Small Business 2.0 : Taking Small Businesses in 21st Century

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)

Re-Inventing the Virgin Islands’ Business Sector

Think Globally, Act Locally

The 21st century has not only brought us to the age of rapid technological advancements but also in doing so, has made us an ever so integral part of the global village phenomenon. The powers that brought all four corners of the world together are constantly working to flatten the playing field through rapid information dissemination and sharing. The recent gas and food price hikes due to global demand and supply fluctuations have brought the Virgin Islands’ business and consumer sectors to the realization that re-invention is the only means left for survival in this globally charged scene.

For a long time, we learned and did business and lived our lives as an American territory, surrounded by the beautiful Caribbean Sea. The re-invention of Virgin Islands businesses now demands a diversified portfolio augmented with a long term comprehensive economic plan. Attention to export-based, small and medium enterprise can not only help to compliment our tourism sector but can also help advance our islands’ product branding capability in the international marketplace. Supported by an integrated global marketing campaign and synchronized public and private efforts, our local product- recognition worldwide can help to support and develop our island communities.

Re-inventing does not only stop with our support to the islands’ small and medium enterprise sector; it demands a higher level of commitment and planning to attract large businesses to the islands. Our capability to leverage our small and big successes will help us to attract more investment to the territory. The strategic location of our beautiful islands in the Caribbean and our affiliation with the United States offer incredible opportunities for economic growth. However, to gain maximum advantage we would have to think globally, effectively position ourselves not only as a tourist destination but also as an investment paradise for global businesses. In doing so, we would be increasing the awareness and existence of the Virgin Islands as a tourist and business hub, while at the same time, our efforts will be reaping the benefits in the form of foreign investment, national interest and an increase in the standard of living among our citizens. In any way that we look at this, planning for long term economic stability is a good idea. All that is required is the ability to understand the present and carefully plan for the future.

It goes without saying, such changes across the board do not happen over night; nor should the responsibility to bring about these long term changes be given to any one sector. To expect institutional changes, everyone from business owners to the government must play their role. We can all contribute by ensuring that the small acts we perform in our capacity, help to project the Virgin Islands forward. After all, the future prosperity of our islands will determine what we will leave for our children to inherit. 

 Posted by: Syed Gilani