Small Business – Big Ideas

The focus of this issue of CHAMBER magazine is Small Business. This refers to all Chamber members with 10 or fewer employees in the Cayman Islands, which actually make up the majority of our membership.

The Chamber has always been a small business champion but this year the Council is focusing more than ever on how we can increase our service offerings and advocacy for this sector.

To assist in these efforts the President has established a Small Business Committee chaired by Chamber Secretary Len Jackson.

Len brings many years of experience building businesses to this role, as you will see in this quarter’s interview in the Chamber Building Blocks section. Joining Len on the committee are a number of small business owners who represent a diverse range of industry sectors from the Chamber membership.

We are always happy to have new input on any of our committees and I urge you to please get in touch with me if you would like to get involved.

We have recently released a Small Business Survey that relates specifically to this target group and that allows for a more accurate representation of what life is like for small businesses today. The compiled data from this survey will be released to the membership later this month. The Chamber values its members’ privacy and never uses any people or company names within the context of the survey responses. The information is only ever used as collective data.

Other small business initiatives under development by the Chamber are Business Coaching Cayman, HR Care and a Chamber multi-employer health insurance plan.

Business Coaching Cayman is a pilot four-month programme in partnership with Shirlaws Cayman that is specifically designed to provide access to the tools, techniques and skills available through business coaching for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Space is limited to 10 spaces for the pilot programme. Shirlaws coaches will meet with the select group monthly for a 90-minute session.

The sessions will cover a variety of business issues that will empower participants to lead their businesses and also create a network of people with shared experiences. Each participant in Business Coaching Cayman will also receive two “one-on-one” 90-minute sessions with a Shirlaws coach during the pilot programme period, as well as support online available only to programme participants. Chamber members will receive a special rate for this service.

In a similar way we have also partnered with Trans4M to offer HR Care to Chamber members. This is an excellent service for small businesses who may consider it impractical to employ professional HR managers to handle their HR issues.

When HR queries or problems arise, it’s important to be able to provide reliable responsive services that can save businesses significant expenditure. After the official launch, appointments can be made through the Chamber’s receptionist to see a Trans4M professional who will be available for up to one hour for each appointment.

Members are also able to raise questions about routine HR concerns as well as obtain specialist information and advice on HR policy and practice. At no time will the Chamber be privy to your private HR concerns.

We know that even in the best of economic times small businesses need to keep a watchful eye on their bottom line. There are many personnel expenses to consider and health insurance is a primary concern for most. A committee, chaired by Treasurer Wayne Cowan, is reviewing various health insurance options. We will keep you updated on the progress.

On top of these programmes, the Chamber also offers a free online jobsite, free membership to our discount programme, free online business listing, discounted training courses and many other excellent opportunities to promote your small business.

We are particularly excited about a NEW Chamber offering, which is the Chamber App! This means that all Chamber events, news items and most importantly member listings can be accessed on your phone at anytime.