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For close to eight years of writing this Go Negosyo column, I have shared different success stories of many entrepreneurs as Go Negosyo will turn nine this year.
Some of these entrepreneurs are husband and wife tandems, such as Johnlu and Marilou Koa of French Baker who show commitment to family activities and doing things together and to them, spouses must know each otherâ€™s strengths and weaknesses, and knowing business opportunities and threats which can lead to better decisions, thus less problems equal more time for enjoyment together; Henry and Rita Lim Bon Liong of S.L. Agritech who mentioned that the key is having mutual respect and understanding, separating business from family matters, and complementing their roles where they are good at; Lee Hiong and Rosalinda Wee of Marine Resources Development Corp. said they accumulate not wealth, but a lot of romantic memories that they can draw from during challenging times, and the need to make family and keeping family values as top priorities; Rikki and Beng Dee cited also the need for respect and priority in having constant family time, and involving at times the children in business; Nelson and Siu Ping Par of PR Gaz who complement each other in their business operation in order to set the overall direction of their business; and Josiah and Chiqui Go who said that couples should have shared responsibility and power, and common vision and joy.
Last Tuesday, Tessa Prieto-Valdez and Dennis celebrated their 20th year anniversary with a Game of Thrones theme which started with their renewal of vows at the San Antonio church. This is not new as Tessa, image of having different outfits and hats that surely catch everyoneâ€™s attention, is very creative and a happy person. Both are lucky to be supporting each other. Dennis is a patient guy who supports her social life, having to host numerous events, which can be quite taxing on a marriage. But for these two, itâ€™s different. They seem to be soul mates. Congratulations Tessa and Dennis on your anniversary.
Today, my wife and I are also celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary. Time does fly so fast. We have five children; the eldest is a boy, who now is 27 years old and our youngest of the four girls is Bella, who is now seven years old and she keeps us young by keeping up with her. My wife Marissa gave birth at 46 years old to our youngest. One of those accidents you never plan for, but God has blessed us with wonderful children.
As entrepreneurs, we are not bound by the usual working hours. We can work the whole day and even on Sundays, as we pursue our passion in our own respective negosyos. And sometimes we put family and marriage as the last priority especially during the times when we are still building our business. This is true for many entrepreneurs; I have gone through this myself. But at some point, a certain situation makes us realize that we need to give time also to our family.
As I share my formula of success in our events and even to my children, I always tell them that God has given us free will and it is our decision to ensure we choose the right partner who will be with us for the rest of our life. Our spouse is so important for she or he will be the co-pilot, and the source of inspiration and advice. In my case, my wife and I started together as entrepreneurs with a small popcorn stand many years back â€“ a simple business that gave me some on-the-ground experience and confidence to handle bigger tasks in RFM Corp. today. More importantly, it has given me the chance to help other entrepreneurs as well through the Go Negosyo Foundation. So from this tiny popcorn store, we both learned how to work together.
This popcorn store, which started in Fiesta Carnival today, is now known as KettleKorn, much larger than what it was years back. I guess this is our first experience to work together as a team during our early years of marriage. That is why I am thankful to God that we lasted this long, and hopefully will last longer like my parents who just recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary.
In todayâ€™s modern ways, you donâ€™t see marriages last long. Since I have four girls, I always tell them that you can be on top of your class in school, but what is important in life is that you need to choose well your future spouse because your happiness will come from having a happy family. Wealth is not the source of happiness; itâ€™s just part of a larger component in life which you have to balance. Your partner will be the key in helping you achieve this balance in life, in family, in spirituality, in health, and in work.
We still have a long way to go compared to many, but I guess we learn to get through the years even though we age.
My wife and I both share a theme song entitled â€œFor Youâ€ by Kenny Lerum. Here is a part of the song that I want to dedicate to my wife:
â€˜Cause this life is no good alone
Since weâ€™ve become one youâ€™re all I know
If this feeling should leave Iâ€™d die
And hereâ€™s why, all I am is for you
Everything I do now makes sense
All roads end and all I do, is for you
Only for you.
To my dearest wife Marissa, happy anniversary. Thank you for being the anchor of our family. May we continue to share the same value of true happiness, commitment and doing our share to improve the lives of others.