You Should Understand These 6 Types of Risk Before You Invest

Saving money can be extremely difficult. For that reason, you need to be mindful about what you do with the money you’ve saved. Investing your savings can allow it to grow over time.

However, it is important to consider risk when you start to invest. All investments come with risk, but these change according to the type of asset and the organization issuing it. Managing risk can help protect the money you’ve worked so hard to save.

The first step in managing risk is understanding it. Some of the most significant types of investment risks include:

1. Market risk

When you think of the risks involved in investing, you probably think first of market risk. This is the risk that economic developments or other significant events will affect the entire market. Market risk actually involves several different types of more specific issues, however. For example, equity risk is associated with any asset sold in shares. The market price of a share can vary depending on several external factors, as well as supply and demand. If the price drops and you lose money, that is equity risk.

Debt investments like bonds have interest rate risk. You may lose money if the interest rate changes. If the market interest rate increases above what is locked in for the bond, the value of that asset decreases. Finally, market risk also includes currency risk when you invest in foreign assets. As the exchange rate changes, the value of these foreign assets also shifts.

2. Credit risk

Many people think that bonds are low risk. While this is partially true, they do have credit risk. This means that the company or government body issuing the bond can run into financial difficulties and fail to pay interest or repay the principal. Bonds have credit ratings that can help you determine credit risk. Often, government bonds have the lowest credit risk and thus the highest ratings. As a result, government bonds also tend to pay lower interest rates than those from organizations exposed to higher risk. Always look at the credit ratings of organizations issuing bonds to understand the relative risk involved.

3. Concentration risk

Concentration risk occurs when you only invest in one type of asset or specific industry. By concentrating on only one thing, you will be significantly affected if something happens within that industry or asset class. Diversification—spreading your investments across different asset types and industries—can help mitigate concentration risk.

With proper diversification, you can create a portfolio in which some investments are likely to increase in value if others in the portfolio decrease. This balance can help protect your portfolio from big market fluctuations. You may need to work with an experienced financial professional to develop a portfolio that has adequate diversification, or you can invest in assets with built-in diversification, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

4. Inflation risk

Investors also need to consider how inflation cuts into their returns. Investing money is a great way to hedge against inflation, but there is always the risk that your returns will not keep up with inflation, which means you are essentially losing money. Inflation risk is especially relevant for debt investments like bonds, as well as any cash investments. Equities offer some protection against inflation because companies can increase the amount they charge their customers and thus increase their profits. Thus, share prices tend to increase in line with inflation. Likewise, real estate has some protection against inflation because landlords are able to increase rents over time and thus boost returns.

5. Horizon risk

People generally invest with a specific timeline in mind, which dictates the amount of risk they are willing to accept. If you intend to invest your money over several decades, you can take greater risks, since your portfolio will have more time to recover from losses. However, your investment horizon may be suddenly shortened. For example, you could lose your job and be forced to sell investments before you intended. If the value of the investments is down, you lock into those losses by selling them. Horizon risk is closely related to liquidity risk. Investments are not always liquid as you may need to sell, even at a loss. In some cases, you may not be able to sell at all.

6. Foreign investment risk

One risk of investing in foreign assets has already been discussed. Beyond the risk related to currency exchange, investing in foreign countries comes with other risks, especially emerging markets. Events in these markets can radically affect your investments and perhaps even cause them to lose all value. Before investing in foreign assets, think about the stability of that country and the potential influences on the market. Investing in foreign markets can generate a lot of income, but this is because there are so many different risks at play when you enter them.

4 Market Analysis Steps to Complete before Launching a Small Business

Several factors should be considered before launching a small business, and most if not all exercises of due diligence should encompass a market analysis. Ideally, such an analysis will include both quantitative and qualitative assessments to help you identify and understand your niche and the potential customers that will contribute to your company’s success. While executing such a project may sound overwhelming, it is much less intimidating if you break it down into steps, which include the following:

1. Get an overview of the industry. Before starting a company, it is important that you have a thorough understanding of the relevant industry. Determine its size, growth trajectory, and overall trends in your location. Importantly, industry research is not the same as market research. With industry research, you are looking at companies that provide a product or service similar to the one(s) you aspire to provide. This information will help you not only understand the landscape that you are entering and the competition that you will face, but also determine whether there will be continued demand for what you plan to offer.

Typically, it is helpful to understand industry and local trends alike. For example, imagine that you are opening a restaurant. If you know that the larger trends of Guyana are moving toward upscale dining, that would perhaps not matter if your neighborhood still prefers casual places as evidenced by the recent failure of two upscale restaurants. In that case, it would likely make sense to follow your local/neighborhood trends.

2. Analyze your competition. An important part of market analysis is thinking about competition; rather than merely identify your primary competitors, consider their weaknesses and how you might benefit from them. If competitors systematically ignore an entire segment of the market, you could perhaps cater to that segment instead of encroach on your competitors. Understanding your competition helps you differentiate yourself and fill any gaps in the market.

As you consider your competitors, think about both direct and indirect competition. Direct competition comes from companies with very similar products or services. The customers you wish to attract likely give these individuals business now. Indirect competitors are those that provide a different solution to the problem you wish to solve. For example, if you are opening a restaurant, indirect competitors may be grocery stores, especially if they start offering prepared meals.

3. Define your target market. The heart of your market analysis is defining your target market. You may identify different types of customers, which is not a problem. Having more than one type of customer is called market segmentation. You can group similar types of customers into segments. When defining your target market, start big and get smaller. Think about everyone in your immediate location who could potentially be a customer and consider not only their age, gender, income, education, and other demographics, but also whether your business would be a destination for people who do not live nearby. You may also want to pursue online sales, which opens up the entire world as a potential market.

As you define your ideal customer, it is important not to get too caught up in demographics. Other factors also matter. Often referred to as psychographics, these other factors help you get into the mindset of potential customers. For example, what do these customers like and dislike? What are their personalities like? What do they value in life? Think about the likely behaviors of these customers and how that could influence the products and services you offer.

4. Think about pricing. The final thing to consider in a market analysis is pricing. Although your prices need to be competitive, they also need to cover the cost of delivering your product or service. Plus, you need to make money for yourself and any employees that you might have. Remember that customers tend to link high cost with quality, so pricing high is not necessarily a bad thing, provided your marketing and customer service reflect that commitment to quality. If you prefer to target the bargain end of the market, your marketing and branding should likewise reflect that so that people know to come to you for value.

The other thing to do when thinking about price is to project initial sales volume. Your industry research can help inform this estimation. Figure out how much people tend to spend on your product or service in your area. Ideally, you can secure a significant portion of this spending, but be realistic in your estimate. This forecast is a sort of goal for your business, but it also helps you estimate income after launching the company when you combine it with pricing. You can use this data over time to adjust pricing to help you meet your goals and secure the income you need to stay operational.

What You Need to Know before Investing in Mutual Funds

Even with a limited income, it is often possible to save money, and regardless of your income, once you start saving money, it is a good idea to invest it to achieve your financial goals, whether those be purchasing a home, retiring, and/or something else. An investment vehicle that pools money from multiple investors to purchase stocks, bonds, and other assets, mutual funds generally enable a level of diversification that would be challenging for average investors to achieve on their own. Hence, you don’t necessarily require a lot of money to develop a diversified portfolio, but can achieve diversification simply by purchasing mutual fund shares.

How Mutual Funds Can Increase Your Wealth

Mutual funds can make you money in various ways, the most obvious of which is via net asset value. The price per mutual fund share is known as net asset value, which goes up as the value of the fund increases. This works very similarly to stocks. While you do not see an immediate gain in funds, the value of the investment increases, and you have the potential to make money should you desire to sell the shares. Beyond that, you may receive dividend payments, which is sort of like interest generated from securities in the mutual fund portfolio. You can receive these payments directly or have them reinvested in the fund. Mutual funds will also distribute capital gains from selling securities to investors on an annual basis.

While mutual funds generally earn you money, all investments carry risk, so you could potentially lose money if the shares decrease in value. However, because mutual funds are inherently diverse, the risk of losing money is generally much less than investing in individual stocks or other discrete assets. Also, it is important to remember that the market is inherently volatile, so if the investment decreases in value, it will likely go back up over time. For that reason, mutual funds are not necessarily a good investment if you need the money in five years or less.

Types of Mutual Funds

Several types of mutual funds exist, so it is important to understand what you are investing in when you buy a share. Mutual funds can be managed passively or actively. Passively managed mutual funds track a market index, such as the S&P 500. Because such funds are not actively managed, they have lower management fees. However, these funds’ potential for growth is generally less than it would be with actively managed funds.

Beyond these designations, mutual funds can be divided into many other categories, depending on the assets of which they are comprised. While some mutual funds focus on a single asset class, others have a much wider variety.

Stock funds generally have the greatest risk and the largest potential for high returns because they invest primarily in a rather volatile asset. Fluctuations in the stock market will have a dramatic effect on the performance of these funds. Even within this class, there are funds that focus on a specific sector or type of stocks, such as growth funds.

An option with less risk is a bond fund. Many different types of bonds exist, and some funds may focus on particular ones while others may have greater breadth.

The term “balanced fund” refers to a mutual fund with a mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities. Sometimes, these assets are actually a fund of funds, meaning they invest in other mutual funds.

Another common option is a money market fund, which invests in high-quality, short-term investments. Money market funds have low risk but also low returns.

Things to Consider When Investing in Mutual Funds

After deciding to invest in mutual funds, it is time to consider your investment options. In the course of doing so, be sure to take associated fees into account; even passively managed funds charge an annual management fee, which is typically a percentage of cash invested. Also known as the expense ratio, such a fee has the potential to cut into your earnings rather substantially, so pay close attention to those. Moreover, look at the mutual fund prospectus to identify any other fees. Since fees for passively managed funds should be relatively low, make sure to ask questions if you see that they are not.

Also, consider whether the fund has loads, which is sort of like a commission. With a load fund, the mutual fund will charge a commission for the broker or salesperson who sells the fund. Generally, this cost gets passed on to the investor, so it can influence how many shares you are able to purchase. No-load funds do not have transaction fees for the purchase or sale of shares. Most investors opt for no-load funds because they are easier to purchase and sell. Plus, you can maximize your investment total when you purchase shares of a no-load fund.

6 Potential Health Benefits of Consuming Sugarcane Juice

Owing in no small part to its status as one of the area’s top producers of rice and sugar, Guyana is generally regarded as the breadbasket of the Caribbean. GBTI offer various types of business loans, including agricultural loans, to support Guyanese entrepreneurs and farmers. These agricultural loans can be used to purchase equipment, fertilizer, land, and more. Although the source of refined sugar has to a great extent shifted from sugarcane to sugar beets in many parts of the world, Guyana continues to cultivate sugarcane, which, perhaps surprisingly, has some significant health benefits.

While many people generally associate sugar with diseases like diabetes, the juice of sugarcane differs rather substantially from the refined product. This is because sugarcane juice retains many of the vitamins and minerals found in the plant. For example, the juice contains iron, magnesium, riboflavin, and thiamine, all of which are removed from the refined product. In the end, more research needs to be done to understand the full health benefits of sugarcane, but some of them are already known. The potential health benefits of sugarcane include the following:

1. Disease prevention: Sugarcane is a great source of antioxidants, which play an important part in bolstering and sustaining immunity by combating free radicals. Molecules in the body that can damage healthy cells, free radicals can exacerbate various medical conditions, including diabetes, malaria, myocardial infarction, and skin cancer. While other sources of antioxidants exist in nature, sugarcane offers an impressive amount.

2. Diuretic properties: A substance that facilitates the removal of excess salt and water from the body, a diuretic is important for maintaining proper kidney function. Thus, sugarcane juice may confer protection against some kidney diseases. Moreover, research suggests that sugarcane juice combined with lime and coconut water can reduce the burning sensation associated with various urinary tract conditions, including urinary tract infections. The relief is likely due to the diuretic properties of the juice, as well as the balance of electrolytes achieved by combining it with lime and coconut water.

3. Diabetes benefits: Individuals with diabetes are unable to regulate their blood sugar levels properly because of issues with insulin. When people get diagnosed with diabetes, they are typically encouraged to use sugarcane derivatives over refined sugars, which helps them to regulate their glycemic index and keep blood sugar levels under control. In particular, studies have shown that sugarcane molasses concentrate can actually lower glucose in the body and inhibit the production of insulin to maintain better control. Furthermore, sugarcane has been found to be a purgative, meaning that it can help regulate high blood pressure, which is a common comorbidity among individuals with diabetes.

4. Pregnancy benefits: People tend to associate sugar with weight gain, which is true even with unrefined options like sugarcane. However, consuming a modest amount of sugarcane can actually boost metabolism and lessen the weight gain associated with pregnancy in women. While it is important to consume only small amounts, a little bit of sugarcane juice may actually have a benefit. The other benefit for pregnant women is in reducing the impact of morning sickness and strengthening the immune system. Studies have found that sugarcane juice with ginger is capable of accomplishing both of these things for pregnant women. Of course, women should always consult a physician if they are experiencing extreme morning sickness.

5. Healthy teeth: Sugar is typically associated with dental caries. However, sugarcane juice includes both calcium and phosphorus, which are key in building tooth enamel and the overall strengthening of teeth and bones. These nutrients can help safeguard against tooth decay, which means that people may also experience better breath with sugarcane juice. Bad breath is often linked to a lack of calcium and phosphorus in the diet. For children, sugarcane juice can promote a healthier skeletal system by providing a good source of calcium. Of course, sugarcane juice does not replace proper dental care or ensuring that a diet has calcium from other key sources.

6. Acne treatment: While drinking sugarcane juice will not help treat acne, using it topically may have a benefit. This is because sugarcane juice contains alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid. These acids help increase skin turnover to speed healing. In addition, they function as a natural exfoliant to reduce the likelihood of recurrent acne. Traditionally, sugarcane juice is mixed with Fuller’s earth to create a sort of mud mask that can be applied to the face and neck. After 20 minutes, the mask can be washed off with cool water to help alleviate milder forms of acne. Even for people without acne, this sort of mask can fight blemishes and reduce the signs of aging.

Take These 7 Free Online Courses to Boost Personal Finance Knowledge

Personal finance remains an extremely important but often overwhelming topic for many people. Something as simple as creating an emergency fund can raise a number of important questions while more complex issues, like investing, can be much more daunting. Luckily, you have access to a wide range of high-quality, free materials online to learn more about personal finance. These resources can give you the confidence you need to take control of your personal finances and build a better future.

If you want to brush up on your personal finance knowledge without spending money to do so, check out some of these great resources:

1. Finance for Everyone

This edX course provides a robust overview of personal finance over six weeks. Designed by a professor of finance at the University of Michigan, the class requires about five or six hours per week. However, participants gain a strong understanding of basic personal finance questions and will feel more equipped to make decisions with confidence.

The course also addresses how to make decisions in professional settings and can be good for people who have small business aspirations. After all, you cannot hope to have balanced business finances unless you first get your own under control.

2. My Financial Mountain

Offered by Skillshare, this course is ideal as a refresher or to get a basic overview of personal finance topics. The entire course lasts only 24 minutes, but it touches on key issues through quick videos that are all three minutes or less.

You will get a good overview of income, debt, and savings that will prepare you for some of the more robust courses. These videos are perfect for getting answers to quick questions or learning about the things you should be thinking about as you pursue some of the longer courses.

3. Introduction to Simple and Compound Interest

Interest is an extremely important topic in personal finance and you need a deep understanding of it to figure out the best decisions for your individual situation. This Alison course takes only an hour or two but helps you think critically about credit cards, loans, and savings accounts.

With this course, you will develop the confidence you need to do your own calculations and figure out the long-term costs of loans, as well as the amount you could make in interest through various investments. Also, the course teases apart the key differences between simple and compound interest so you can make good choices about them.

4. Financial Planning for Young Adults

While this Coursera class will take up to 16 hours to complete, it is a comprehensive dive into everything you would need to know as you begin your professional life. You will learn more about setting financial goals, building a budget from the ground up, making simple investments, and achieving your savings goals.

The course includes lectures, but the most helpful learning experience is typically the examples of real-world decision-making that you can use in your own life. After this course, you should have the tools you need to make these decisions for yourself.

5. Understanding Loans

Before you take out any loans, it is a good idea to work through this Udemy course. Even if you already have loans, this course can provide some insight on avoiding additional debt and keeping your current payments under control.

The entire course is only an hour, but it goes through all the key terms and concepts you need to know when considering taking on debt. While this course does not do a deep dive into any one particular form of debt, it provides an excellent foundation for learning more about the particular loans or forms of credit you are considering.

6. Future Rich

Planancial is a resource for many free personal finance courses. One of the best classes to start with is Future Rich, which includes a week of short videos that pair with an online workbook meant to reinforce the key concepts.

The course is led by the host of a podcast called Future Rich that is also a useful resource. What makes this class so distinctive is its fun tone that really engages you as you learn. Plus, it is designed to be self-paced, so you can easily fit it into your schedule even if it ends up taking you more than a week to complete.

7. Introduction to Managing Your Personal Finance Debts

If you feel overwhelmed by debt, this class by Alison could help you get more of a handle on your responsibilities. The course teaches you how to deal with debts while being fiscally responsible in other areas.

You will learn how to make a debt spreadsheet, which can help you prioritize your bills as your start to pay down debt. The course only takes about an hour to complete, but it can help you create a solid strategy for paying down bills and becoming free of debt so that you can focus on other financial goals.

GBTI staff donate 22 units of blood – receives recognition award from Ministry of Health

GBTI on Thursday, June 24, 2021 held its 9th annual blood drive at its Water Street Branch in partnership with the National Blood Transfusion Service.

Godwin Fernandes
Godwin Fernandes

“The drive began in 2012 by then Branch Manager Terry Gopaul to coincide with World Blood Donor Day and targeted both staff and customers,” Mr Raymond Forde, Officer in Charge, Water Street Branch said.

He said that the initiative has grown over the years with more staff coming onboard. Last year the bank donated 50 units of blood from two drives at the branch and altogether in excess of 300 units were donated since the drive started.

Only recently in observance of World Blood Donor Day, the Ministry of Health through  the NBTS recognized GBTI as a donor partner with the presentation of an award.

“I always give because we know of the need for blood from the media,” said Tonia Griffith, GBTI Enterprise Risk Manager, adding, “it’s an easy process and I feel good. We know that it’s healthy for your body too.”

Among repeat donors today were Christopher Mackintosh, Randir Ramkisson, Yuvraj Bhagwandeen, Adeeb Bacchus, Mercedes Low-Koon, Tonia Griffith, Godwin Fernandes and among the first time donors were Latifa Harris and Colleen MacKintosh.   

Tonza Bamfield, Supervisor NBTS, said it’s always a good feeling to be working with GBTI noting that there is always a need for blood and often the demand is greater than the supply.

The Bank expresses its gratitude to all the staff who donate and to its partnership with the National Blood Transfusion Service and the Ministry of Public Health.

Here Are 6 Key Measures of Success for Small Businesses

GBTI is committed to driving small business growth in Guyana. To do this, the bank offers many loan products, including those specifically meant for small businesses. Entrepreneurs face a number of challenges when it comes to establishing a fledgling company. Because they face so many hurdles, they may neglect to track some of the metrics by which its success can be judged.

No matter how busy you may be with a business, it is essential to take a step back and evaluate its performance as this is the only way you will know whether or not you need to make changes. Without this evaluation, your business may fail before you even notice that something is wrong. Some of the key ways of measuring the success of your business include:

1. Customer growth

An important indicator of success is your company’s ability to attract new customers. While repeat customers are great, you will likely fail if you are not able to attract a steady stream of new customers. Also, new customers are the key to future growth. Be sure to track the number of new customers you get and look at trends over time.

If you the number is falling, perhaps you need to invest more money into marketing. On the other hand, if the number is increasing at a steady rate, this could be an indication that it time to start expanding services Several strategies exist for attracting new customers, such as referral incentives, social media marketing, and other promotions.

2. Number of customers

Keeping track of new customers is not enough. You should also track the overall number of customers to make sure you are retaining them. If this number is falling while the number of new customers grows, then you are failing to retain and you need to figure out why. Reach out to customers and ask what has happened.

Often times, the issue is something you can address easily but only if you understand what the problem is. Try out surveys or questions to get some insight on what is happening. People are most likely to be open and honest when the forum is an anonymous one, so it can be helpful to have various options for feedback. Customers appreciate feeling like their opinions are being heard.

3. Profitability

For many businesses, profitability is the primary measure of success. Ultimately, you started a business to make money, so it is important to make sure you are doing that. However, you need to look at more than just profits. Figure out exactly what numbers are coming in and going out of the business. Also, keep updated balance sheets as this will give you the most comprehensive view of the financial health of your business.

While keeping track of these numbers is important, they need to be put in the context of everything else on this list. Too often, business owners pay attention only to the financial numbers and then they fail to realize they are losing customers until income starts to fall. If you pay attention to the whole picture, you can react to problems before they put the whole business at risk.

4. Customer satisfaction

Getting a strong sense of customer satisfaction can prove difficult because it is qualitative rather than quantitative. However, you should always have a gestalt feeling of what customers think of your business. Imagine a situation in which your sales are robust but then they suddenly drop off precipitously. This happens when customers are dissatisfied but were patronizing you out of necessity.

When another option becomes available, they will seek out that other business. Keeping track of customer satisfaction is the best way to protect yourself from losing clients to competitors. Also, if you ask for feedback and respond appropriately, you demonstrate to customers that you truly care about their experience and build loyalty even if they were dissatisfied at first.

5. Employee satisfaction and performance

Customers are not the only thing that matters to a small business. You should also check in with any employees you have on a regular basis. If your team is dedicated to the company, performance will be high. Think about employees from both a quantitative and qualitative standpoint. Look at the performance numbers, such as number of sales made, but also be sure to ask for feedback.

Often, employees have a different perspective on the success of the company and can give you insights that you may have overlooked. By keeping your employees happy, you increase the chances of enduring success. Also, having a strong relationship with your employees makes it easier to deliver critical feedback, such as someone who may need to improve their performance.

6. How you spend your time

Entrepreneurs often overlook one of the most important aspects of success: how they spend their time. Looking critically at how you spend your days can give you a lot of information about the health of your company. If you are constantly scrambling trying to put out fires, then something is wrong. Perhaps you have failed at delegating or you simply need more help.

A successful business is organized, with a capable staff that can handle responsibility. You should be able to relax from time to time even while you maintain an eye on everything. If this is not the case, you will eventually burn out and the business will suffer. Figure out how to bring on additional staff or begin delegating some responsibilities so that you can focus on management instead of running from problem to problem.

A Quick Guide to Achieve More Sustainable Rice Production Practices

As the agriculture sector in Guyana continues to expand, there has been added pressure to farm sustainably. Guyana has often been called the breadbasket of the Caribbean because of its strong agriculture sector and GBTI is driving this growth with agricultural loans.

One of the major crops in Guyana is rice, which is a staple food for more than half the people in the world and one of the most lucrative crops for small farmers. Unfortunately, rice production accounts for about 10 percent of global methane emission. Additionally, rice production consumes more than a third of irrigation water used in the world.

By embracing sustainable practices, rice farmers can reduce these figures while also improving their yields to boost income. Here’s what you need to know:

Creating the Right Plan Prior to Planting Rice

A sustainable approach to rice farming starts with variety selection. There are more than 40,000 types of rice available for cultivation, so choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

However, farmers will never go wrong by selecting a hybrid that has been locally adopted, especially if healthy seed is available. The best approach is to look at what is available nearby and what has the greatest yield potential rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with new varieties.

In addition, farmers should think about their crop season, including inputs and labor requirements, as they plan for planting. This way, workers can get organized and farmers will have a better idea of the resources available to them.

Once all of this has been done, the next step is actually planting the rice. There are several different approaches to planting rice. Some farmers directly seed their fields, while others may plant rice in seedbeds and transplant starts into the field.

Neither of these practices is inherently better than the other in terms of sustainability. Instead, the right choice will depend in the type of soil farmers have, as well as the local rice ecosystem. Farmers also need to consider availability of physical labor as transplanting rice is much more labor-intensive. However, transplantation may be necessary if the soil or weather conditions are not conducive to direct planting.

Managing the Issues that Arise While Growing Rice

Farmers need to plan ahead for water needs while growing rice. As mentioned above, rice cultivation accounts for much of the world’s water consumption, which is due in part to the fact that the crop is so sensitive to water shortages. Farmers have several options for reducing water needs, which will save them money while also lowering the amount of water they consume.

For examples, farmers should pay close attention to cracks or rat holes in their fields, which can result in increased water absorption. Farmers should also construct bunds. These are specialized embankments meant to keep water around the plants. Well-constructed bunds reduce water loss. Field channels further help farmers control how water flows into and out of the field. In general, farmers should only perform shallow tilling, as this will prevent water losses from soaking into the soil.

Another important issue to consider is soil fertility. Farmers can use mineral or organic fertilizers to boost the productivity of the earth they work with. However, it is important to keep in mind that organic fertilizers mimic the natural composition of soil and do not introduce new minerals to the environment. Considering the amount of water involved in rice production, minimizing mineral runoff is very important.

The other common issue farmers need to deal with is pests, which can reduce crop yields up to 40 percent. To protect their crops from pests, farmers should ensure they choose clean seed, keep their farm equipment clean, and promote the natural enemies of pests on their farms. It is also important to store rice grain properly to keep it safe from pests.

Sustainable Farming Practices During and After Harvest

When farmers utilize the best harvest practices, they can maximize their yields and thus their incomes while ensuring all the resources they used were not wasted. Farmers need to ensure they harvest at the right time. Waiting too long or not long enough will result in a reduced crop. The ideal time to harvest will depend on the type of rice planted, as well as the particular growth conditions.

While this can take some time to determine, speaking to farmers who have experience with the variety of rice you are using and learning the signs that indicate it is time to harvest can help. Keep close track of when you plant and the growth rate of the rice so you can estimate when the harvest should begin. Of course, it is important to base decisions on how plants look and not just the expected timeline.

Once the rice has been harvested, it should go through the threshing process immediately to avoid any spoilage. Threshing is the process that collects rice grains from the plant. Ideally, farmers are able to invest in a threshing machine as this is more efficient than collecting rice by hand, which can leave a lot of the grains behind.

Once the grains have been threshed, they need to be cleaned and dried immediately to avoid spoilage. While this involves a lot of work and long hours around harvest time, it ensures that as much of the crop as possible makes it to people’s plates. As mentioned above, proper storage is also important as pests and mold can quickly ruin an entire crop.

GBTI Rewards 13 children for saving

Thirteen children between the ages of 1 and 17 years who are Early Savers Account Club Members with GBTI have each been rewarded with $5,000.  

The incentive is a reward for children randomly selected from our Early Savers Account Club who would have saved $1,000 or more in 2020. This is part of GBTI’s Annual Early Savers Reward Programme as a means of encouraging children to save and grow with the bank.

We know that 2020 was not an easy year. In spite of the challenges, some of our children managed to save and so we wanted to reward them as a means of encouraging them to keep saving.

The winners this year are Shaun Calder, Water Street Branch;  Elijah Jones, Regent Street Branch; Traevaun Thomas, Corriverton; Shania Ramnarine, Anna Regina; Serena Sookram, Parika; Sherah Dhaniram, Vreed-En-Hoop; Anika De Freitas, Lethem; Deven Jaggernauth, Providence; Akash Maniram, Diamond; Nicandro Williams, Kingston;  Kelly Thomas, Port Kaituma; and Asad Muhammad Chhotay of our Port Mourant Branch.

Winners were notified via direct mail and their accounts have been credited.

GBTI congratulates its 2021 Early Savers winners and all those children and parents who practice a constant saving habit.

GBTI has a special saving category for children from birth to 17 years. Preferential Interest is applied twice per year on accounts with the requisite balance.

Members become eligible for discounts at selected stores across the country, bursary awards at the NGSA level based on random selection and participation in special programmes of the bank such as Summer Camp.

Parents and guardians are simply required to produce the child’s birth certificate/passport along with the parent’s/guardian’s Identification, proof of address, TIN and a minimum of $1,000 to start an Early Savers Account.

New accounts may be initiated online or booked at the various branches between 08:00 and 13:00hrs.   

Use These 5 Tips to Get a Head Start on Marketing Your Small Business

A number of factors go into planning out the launch of a small business, and one of the most important ones to consider is marketing. After all, if you do not market, you will not likely have enough customers to sustain yourself. Marketing for a small business can prove difficult since your budget is likely to be quite limited.

However, it is possible to attract a large number of customers with a relatively small investment provided that you take the right approach. GBTI also offers a wide range of business loans that you can use to help your company grow. Some key tips to keep in mind when it comes to marketing your small business include:

1. Make a strategic plan.

The key to using marketing money effectively is to have a clear plan for your approach. You can approach marketing in several different ways, from online advertising to printed pamphlets. In general, you should use several different approaches depending on your intended audience. Do the research to figure out what works best for businesses in your sector and ask yourself how your particular customers are mostly likely to be reached.

Younger people generally pay most attention to online marketing efforts, but you may need to rely on more traditional formats to reach older customers. Figure out what the competition is doing and whether or not it seems to be working for them. You will need to be somewhat focused in your approach, at least at first, so put in the work to get the most from your investment.

2. Focus on consistent branding.

Perhaps the most important part of marketing a small business is creating a brand. Think about a logo or mascot that can distinguish your brand, as well as the colors and fonts you want associated with it. Once you have defined your brand, you can use it consistently across different marketing platforms. Whether someone sees an Instagram story or a printed mailer, that person should be able to connect it to your company immediately.

Integrated marketing campaigns tend to be the most effective, which means having a consistent appearance and message across various media. Then, when individuals see an advertisement for your company, they already have a sense of what to expect and can embrace more of the message. Consistency is extremely important, especially in the early stages of establishing a company.

3. Focus on what makes you different.

Think of marketing as an argument. You need to convince people that you are the company for them. To do this, you will need to demonstrate what makes you different from the competition. This can prove quite tricky, since blocks of text are unlikely to attract people to an advertisement. Focus on the one or two key points that distinguish you and make them the focal point of any campaign.

Try to get these points across in short statements and graphics rather than long explanations. Do not think too hard about this distinguishing point. Often, it can be the fact that you are a small, local business that understands the needs of a community rather than a larger corporation pushing products. Small businesses often have an advantage because of the personal touches they can put on their marketing that lets people know they are local.

4. Always create an online presence.

Too often, small businesses neglect to create a robust and consistent online presence, which is a huge misstep. Internet searches are ubiquitous and not appearing in these queries puts you at a significant disadvantage. Moreover, creating an online presence is extremely inexpensive. You can create starter accounts on various social media accounts for free and then create your own website using various tools that are both budget- and user-friendly.

Social media is a great way to connect with customers and get feedback while a website is great for providing potential customers with basic information and details about contacting you. As always, brand all of these different outlets consistently so everyone can tell who you are just by looking at the website or profile. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are great places to start that hit a wide variety of demographics.

5. Start building a mailing list immediately.

Another tool that small business owners can use is physical mail or even emails. However, you will need to have a list of people to send this information to before you can do so. Begin asking for contact information immediately. Link to the mailing list on social media websites and the company’s own site.

To get people interested, you will likely need to offer an incentive, such as a small gift or a discount. Sending coupons through these mailing lists is a great way to get people to sign up and pay attention to messages. Free gifts do not have to be very expensive. For example, you could write a short electronic book or pamphlet about something related to your products. Just make sure it is information people will actually use.