Encouraging entrepreneurial success on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, CNMI*!

*Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory.

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Turn Your Panic into Profit

The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

Here on the Ground

I received an e-mail last week through my SaipanLiving.com website from a Filipina lady living in Los Angeles who is coming to visit Saipan. She just got laid off from her job and is considering moving to Saipan, because, as she states, “the economic situation here in the mainland is very bad right now. It scares us.”

Now, don’t you think that’s pretty interesting? While people are packing up and fleeing Saipan in search of a better life, people are packing up and fleeing TO Saipan in search of a better life. It just goes to show that one woman’s prison is another woman’s paradise.

I went to a few garage sales over the weekend in search of a ceramic water dispenser that I’ve yet to find (hint, hint). One woman, who had never held a yard sale, was utterly shocked at the response she got.

“People actually buy stuff!” she said.

Another friend having a garage sale had people parked outside his house and knocking on his door at 7:30am for an 8am sale, and when it was all done, made close to a thousand dollars that morning. It just goes to show that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

I helped another friend go to view a van he’s considering purchasing for a new business he’s starting. The seller is eager to sell to cut losses and end the drain that registration, insurance and upkeep on the van is causing. It just goes to show that one business’ burden is another one’s boon.

From Where You Sit

Yes, opportunity is a very subjective thing. In other words, whether you see opportunity or oppression in a downturn or recession is based entirely on where you sit. The leaders of industry and the winners in life are the ones who can see opportunity in its infancy, when all others see oppression.

The reason a situation seems dire and hopeless is not because there is no solution to be found, it’s because you’re asking the wrong questions and seeing limited options from a flawed paradigm. Until your paradigm changes, you are forced to respond to a given situation in very limited ways.

Say, for example, you’re the leader of a nation, and all previous leaders had a paradigm and worldview based on fear, suspicion, distrust, violence and domination. With such a paradigm, the natural response becomes, “They are the enemy. They are a threat. We must crush, we must kill, we must destroy. We need more weapons, we need more soldiers, we need bigger bombs and more and bigger, and more and bigger.”

But what if you, as a new leader, simply changed the paradigm and said, “hey, let’s talk this out. Anyone who was once our foe can be our friend if the conditions of mutual benefit and respect are right.” Can you see how such a shift would change the response and the reactions?

Strategic Thinking

So, likewise, as you face the seemingly worsening conditions and threats all around, ask yourself the following question: “Is there a different paradigm through which I can perceive and interpret what is happening?” which leads to questions which will develop your strategic thinking:

What is the opportunity here? Where must I stand in order to see it?

How must I think in order to understand it?

Who must I become in order to take advantage of it?

What must I do in order to harness it? When must I do it in order to maximize it?

So, while others are fleeing and fretting, someone with the right perspective can see opportunities developing. And while its ultimately more desirable to start a business in an economic boom, it doesn’t mean you can’t also be successful if you start one during a downturn/recession.

A recent article I read outlined the plus side of starting a business in an economic downturn:

1. It forces the founders to be thrifty in their budgeting since bank loans and venture capital may be harder to get. 2. It forces you to make your idea really exceptional and able to be sold in both good and bad times. 3. A team willing to commit to a new business in dire times is exactly the type of people your business needs. 4. Startups get a head start. When the recovery begins—as history shows it usually does—those who started early will be ahead of the pack.

Case in Point

So, say you’re on a tourism-dependent island where the number of incoming visitors may soon be reduced; where people are leaving homes and apartments vacant, and where properties are selling low. You might ask yourself, where is the opportunity? Should I buy now and hold for the long term? Can I buy now to resell in the short term? For whom might this island still be a paradise? What new markets can I target? Who are the next wave of visitors or investors? What things will they need? What can I buy now to resell later?

Here’s one idea heard on a recent radio interview which some are already capitalizing on: agriculture and food. Perhaps Saipan can be a source of fresh, locally grown, food for a coming population boom in neighboring Guam. What sorts of farm-grown items can I start to invest in now to be ahead of the pack when that becomes reality? What sort of company can I start now—even in this recession—that may be ideally positioned in a few short months or years? And when all is said done, perhaps you’ll prove that one man’s panic is another man’s profit!

Remember, when everyone can see the opportunity, by then it’s usually too late!—W.G.

And for the record…

You’ll be in good company. History shows that FedEx (1973), CNN (1980), The Jim Henson Company (1958), and Microsoft (1975), were all started in recession years….and look at them now!

Note: If you’re a rabble rouser having trouble accessing the dhs.gov site, visit www.regulations.gov <http://www.regulations.gov> , download a copy of the regulations (Docket #: USCBP-2009-0001) and submit comments. You may also submit your comments and concerns to change.gov and whitehousse.gov

According to the Saipan Tribune, comments about the visa waiver regulations can be mailed during the next 50 days to: Border Security Regulations branch, Office of International Trade, Customs and Border Protection, Mint Annex 799 9th Street, NW, Washington DC 20001

For more tips on overcoming your fears, acting on your ideas, changing the game, and creating a passion-centered lifestyle, visit www.passionprofit.com!


Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!

Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several successful businesses in the US, and now makes his home here in Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt’s philosophy and formula visit www.saipanpreneur.com and www.passionprofit.com.


Send article suggestions, entrepreneur nominations and feedback about this article to walt@passionprofit.com.

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where is saipan

Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.

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