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Steps in planting seeds that grow businesses.
# 1 Self Starters. These are the entrepreneurs who are not yet awake, don’t yet know they are entrepreneurs. You are always on the look out for them.
# 2 When you discover a budding entrepreneur, offer to help them get started in business. However, in exchange for your help they need to prove to you their entrepreneurial willingness and energy. You require of them two things before you help them.
FIRST, they must complete a simple task, on time, that the two of you agree upon. [Example: fi nd an expert and learn 2 types of wood good for making furniture that is available in Haiti . OR, ask 8 families if they would buy a small B & W TV if it only cost them $2 a week, OR fi nd out who the top 3 courier services are that operate in Haiti and which one, if any, has a sterling reputation, etc.] You will discover: will they keep their word, will they perform, and in a timely manner.
SECOND, add a creative, yet practical, plan to the simple task, and do this in writing. Not to exceed fifteen (15) sentences. They need to create an idea that in some way improves, enlarges, enriches or streamlines the task or something relevant to it. Will they, can they, tackle this situation and add something of value? That is of course what entrepreneurs do all the time.
IF they do the TASK and PLAN as described above,
# 3 Help them identify a Demand, or potential Demand, for something. This has to be real. Brainstorm with them how this demand can be met. It can range from the simple (example: reselling used tires, collecting old clothes from the middle class and selling to the working poor, selling pure drinking water) to the more sophisticated. (be the middle man who puts an English language teacher together with business people wanting to learn English, investing in a rent-to use toilet in a part of town where there is a need for a clean toilet, organize a dependable maid service to service the “rich” foreign guest hotels).
Encourage their creativity, but, keep it practical. After you have together found a real Demand and a way to meet or fulfill that Demand: have them write a business plan. Show them how. It need not be fancy. It should be clear and realistic. Critique the plan, have them rewrite it until you both are satisfied that they are describing a business that will actually work, will be successful.
You will be financing this business. Agree in writing that you are 50% owner and will have 50% of the profit each and every quarter or until they buy your half ownership of the company. You fund the business (until you have done several, do not go over $500). Cash is king. They do the work, you furnish the money. That is fair.
# 4 Monitor how they are doing. Let them run things, just look in on the business each week at first. Keep an eye on things but do not step in and micro manage. You are the investor-advisor, they are the executive running the company. If you need to pull out, do so. Not every business succeeds. But if you continue this seeding practice, and keep your losses small, you will eventually have financial success. If the amounts get large, make an arrangement for how you can get your money out of the company when you want to.
# 5 Keep looking for others in whom you can plant business seeds. This is how Haiti becomes a civil and prosperous society. It is also how you become wealthy, and in so doing, you can help Mother Haiti awaken even faster.