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Ian Ferguson

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IAN FERGUSON: How to build capacity for a thriving business

Sustainability in this day and age refers to a company’s ability to consistently build capacity in its employees, processes and operations.

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IAN FERGUSON: Strengthening business resolve in the New Year

The year 2023 is now officially history. We have walked into a brand new year - for some, a new fiscal year - where trying to find a proper footing and bearings is not the best position to be in. Good track and field athletes know their success often depends on how they start the race.

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IAN FERGUSON: How companies can get into the Christmas spirit

Christmas is finally and officially here. A time of joy, celebration, food and festivities. The most effective and successful companies are continually finding ways to give back through corporate social responsibility as well as spreading Christmas cheer to employees. This week’s column focuses on some last-minute suggestions for how small businesses can participate in the holiday spirit.

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IAN FERGUSON: Young entrepreneurs to require these qualities

YOUNG entrepreneurs do not necessarily have a lot of work experience - either because they just graduated from college, or entered the job market for the first time and want to start a new business venture. The encouragement they often receive is to get a job and work towards gaining experience that will later inform their entrepreneurial pursuits. The truth is that an early start on the road to enterprise can also prove beneficial to youth in business.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to avoid strife over family-owned businesses

Many micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in The Bahamas are family-owned sole proprietorships or husband and wife partnerships. There are MSMEs that are quite small, operating in a ‘Mom and Pop’ type fashion, but there are others who have navigated the landscape well enough to grow and expand.

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IAN FERGUSON: The benefits from offering staff meals

Yesterday was perhaps the beginning of the holiday food season. No one underestimates the importance of food in the corporate environment. Employees come to work with food on their mind. They are either walking in with breakfast or stepping out to get it. By 11am they are ordering lunch, and by 3pm planning dinner.

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IAN FERGUSON: Avoiding problems with workplace friendships

Having close friendships in the workplace can be beneficial for employee well-being and productivity. But there are also challenges that can arise when friends work together. These situations, and the potential risks, must be navigated with the utmost sensitivity. It is important to strike a balance between personal connections and professional boundaries to avoid potential conflicts and distractions.

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IAN FERGUSON: Business must do its part on Xmas security

As we near the start of the holiday season, there is usually an expectation that the criminal element will increase their activity. While we cannot predict the extent to which crime will increase, we do know that economic pressures, increasing social ills and opportunities through increased tourist activity creates the potential for a perfect storm.

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IAN FERGUSON: Large firms must join Gov't to back MSMEs

It is no secret that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) play a major role in stimulating economic development in The Bahamas. Both governments and large private enterprises should begin to ask themselves what they can do to encourage the growth of MSMEs, thus enabling them to contribute more significantly to the national economy.

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IAN FERGUSON: Navigating challenges in family-owned businesses

Global research confirms that only 30 percent of all family-owned businesses survive into the second generation, while just 12 percent survive into a third. The Bahamian context is perhaps not too far from these statistics and, while we chalk most of this reality down to a lack of succession, there are any number of variables that contribute to this outcome.

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IAN FERGUSON: Proper research vital to a competitive edge

In business, knowledge is power. The ability to make informed decisions is crucial for any company’s success and growth. To achieve this, businesses rely on research.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to bridge the divide between work and school and SCJ

The concept of businesses working with schools is certainly not new. Many have reached out through public and private sector-organised initiatives to engage students more meaningfully in the world of enterprise.

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IAN FERGUSON: Companies and Gov'ts must sometimes reset

Staying ahead of the game has never been so important. Businesses need to make sure they are questioning all those things they do out of ingrained habit versus what customers and shareholders have come to expect and feel comfortable with. Once you have identified things that are not working, leaders must have the courage to stop doing them and change course.

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IAN FERGUSON: Private sector must help to improve food security

Food security and sustained agricultural production are ongoing conversations that developing countries are having more frequently as we face the mounting challenges of war, drought and famine. The Bahamas, given its vulnerable position as an estimated $1bn per year food importer, must seriously engage in this conversation.

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IAN FERGUSON: Positive benefits from taking children to work

In some corporate cultures, including your children in business activities is quickly becoming a common practice. In fact, western culture has named a day - typically in November - as 'Take your child to work day'. The goal of this day is to give young people a better idea of what their parents do for a living.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to boost productivity without micromanagement

With skilled labour in relatively short supply, thus increasing the need for employers to maximise the productivity of each worker, human development strategies are essential to achieving better results. Micromanaging workers has proven dangerous and counter productive in seeking to increase productivity. People work better in comfortable environments where they are held accountable for the results.

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IAN FERGUSON: Stay at home or go to work?

As we approach the much-anticipated 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence, I pause to reflect on a model Bahamian business that has become a mainstay and beacon within our private sector.

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IAN FERGUSON: Model Bahamian business that is a corporate ‘beacon’

As we approach the much-anticipated 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence, I pause to reflect on a model Bahamian business that has become a mainstay and beacon within our private sector.

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IAN FERGUSON: Ignore succession plan at your peril

In every echelon of our society, we face this common dilemma. Businesses (private and public), religious sects, political parties and civic groups all fail to establish strategic succession plans to secure the future success and viability of their organisations. Business owners, church leaders, politicians and other community leaders often operate with a sense of immortality, thinking that death or separation will not come.

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IAN FERGUSON: Why small businesses must rethink bank loans

Capital is critical to any business, enabling companies to acquire the necessary resources to start up, expand and maintain operations. Access to capital is thus essential for a business to grow and succeed in a competitive market. This becomes critical for small businesses that have limited capital to begin with, yet are competing against medium and larger companies with greater economies of scale.

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Private sector must play its part over education

Today marks the end of another school year. Most educational institutions in The Bahamas would likely describe it as a challenging but successful period. We know, and research bears this out, that quality education systems are those where students, parents, teachers and the administrative system work together in ensuring that no child is left behind.

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IAN FERGUSON: Broaden your horizons with conference travel

Post-COVID businesses are understanding now, more than ever, the power and impact of the shrinking corporate village.

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IAN FERGUSON: Bahamian business must speed up technology use

Business digitisation, although an old topic, is essential to your company’s growth. Every firm's goal is to ultimately increase revenue, attract more new customers and retain existing ones. One of the best ways to leverage technology is to improve your existing infrastructure and automate processes such as e-mail marketing to better suit your target audience.

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IAN FERGUSON: Going the extra mile on same-day delivery

Over time, businesses have changed and redefined the meaning of success. Being successful during today's age of e-commerce requires convenience and immediacy for consumer. One of the lessons from COVID-19 was that companies must do everything in their power to ensure their goods and services are more accessible.

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IAN FERGUSON: Ways to grow without losing peace of mind

Every business, small or large, has growth on their agenda. The type of growth varies from revenue generation, store location, physical space and number of employees to any other metric that the specific company views as critical.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to engage millennial staff

Millennials make up a sizeable percentage of today’s workforce. They come with a plethora of skills, strengths and, yes, special needs. This week’s column focuses attention on ways to keep these valuable team members consistently engaged.

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IAN FERGUSON: Navigating through five life cycle stages

Every new micro and small business that grows into a medium-sized enterprise goes through five stages of evolution. These phases include existence, survival, success, take-off and resource maturity. All stages of small business growth come with challenges that every company has to overcome.

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IAN FERGUSON: Why we must cherish our small businesses

Here are seven reasons to support micro and small businesses.

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IAN FERGUSON: Customer loyalty brings its rewards

There is no doubt that attracting new customers is essential for your small business. Every business person, especially proprietors of micro, small and medium-sized businesses, are always hungry to increase market share. Turning those first-time buyers into repeat customers, however, is arguably just as important.

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IAN FERGUSON: Making sure the price is right

Pricing your goods and services should never be a wild guessing game. When you are reasonably new to business, though, it can feel like a loaded task. There are any number of factors to take into account, such as how much you are spending on supplies, how much your time is worth, and more. Your pricing structure will also ultimately set the tone for your small business.

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IAN FERGUSON: Creative ideas to bring new businesses online

As people survey the world’s current business and political landscape, many are leaning towards entrepreneurial pursuits. And it should not be surprising that most new small business ideas in 2023 will involve an online model.

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Don’t suffer Xmas hangover through financial indiscipline

The holiday season is almost upon us, and while Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family, it is also an occasion when a person’s “jolly spending” can create financial hardships for months to follow.

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IAN FERGUSON: Exploit public relations to drive customer traffic

Clarity is critical in all kinds of business communications, yet can be difficult to achieve. Unlike paid marketing programmes such as advertising, public relations is focused on earned media and can take advantage of unpaid communications channels. Public relations is about managing perceptions, namely how people think about your business.

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IAN FERGUSON: Holding your entire team accountable

Accountability provides assurance that an individual or company is evaluated on their performance and/or behaviour related to something for which they are responsible. A great example of accountability is when you are able to limit distractions, and remain focused on achieving your goals and tasks.

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IAN FERGUSON: Managing time to best effect

Time management is one of the most important skills, but it is often a concept that many businesses, and people, struggle with. Small businesses, in particular, cannot afford waste through bad time management and inefficiency.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to deal with employee misfits

EMPLOYEES are the most essential part of any company. And skilled recruiters will try to source the best workers for their business.

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IAN FERGUSON: Get your business prepared for 2023

October is typically when successful businesses invest time and resources to prepare for the upcoming year. Today’s article focuses on a globally-respected tool that is being reintroduced to help Bahamian businesses attain a higher level of global competitiveness.

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IAN FERGUSON: The human touch in small business

More than 80 percent of Bahamian businesses do not have the benefit of on-staff human resources professionals. Literally thousands of Bahamians are operating without a buffer between them and management.

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Downtown art district plan to put Miami, New York ‘second’

The Ministry of Tourism’s plans to transform downtown Nassau via creation of an “art district” will relegate similar spaces in New York and Miami to “second spot”, a senior official pledged yesterday.

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IAN FERGUSON: How businesses can survive frugality calls

Business frugality is essential for survival. With supply chain issues continuing to plague many industries, and inflation still surging, business owners (especially the most vulnerable among us) must find ways to save. This week’s column focuses on ten ways a business can go the extra mile to save a dollar.

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Cruise spend ‘antibiotics’ set for December launch

The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch the “antibiotics” that will help cure low cruise visitor spend in downtown Nassau by December 1, a top tourism executive disclosed yesterday.

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Queen’s passing shows importance of succession

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II has thrown the British Royal Family into transition and change.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to make a difference in climate change battle

The concepts of sustainability and conservation have become top of mind for many businesses who understand the local and global implications of climate change. Avoidance is no longer an option. We must all play a role in making business decisions that help heal our planet. Science has been clear in telling us that every little bit helps. With all hands on deck, lifting and promoting practices that are eco friendly, we can see the positive impact.

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IAN FERGUSON: Forgoing growth can be major profit boost

Growth is a long-term objective for most businesses. However, some firms never grow and remain as small businesses forever. Here are a few factors that explain why some businesses do not have growth as the main objective.

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IAN FERGUSON: Obstacles still in the path of women in business

Over the past century, women have made great strides in politics, civic society and business.

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IAN FERGUSON: Start planning now for our 50th Independence

Throughout the length and breadth of our archipelago, the level of excitement surrounding the 50th independence celebrations scheduled for July 10, 2023, is building among Bahamians.

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IAN FERGUSON: Bahamians should not fear diverse workforce

WHEN discussing the movement of people from one place to another, it can become a little confusing to know the correct terms to use.

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IAN FERGUSON: The advantages from being an entrepreneur

The COVID- 19 pandemic has caused hundreds of Bahamians to consider - and reconsider - the idea of entrepreneurship. The massive lay-offs and furloughs pushed many employees to start home-based businesses as a means of turning over some revenue.

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IAN FERGUSON: Employers must wake up to staff discontent

The past two-and-a-half years have possibly seen the most dramatic shift in the labour market, and work environment, in Bahamian history. Unemployment rates during the pandemic hit unprecedented levels and now, two years later, as companies recover in leaps and bounds, frictional joblessness and mass resignation has become our new reality.

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Corporation’s ‘lifeline’ for tourism businesses

Throughout the Caribbean and in the many parts of the world where tourism reigns, tourism development organisations and agencies have reshaped the template for visitor experiences. The Bahamas’ own Tourism Development Corporation, in similar fashion, is poised to redefine how we deliver goods and services to the tens of millions of tourists who visit our shores annually.

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IAN FERGUSON: Grooming a workforce for corporate success

A grooming policy should reflect the needs of the employer while not unnecessarily restricting an employee’s individual expression. The more formal or professional the culture, and the more employees interact with individuals outside the workplace, the greater the need for employers to have a policy governing employee grooming and hygiene.

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IAN FERGUSON: A new vision for Grand Bahama

I had the honour and privilege of attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Carnival Cruise Line’s port terminal for the island of Grand Bahama yesterday and what a celebration it was.

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IAN FERGUSON: The advantages to buying Bahamian

The Bahamas presently imports more than $5.5bn in goods and services annually. Over 94 percent of our food is imported from the US and our other trading partners. For many years we have lamented these statistics, but have not made significant strides towards changing this reality.

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Recognise the talent within all employees

In large companies and government agencies, we often run into the challenge of viewing team members as multiple ‘fish’ swimming in a large ocean. Sometimes our companies become so large and impersonal that people - and their talents and gifts - get lost in the fray. I understand this all too well, as I have in many cases felt undervalued in various companies where I have served, both socially and from a work perspective.

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IAN FERGUSON: How to handle office romance

Many people meet their lifelong partners at work, yet dating someone in the office is often frowned upon.

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IAN FERGUSON: Skills required for proper leadership

Successful leadership never happens by choice. We have suffered for many years as a nation by giving titles to those who have no clue in the art of leadership. A leadership track record does not consist of big jobs or large networks. When a person cannot build healthy trust, centred on relationships, and nurture the talent of those around them, they cannot be regarded as having leadership skills.

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IAN FERGUSON: Proper budgeting key to business growth

The month of March usually signals the start of budget hearings and defences throughout the government sector. Proper justification for monies required, and how they will be spent, is crucial if a business is going to succeed and grow.

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IAN FERGUSON: Social media presence needs constant refresh

As a business professional wanting to improve your personal brand and remain relevant in the marketplace, your social media presence becomes a priority. When was the last time you refreshed and updated your company’s social media pages? Perhaps this article serves as the catalyst you need to do just that.

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IAN FERGUSON: Ways to maximise your online selling

Taking your business online, and using a website that allows customers to access your goods and services, is no longer a highly technical challenge. Globally, most companies that have a physical store have already made strides in incorporating online sales into their business mix.

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IAN FERGUSON: Why companies benefit from hiring consultants

Consultants can provide expertise and an objective eye in helping to guide a business, with different consultants specialising in various industries and areas. These include strategy and management, operations, human resources, finances, funding opportunities, IT, tourism, hospitality and sales and marketing.

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IAN FERGUSON: Signs workers need new job challenge

Economists indicate that the only form of healthy unemployment is frictional unemployment. That is the process of leaving a job to explore options that are more in line with a worker’s interests and skills.

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IAN FERGUSON: Steps for achieving workplace fairness

Fairness and equity will be the defining issues for companies in both 2022 and years to come. The workplace environment has a great impact on employee productivity and their view of employers. Happiness at work is a metric that can be hard to measure, but is essential to the success of a company. Managers must use their control over policy to ensure fairness in the workplace so employees feel productive and happy.

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Securing your business over Christmas holiday

Before you spend your time and money on Christmas festivities, remember to plan for a safe and secure holiday. While the festive season brings joy and excitement, it unfortunately also sees a rise in criminal activities, especially those directed against the business community. Here are our most effective tips for holiday safety and security:

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IAN FERGUSON: Inviting the giving spirit to your firm

THANKSGIVING Day, even in The Bahamas, usually signals the start of the festive season and the season of giving. This year, the spirit of giving is even more critical as the world rebounds from the terrible grip of the global pandemic.

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IAN FERGUSON: Positive steps to a healthy workplace

A focus on employee health and wellness has become critical for many companies. Designing and managing employee wellness programmes, and developing strategies for helping workers achieve their health goals, is an important step in improving the health and productivity of employees.

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IAN FERGUSON: Managers must relate to their older workers

Being an effective manager takes critical skills such as leadership, communication and strategic planning. It takes time to build rapport and respect with a team, and managers who do not take the time to do this can have a negative impact on team performance and morale.

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IAN FERGUSON: Succession planning is vital to lasting success

Whether you are a small family business or a large corporation, a business owner or a human resources manager, effective retirement and succession planning is vital for your company’s continuing success.

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IAN FERGUSON: Beware peril of unfair employee dismissals

When you terminate an employee’s contract without a fair reason, it is an unfair or unlawful dismissal. Sometimes these issues are dealt with at Industrial Tribunals but, quite often, there are many terminations that go unaddressed.

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