Eye-opener for SMEs

Beyond Talent managing director Saurara Cola at the launch of Fiji THRIVE, a co-designed business development program for locallyowned, including women-led, businesses in Fiji at the Holiday Inn yesterday. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

SAURARA Cola had seen people taking a chance and starting their own businesses and this is what inspired her to get out of her comfort zone and invest in her own business.

Ms Cola started her own business in February this year with major focus on home decorations. She is part of the first cohort of small business operators who went through a business development training funded by BSP Financial Group Ltd.

BSP in partnership with Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) yesterday launched Fiji THRIVE, a co-designed business development program for locally-owned, including women-led, businesses in Fiji. Ms Cola said she used to work in a coffee shop before she opened her own business.

“I always had this interest in home decorations and designs and after I received positive feedback from some people I decided it was time to get my products out in the market. “I saw a market for my products and I started working on my designs. I display my products at a friend’s shop at the Harvest Plaza in Kinoya but most of the time I work from home,” she said. Ms Cola is the director of Beyond Talent and her products include cushion covers, table runners, curtains, to name a few.

“I mainly focus on culturally inspired designs because I believe that every culture is significant and should be kept alive. “When I designs products for my home decoration clients I try to use designs and colours that bring families together.”

Being part of the business development training was an eye opener for Ms Cola and she said it taught her the importance of keeping proper books, knowing her products and her market, having a goal and working towards it and most importantly networking.

“For most of us small business owners we are not so particular about keeping our financial records and this training taught us that keeping proper records is very important.”

Ms Cola said she also learnt that it was better for small business owners to differentiate between their personal social media accounts and the accounts for their businesses. “We cannot use our personal facebook or Instagram accounts to market our products.

We need an official business account via which we can market our products and services to potential customers. Ms Cola has plans to grow her business and in the near future invest in her own shop. She is currently based at Level 1, Shop 7 at the Harvest Plaza in Kinoya, Nasinu.

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