Inspiration and Advice for Success in Paradise

January 11, 2015

Several years ago I was developing a government project on one of the most beautiful islands in the the Caribbean, part of which involved vetting a potential local business partner.  I was engaged in discussions with a senior gentleman that I had known for years.  He owned a business that had previously been a client of mine.  He had diverse businesses on island, was self-made, well respected, very hard working and financially successful.  He was thoughtful, measured, had a pleasant smile and in a good mood at every encounter I ever had with him.   

 

We planned a Saturday morning wrap-up before I left so I made my way to meet him a one of his hotels.  On the way there I drove past where construction was underway for his latest hotel and convention center venture and I glimpsed him operating a huge truck so went over to greet him.   Here is a man past the 65 year old mark with over 110 acres of prime Caribbean waterfront, two resorts, a convention center, the founder of a Bank, owner of the largest heavy-duty equipment and hardware supply company on the island, partner in a pan-Caribbean cement company and on a beautiful Saturday morning I find him at his construction site operating a 6 ton vibrating steam roller, grading a new parking lot.  I asked him what he was up to and he said his construction crew had the day off and hating being idle he “wanted something to do to be productive”.

 

I asked him how he managed to be so successful in so many ventures.  He replied that, "I only involve myself in undertakings that I enjoy and that I can personally add value to."  "If the only thing I can bring to the table is money, I won’t get involved".  "The businesses I started involved things that I needed, that did not exist.  I knew that if I needed these goods and services others did as well.  I simply filled that need.”

 

He recounted a story of wanting to buy a parcel of land but the only licensed surveyor was off working on another island and world not return for months.  He flew to England and became a licensed land surveyor then returned, surveyed and purchased the land.

That day overlooking the Caribbean Ocean I took a lot away from a conversation on a steam-roller with a self-made man who enjoyed his work.

 

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