Excellence. As a business grows and expands, it is easy for the quality of the products to diminish. We’ve all experienced this in one way or another. It takes a lot of work to maintain quality while growing a business. Captain Herman knows this and focuses on this. His fishing charter business is one of the most sought after on the East End due to the success of his customers. The boat itself isn’t much to look at, but the skill of the captain brings customers back again and again. The farm maintains sufficient quality and quantity to be a regular supplier of grocery stores on the island. And the restaurant has made the transition from excellent food cooked at home to excellent food cooked in large quantities. None of these are easy transitions to make, and yet Captain Herman and his wife have navigated them all.
Planning. Running a farm or a restaurant share this need in common: you must plan well and then adjust according to an ever-changing environment. The farmer plans his crops based on the land he has available, the seeds he has access to, the potential markets, and the manpower he has. But even with all of that planning, the weather will greatly impact yields and the desires of customers may change. That is when the plans of a farmer need to adjust to the new conditions. New plans will need to be formulated in order to capitalize on the changing opportunities. The same is true of the restaurant industry where the chef is dealing with perishable items that will soon be worthless if not prepared and sold. Careful planning and the ability to creatively adjust will help the restauranteur succeed as well.
Vision. The most impressive of Captain Herman’s many attributes is easily his vision. If we had more time together, I would have probed this area and wanted to know what examples he had learned from. Captain Herman is atypical in many ways, but his ability to dream, plan, and implement sets him apart from almost any entrepreneur I’ve ever met. While living in his native Jamaica, he had a simple vision that has gradually expanded. As his plans have been realized, his vision has allowed him to see greater potential and new opportunities. His son now works alongside him and is beginning to develop his own vision for life in the Cayman Islands or in Jamaica. What a gift to pass on to the next generation.
And not only is his vision impressive, it’s also humbling. Captain Herman comes from Jamaica, an island that struggles with crime and lack of opportunity. He moved to the Cayman Islands which are still known as a tax haven for the very wealthy. The disparity between the wealth of a few and the simple life of the many is striking and is unlike anything we see in the US. Opportunities abound here which is one of the reasons that so many people seek to move here. Being born in the States gives most of us a huge headstart over someone born in Jamaica. And yet Captain Herman is developing a business model that few American entrepreneurs could emulate. Against overwhelming odds, Captain Herman is an example that we can all learn from.
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