The backbone of any economy, small and medium size businesses (SMEs) comprise of almost 80% of the United States business horizon. Although the importance of small businesses is not bound to diminish anytime in the future, the dynamics that fuel their progress and long term sustainability have been changing with the advent of technology. In today’s rapidly flattening world, small businesses have seen increasingly flexible and expandable factors of production on their disposal. This shift in the operations and scope of small businesses has brought us to the era of small business 2.0, a next generation of SMEs.
Thanks to the growing internet platform, unlike in the past, SMEs today have more resources on their disposal to showcase their products to a larger market segment at a much lower cost. The Internet has truly brought the sense of global village to the SME world by offering lower cost of operations and higher profitability through greater market access.
SMEs from the exotic Caribbean region are also embracing the power of the internet and rapidly welcoming global visitors to both online and offline shores with welcoming smiles and beautiful local products. The high price of prime offline locations in the islands, and higher cost of business operations are other compelling factors behind this move from the brick and mortar marketplace to market-space on the World Wide Web.
If you are a tourist based jewelry business or a home based small enterprise specializing in handmade products inspired by Caribbean culture and history, you can access millions of visitors around the clock through your online store. Of course being online is usually more demanding as you get more visitors on your online store and with greater market access sales volumes are higher. This challenge along with others can be dealt with careful planning and proper training.
Business 2.0 is not just a term to describe 21st century online businesses but can be one of the solutions to the challenge of improving the business sector and economic outlook of islands like St. Croix. Rich historical roots, culturally driven hand made products, an organized and well trained SME sector can be bring Caribbean economies to a new life with the proper integration of business 2.0.
In today’s increasingly shrinking world and flattening grounds, business success stories are no longer confined to one origin. The answer to the challenges posed by the global village lies in joining the online business world by effectively training our SMEs and developing the infrastructure to continuously help grow in business 2.0.
By: Syed Gilani – President BIZVI LLC (Virgin Islands’ leading Marketing, Technology, Training and Research Company)