Start with the End in Mind

The Bible said, “In the beginning was the word…”

I say, regarding business survival, “In the beginning was the strategy…”
That shows confidence in the outcome. So it is appropriate to start here.

Now this may not seem sexy and appealing but it is the key to business survival. One important thing that has to be
learned is to pay attention to substance and be wary of the hype.

One of the local success stories is a company that is relatively young, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, JMMB- one of the youngest local institutions of its kind.
One can see that this firm started with strategy and a vision of what is possible.

Now go back in time and reflect on the general communication, image and standards of this business and you don’t see sexy, you see purpose. You feel how everything comes together.
Developing business strategy is extremely difficult. It is not really surprising that significantly more than 60% fail in the first two years and many of the survivors drain their principals over time, keeping them hanging on to their pride, after having lost their way.

The difficulty arises for several reasons,. Many people take a high level of ego into entrepreneurship and they believe that because they have ”invested” in a business no one can tell them anything – especially if you don’t have a big name. Add to that the matter of ignorance. Many people do not know what they don’t know, leading to waste of resources and shattered lives. Because when the capital has seeped out over time, the chances of recovering gets less and less as the weeks pass by.

But maybe the biggest reason of all, encompassing all others, is that businesses usually are started badly. Only a very small number of people know, by instinct or experience, that a business must be placed on a sound strategic footing. The usual thing nowadays, especially with the internet hype, is that many with a following have become experts. They show you how to promote this and that and they look at the appealing aspect of selling and promotions, group it as “marketing” and then promise that they can stay from a distant and sell you a “system” to manage your business.

This may work for some businesses based on selling intellectual property (with high appeal and low overheads) but a business that is selling tangible products whether via manufacturing or trading needs to meet the realities of the process and environment and simply receiving a package of DVD’s or links to a web site is not likely to be helpful. Added to that is the fact that the sizzle from the
promotion soon dies and very few entrepreneurs will have the time or the will to go through such material when their business and life situations vie for their attention.

Hence the hard but necessary thing is to start right. I cannot tell you from exact knowledge but I would wager that in starting, JMMB would have considered a development model that include most of, or all of the following:
- A clear vision of what is intended, including the founder’s primary aim (note that the founder has since died and things still seem to be on track!
- A strategic objective
- An organizational strategy
- A management strategy
- A people strategy
- A marketing strategy
- A system’s strategy

These may be as simple or as complex as one wants and, yes, they are also important for a business starting out as a one-person unit.
If what is intended is a “business”, then this framework can evolve into one, which does not have the founder as a constant part of the day-to-day operation.
If it intended to be a “self employment” venture, that can work too but it is important to know the difference.

Next time I will discuss a framework that is being passed around which is not necessarily helpful and later go into the difference aspects of the strategy as indicated above.

I part with this question: what gives one the authority to be a teacher here?

The answer is awareness. But that may seem simplistic.
The group Black Uhuru has a song with a line that says, “…suffering makes you realize what it takes and how to be a Natty Dreadlocks…”

Suffering here means, of course, the ills, discomfort and failures that accompany an experience. Later, reaching a level of success, it means you have taken the lessons from them.
There are, as I said before, a few people who know by instinct what to do. Many of us suffer into this knowledge.

Let me help you to minimize them.

Contact me for more information on how I can help.

About Alrick Robinson

Alrick Robinson is the Best-Selling Author of The Small Business Survival Guide: Insights into the First Two Years & Business Coach. I invite you to download a FREE Report "7 Signs You Should Explore Running Your Own Business" Plus a Surprise Bonus! at this link - You may also visit my blog at where I share small business resources and survival tips weekly.

We Understand the Small Business


  1. Leighton Davis says:

    I would like to hear more about strategy and building your business

  2. Great article about a great company! Before the strategy, and guiding everything they do from the very beginning was the simple value of LOVE. This was the first company that I ever heard champion LOVE in all aspects of their business and relationships with and between team members and customers. LOVE works! It is an unassailable competitive advantage. Wish more companies would take their values seriously

    • admin says:

      Thank you Marguerite. I recall an interview with one of the senior executives in which she said that in terminating the services of their staff, when it becomes necessary, it is done “in love”. I was intrigued by that and it is when I accepted that sometimes the best thing for a person is for him or her to be fired to get everyone in alignment that it made sense.
      Defining and living your values is very important to success!


  3. Gaynor says:

    Very interesting and thought provoking. Most of us want success but don’t want to think outside of the box and we certainly do not see the big picture. We simply limit ourselves

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