Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on May 29, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

Imagine you could start any business in the world. What would it be?  

A Margaritaville-inspired beachfront restaurant for the newly retired?

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…A juice bar to serve the growing number of vegetarians and vegans?  

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…An automobile repair shop specializing in electric cars?

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…

Tesla, among the many new electric models on the road today.

The world is your oyster… but that depends on how you view it.

When you spend more time in a place that is foreign to what you are used to, you become more hyper-aware of what qualifies as a “familiar feeling” and what feels so completely different. Some take advantage of the opportunity and run with it, while others run away.  

But if you are an entrepreneur, READ ON.

If you are an entrepreneur, you are willing to try something new. Whether it’s something that has never even been tried before, or perhaps a reinvention in a new area or demographic, you are taking a calculated risk that {insert your idea here} will be well-received. Often times, you spend endless hours, days, and even years beta-testing your idea/product before a full launch.

What if I told you that you could go back in time 10 years? Would you come back richer than you are today? Most of us would because we learn from our mistakes and take the time to understand the successful trends. Taking what we know now, we would apply the useful foresight to start a successful empire today.

Now imagine you can go back 10 years without having to actually travel back in time. Would you take advantage of the opportunity? Many already are…and they are coming to Ambergris Caye.

Ambergris Caye, Belize, is a haven for expat entrepreneurs. It’s a place where people with big aspirations and desires are living out their dream lives today.

Their desire to come to this Caribbean island is based on two primary reasons:

  1. Belize is very welcoming to foreign investors. If you have an idea and want to bring it to life, registering your business with the local authorities is pretty straightforward. Although it may take longer than anticipated (remember, you are in Belize!), you and the locals have the same rights.
  2. Belize is just starting to make big headlines in tourism. It is a small Caribbean country well-known for its diving, fishing, snorkeling, and incredible Mayan Ruins. There are no chain restaurants or mega-shopping centers, meaning that most places are mom-and-pop operations. What do increased tourism and no monopoly chain corporations mean? For those who are entrepreneurs, HUGE POTENTIAL.

Get this. When did juice bars and smoothie stalls become popular in the States? 10 years ago? That sounds about right. The first juice bar and vegan restaurant just opened on the island this past December, and they are knocking it out of the park. When conversing with one of the business owners, he mentioned they may shortly be opening a store in Belize City. “Belize City?” I asked quizzically. “Isn’t most of your business from tourists who want to eat healthy while on vacation?” I asked him. Low and behold, he informed me that a good chunk of his business is coming from locals in Belize City who are doing cleanses and need their freshly prepared juices.

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…Freshly squeezed juices at the Juice Dive.

How else can we tell that entrepreneurs have discovered Ambergris Caye? New competition is coming. On an island that was primarily dominated by a few friendly businesses in the same sector, over the past 6 months there has been an increase in competition.

Today, two fruit stands by my office are located directly across the street from each other. They were not always located in this position, but with the changing circumstances in business development, this is where they ended up. This is common in the States (think Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC each at one corner of a 4-way intersection).

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…Hello fast food!

In Belize, because we don’t have the chains, instead it is one fruit stand against another. What this means for the consumers is that they are offering even more value in order to bring in business.

As a consumer, I love it.

As a North American who is used to variety, I love it.

What I am seeing is that:

  1. There is 1 tennis court in San Pedro Town, conveniently located in my complex at Grand Baymen.
  2. There is 1 makeup store.
  3. There is 1 pet store.
  4. There is 1 veterinarian.
  5. There is 1 Lebanese restaurant.Consumer Resource Guide

There is 1 branded hotel that is currently open – although more branded hotels have realized the potential, like the Belize Marriott Residences.

A lot of 1s, yet the demand is off the charts.  

So, why aren’t more people taking the opportunity? Well, of course, with any new business there is risk. There is market analysis and demand analysis. There is also simply awareness. If people don’t know that Ambergris exists, why would they look here?  

Consider this article your invitation to explore the land of opportunity.

It’s funny. The other day I was at the office with a colleague from Pennsylvania who was on Ambergris Caye for the first time. He just had his first experience at the island grocery store, and in all seriousness, he asked me, “If you could open any grocery store on this island, what would it be?” I immediately said Wegmans because of the great hot meal and organic produce selection.

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…

Wegmans has a great produce and hot food selection!

He challenged me to think more locally, closer to where I grew up. “Stew Leonard’s” he finally mentioned, “now that would be awesome!” We laughed about it as we came back to reality about what the grocery stores actually are here. Instead of dancing milk cartons and free-samples galore (because yes, that is the Stewie’s experience), we were walking in the “produce” section hoping they had fresh apples in that day.

Are You an Entrepreneur? Read This…Stew Leonard’s in Danbury, Connecticut.

It’s a unique experience, and it is one that is calling entrepreneurs. If you have a forward-thinking mindset, I challenge you to think outside of the box and visit Ambergris Caye. You’ll be wildly impressed – not necessarily with the current infrastructure, but rather with the opportunity you have to start your own successful business.

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on May 29, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.