*Photo supplied
*Photo supplied

Who doesn’t like a tip on how to make money?

Several key ideas emerged from the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Fourth Networking Event and Seminar, which focused on diversification.

The event was held at the Washington Mall.

Tim Miller, owner of Nineteen, presented on how to identify the right opportunity to diversify.  He used his business Nineteen as a case study, stating that he identified the opportunity to start his business based on his study of the economy. 

His study found that multiple floors in office buildings were being left empty. Once he saw the opportunity to start a business offering shared work space, he identified a key building then shopped his concept of a shared work space to landlords and potential partners and as a result successfully launched Nineteen in 2012.  Mr. Miller shared five tips to successfully identifying opportunities: 1) Look for the holes in your market; 2) Barter by exchanging services instead of cash; 3) View every vendor as a potential customer; 4) Define and create your channel to market; and 5) Promote.

Jakai Franks , customer service manager for Digicel, showed how small businesses can use technology to create business opportunities. He reinforced the idea that market research is key to helping to identify and communicate with current customers. 

Mr Franks said: “Using public and global research is a great way to gain insight on new trends enabling you to determine which areas your business should venture.” 

He also highlighted some of the technology trends that businesses should be aware of like: mobile compatible websites, use of applications like Zing Checkout instead of pricey POS systems, using the Cloud to address data storage needs, and identifying a mobile marketing solution to reach target customers.

Steve Woodward, managing director for KPMG Enterprise, said his company is dedicated to working with local businesses. 

He offered that while most of the businesses KPMG works with have graduated to medium-sized status, KPMG recognizes that to be successful you have to start somewhere and that is why they continue to support BEDC by participating in events that help to keep local businesses informed.

Nicole Warren, general manager of Brown & Co., shared strategies for identifying opportunities to diversify as a retailer. She provided some practical tips that attendees could use to help them identify opportunities to diversify: walk where the locals walk; utilize social media; keep track of where your customer shops overseas; ask questions of your customer, your vendors and your competitors; access available historical sales analysis like the Department of Statistics. 

Alesha de la Chevotiere, creative director of Adeche Studio, explained that “in recent tough economic times, crowd funding has become a popular and alternative method of raising finance for a business, real estate investment, project or idea”.

She went on to provide some tips to getting a crowd funding pitch correct and advised that the “key to successful crowd funding is understanding the commitment the process entails. Crowd funding can provide a fantastic opportunity for small businesses, but it should not be entered into lightly and, to be successful, requires a careful strategy.”

Leon O’Brien, chairman of Hi Group of Companies, gave a passionate presentation on what is required to diversify into global markets.  He offered that it takes five things to become global: 1) vision, 2) team, 3) resources, 4) Intellectual Property, and 5) the right environment. n