By SIMON COOPER
THE world changed irrevocably after the September 11 attacks and the international economic crisis, which keeps on rolling. Everything we believed in took a knock. People are a lot more cautious, and the employment umbrella we once believed in is leaking badly.
This means it is time to start striking out on our own, as our forefathers did when they either discovered, or were brought to, the Caribbean islands, or rolled back the frontiers of America's West. The difference in those days was that necessity forced people to spot opportunity. Perhaps we need to rediscover those same skills.
Face Up to Reality - You are the same person but the world changed. Corporate structures are crumbling and the era of entrepreneurship is back in town. Put on this new mindset with enthusiasm. Were your ancestors smarter and wealthier than you, or did they have families to support and no one else to do it?
Recognise Opportunity - Opportunity is everywhere. We just forgot how to look for it, or decided that it is not for us. Consider your strengths, your expertise and your experience carefully. What is the unique contribution that you could make? You could hire your skills on the Internet. You could buy a business. Define your unique value proposition. It is valuable, and it is unique.
Network - We live in an era called the relationship age, when it is who you know that really matters. I like to turn this on its head, and think of ways to work with people who already know me. That is because doing business with people where there's trust already is a whole lot easier that the other way around. Talk to the people you know. Build bridges to the future with them.
Return to Self-Reliance - My life took a huge leap forward when I jumped the corporate ship, and started letting my imagination and not my MBA work for me. The big decision that I made was to stop waiting for others to do it for me, and to start making things happen for myself. Sounds trite? It's not. How many people of Bill Gate's ilk had backing when they started out in business?
Wherever you are in life right now, you need to take control of your own future. Nobody else is going to do this for you, and besides, it is a lot more fun that way. Ditch the stuff that parents, bosses and employers may have laid on you. Like: You must ... you can't.. and so on. Remember the difference between Bill Gates and IBM? Gates believed it was possible - IBM couldn't see the point in trying.
There are no secrets, no silver bullets, and no magic potions to success. Success just needs two things. These two things are imagination and hard work. We were all created with these in abundance and, like Obama said, yes you can. So believe it. Get out there, and grab those opportunities.
NB: Simon Cooper is a founding partner of Res Socius, a business brokerage firm authorised by the Bahamas Investment Authority that facilitates the sale and purchase of businesses. Contact 636-8831 or visit www.ressocius.com.