With an array of foreign visitors and a festive atmosphere, it's crucial for small business owners to adapt and innovate, making the most of this festive season.
My focus is on providing practical advice tailored to these enterprises, ensuring they not only thrive but also maximise their potential during the Carnival season.
So here are three things all small businesses should do immediately after reading this.
Setting up digital payments
Embracing digital payments is essential, especially during the Carnival season, when there's a significant influx of foreign visitors. These visitors often prefer using their own currencies, posing a challenge for small businesses reliant on traditional cash transactions.
The necessity for modern, digital solutions is clear, and that's where the Colour app comes into play. As a mobile point-of-sale system, the Colour app offers a seamless way for businesses to accept payments, catering to the preferences of international clientele.
The process is straightforward and secure, allowing transactions to be made directly through the app, mitigating the risks associated with handling large amounts of cash.
Moreover, the Colour app provides flexible options for accessing funds. Business owners can choose to transfer their earnings to a local bank account within a timeframe of two-five business days or opt for immediate access through a virtual credit card.
This level of convenience and security is transforming how small businesses operate, making digital payments an indispensable part of the Carnival season's commerce.
If you decided to use Endcash, Pesh or Paywise, these are good options if your clients are TT citizens and they are already using any of these digital payment solutions: you can promote the services and push for more digital transactions during the Carnival festivities.
However, these services require your customers to download the apps and set them up before they can do business with you.
The Colour app only requires the business owner to have the app. Your customers can simply take out their bank cards or credit cards and tap them on your phone for the payment to happen, as they are accustomed to doing with regular point-of-sales systems, and do not have to download or even know about Colour to pay you.
My mom and cousin flew in from Toronto, and we had to drive around to five ATMs to try to get some cash, because most of the food vendors didn’t accept cards. They also didn’t want to take out cash, because they could not convert TT currency back to their own currency, as most countries don’t accept TT dollars, and the currency converter in the airport is way too expensive.
Efficient record-keeping is crucial, especially during Carnival. Shifting from manual to digital methods boosts efficiency and accuracy.
Zoho Invoicing is an excellent tool for this, offering easy management of sales, expenses and customer data. It is accessible on multiple devices, ensuring you can manage your finances anywhere.
Its streamlined process and clear financial records make bookkeeping simple, supporting your business's financial health during busy periods.
Too many small businesses are still creating receipts via a receipt book, which isn’t the best way to keep records of your sales, income and expenses.
Sign up for Zoho’s free services. You will be able to manage client information or use it for one-off sales, and you can send receipts to your clients' e-mail addresses.
Leveraging social media
Despite its potential, many small businesses are yet to fully embrace social media, missing out on a vast opportunity to expand their reach and connect with a broader audience.
I remember being at TIC 2023 and the Caribbean Food and Beverage Conference, seeing small businesses making some amazing products, but when you asked where they could be found, half the businesses didn’t have any form of social media.
I am advising all small businesses at least to open an Instagram or Facebook account as soon as possible. That way all the foreigners who are coming can keep up to date with your business and products.
I also want you to create three posts: an introduction to the business, a display of products, and a clear explanation of the ordering process.
This will give potential clients the basic information about your business and how to order from you again.
Additionally, for businesses aiming to broaden their market beyond local shores, CaribShopper presents an invaluable solution.
This platform simplifies international sales, offering straightforward procedures and considerable benefits for exporting products to the US and Canada.
By adopting these social media strategies and tools like CaribShopper, small businesses can significantly amplify their reach and tap into new customer bases during this festive season.
These three things can have a significant impact on all small business owners this Carnival season. Don’t leave money on the table this Carnival.
Keron Rose is a digital strategist who works with businesses to build their digital presence and monetise their platforms.
Learn more at KeronRose.com or listen to the Digipreneur FM podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify, or Google podcasts.