Posted in Consulting

How you can start a business without quitting your day job


This is definitely a new area for me. When it comes to entrepreneurship, I have been using one consistent analogy for a very long time, ‘when you get on the high diving board of a swimming pool, there is only one option: Jumping in both feet. Lately, however, I’ve been asked by a number of readers of the CentEx Cargo Blog to write about ‘how to have a side hustle without quitting your day job.’ Apparently, there are a lot of people that are interested in starting a small busines capable of generating a new stream of revenue as supplemental income to their paychecks. I am a firm believer that as a part-time entrepreneur/full-time employee, you should stick to what you do best. Your job is your working capital for this new venture and pays the bills. Therefore, whatever you do, don’t bring the distractions of searching for a side hustle to your job. You should stay the course of giving 100% to the responsibilities and duties of your job description and to being productive.

How do you find the business that is right for you? First, you need to pick a day of the week when you are not overconsumed by the responsibilities of your full time job and family obligations. The core activities of that day should be about creating boundaries and the testing of ideas for your side hustle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most part-time entrepreneurs choose an industry that’s close to their employment experience and expertise. I also recommend choosing a field that you are passionate about. Another deciding factor can be finding an industry that aligns with your values and skill set. Some of you may have several good ideas for a side business. You can narrow down those choices by moving to the next phase of the decision process. That phase consists of finding ‘beta testers’ from your network, assuming it is large enough. Whatever you, don’t badger your close friends about buying some of your products and/or services. The purpose of finding ‘beta testers’ is to quickly assess if there is a demand for the products you want to sell or the services you plan to offer. Your network may not offer an accurate cross-section of the market for your goods and services. Your next option is to devote enough time to tap into the free resources that can help you get started. For example, SCORE, the Special Corps of Retired Executives, with the following web address, can assist you with finding ‘beta testers’ in the larger community. Morever, you can get a mentor from this non-profit organization. He/she has extensive experience in assisting people like you start a small business on their own. Some of the free business mentoring services from SCORE would include showing you how to find potential customers and identify your target market(s).

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also a great place to get started. During your ‘set-aside day with boundaries,’ I recommend you spend a few hours browsing the SBA’s website at You will find information about building content for your small business and how to come up with the right structure. You are now in the critical phase – i.e., the one in which you make a decision and pick the field. You don’t need a ‘business plan’ and a fancy website right off the bat for your side hustle. But having the right structure from the onset will determine whether you stay in business and make extra money. The right structure for your side hustle also implies keeping everything legal. As a consultant, I make it a point to warn any full-time employees about the pitfalls of choosing any labor intensive fields or a service business. The business world is competitive enough; just imagine how well your business would do, if you were to wait until you get off work before you could start returning the phone calls of prospects and potential customers. That approach would not work in your favor even with an Automated Voicemail System. Because ‘the average caller to any service business, expects a call back in half hour.’ If that average prospect doesn’t get the information he/she is looking for, within the hour, the name of your business is immediatly crossed out from his list of possible business providers. Your skill set and passion may compel you to go into ‘labor extensive technology’ or a service business in spite of my caveat. No worries, I have some well tested suggestions that can surely help you with implementing the right structure from home. Visit my Facebook business page at and inbox me some of your structural concerns and the specific industry you are passionate about.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that there were 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S. And 20 percent of those home-based businesses make $100K – $500K per year. You can sell goods online with Shopify, eBay, Amazon, and even CentExOnlineStore. This is something you can do after ‘working hours,’ in your free time as long as you give your paying customers realistic ETA’s – i.e., Estimated Time of Arrival and/or delivery date of a product ordered by a customer. Perhaps, ‘Direct Selling’ or network marketing is your niche. You may be familiar with it from the likes of the local Avon Lady or Mary Kay Specialist who rung your doorbell one weekend or from the neighborhood Tupperware party. And lastly, from your BFF’s fashion show you attended last year. In case you didn’t know, that fashion show was an opportunity for your girlfriend to showcase her new line of clothing (or clothes received on consignment) to a handful of potential buyers. I would not be surprised if a couple of Clothing Retail Store Managers were in attendance.

Unfortunately, I am restricted by the limitations of a blogger. So, thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Feel free to post a comment in the appropriate section. I look forward to receiving your feedback about ideas, specifics, and the types of business you would choose as a side hustle.

Posted in Consulting

3 fundamental techniques to winning people over 

Nobody wants to be around a chronic complainer or a negative person. ‘Don’t complain because nobody is listening.’ If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. If you don’t like the way you’re being treated, by all means, demand to be treated differently. If that approach doesn’t yield the desired outcome, then it’s time to cut your losses and move on.

Common sense tells us that destructive criticism has never helped anyone. First and foremeost, what kind of criticism is considered ‘destructive,’ and why do so many people use it? Destructive criticism is the type of criticism that points out faults in others or directly attacks the other person in a conversation, verbal exchange, with no consideration for his/her feelings. It aims to show that the other person has no worth at that particular time and their position on a given issue has no validity. To make matters worse, the perpetrator offers no plausible solutions to remedy the situation and no practical advice. Most people who dispense their opinions even when not asked in the form of destructive criticism are simply inconsiderate to those they condemn, insecure about their own thing – i.e., skeleton in the closet – desperately trying to boost their own egos. Therefore, don’t follow this reckless path, instead take heed of the following three (3) instructions and follow them religiously if you really want to win people over:

1st) Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

2nd) Give honest and sincere appreciation.

3rd) Arouse in the other person, according to re

nowned author Dale Carnegie, ‘an eager want.’

Dale Carnegie understood as far back as in the 1930’s: it’s usually fun and enjoyable for people to do things when they want to do them. And, for the most part, people don’t really want to do what is asked of them. For the purpose of this exercise and blog post, why not start with a thorough understanding of the other person’s hope, desire, and wht motivates him or her. Acquiring that critical piece of information about another human being is paramount to influencing that person. And lastly, it has been proven, the only way to win over your employees, customers, and a peer is to talk about what they really want and show them how to get and satisfy that ‘eager want.’

Posted in Consulting

Do you want to make the right decision every time? First, you need to have a good understanding of the psychology of ‘decison making’

Like anything else in life, the decision making process can be straightforward and simple or it can involve lots of factors to the point of being complicated and eventually stressing you out. Whenever, you make a big decision, especially one that involves a large investment of resources and effort, you want to feel like you’ve made the right decision. To ward off regret or avoid acknowledging that you may have made the wrong decision, you may begin to idealize the option you chose and devalue the one you rejected. This case scenario can be seen in people who express wanting change or reform for example but when all they do is ‘pay lip service’ to the subject matter. One place where this tendency can go awry is within our current political landscape. It creates rifts between people that are in the trenches ‘day in and day out,’ making a difference and those that just sit around and talk about it but take no action. Well, cognitive dissonance provides one possible explanation. In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the psychological stress or mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. Even if you don’t share this belief or openly express these thoughts as I just described, but the fact that you devalue a given decision or entirely reject it, will impact your feelings toward others. With some degree of certainty, it will control how you react to somebody else’s decision that differs from yours. Subsequently, you will express those sentiments in subtle ways. This wedge between people as a result of different choices can also be compounded by ignorance and inertia. One way or the other, as key players in this journey, we have to take a stance and decide in order to safeguard our views and protect our interests. Which can also lead to a thorough understanding of the decision making process. How else would we identify the bottlenecks in this process? A handful of people take great pride in being neutral. Are they really neutral or just indecisive? How would you explain the many kinks in the line of communication? And way too often, there is no room for a win-win compromise.

On the one hand, it’s useful to remember that most decisions have pros and cons, just because a choice has some downsides doesn’t mean it was wrong or it needs to be justified against other alternatives. Ignorance and inertia, on the other hand, are dangerous. Far too many people will go along with a wrong decision because they idealize the option chosen for them. Besides, it is very mentally stressful, draining, and it takes way too much work for some people to process new information and keep looking at new data.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I look forward to receiving and reading y.our input.

Posted in Consulting

‘Why are there so many Black folks unable to pull their resources together?’


Why are there so many Black folks unable to pull their resources together? This is a timeless question, a lot of pleople from all walks of life have been asking themselves, both openly and behind closed doors. I don’t think anyone can offer a definitive answer to that complex question. However, anyone with an analytical mind should understand that a number of oversimplistic answers based on gut feelings alone are potentially upsetting to many, and that the real answers lie in research and scientific studies. Those studies and research should take into account all the necessary variables. However, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, it’s best to start with the ‘person in the mirror’ and then, move on to your upbringing as you take a closer look at your extended family to make the determination whether there was ever a history of pulling resources together and a commitment to always do what’s in every member’s best interest. Entrepreneurship, most of the time, starts with a family structure that’s conducive to continually exploring new opportunities. This is often encouraged by the leadership, head of household or both parents that are the embodiment of fairness and team work. ‘Life is not fair’ is a constant, and equity within a functional family structure can vary but is paramount to its young members learning and developing the core traits of a good entrepreneur. A good entrepreneur makes it a top priority to protect the interests of everyone involved. He/she understands that family comes first. Moreover, he/she grasps the concept that the needs of the many supersede the needs of the few.

My formative years as an entrepreneur took me back when my entire family, with the exception of Judith who was forced to stay in Canada, got to live under the same roof for the first time ever. The year was 1978, and I still remember how excited we all were when we first moved to a five-bedroom house in the surburbs of New York City as one big happy family – i.e., mom, dad, and five siblings. Mom reminded us, teenagers, at every turn, she initiated the idea of buying a house and that she also came up with the down payment. Dad, on the other hand, almost in a whisper, told me on several occasions that his steady employment got us qualified for the mortgage. You see, he has been working at COSTCO Distribution for more than 10 years.
The honeymoon didn’t last long. You had 3 teenage boys and a young adult arguing over almost everything: The TV, what type of music to listen to, and what mom ought to cook for dinner. Mom and “Coye” as we all referred to dad, didn’t take long either to start arguing over the very same things that got them separated in the first place and kept them apart for 10 long years. Their arguments were intense. It seemed more than unresolved issues between husband and wife. The level of animosity between them got so high, it began to affect all of us. It became obvious that mom was settling a score, and they both were fighting over the control of our family. Coye wanted to hold on to traditional family values. But no avail.
In retrospect, spending my formative years in a large family led me to think about ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.’ Specifically, our first needs as human beings are physiological, basic and primal. Mom and the oldest brother, Gardy already in his 20’s, incrementally set the tone in our family based on a ‘modus operandi’ we all find abhorrent when seen in other Blacks but often fail to see in ourselves. It’s never easy to see the plank in our own eye.’ We will give you food, clothing, and shelter and even go the extra mile to help you as long as you take our side of the issue in every argument and accept that we are holding all the cards.’ Mom with the help of Gardy, on a Basketball scholarship at CW Post/Long Island University, relentlessly stayed the course of laying down the law. Consequently, the fights intensified between Mom and Coye and Gardy vs. Gerald-Herby. Looking back, Gardy with nothing but self-centered wants and expectations, tried on too many occasions to apply the power of persuasion to get the second oldest, Gerald-Herby to go along with the program. As a third child, I’d love to think that I became at that time the “voice of reason” between the various factions. I had two younger siblings to worry about. Being protective of my younger brother Nick growing up, is still a source of pride after all these years. Myriam, on the other hand, one of two sisters, and the only one living with us, had four brothers looking after her. It became common knowledge for us whose side to take in an argument. The fights got uglier and messier. Coye quickly realized that he was outnumbered and as a result, became detached and aloof. It appeared that mom was always angry with someone or something, and Gardy, her enabler, kept rationalizing everything by just saying, ‘Coye left me at 11 years old, man!, So I grew up without a father.’ ‘Just remember, who’s providing for you, bruh.’
Gerald-Herby, the second oldest, was considered belligerent for making countless attempts to have some of those family disagreements appraised on merit alone. As in many different cases, when emotions run high, most people are only interested in enlisting others to take their side of the issue whether they’re right or wrong. Far too many people in similar situations are not interested in a third and objective side of any argument for that same reason. Emotional people incessantly make decisions in a vacuum thinking their positions are justifiable because of past wrongs, knowing darn well, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.’ You see, that was the norm in our household during those formative years.

By sharing some intimate details about my formative years, I can only hope that readers of this blog post begin to establish the right kind of correlation between a dysfunctional upbringing in some families and its members’ collective inability to pull resources together and having no sense of ‘common good.’ If you don’t learn fairness and equity in your own home growing up where exactly are you supposed to learn this key principle? Additionally, when there is ‘lack of leadership’ or ‘bad leadership,’ players become preoccupied only with their own interests and security. This is what a leadership vacuum looks like. It’s similar to what happens sometimes in American politics. For example, dog whistling and shamelessly blaming a segment of the population that doesn’t have a voice. This why so many families and businesses are hurting. Using a strategy that may get you votes but doesn’t bring about real solutions. It was as equally damaging when the oldest sibling continually appealled to the negative and arbitrary leader, a benevolent manipulator, only to package his self-interests as advice to ‘mama’ disguised as `it’s all for the betterment of the entire family.’ Don’t get it twisted! You can be a knucklehead, a total jerk, and a ‘dipshit’ to your blood brothers, denying them of their God-given rights and interests, and still be viewed by some as a nice guy. Or be a vicious coward toward Blacks, and still keep your Corporate job. But it sure doesn’t fly in the sphere of entrepreneurship, especially when selling goods and services to Black customers. For, a majority of the people that matter will know, ‘you don’t cut the mustard.’ And ‘you really didn’t make the cut.’

During my undegraduate studies, I had the privilege and rare opportunity to look at studies and research about American children of immigrant parents and African-American children from humble beginnings who went on all the way to reaching their American dream as entrepreneurs. When looking at those case studies, two things stuck to mind: 1st) a strong belief in the ideal that when you work hard and play by the rules, the sky is the limit, and 2nd) mutual respect was always prevalent when they were growing up. That type of respect with its share of disagreement, subsequently translated into always protecting everybody’s interest, respecting boundaries, and an unwavering loyalty to a working model or prototype.

As a third child growing up in a dysfunctional family, it was prudent to embrace neutrality. That position certainly didn’t help me with taking calculated risks. ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’ Therefore, how did I evaluate those messy arguments mentioned earlier with my young analytical mind? I had to be neutral. If not, I was either ‘adding insult to injury’ or ‘adding fuel to the fire.’ This cowardly position may have sharpened my survival skills but didn’t do much for my honesty and sense of right and wrong. I am sure that I wasn’t the only one in that difficult predicament during my formative years. In fact, too many Black folks grew up in a negative environment trying to survive. We are on ‘survival mode,’ which impedes one’s ability to devote time, energy, money, and collective expertise to creating a separate entity, a special interest group, an enterprise with synergy that would meet the needs of the community, lobby state legislators, or supply the demands of many potential customers, to only cite a few examples.

A good understanding of money management is also key to pulling resources together. I was disappointed but not surprised, when my parents finally decided to sell the house they bought together in 1978, Mom insisted on getting $50,000.00 more than Coye. I was disappointed but not surprised when Gardy’s first marriage failed due to irreconcilable differences. According to his ex-wife Sheryl who later on became a friend, Gardy was too afraid of financial responsibility and too terrified to cut off the umbilical cord and venture on his own. Moreover, he never grasped the importance of declaring his financial independence from mama, provide for his immediate family, and indirectly create opportunities for the other siblings. I was disappointed but not surprised when Coye died in 2001, Nick sold his property and pocketed the money. According to one of my lawyers, he made $60,000.00 + from that transaction. Where is the financial intelligence and astute understanding of money management needed to pulling resources together? Where was the ‘fidelity to the working model’ that has brought prosperity to so many Americans for more than 200 years? So, if you grew up in an atmosphere where you contantly had to walk on egg shells, you may have a hard time accepging the best way to surmount any obstacles is by pulling resources together. Brainstorming and working together should always be about the betterment of the entire group or family. According to a study conducted by the Pew Reseach Center, most Americans think Blacks can’t get ahead because of their own failures. Therefore, it is safe to say, there is no real commitment and urgency in these United States to address discrimination on the job, discrimination in getting a business loan, to have criminal justice reform, curb the senseless violence in urban America, and stop the mass incarceration of Black men. Blacks who grew up in a functional and nurturing family structure understand and accept failures as part of the game. They will persevere, learn from past mistakes and failure, and stay the course of working with kindred spirits until they are back on the path to being successful. Whereas, Blacks who were exposed to only a selfish mindset, poverty, and a negative environment growing up, think racism is the only thing holding them back, and they, alone and by themselves, will find a way to get over the hump. ‘Pulling resources together’ is viewed as an abstract concept utilized by people of other races. This attitude will persist even when the data clearly indicates, the typical player and bad actor will more than likely fall flat on his face working alone. Once again, I was disappointed but not surprised, when Mom passed away in 2012, and found out beforehand, Gardy talked her into NOT writing a ‘will.’ What would he tell her to do the right thing? For, she agreed years ago to put his name on the deed of her house with right of survivorship. Lastly, was that an acceptable course of action for a mother of six? As I brought up several times in therapy, their relationship appeared symbiotic on the surface, but was really parasitic in nature.

Entrepreneurship accompanied with a renewed struggle for our economic rights should be our last frontier as a people. We should also keep in mind that it all starts with the family structure known as the building block of society. A functional Black family is a microcosm of what works in America. The American experiment, what has worked in the past, and American ingenuity revolve around good leadership. The type of leadership that demands every member face the brutal facts of his/her reality. Do we still have faith in the big plan that together we can and will solve any problems; a culture of selflessness where politics and ego take a back seat to what’s best for all members of the American family?

Posted in Consulting

Does anyone have a good idea, a concept for a Caribbean franchise?

Business owners and entrepreneurs alike are always eager to talk about their journey to the top, their areas of expertise, and even show a willingness to share their experiences and the working model that has been proven successful to them and countless others in their network. Whether it’s Ray Kroc who joined McDonald in 1955 as a franchise agent, and eventually bought the fast food chain from the McDonald brothers. Or Fred Deluca, co-founder and president of Subway and William Rosenberg who created Dunkin’ Donuts, their stories are almost identical. The desire to describe to “want-to-be” franchisors how they conceptualize the idea for a franchise is always present. They incessantly provide detailed account of the step by step process of the planning stage, and finally how they got to the implementation phase of their franchise. This blog post, however, is different and unique. I am taking the initiative to explore and discuss a concept for a franchise that has been discussed by many but has yet to come to fruition. Therefore, my question to readers is as follows: can a good entrepreneur find an excellent concept for the next Caribbean franchise?

First and foremost, before starting any business venture, an entrepreneur has to get all his/her ducks in a row. In this instance, it means having the right expertise, enough capital, and family support before hitting the ground running. Subsequently, you need to create a protype for your business concept? For answers to this question, send me a DM on Twitter

Better yet, join this conversation by leaving a comment directly at the bottom of this post.

Posted in Consulting

Classical conditioning as a teaching tool to help entry-level employees provide good customer service


For every action there is a reaction. A mature man or woman often referred to as a sage cannot control the actions of others but has the capability to exercise a great deal of control over his/her reactions. When encountering an unfamiliar situation that I call “phenomenon” consisting of new stimuli, your capability to exercise the aforementioned great deal of control over your reactions should come into play. Calculated and appropriate responses to new stimuli of any “phenomenon” require insights and concise conditioning. That type of precision although alters the physiology of your response by a very small margin but potentially makes a huge difference in your overall behavior by swaying your response in a positive direction regardless of the nature of a stimulus. Which allows you, the team player, to mitigate the unconditioned response associated with a certain type of stimulus but instead stick to the script, stay on point, and due to emotional intelligence, remain cognizant of your interactions with others. One of the many benefits of that capability is the fact that you are NOT or in many cases, no longer within the sphere of influence of opinionated, manipulative, angry, pessimistic, and morose individuals.

Posted in Consulting

How to make your corner store thrive. Migrating birds fly in V-formation, why don’t you?

It is appropriate for me to start this post by stating, the successful one-person-business is nothing more than a myth. So, if you are spending 8 to 10 hours by yourself at your corner store, you and your business are barely surviving. The key to having a successful corner store is making a profit after you pay for your overhead. You should also offer convenience and give your customers a sense of familiarity with your products because of your thorough knowledge of their subculture and the local culture. Lastly, your repeat customers should eventually develop a sense of ownership – e.g., one customer will say, this one is ours, our own Caribbean store; another customer will say, this is our neighborhood store, and the owner is one of us. The sheer size and location of your business can bring that “feel” to a corner store though you may be part of a much larger business system. One of the many reasons you opened your small business was probably to be your own boss, and now, as a Management Analyst, I am emphasizing to you the importance of networking with other store owners and running your business within the frameworks of a much larger business system. There are so many benefits to working together. Store owners that share information, continually help one another buy the right products. Moreover, knowing which “perishable items sell quickly” can save you time and money and is therefore a good piece of information to have when running a corner store. It is also crucial to know that all products displayed in any store should be thought of as having a “shelf life.” So, how long are you going to keep some of those products on the shelves, before having a SALE of some kind. I am sure that you can figure that out on your own but the sharing of information through a business system make that process much quicker and take most of the guess work out of it. Many corner store owners take pride in sharing with me that they have greater buying power when they pull their resources together to buy familiar products or items customers want from a main supplier. Migratory birds fly in V-formation for some of the same reasons just mentioned in this post but yet, a number of store owners are still convinced the only way to run their shop is to “fly solo.” Birds fly south in some types of formation to conserve energy, facilitate orientation and communication among themselves, steer clear of dangerous pitfalls, and hence determine a clear sense of direction. So, my questions to you are as follows: Are you in this for the long haul? Are you in business just to survive? Or, do you want your shop to thrive?

A corner store with the right visibility and enough foot traffic can benefit from at least three (3) business systems that comprise my area of expertise. First, becoming an Authorized Ship Center for CentEx Cargo would definitely make your business thrive in any geographic area where our group has a substantial logistics presence. However, CentEx Cargo has the stellar reputation of working together only with high performing stores – i.e., stores that sell moving supplies and generate lots of shipping business. How much success do you really want? A CentEx Cargo Agent could brainstorm with you on how to advertise individually and together with our group. We have had instances where we were more than willing to provide temporary staffing or a part-time Shipping Clerk to a CentEx Cargo Authorized Ship Center that was generating such a large volume of international shipping business. Second, becoming a U-HAUL truck rental center would complement your business and get you over the hump to becoming a one-stop shop. Third, UPS finds corner stores that sell lots of moving supplies and have the right logistics support and customer base very attractive. Becoming an Authorized Shipping Outlet for UPS would make your one-stop shop complete. UPS would help your business send packages throughout the United States while CentEx Cargo would be responsible for the international shipping service aspect of your one-stop shop. And this is one of the many ways of turning a one-person business into a successful venture.

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