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What makes successful entrepreneurs? It is all about passion, persistence and perseverance. These are my three P’s to negosyo success.
Choosing to be a negosyante is not an easy path. This is why one has to have the right character, especially in certain situations that can drive people to give up.
These are three stories of entrepreneurs who possess the three P’s. We share their stories because we believe that anyone with passion, persistence and perseverance can be just like them.
“My brothers and I grew up in a traditional Chinese family,” relayed Benjamin Liuson, president of The Generics Pharmacy. “When we were in high school and college, we were helping in the family business. Our family was into making eyeglasses and picture frames. I used to check the totals and balances. We were not also given salaries. Instead of a salary, I offered to sell our products and get a commission,” he shared.
In 1960, Benjamin’s family bought a company from German owners. It was a company that wholesales medicines. After 20 years, they started promoting generic and low-priced medicines. However, they observed that the effects of their efforts did not trickle down to the masses because retailers had high markups. That is why in 2001, Benjamin established The Generics Pharmacy. “The difference is that we offer 100-percent generic medicine,” he said.
After seven years, the company decided to go into franchising. “At present, we have around 880 stores. This was after three years that we started franchising. That makes it a rate of 280 stores a year,” Benjamin said proudly.
Out of the 880 stores, only one is a company-owned drugstore and the rest are all franchised. “We don’t intend to increase the number of company-owned branches. Why do we have only one store? Huwag kang swapang. Share with retailers. There is already a lot of profit in wholesale,” Benjamin said.
He explains that common sense for business is a combination of quality and low price. These are also his words of wisdom to those who would like to put up their own business. “Our secret is quality. Our medicines are both effective and affordable. If the product is good, then the customer will repurchase,” he said. “We have a product list of 400 medicines. If they are not the same as the SRP, then it is always lower in price. Our medicines are the same as the branded ones. The only difference is the price,” he added.
When it comes to CSR, Benjamin already considers the business itself as CSR. But his version of CSR stands for Corporate Spiritual Responsibility. “I give out 200,000 Bibles every year and I spend 20 million a year to distribute Bibles. My goal is for every home in the Philippines to have a Bible. If we can do it, I can’t see why the five percent of the top 500,000 companies can’t do it. Life is too short. The most important thing is to land in heaven. What can we do to help and to impact mankind?”
Ang puso ko, nasa pagnenegosyo,” said Paulo Tibig, president of VCargo, an emerging brand in the domestic cargo and forwarding industry. His company guarantees on-time delivery of anything to almost anywhere in the country.
Paulo was born into a simple family in Bataan. His father was an overseas contract worker and his mother was a teacher. As Paulo’s father wanted to see his children grow up, he came home and opened a langisan using his savings.
“When I was in high school, I’d open the store at 4 a.m.,” shared Paulo. “I was ashamed to admit this to my classmates, but my father made me realize the value of being an entrepreneur. He opened my eyes to self-sustenance through business. Everyone in my family went into business. We know the value of hard work.”
When Paulo went to college, he was the probinsyano working student. He tried all kinds of jobs, from working as a delivery boy and messenger to being a utility worker. Because of his experience, he further realized the importance of entrepreneurship. “While in college and after I graduated, I went into many businesses. I sold all kinds of things.”
Paulo also tried several types of employment. He worked as a medical representative and a marketing assistant. Then he started various entrepreneurial ventures such as T-shirt trading, nata de coco production, handmade paper production and a laundry business. “All of them failed because I wasn’t equipped back then,” Paulo admitted. “You can’t be all guts and just want to make money.”
With all his trials (and errors) in putting up the right business, he finally found his “pot of gold” in the logistics business. At present, aside from VCargo, Paulo also has a promotions management company and a hauling services company. He even has a mantra, which he popularized in the company: “Get the job done and there is nothing to be stressed about.”
With his present well-deserved success, Paulo never forgets to credit and thank his parents: “The way my parents raised me is what made me what I am today,” he shared.
When asked about his advice to young and starting entrepreneurs, Paulo gives an acronym: CHAMP (Commitment, Hard work, Attitude, Motivation, Prayers).
When I was young, I didn’t think I would become an entrepreneur. I thought I would be on TV,” Kamela Seen jokingly shared. Kamela is the woman behind the “great meals in small packages” — Plato Wraps.
Born, raised, and currently residing in Dagupan, Kamela also had an entrepreneurial environment while growing up. “We had a furniture store when I was a kid,” she said. “I used to sell palamig (refreshments) to our carpenters. It’s different to think that you can make your money flourish.”
Kamela then tried her hand at employment in the shoe outlet of an uncle, until she couldn’t live through the eight hours of work anymore when she had a family. Then, out of her passion for cooking, she started a simple catering business with a former classmate. However, because Kamela’s husband needed to work overseas, she had to stop catering in order to have more time for her children. From there, she also tried the RTW business.
When Kamela’s husband finished his contract in Taiwan, they needed to think of a business to put up. Since her husband’s family originally owned the oldest bakery in Dagupan and he had a background in baking, they put up their first bakery using their savings. Soon after, they opened their second branch.
The bakery was doing great. But Kamela had the urge to offer something new. So she started experimenting on a simple flatbread. She experimented with flavors and fillings. After testing her newfound product among family and friends, she started selling it in their bakery. It was such a hit that Kamela decided to make it a separate brand. “I saw that it had the potential to become a favorite among many.” From her simple urge, flatbread experiments and taste tests, Plato Wraps was born.
Kamela then brought her Dagupan-born product to the national level. Through franchising, she was also able to grow the brand. Today, Plato Wraps is a 10-year-old success with almost 60 stalls nationwide. Their Panaderia De Antonio is also celebrating 12 years of success with five branches.
To young and aspiring entrepreneurs, Kamela shares her tricks of the trade: “Think of what you really love to do. Enjoy it and everything will follow. Be the best. Hindi magiging mahirap kahit mahirap. Be sensitive to opportunities.”
E-mail me at email@example.com. Join me on Facebook and visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the Go Negosyo: Kaya Mo! show on QTV every Saturday and Sunday at 8-8:30 a.m., with replays on NBN every Tuesday from 9:15-10:15 p.m.