When Rondell Thompson was seven years old, he would follow his mother around the kitchen, learning as she cooked macaroni pie, stewed chicken and "roast bake."
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Be innovative and take risks
Be "unreasonable, innovative, unshakable and sensible", is the advise from Gervase Warner, Massy President and Group CEO, to T&T's business community in the face of the tough economic challenges facing the country.
"Now is the time to be innovative and take risks." he added
Warner, one of three feature speakers at Soar Above The Recession: A Leaders Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain yesterday, said his recommendations reflect his personal perspective that survival in a constricted economy entails seeking unconventional strategies.
"If you want to soar above the recession . . . check yourself. There is so much fact in our faces to have us think that things are terrible but you have to insist on finding strategies to grow.
"The conventional normal thinking is just not going to cut it. Don't try to copy and be somebody else. This is the time to really know what your strengths are. If we are to soar above this recession we cannot be trapped by ordinary thinking," he said.
Warner said businessmen must also be sensible when taking risks and must have a Plan B, especially at a time when foreign exchange is difficult to source.
"Your business cannot hold more than you can hold," he said.
Kristine Gibbon-Thompson, owner of Chuck E Cheese’s, echoed similar sentiments.
She agreed with Warner that there must be constant reinvention and added that another key to survive a recession is sustainable customer satisfaction without the product being too pricey.
"You need to be constantly recalibrating and determining how do you stay a logical choice. That may involve bringing your price down, or doing something different with your product," she said.
"If you have twice as good quality and your price premium is four times than that of the competitors . . . that does not work."
However, she said, entrepreneurs ought not to be afraid to offer new products and if such products fail they must be pulled off the market within a maximum of two months.
"Get in and get out quickly. If it does not work, try again," Gibbon-Thompson advised.
Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon added that innovation must be the driving force behind any economy.
She said the already approved National Innovation Policy will result in the development of a well-educated, adaptable and more technologically capable population with a "strong scientific orientation," which allows for "research, science, technology, innovation and merging of skills for economic growth".