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Now is graduation season. Congratulations to those finishing college and finally getting their diplomas after so many years in school. It must be a real achievement and a relief too. But I guess the more serious part of life has just begun for you. You are now on your own. It is the beginning of your new chapter that only you can determine what will come out of it. Having what you learned in school plus, more importantly, the values thru the years that your parents, school teachers and friends imparted – all helped shape the kind of character you need to succeed in life.
Learning does not stop after you graduate. It will now take a different form and you will still need mentors to guide you along the way as you join the working class or as an entrepreneur. As I say, learning continues and becomes even more intense especially when you determine what you finally want to be. Assuming you work for a company, you will need to learn how to be the best in that profession you decided to pursue through self learning, training or thru mentors that you may have in your office, and organizations that you will join.
One thing that you can do is research more on what interest you if you decide to be an entrepreneur. The Internet of course is an easy source of information. It becomes even more challenging as you really need to know what business you want to be in and if this matches your strengths. Just don’t rush to be an entrepreneur since many are saying “be your own boss, be an entrepreneur”. There is nothing wrong with working first in a company to gain experience, discipline, and to discover your real strength.
Although, there are exceptions to this when one is very clear of his vision and his business model. I can name many who have taken this path immediately, but as a percentage of the Philippine population this will be very low. We have Chris Tiu who co-founded Happy Lemon, the youngest CEO of Calata Corp. Joseph Calata, owner of Bibingkinitan Richard Sanz, and co-founder of Mercato Centrale RJ Ledesma, among others who saw the potential of growing a business at a young age.
If you are eager but do not have a business model in mind yet and really want to get the feel of it, start by getting a franchise from a reputable groups like the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI) for they can help and guide you along the way.
People ask me what the secret of success is. Some would say it’s the school you come from or the honors you get in school. While this may help, I believe more in the character that one develops in school – how driven you are to succeed, how persistent, passionate and wanting to be the best in the skill you have identified as your strength.
For example, you thought of an idea because you feel that there was a need to fulfill something and there is a market for it. The challenge here is how long will it take you to execute and how will you execute it properly? How persistent will you be in achieving your objective? How will you get a mentor to help you? And, how persistent are you in researching and going all over town to find the people that can help you put it together?
Let me share with you a simple story of Injap Sia. He studied in a school in Iloilo and his parents lived a simple life owning two supermarkets. Injap thought of an idea of having the first fast food serving inasal chicken, since the rest where all the typical “restaurant type”. He and his wife worked very hard in developing the formula at home. He told me that when he was starting, he got so tired of doing the daily preparations and felt that it was not going anywhere that he almost gave up. But he persisted and asked his father’s help and found a location that his father did not quite agree with. Injap persevered and continued and that was the beginning of the success of Mang Inasal, which at that time, Go Negosyo awarded and years later I awarded him the Ernst and Young award for small business and told him that this award is too small for him. A week after he sold 70 percent of Mang Inasal to Jollibee for P3 billion. Then years after, he partnered with Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee, and renamed his Injap Properties business into DoubleDragon, which will build over 100 city malls in the next few years. It’s IPO early this week at P2 doubled in two days.
There are many more like Injap out there and this column will not fit for all the names. It can happen to you, not because you are a summa or magna cum laude but because you have the heart, will, and proper mindset to do so. It is rare to find one that is like Injap that graduated with no high honors in his class. I’m not saying that having honors will not give you an advantage, but it is character that really gives a person that edge factor as an entrepreneur or even as a professional manager.
I wish all of you the best and continue to seek guidance from our Lord.