Business in Jamaica – ASSUME NOTHING!!!!! This is not business as usual…

Do/create the opposite of the below mentioned and you’ll be a business success phenomenon in Jamaica:-  (Will keep updating this…)

1) Receipts are not automatic…ASK FOR & IF NECESSARY CONNIVE FOR THEM…ie at a gas station the attendant can’t bother go and get the receipt book…tell her the boss will cut off your allowance if you don’t give him the receipt…these people respond to and empathise with being marshalled by a boss

2) You will find fewer attendants at the counter at lunch hour rather than the more needed to accommodate the vast public also doing their business in their lunch break

3) Your employees will steal … especially your professional fees, household and food items, phone calls & cell phones

4) You are unlikely to be able to buy, find or count on what is advertised.

5) The customer is NOT always right…you are likely being ‘done a favour’ by your provider

6) Meetings never start on time

7) Jamaicans do not make short speeches, even when asked…they respond fairly well to bells at conferences though.

8) Most of middle management is female

9) If you find it once, don’t expect to find it again or have it re-ordered (except at Stewart’s Auto), supply and demand is not a big concept here. Eg all canteens will be out of perishables by 2, even if it the main sale item and the place is open til 5.

10) Professional standards are not a big deal here ….sometimes not even a deal…as talented cobblers and downright charlatans work happily alongside licensed professionals often with impunity in the tradesman fraternity.

11) If you have a query or are looking for something always ask 3 people in the same company and rely on 3 different answers…then decide the answer for yourself…commercial banks especially!!!

12) Dormant and unclaimed money is not facilitated back to rightful claimants, you must ‘make a federal case’ to get it.

13) The Jamaican Govt. is the greatest waster of resources on earth…monitor any assistance you give it tightly

14) Jamaican small business is genius at recycling…so good it steals to recycle.  Honest recycling is a gaping niche and potential gold mine in Jamaica.

15) Returning a sold item in Jamaica is not a concept …you will be lucky to get an exchange..expect this in more upscale shops but not necessarily

16) In a Jamaican office you should be able to get service or the phone answered between 10 and 3, before or after that is pushing it. Don’t ever rely on posted work/opening hours.

17) Ensure electrical and computer back up and surge protection or you will lose your business

18) Small businesses often do not have electrical or water backup…your business with them may be affected…bank on a hurricane season and concomitant disruptions

19) Car values only appreciate in Jamaica unlike the rest of the known world

20) Women run the entire show but the men are invariably deferred to.

21) Jamaicans don’t read, but are very visually oriented

22) More than most populations, Jamaicans need to be stars, they are not natural team animals…pack yes, team no.

23) The difference between SERVICE & SERVITUDE is not well understood by Jamaicans in Jamaica, they learn it when they go abroad.

24) Freeness and food are massive motivators of Jamaicans

25) At a business interview expect to be asked who your father is..

26) Consumer recourse is a difficult concept in Jamaica, but there exist several fair trade policing entities, one of the oldest the Consumers’ League was very helpful to me…you must ‘keep at it’ & stand your ground.

27) Jamaica is just realising the untapped value of its global diaspora – equal to the internal population or larger – (click the blue link below photo)

the Jamaica Diaspora Conference 2013

The Jamaica Diaspora Conference 2013.

28) The English language is no longer easily used in the Jamaican office setting as our education system has fallen into disrepair…

“Miss, where shall I go?”

“In de Hyti Room”

“Where is that Miss?”

“Me seh de Hyti Room!”

“Miss, I don’t understand.”


28)  When disagreeing with or reprimanding the Jamaican man-in-the -street, stand your ground, look him in the eye, don’t raise or voice, use no bad words, speak good English if you can and start your sentence with “With all due respect…”   Magic…like finding the Holy Grail…  Jamaicans have an underlying fear and horror of being disrespected…

29)  LIME Telephone service directory assistance is not integrated….they told you they don’t have a listing?  Well, phone back …the next operator often taps a separate system and voila…listing appears… you’ll never know till you try…they sure don’t tell you

30)  You have works listed with the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency JAMCOPY?  Hm, watch what your royalties are at year end…they sometime just omit to credit you for one genre of writing or another…..MAKE THEM CHECK AND TELL YOU WHAT THEY’VE GOT LISTED FOR YOU….!!!!