Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 97 percent of the island’s taxpaying businesses. The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), in 2020, saw a 12 percent increase in business names and a three percent rise for companies over 2019. However, most small businesses do not know much about leveraging the digital environment or even the basics of social media. That is a problem for small businesses and a significant opportunity for Mohan Beckford, a serial digital entrepreneur with over 12 years of experience helping companies across the Caribbean and North America maximise their growth within the digital environment.
With a deep understanding of the digital marketing, mobile, and web development industries, and driven by his philosophy and desire for business growth and profitability, Beckford wants to see a paradigm shift in the local business landscape and the use of digital technology to transform businesses.
Committed to pursuing his vision, he founded Next Step Digital Solutions (NSDS) in 2017 after seven years of working as a freelancer.
Mohan Beckford struggled to establish his business in the early years; a painful experience pushed his desire to help other small business operators have a better experience. His programmes serve to educate, inform, and arm MSMEs for success.
As a full-service digital marketing and creative agency, NSDS provides creative, innovative, and results-oriented solutions for businesses. The company explores, executes, and elevates its clients’ marketing processes from strategy to implementation.
Since its inception, NSDS has assisted entrepreneurs with expanding their customer base across international markets through results-driven marketing initiatives that position businesses to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. “Small businesses need digital transformation to survive, especially now,” Beckford posited.
After years of working with small businesses, it became apparent that even though small companies may have invested in some degree of digitisation they were still challenged with optimising the use of the platforms to benefit their operations. To bridge this gap, Beckford extends his expertise to small businesses through digital literacy and consultancy. He has been investing significantly in learning how best to serve small businesses in an emerging economy.
Beckford’s approach to learning led him to two essentials. The first is the importance of developing an ‘ecosystem’ of tools, people, and resources that meet small business operators’ demands. The ecosystem combines the platforms and applications needed daily by an organisation into a possible, single-access point — a pain point that Beckford has successfully dismantled for his clients over the years.
The second is the need for a community that helps small business proprietors. To that end, Beckford started offering business solutions to help small businesses build and strengthen their capacities through his initiatives — Jamaica Small Business Group and the Next Step Business Club, which are community-based approaches. These communities boast a combined database of over 50,000 local companies which benefit from Beckford’s expertise and business offerings. He has also created a gateway to Jamaican businesses through an online marketplace and a small business directory by which small businesses can list online, free of cost.
Armed with his training as an educator, Beckford is also an avid philanthropist vested in giving back. For the past three years he has been gifting small businesses with digital transformations, which he recognised as a gap within the business sector.
In the small business digital transformation competition, local companies receive a chance to win a digital transformation. This year a company will win a complete digital transformation, including branding, website, and social media management.
Today, Mohan Beckford can boast his expansive digital consultancy and business solutions that have benefited large, medium, and small enterprises across industries and territories. Under his leadership, NSDS aims to increase its future growth prospects and ensure continued success.