It was among academics that the conversation started on the one topic that also was on the lips of many Cubans. The fact is that every day private businesses are blooming everywhere, like seeds in fertile soil.
Then a colleague was saying how she was paying taxes on the room she rented and she had not received a single customer yet. In such a way, she was full of expenses without receiving any income.
Among tips and possible solutions to the problem of her companion, Librada Taylor thought it would be interesting, and even necessary, to provide some kind of course to the self-employed sector, in order to offer basic tools for managing a business, however small.
Taylor has a Master degree on Accounting, Professor at the University of Havana and Deputy Director of Enterprise Knowledge Management and Technology (GECYT). Later, her idea has materialized, but differently.
Writing the book “Me? Self-employed!” took her about a year of research that led to a small volume of 72 pages, a valuable reference material for those who start a venture, often with no other guide than believing himself ” a business wise person.”
Why an academy specialist is interested in these issues which might be considered “minor”? “The National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba (ANEC) provides training for self-employed. I think economic issues are very important, but you also have to have an ABC for guidance on what to do, how to do market research, see if we picked the right place for the establishment … the self-employed often do not know what they want.
“You are walking through the city and there is a lot of business, but as time goes by you see them closing, they are gone after a while. That is because they don’t do feasibility studies, to know when to get the money and if the project is sustainable. These are core issues for the beginner in self-employment, and have to know how to do them; it is not just to go for it. ”
The book proposes strategies for planning, original ideas for possible projects, and basic rules and tips on how to treat consumers. Although direct recommendations as: “never argue with the customer”, or “people like to be treated politely” might seem obvious, they are pointing to a reality where what seems so elementary is not abundant.
The author says that this interest in customer service from her own experiences, from the services and the treatment she received in different places.
Insisting on personal hygiene of the vendors or compliance on schedules is to go over the same, especially for those who start working in this modality need all the know-how with open arms.
“Me? Self-employed!” was presented in the Cuba Pavilion during the last International Book Fair and was one of the best sold books in this venue. The data predicts that the 5000 copies published probably will not be enough.
As pointed out in the preface by Lázaro Ramos, business director of the Innomax Group, this confirms the importance of theoretical preparation currently taking for owners and employees, and also demonstrates a thirst for knowledge by the sector.
Without pretending to become a bestseller writer, Taylor did imagine that this book would have “punch”, which would cover a significant demand from the self-employed, though perhaps not aware of it. For this reason she tried to use a conversational and easy style, even funny, to allow her to reach across the wide interested audience, and be understood by people of diverse backgrounds and cultural level.
With a personal and affable tone, that could remind people of self-help manuals, (those that “teach” how to enjoy life and love yourself), this text addresses specific situations of daily life, with anecdotes, examples and practical suggestions applicable to multiple circumstances.
Given that this is a first approach to the topic, it is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather serve as a starting point. Meanwhile, GECYT has, of course, a number of books related to marketing, communications and business management systems in a more broadly and deeply sense.
Meanwhile, she continues to write about ideas and successful ways to do, also addressing the cooperative sector. For now, already interested people have come to her asking him to emphasize on tax and accounting issues.
To transcend mere intuition, the improvised and empirical belonging to any beginning, it would be ideal to have more books like this, which in turn could become other initiatives such as courses, workshops and future research, to “accompany” entrepreneurship in Cuba.
The process of development and complexity of self-employment will require approaches from different perspectives, for specific areas of production or services. A big step forward is already having combined marketing, finance and administration guide for new entrepreneurs.