellow business owners to consistently conduct research to explore how they can add value and create new strategies to remain relevant in their industries.
Makk made the recommendation while a guest on the JN Circle Live Class discussing the topic, ‘Success and Survival: Tips and Testimonials of Entrepreneurs’. The conversation was moderated by media practitioner and public speaker, Brian Cuff.
“There are ideas and opportunities around us every day and one of the ways you can find new opportunities is by reading widely. For us at Bresheh, it is how you communicate with your customers, and we get daily insights from our customers on what next to make or do,” he pointed out.
“My advice is to listen to your customers, do your research as well, if you are just getting started. The aim is not to be a ‘me too’ company or brand. If you see a space there, ‘How can you add value?’, ‘How can you distinguish?’, ‘How can you become an expert go to in that space?’,” he said.
The Bresheh CEO also recommended that entrepreneurs join industry associations to understand, from a production and manufacturing standpoint, what new goods and services Jamaicans need. He said when he started his business, he discovered that Jamaica imported most of its bags for school and work.
“This was a clear opportunity for us, research gave me that insight,” said the former participant in the Social Enterprise Boost Initiative programme, a project administered by the JN Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“When we spotted that opportunity to send Jamaicans to school with a Jamaican-made bag, to send people to work with a Jamaican-made bag, it was clear that we should give it a go,” he informed.
Gordon Swaby, CEO of Edufocal Limited, who also participated in the discussion, advised entrepreneurs to explore untapped markets. The company recently expanded to Africa. EduFocal, a Jamaican education technology firm, has been providing schools and organisations with its learning platform and e-courses since 2012.
“Choose an area that has longevity and develop expertise in it because that is the only way you will identify opportunities that most people won’t see,” he pointed out, noting that Edufocal has been in the field for 11 years and has the know-how to executive its ideas in a unique way.
Addressing the area of budgeting, Jackie Jacqueline Jackson, founder and CEO of Ideate That Limited said financial management was key to running a business.
“My company is [about] collaboration over competition. One of my best friends is an accountant. I hire an accountant and a business manager. My job is to ensure that I follow the rules that are set for me,” she informed.
She said she is guided by professionals and is intentional about living below her means.
“My advice is to strategically make a monthly budget. I know that every money I spend, from food to gas, if it is not in the budget, it doesn’t get done. Ensure your bills are paid first. I just follow the steps given by my accountant,” she said.
Ideate That Limited is a multimedia ideation company that offers strategy and ideation consulting, multimedia production, event strategy and execution. The company was established in 2021.
The JN Circle Thrive Together Life Class introduced was by the JN Foundation in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide an avenue for persons to share their thoughts on a range of issues, including psychological and emotional matters. The sessions have been attracting several hundred participants locally and, in the Diaspora, such as the United States of America, Canada and England.
The JN Circle is a network of JN members and customers of JN member companies, who bond together through community building, advocacy and networking.