What is your problem?
By Nilooka Dissanayake

Helping small business
A female business entrepreneur from Jaffna reads the column on "Surviving the Entrepreneurial Spirit" and asks for some tips. Another young man from the south looks for help to start a business. The "Business at Home" columns have generated a lot of public response in recent times with many seeking information on small businesses including those from the US, Canada etc. This raises a fundamental issue - is there enough information from any source in Sri Lanka to help those starting a business or engaging in self-employment? The Sunday Times FT would like your views on this.
- Business Editor

“Problem” is a word I do not tolerate. I always replace it with “challenge” every time I encounter it. So, then, why use it as the title for today’s article?
Many an entrepreneur remains just a dreamer due to some or other challenge they encounter in their quest to enter the world of business. And quite a lot of them have not learnt to replace “problems” with “challenges” purely because it does not occur to them.

As the spirit of this series of articles is to lend a helping hand to entrepreneurs and to those dreaming of their own business, we decided to talk about those issues that can stall the progress of entrepreneurship, as a way of researching into such issues, as a way of providing a forum for discussion and as a way to enhance the content of this series to be more meaningful to our readers.
We do not ask, “What ails your business?”

ecause we know the answers we will receive. The world economy, government policy, bad times, weather, taxes and even terrorism will fill the bin if we open it up. We must remember that despite bad times and other negative factors, businesses and entrepreneurs will go on. Even in Cuba small businesses are thriving. Just because economic conditions and other factors are bad, consumers will not give up life or hope.

So, if the citizens of the world are to go on with their lives, businesses everywhere will have business in providing goods and services. Of course, it is a matter of what business you go in for. This article is however intended to bring out those self-built and real factors that prevent an entrepreneur from starting a business or stall the progress of a small business.

Today, we pose a few questions to those dreaming of starting their own business. Please take your time to fill in the answers and forward to us this little questionnaire. You may request for the questionnaire by email.
What do you do now?

a) I am employed
b) I am staying at home (housewife/house husband/retired)
c) I am studying
d) I am looking for a job
e) Other
Why do you want to go into business?
a) For the money.
b) For the satisfaction.
c) Because I am from a business background.
d) I like it.
e) Other reason or combination of above (please specify) ……………………..
In selecting a business idea you
a) Considered only one idea.
b) Considered several before making a choice.
c) Became paralysed because choices are so many.
d) Are unable to select what is suitable for you.
e) Other (please specify) ……………………………What is the biggest obstacle to starting your business?
a) Time
b) Information
c) Technology
d) Money
e) Other (please specify) ……………………………
What factors worry you most when considering starting a business? (Please list in order of importance)

What skills/areas of expertise do you think you need to develop in order to succeed in business? (Please list in order of importance)
If there were three things that you would change with respect to the business environment today, what would they be? (Please list in order of importance)
Please take a few minutes to answer these questions and provide us feedback. We will treat all your answers with complete confidence. The answers will be published in summary form with no reference to individuals.

If you wish to receive the questionnaire by email, send in your request to ft@sundaytimes.wnl.lk. If you have specific questions on choosing a business idea or starting a business, we look forward to hearing from you. You can reach us on ft@sundaytimes.wnl.lk or call on 074-304112.

The writer is the Managing Editor of Athwela Vyaparika Sangarawa (Athwela Business Journal), the only Sinhala management monthly targeting the small and medium sized business operators and its English version, Small Business International magazine.

FIR products now available in Sri Lanka
Scientists have proved that Far Infrared Rays (FIR) which is also known as bio genetics rays could promote the growth and health of living cells especially in plants animals and human beings - a part of the sunlight spectrum.

Human activities over the years are destroying the protective ozone layer and our dependence on FIR through sunlight is getting lessened. Bio-ceramic is the product which is made out of various kinds of ceramic mixed with mineral oxides like silica, aluminium, etc. - 26 ceramic and mineral oxide powders are mixed, pre-heated to 1,600C and this mixture would emit FIR. Once it is cooled down bio-ceramic is capable of emitting FIR.

These electromagnetic waves that originate from the sunlight spectrum are absorbed as far as 5 cm inside the human body, enhancing the micro circulatory system, strengthening its metabolism function, relieving stress and improving resistance to a range of severe aliments including cancer, diabetes, gastric ulcers, high blood pressure and heart and blood vessel diseases.

FIR activates water molecules in the body, improve oxygen level, warming and eliminating fats, chemicals and toxins from the blood and thus smoothening the blood flow, elimination of other waste from the body, reducing the acidic level and improving nervous system.

There has been extensive studies and testing in Japan, China and Korea in FIR. For the first time in Sri Lanka, the pain relief through electromagnetic waves (FIR) in the form of ConyBio Health Product imported from Malaysia, will be marketed by S Santhosanadar & Sons, Colombo.

ConyBio products are also manufactured in the same process using 26 ceramic and mineral oxide powers and absorbed in to these products that come in the form of wrist bands, ankle braces, knee braces, elbow braces, headbands, waist belts, slippers, ladies brassieres, bed sheets, pillow cases and pillow pads, men's briefs, T shirts, men's socks, and ladies briefs.

The ConyBio Bra helps prevent breast cancer, promotes circulation and strengthens mussels and enhances resilience in the breast. In the same manner wearing these products would improve blood circulation, relaxation of nervous system easing facial tension, reducing facial fatigue, relief from headaches and migraines improve quality of sleep, stimulates acupoints of the foot/enhances the functions of various body organs, relief in pain and inflammation. (QP)

Marapana invites CCI to revitalize road sector
Minister of Defence and Transport, Highways and Aviation, Tilak Marapana, at a recent meeting held at the Ministry of Highways, stressed the need to involve the Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI) in the planning, designing and construction of the national road network.

Marapana pointed out that the members of the chamber have invested a lot of financial resources in acquiring plant, equipment and other assets involving modern technology, and noted that a public-private partnership arrangement should be seriously considered for this purpose.

Resident Representative of the Asian Development Bank, John Cooney said the chamber is the ideal vehicle for this purpose as its membership includes consultants comprising planners, architects, engineers, valuers, surveyors and other allied disciplines needed for the purpose. In addition, ancillary workers such as contractors, construction material suppliers, developers and a host of others in the heavy engineering field are also available as members of the chamber.

Chamber president Surath Wickramasinghe proposed that since the southern highway was about to commence construction, it was also necessary for a highway to be constructed to link Colombo with the north and the east. Secretary to the Ministry of Highways, Upasena Senanayake and other officials while supporting the single highway concept pointed out that the National Physical Planning Policy incorporating the integrated transport system and other proposals are also presently under consideration. (QP)

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