Written by Jamuna Burry
Monday, 06 August 2012 16:23
Business at the beach is the sought after dream of many northern hemisphere entrepreneurs and professionals, specially during the months of scraping ice off frozen windshields. For those of us, living the dream of working at the beach, business life is not always as idillic as the poster.
Businesses at Panama beaches face seasonal traffic and consumers on limited income among other challenges. While Panama's beaches holds high future potential, todays businesses often have to hold their ground to weather the low season. Expatriate business have the additional challenge of foreign regulations, employee culture and a new language.
The Playa Business Club, formed by Karyn Saunders aims to bring businesses together for the purpose of sharing information and networking. Karyn, an entrepreneur with many talents has leant a hand to a number of businesses in Canada, her home country and in Panama. "The aim of the club is to bring a community of businesses together to share ideas, be a part of improvement initiatives and to help each other in better business practices". In the 4 years that Karyn has lived in Panama, she has made friends and initiated projects with local businesses along Panama's Pacific coast.
In the beach areas, a small consumer market creates a competitive attitude amount businesses doing the same thing, such as restaurants and real estate agencies. Karyn believes there is common ground where even competing businesses can meet and share ideas. Drawing on experiences from business clubs in Toronto, experience in human resources and the help of Playacommunity.Com, an English community web portal covering news and information along Panama's Pacific coast, Karyn launched the Playa Business Club.
The 'club' is an open to all breakfast meeting, themed around a speaker who brings a topic with business related useful information. The two hour event, will start at 8am and intends to be held on the first friday of each month, at different venues across the beaches.
This month's event, was held at Paraiso Bar and Restaurant in Las Uvas. It was attended by business people with varying experience from different sectors. There were business owners like Dennis from XS Burgers, who has run his business 16 years, and has created win-win scenarios with other business and the local community around him; and Sergio from Optima Business Centers with a new location at Coronado Mall. There were people investigating new businesses and even some looking to support others.
The topic of 'How to motivate employees' led the way to solid advice from business owners with experience in Panama. The following is a compilation of points that attendees came away with:
- Remember that you are the guest in this country and your employee is the host.
- Don't just learn the language, learn the culture.
- Teach people how to fish, don't throw money at something you think is a problem.
- Be clear with your instruction.
- Be honest with your intentions.
- Enable your employees, don't manipulate them.
- Get involved in your employee's lives, but don't become a part of it.
- Lead by example.
- Provide values.
- Help your employees to think independently.
- Trust them with responsibility.
Next month's Playa Business Breakfast Club will be held on Friday September 7. Details will be posted on the calendar at playacommunity.com as they are firmed up.
Last Updated on Saturday, 01 September 2012 17:06