August 2, 2017

Learning the Nuts and Bolts of Owning a Business

Author: Cori Galligan and Gabi Sherman

In Their Shoes is a Vistaprint program that helps team members better understand what it’s like to be a microbusiness owner. Many teams have participated in In Their Shoes, and as a result, they have several insights to share about microbusinesses and their experiences with the program.

Orel Birch has been the proud and sole owner of Amos Hardware in Montego Bay for over three years. Vistaprint employees Angeleta Rhodes, Monique Haughton, Nicolette Jackson and Shakerah Ambersley  found Orel when choosing a microbusiness partner that they wanted to work with. Each team member gave suggestions on possible microbusinesses that could benefit from their work in terms of distance the team would have to travel, availability of the owner, and openness to feedback.  After evaluating several businesses, they unanimously chose Amos Hardware and decided that the business would be their area of focus.
The team helped Orel through several activities which were discussed on bi-weekly visits. They acted as marketing consultants by identifying the products needed to market the business, designed products and created a custom logo.
The team learned three key points throughout this process.
1. Without proper advertisement, a business will not have adequate business/customers. The team tried to help improve the advertising by acting as the market consultants.
2. Sometimes business owners are consumed with their business activities and do not have time to thoroughly research marketing materials that are needed for the company. This encouraged the team to be more empathetic with customers and more willing to make recommendations for their business.
3. As potential entrepreneurs, the team learned that the aim of a business is not only focused on making money but also to be impactful towards the community. The team saw these attributes in Orel, who said by having the business he can employ people in the community, providing them with a source of income.  and noted that qualities like this help to build loyal customers which in turn grows your business.

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