Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Start a Business in a Tiangge

Hi there kabayan. So you’ve been thinking of participating in a “tiangge,” uh? Well, “tiangges” or bazaars are the “in” thing now especially that Christmas is just around the corner. In fact, I’ve seen several tiangges already, and they’re mushrooming all over town! It’s like they’re invading the whole town with their pirated CDs and DVDs, Hongkong-made RTWs, made-in-china toys and so many more! Hehe. Just kidding.

But I know that I can’t stop or discourage any determined Filipino “moneyminder” like you, so if you’re planning to participate in a tiangge, then read on to find out how.

I was able to watch Go Negosyo Bigtime last time and they had this interview with the pretty Ms. (or Mrs.?) Heide Laurel, the PR Director of Apex Events. Eco, the host, asked some questions like:

Steps in participating in tiangges: “So ‘yong pinaka-first step na pinaka-importante talaga is your products. You have to make sure na there is variety and quantity, then after that, ‘yong pricing. (QUANTITY) means you have to have enough supplies to make up for your rental, your manpower, your gas, parking, lahat, ‘yun. Tapos, um, syempre ‘yung pricing, dapat ‘yung pricing mo appropriate sa target market mo.”

TIP: Consider your products. Includes the pricing of your product and the quantity you intend to sell.

"Tapos ‘yung second step mo, kailangan din ng research. So by research, ibig kong sabihin, you have to ask around, parang, ask other exhibitors, parang, how long has this company been organizing events, how credible are they, how, where did they, um, their previous events, ‘yun. So it’s better to ask around from other exhibitors then ‘yung feedback kung ok ba ‘yung event nila, madami bang tao, pinupuntahan ba?”

TIP: Do your research. Ask around to find out the credibility of the bazaar organizer. It is important to get feedback from other tenants about the bazaar organizer.

"Tapos hindi lang exhibitors, you also have to, um, ask shoppers, parang, start with your friends and family, itanong mo, parang, um, parang, kunyari sa parents mo, um, kunyari may bazaar, anu ‘yung pinaka-bazaar na favorite n’yo pag-Christmas, ‘yan, pagnag-name na ng mga venues, ibig sabihin most probably ‘yun ‘yong nakakarating sa mga, sa kanila na ads. So ‘yun ‘yong mga i-consider mo.”

TIP: Consider the shoppers. Consider the crowd. The products you plan to sell at the bazaar should suit the crowd and fit the season.

Requirements in participating in tiangges: “Hindi naman necessarily (to have a business permit), kasi usually, mga nagpa-participate sa bazaar mixture ng startup business, mga existing na na may stores, madami nang branch ‘yung iba, so actually ‘yung bazaar, parang, it’s like starting your own small business, kasi same mechanics lang siya, e, in a smaller scale lang.”

TIP: Apply and prepare your products for evaluation. Products will be screened by a product control team."

Requirements if you want to join through event organizers (like Apex Events): “For example you chose to join Apex events, the first thing you do is you have to apply. By applying, you just have to bring your sample products. Minsan, pero ‘yong mga normal exhibitors ok na ‘yon kasi familiar na kami sa products nila. Pero usually, pinapa-screen namin ‘yong products sa product control team para matulungan namin sila ma-assess, kunyari, itong items mo, designer clothes, dito ka bagay na event, ito maganda, pero suggestion lang naman ‘yon, parang, they’re free to choose naman kung (anu) gusto nila salihan. After n’un, fill out all the necessary requirements (which include the application form, a deposit slip and 2 valid IDs).”

Apex Events contact details (o, ha, free advertising dito, hehe):


5 Steps to Set Up your Tiangge Business

So here’s a review of the steps that you need to do to set up your tiangge business (the following were taken from the Go Negosyo Bigtime TV show, shown every 8:00AM, Saturdays and Sundays on Q TV): (note: I added my very own comments after each step)

1. Have a product or a service to offer at a tiangge. This one’s self-explanatory. But let’s tackle this anyway. I’m not at all an expert about tiangges (I’m just your ordinary Filipino neighbor trying to supplement his income from blogging, hehe:-)), but as what Ms. Heide said above, consider the quantity and variety of your products. Also important is the price of your products, which should be appropriate to your target market. This simply means that you can’t sell Sauerkraut Raviolis (what?) to a minimum-wage earner Aling Inday. Sell it to Doña Pipay! :-)

2. Find a bazaar you can participate in. The TV show (Go Negosyo) suggested that you look for bazaars in entrepreneur or business-oriented magazines. You can also ask event organizers like Apex Events for a list of bazaars. Of course, you can also harness the power of the Internet, search for bazaars using Google and other search engines.

3. Prepare all the requirements and prepare your products for retail. Like what was mentioned in the interview, prepare your application forms, IDs, deposit slips, etc.

4. Open your shop and advertise it. Once in, open your shop and advertise! Tell everyone you know. Let word-of-mouth do its thing. You can also make use of flyers, as suggested by Go Negosyo.

5. Review your expenses and calculate your sales. Reassess your business. Does your business fit well in a bazaar? Then, according to Go Negosyo, “go for it!” If not, then the show advised to “try other bazaars.”

Trivia: Number of times Ms. Heide mentioned the word “parang” in the interview : 7 times :-)

I hope this post was able to help you. If you found this post truly useful, please tell others about this post.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Be Hapee to Succeed!

Lamoiyan Corporation's CEO, Mr. Cecilio Pedro got interviewed last time on Go Negosyo Bigtime, and here are the highlights of that interview:

When asked about how Hapee toothpaste came to be:
“I was making aluminum tubes before for the multinational companies and then they decided to change from aluminum, ginawa nilang plastic laminated tubes. Instead of throwing away all my tubes, I decided to put toothpaste in my tubes and sell it as Hapee.”

When asked about how his company competes with multinational companies: “Multinational companies, just like any company in this world, are composed or are made up of people like us, so tao din ‘yan. Kung kaya nila, kaya rin natin. More so I believe that the Filipinos are world-class. Ang Pinoy ay world-class. What we have to do is to believe in the capabilities and the talents of the Filipinos to compete, not only here in the Philippines, but internationally.”

When asked about his company employing people with disabilities: “Alam n’yo po, we have about 25% of our work force come in from the hearing impaired. Tao din sila, just like you and me. Ang kakulangan lang nila, they cannot hear and they cannot speak. Other than that, they’re as good as you; they’re as world-class as any Filipino(s) in the world. Aside from providing jobs, we have a school for the deaf. (The company has 3 of these schools, one in Laguna, one Palawan and one Nueva Ecija.) What we do is we collect these deaf kids all over and provide free education to teach them basic sign language so that they can communicate and they can read and write. So, for those who qualify, after graduating from high school, they go to college, and we teach them to become teachers so that they can in turn go out and teach others. For those who cannot go to college, after finishing high school, we try to look for jobs. So in Lamoiyan, they are given first priority.”

When asked about what he thinks his company’s greatest accomplishment: “The greatest success of Lamoiyan is to survive in this very competitive market, the toothpaste industry. Competing with the best is like fighting, it’s like the story of David competing, fighting with Goliath. We are competing with the Goliaths of the industry. The fact that we’re still surviving after 20 years is God’s grace.”

When asked about his products being exported to other countries: “Oh yeah, we’re exporting now to Middle East, to Vietnam, we’re in Papa, Papua New Guinea. We’re also in Hawaii; we’re also in the States. And we’re proven, we are proving to the world that the Filipino product can be as good as any in the world.

When asked to give an inspiring message to Filipinos (particularly, “to budding entrepreneurs,” according to Eco): “So I want you guys to go out and become an entrepreneur. Look for a business, there are so many, so many opportunities out there. What you have to do is to accumulate a little capital, mag-ipon tayo, kahit kunti lang, kahit sari-sari store is doing so much to help the economy. Put up your own capital, put up your own store, generate employment by hiring some people to help you out. Be an entrepreneur. Go into business. Kahit walang trabaho, ok lang, gumawa kayo ng kunting negosyo, and by that way, starting with a very small capital, save, save and save. Don’t spend unnecessarily. Save as much as you can and invest your savings into business. Start a business. That’s the only way for you to help yourself, and help this country, the Philippines.”

SOURCE: Go Negosyo Big Time TV show (aired last Saturday, November 15, 2008)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Should You Quit Your Job to Start a Business?

Hi everyone. Here’s an advice given by Mr. Ping Sotto (I’m wondering what’s his real name, umm, *thinking*, Pong? Panfilo, as in Panfilo Lacson? How ‘bout Felix? Anyone knows?) on what path to choose – entrepreneurship or employment? Should you pursue a business or should you just look for a job? (This was taken from the “Magandang Business Advice” segment of GO NEGOSYO BIG TIME aired last Sunday, November 16, 2008.)

QUESTION: Ano pong mas advisable, mag-negosyo o maghanap na lang ng trabaho na medyo malaki ang bigay?


ANSWER:

Napakagandang tanong mo, ang tanong d’yan na sinasabi mo, entrepreneurship ba, or employment? Mag-nenegosyo ba ako o magiging empleyado?’Yan po ang kadalasang sitwasyon ng ating mga kababayan. ‘Yan po ang tinatawag nating “tyranny of the ore,” tyranny of the ore, negosyo, empleyado? Dapat po, instead of tyranny of the ore, embrace the genius of the head. Empleyado may negosyo. ‘Di po ba, bakit kailangang umalis sa opisina para mag-negosyo? In fact, para ‘dun sa ating mga fresh graduates, umpisahan natin sa fresh graduates, ang aking advice sa inyo, no, is, get good grades, study well, no, kagaya ng last segment, sinabi natin, no, choose pay now, because, a, it will lead to greater pleasure, no. So, kapag ika’y empleyado na, ‘yung una mong dapat gawin ay mag-impok. Dapat, habang ika’y empleyado, mag-save ka ng mag-save. Ang tawag ‘dun ay “pay yourself first,” no. Kung sa tingin mo ay pwede kang magtipid ka kaagad ng isang libo, itabi mo kaagad ‘yun. Kung kinaya mong nabuhay ng walang isang libo, dagdagan mo, gawin mong dalawang libo. Kung hindi man ‘yun naging successful, meron ka pa namang employment to go back to. Bakit kailangan tumalon ka na nang wala ka pa namang parachute? Kailangan, kapagka-successful na ‘yung iyong negosyo, at napipigilan ang paglaki dahil ang oras mo’y nakatali sa pagiging empleyado, d’un ka mag-resign. Pero, ngayon, a, ‘yung iba nating mga kasama sa buhay, no, matagal na matagal nang nag-empleyado, tapos, ang (isusugal?) ‘yung kanilang retirement pay, na hindi pa nagtry ng kahit anung negosyo habang sila’y empleyado. Ngayon, ang matatanggap na retirement pay – isang daang libo, dalawandaan libo, tatlong daang libo, isusugal mo sa negosyo? Pag-natalo, wala ka nang employment na babalikan, retired ka na, e. So ang pag-nenegosyo habang ika’y empleyado. Hindi ‘yun ginagawa kapag katapos ka na pagka-empleyado, habang ika’y employed pa, mag-ipon ka, sumubok, kung hindi maging successful, meron babalikan pang employment that pays you (on the) 15th and 30th of the month. Para sa mga bata ngayon, get good grades, get a good job, save, and then, try your hand at business early on in the game. It’s never this or that, but the key is, employment and entrepreneurship.

- Ping Sotto

Tips, tips, tips (a summary): Should you put up a business or should you look for a job? Here are Mr. Ping’s suggestions:

1. Get a job and put up a business. Like what Mr. Ping said, “it’s never this or that, but the key is, employment AND entrepreneurship.” I agree. But for those who don’t have a job like me, I want you to think that “having a job” is just one option, “creating a job” is another. It’s just that, here in the Philippines, the second option is not as popular as the first one. We Filipinos would rather work for someone, for an employer. I guess it’s because it’s the easier and more comfortable way to go through life. As for me, I am taking a different route; I am taking the not-so-travelled path of going into business (after working for quite sometime). I’m not saying that I’m successful now, but I will be, with God’s help. I don’t have an employer now, but I have 2 small rakets (a small business and this blog, yes, this blog).

I really don’t know who this Tony Lopez (but I can always google him) is, but I was able to read one of his articles posted on the Manila Times website last October 4, 2008, and in that article, he mentioned this line: “If you cannot find work, create it.” I know it’s easier said than done, but we just have to try. (I did a little research and found out that he has this blog “Biznewsasia.” Here’s the URL: http://lopezbiznewsasia.blogspot.com

2. Get good grades, study well, and get a good job. I’m sure that Mr. Ping has already read Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” book, but I guess, what Mr. Ping just wants to say is, it’s better to have a job. And it’s never wrong to have a job. In my opinion, I repeat, just an opinion, not everyone is an entrepreneur by nature (yes, I know, entrepreneurs are made, they’re not born), and so not everyone can put up and run a successful business. It’s still better to have some qualifications slash credentials. Unless you have an existing family business, I think it’s more advisable to get a job first and save, and later, put up a business. Or do both, a job and a business, at the same time.

3. Save. Such a powerful word, “save.” Especially now that recession has taken place in many parts of the world. I read an article that gave one tip when you’ve lost your job due to recession: Conserve your cash! Conserve your cash! Cash is king!

Mr. Ping advised to save, save and save. But don’t save too much to the point of turning into a Mr. Scrooge. (I wonder who ever first came up with the idea of saving. I mean, people save something when they know that that something has very limited supply, right?)

If you have a job, save. By the way, did you know that Mr. JG Summit Chairman Emeritus said this: “If I have ten pesos, I spend only one peso and save the nine pesos. That was how I ploughed back my profits. I spend very little and save a lot.” Wow! How ‘bout that? Being Mr. JG Summit Chairman Emeritus’ fan, I guess I am on the right track. When I was still working, I had this boardmate (who was also a workmate) who introduced me into this wonderful world of business and money (he was a management graduate). I was not a “saver” then, I was your ordinary slash typical Pinoy young adult, though not really a “spender,” I was not a “saver.” :-) But now, I know how to save, and I know why I SHOULD save. In my opinion, the reason why some Filipinos don’t save is that they don’t see any point in saving. They don’t have any “real” reason to save. I mean, we first must have a goal in life, and to me, I think not all of us have goals in life, meaningful goals, that is. (I’m not saying that I have a meaningful goal in life, I just have a goal.)

Trivia: Did you know that, according to a Yale University study, “save” is one of the most powerful words in English.

4. Don’t be a retirement-pay gambler. This one’s for the old folks (or the young ones who’ve made it a goal to retire young, like Kiyosaki). Mr. Ping said not to gamble your retirement pay if you’ve never had business before. I’m not really sure if I should agree with Mr. Ping. I guess, what the retirees should do, if they’re planning to put up a business, is not to spend all of their retirement pay. It doesn’t hurt to put up a small business – first, right? You don’t need to spend all of your money into business, you know? And why should they dream to become big-timers? They are retirees; they’ve already worked and worked for decades. If they ever planned to become big-timers, they should have invested in business when they were much younger. They’re supposed to enjoy their time now. Why should they be working so seriously on a business when they’ve retired, and tired, already? But I know this is not the case for everyone. There are retirees who want adventure; they want to do something great. Although I’m not an expert, I guess, what they should do is start with something that they like, something that they love. Perhaps a hobby.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How to Successfully Manage Your Business Budget - Budget Tips from Mr. Chinky Tan

NOTE: This article is long (over 1400 words) and many sentences are written in Tagalog. If you don’t have time to read it now, feel free to bookmark it or print it out for later. And if you can’t understand Tagalog, I suggest that you read my summary (it’s in English!) at the end of this post.

“Paano ba mag-budget para hindi maapektuhan ang capital na pinapaikot natin sa ating negosyo?,” asked Eco, one of the hosts of GO NEGOSYO BIG TIME, a must-see business – oriented show on Q TV, shown on weekend mornings.

Perhaps you may have asked yourself this question. Well, if you want to know, read on to find out, as Mr. Chinky (I’m not sure of the spelling) Tan (who looks like Michael V.), a former TV host, a GO NEGOSYO mentor, and the author of the best-selling book “’Til Death Do as Part,” talks about how to effectively budget your money so you’ll have your own business budget, apart from your home budget.

So let’s start.


HOST: Meron po bang formula that we should follow pagdating sa pagba-budget para hindi ma-compromise ‘yung ating budget sa negosyo sa budget natin sa bahay?

MR. TAN: Yan, ang prinsipyo behind it is, number one, h’wag nating isasama ang pera sa negosyo sa pampamilya. So, kung may pera ka pang-negosyo, capital mo ‘yan, itatabi mo ‘yan. Pagka-pumasok ang income, itatabi mo ‘yung income panggastos pero h’wag mong hahawakan ang ‘yung puhunan, kasi kailangan nating maintindihan ang prinsipyo na, walang tao ang kakain ng kanyang binhi, ‘di ba ‘yung seed, you sow the seed and you will reap, e pero pag ikaw magsasaka ka, dumating ‘yung binhi, ang ginawa mo kinain mo ‘yung binhi, ubos na, wala kang isasaka, wala kang aanihin.

HOST: Pero Chinky, kung minsan nagyayari kasi ‘yung tipong na-short na ang capital mo, hindi umikot, maraming umutang sa’yo, would you actually advise the Bigtimers out there na kumuha ng pera nila from the family budget?

MR. TAN: Ang problema naman pagkukunin mo naman sa family budget mo, what will happen is, hindi mo na muna mababayaran ang mga pangangailangan mo, so I would really suggest talaga, just be disciplined, know how much you need for your family, and know how much you need for business, and then separate it.

HOST: Well, you know what, as an entrepreneur naman, lalo na pag-Pinoy, medyo financial crisis daw ngayon, sabi nila, one of the challenges is, of course, kunyari ganun na nga ang set-up mo Chinky, magkahiwalay ang negosyo, magkahiwalay rin ‘yung sa pamilyang budget, what’s the best tip para mapalago mo ‘yun para sa negosyo mo?

MR. TAN: I think the best way for you is to find a business that you really love to do. One thing that people do not understand pagdating sa negosyo, in order for you to be profitable, there are only three things, kung gusto niyo isulat n’yo ito. Para kumita ka ng malaki, ang kailangan mo lang dito ay, number (1) low overhead, number (2) low overhead, number (3) low overhead. Most of the Chinese, they become successful because they have low overhead, ang sekreto hindi ‘yung gaanu kalaki ang kita mo, ang sekreto ay kung gaanu kalaki ang lumalabas na pera mo. Kahit malaki ang income mo, malaki rin ang lumalabas, ‘yung overhead mo, pantay lang. Pero kung maliit lang ang income pero maliit ang overhead, malaki pa rin ang income.

HOST: Pero Sir Chinky, anung mai-a-advise n’yo sa ‘min, like for example, e syempre kailangan nating mag-improve ng ating products and services, kailangan nating i-improve, kunwari ang ating tindahan, magre-renovate tayo, magdadagdag tayo ng products and services, e medyo tipid na tayo sa budget, kung baga, cost-cutting muna tayo kasi nagamit na natin e, anu po ‘yung magandang i-advise natin sa kanila?

MR. TAN: I would wait, until such time, the business model is really working, talagang kumikita na, that’s the time you expand, kasi ang mga iba kasi, masyadong ideal ba, wala pa ngang proven system, proven business o proven product, e gusto na n’ya agad bigtime. So minsan ang nangyayari, big loss, hindi big profit. So, be willing to start small, every millionaire, every tycoon that I have met, started with peso. Sa maliliit na kita, pa-barya-barya. Nung lumaki na, lumalakas ang confidence, that’s the time they start investing.

HOST: And you know what Chinky, napag-usapan na nga natin ‘yung start, ‘yung, anu ba ‘yung dapat na set-up pag-nagsisimula ka? When is the right time for, kung baga, ‘yung gains na nakuha mo ‘yung negosyo, ibuhos mo naman sa family budget mo?

MR. TAN: That’s a good question. Parati ang sinasabi ko sa tao, it’s not how much money you make, but it’s how much money you save. Kahit malaki ang income mo, pero malaki rin ang gastos mo, e wala rin ‘di ba? Basta ang tip ko sa inyo, pagka-kumita kaagad h’wag mong immediately i-change ang lifestyle mo. Kasi magandang tanong ‘yan e, minsan kasi sumasabay, ‘di ba? Kumita nga ng malaki, e malaki rin ang gastos, patas lang siya. So, normally, ang principle na ginagawa ko dati, when I was still single, whenever I earn, 50% I save, 25% I spend and 25% I plow it back to the business. It may work for me, but it may not work for other people. The proportion or percentage may differ from any kind of people, pero ang prinsipyo kailangang ihati mo sa tatlo, meron kang sini-save, meron kang pang-negosyo, binabalik mo, meron ka namang pang-gastos. So ang tip ko talaga is h’wag baguhin ang lifestyle pag-kumikita. Maintain the income level for 6 months, kung consistent ba ‘yung income mo, that’s the time that you, dadagdagan mo. Encouragement ko sa lahat ng nakikinig is, start saving right now, and then number two, don’t get into debt as much as possible. Kung may utang ka, ito ang encouragement ko sa’yo, magbayad ka ng utang pakunti-kunti. Always remember, in paying off your debt, it’s not the amount that’s more important, it’s your willingness to pay.

HERE’S A SUMMARY OF CHINKY’S TIPS ON BUDGETTING:
(I added some of my own comments/opinion)

1. Have a separate budget. Always separate the money that’s intended for business and never combine it with your home/family budget.

2. Reinvest. Whenever you make a profit, always set aside a certain amount of that money and plow it back to your business. Always put in mind to reinvest.

3. Whenever tempted, have discipline. Always make sure to know how much money is needed for your business, how much money you need for your home budget, and separate the two. This is similar to the first tip.

4. Keep a low overhead. The principle here is, it’s not how much you earn from your business, it’s how much money goes out of your business. There’s no point in having high earnings when you also have high expenditures.

5. Start small. Don’t be hasty to expand your business. It’s important that you have a very strong foundation, and that you know the ins and outs of your business first before thinking of expanding it. Be willing to learn the lessons and take the challenges that will come your way as you grow your business.

6. Start saving right now. You see, it’s not how much money you make, but it’s all about how much money you save.

7. Don’t get into debt as much as possible. And in paying off your debt, if you have one (who doesn’t?), remember this, it’s not the amount that’s important; what’s important is your willingness to pay.

I guess that’s about it for now. Until then, always think of how you can help our country by creating jobs and by being our own employer, instead of looking for one. Let me also add, we Filipinos need to change our mindset towards work/jobs. In my opinion, most Filipinos are lazy thinkers. We’re not going to make any headway if we’ll always think of getting a comfortable job, and by being employees all our lives. As the great John Gokongwei, Jr. once put it, “Entrepreneurship is the answer. We need young people who will find the idea, grab the opportunity, take risk, and set aside comfort to set up businesses that will provide jobs. If you dream of creating something great, do not let a 9-to-5 job – even a high-paying one lull you into a complacent life. Let that high-paying job propel you towards entrepreneurship instead.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

5 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Human–Friendly

NOTE: This post is quite long. I recommend that if you don’t have time to read this now, feel free to bookmark this, or print this out for later.

Blogs. They’re all around us. This thing you’re reading, this is my blog. Everyone seems to be in the blogging business these days. I have read so many blog posts on the Web about how can bloggers make money out of blogging. I have also noticed that so many bloggers are blogging solely to make money, and not to create useful content. I still believe though in the power of great content. That’s why I wrote this entry. With all those big blogs out there being made with search-engine-or-advertiser friendliness in mind, how can we make our blogs different? I mean, it’s not that we don’t like search engines, or advertisers (I also want to make money from this little blog in the future) what concerns me more is, how can we make our blogs more human – friendly? It is we, humans, after all, who read blogs.

I came up with the following list, and I hope they could be of help to you.


1. Content is king. Yep, nothing beats quality content. It’s what people look for in blogs, and it’s what search engines love. It’s what makes people want to go out and “vote,” “digg,” or “bookmark” your blog. Write something useful. Write something informative. A simple How-to article would be great. But don’t just write any how-to, write about something you love. If you love, let’s say, computers, write something like, “How to Perform Simple Networking Between Computers,” or if you’re into gardening, “How to Take Care of Cattleya Orchids.” Make your blog useful. Write something you know that you want to share with the rest of the world. Here’s my tip: Everytime you sit down to write your next blog entry, always ask yourself, “Will this, in some way, help my readers?”

2. Make your blog look like a Web 2.0 site. Just how do you make a Web 2.0 – looking blog? Simple. Check out examples of Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, Feedburner, Twitter, or Digg, and be a copy-cat. Try to copy some ideas that they have on their sites (but never copy their website content). Let’s study the interface. What do you notice? Here’s what I notice, they:

• Use large fonts – Do you notice that most of them use slightly larger fonts than usual? Do you know why? Well, the reason is obvious – accessibility. Like these Web giants, you can make your blog more accessible by first considering your readers. It won’t hurt to be reader-centric, you know. Be aware of their needs. Ask several of your friends to critique your blog. You can’t expect all your visitors to be young and have perfect 20/20 vision, you know. For you to have a larger number of visitors, use larger font sizes. Remember, you’re not really writing for web-bots, you are writing for humans.

• Use short and simple sentences. If Hemingway was able to do it, so can you. Make your content easier to understand. Use short and simple sentences as much as possible, especially if you own a “technical” blog. If say, you’re a rocket scientist and you own a blog about “rocket science,” not everyone will be able to understand your content. Strive to make it more interesting for lay people. How? Simplify, simplify, simplify. Yes, I know, it can be a great deal of work, but people will thank you for your effort.

• Use a simple clean layout. Many people want to have professional-looking blogs, yet they fail to act like professionals. Some bloggers only want to monetize their blogs, and nothing more. They place several annoying ads on their page, flashy distracting images, etc. Is that being professional? Better use a simple, clean layout for your blog. But don’t oversimplify things; you don’t want a boring blog. Again, ask your friends to critique your blog.

• Place vector-like images. Just what do I mean by “vector-like” images? Check out Twitter, or Wordpress and you will know. If you’ve used Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or the open-source software Inkscape (which I used to create the banner images for this blog), you already know what vector images are. Vector images are so clean to look at. I think Darren Rowse (of Problogger) also uses vector images which he converts into common graphic formats like PNG, JPG, or BMP, and places them in his blog posts. But I’m not sure.

• Use short catchy phrases. Check out Feedburner (e.g."Our name is Feedburner"), Digg (e.g."We've given our Digg shop a facelift...") or Wordpress (e.g. "takes seconds, cost nada," or "we kill spam dead") and you will know what I mean. Catchy phrases make your blog more reader-friendly. ‘Nuf said. :-)

3. Don’t create too many “useless” links. I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea to provide your readers with links that they can go to for additional info; creating “links” after all, is the idea behind the Web technology. But don’t provide too many “useless” links that they become very distracting to your readers. Provide real helpful links. Your blog is not a web portal. Your purpose is to get and keep your readers. You have good content, and you want people to read them. You don’t want your blog driving traffic to other blogs. Make other blogs drive traffic to yours. Again, the key here is to have great content. (I don’t like the idea of blogs exchanging links with each other solely to increase their search engine rankings.)

4. Don’t make a “Trojan Horse” blog. The keyword here is “trust.” Strive to build a trustworthy blog and a trustworthy you. How? Tell people exactly what your blog is about. No hidden agenda whatsoever. No scams. Don’t fool your readers into thinking something that you or your blog is not. Don’t make big promises and claims if they aren’t true. Don’t use your blog as a marketing guinea pig. Create great content. Just be real to your readers.

5. Set proper expectations. I got this idea from Steve Pavlina, and from my previous job. When we were to deal with customers, we were told by the company to always set proper expectations first. Tell your readers beforehand what they are about to read. If your post is long, tell them. If your post has adult content, tell them. If your post has several technical terms or jargons, (and you can’t provide all the help) tell them to do some Google searches for additional info. It’s similar to what happens when a TV program starts, we often see this: “Some scenes are not suitable for young audiences, parental guidance is advised.” Just let your readers know. They will appreciate it. (An example is this post, and my very first post – How to Become an Innovative Entrepreneur.)

I hope that this post was able to help you in your quest towards “blog excellence.” If you found this truly helpful, please tell others to read this post also. Thank you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How to Lessen Your Fear of Business Failure

NOTE: This article is quite long (over 700 words) and some parts are written in Tag-lish (combination of Tagalog and English). If you don’t have time to read it now, feel free to bookmark it or print it out for later. And if you can’t understand Tagalog, then you can go directly and read my summary (in English).

Most of us, especially those who have never had business before, and are just starting now, are always troubled by fear of business failure. Some people never even get to start a business because of this. Luckily, there are ways to lessen those fears. Read on.


I was able to watch Pax Lapid on GO NEGOSYO BIG TIME, and he talked about the 3 ways that we can do to lessen our fear of failure. He was asked by a woman for advice, because she was worried that her would-be business (together with a friend) may only lead to failure. And this was Pax’s advice:

Pax Lapid: “Tama ang pangamba mo, pero mas importante ‘dun, Aling Ernita (name of the woman), p’wede kang matulungan ng GO NEGOSYO BIG TIME. Ang aking advice sa’yo is that, you’re fear of failure, tinatawag nating fear ng pagkalugi ay p’wede natin maiwasan or mabawasan sa tatlong bagay, either START ONE TIME – pumasok ka ng bazaar lalo’t palapit na tayo sa Christmas. May mga bazaar d’yan so p’wede mong testingin lang muna, so start one time. Or START PART-TIME – hindi buong-buo agad ang gagawin mong pag-negosyo, p’wedeng pa-part-time-part-time ka lang, meron ka pa rin ‘yung regular mong trabaho or regular mong pinagkakakitaan. And then, START SMALL TIME – dream big, sinabi natin, but start small. Tama ‘yung iyong pananaw na mag-partner muna kayo ni kumare mo, if you can start one time, or you can start part-time or start small time muna, siguradong mababawasan or matatanggal ang iyong pangamba para malugi sa uumpisahan mo. So having said that, a, I wish success in your entreventure, a, this is Dean Pax Lapid once more, manood po ulit kayo next time, kung anuman ang mga questions n’yo, padala n’yo lang sa atin dito sa GO NEGOSYO BIG TIME. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.”

SUMMARY: How to Lessen Your Fear of Business Failure

Mr. Pax suggested 3 ways that we can do to lessen our fear of business failure (I added my very own comments at every suggestion). They are:

1. Start one time. Test the water first, don’t plunge right away into having a brick-and-mortar business. You can join bazaars or trade fairs first. Participating in such activities will not only help you gain understanding of the products that other people are selling, or the products that consumers are buying, it will also give you opportunities to come in contact with your would-be target market, and of course, very important, you can network with other businesses.

2. Start part-time. If you’re not yet confident with your would-be business, then you can start part-time first. This way, it’s less risky on your part. You can continue working with your day-time job, but at the same time, while you’re doing business part-time, you’ll slowly gain experience running your business, and this will eventually help you gain more confidence in yourself and in your business. If you’re already confident with your business then you can go full-time.

3. Start small time. Starting small time is a very nice way to start a business if you don’t have a big capital, and are not yet confident that the business will succeed. And even if you have the capital to put up a very large business, if it’s your first time to run one, then I recommend going small-time first. Like what Pax said, “Dream big, start small.” Like what I’ve mentioned in my other posts, don’t be in a haste to grow your business, you need to have a very strong foundation first in order to succeed. And that “foundation” can only be strengthened by years of hard work and experience. And what is this “foundation” that I’m talking about?

Well, this “foundation” is your knowledge. If I may also add, in my opinion, one can lessen his fear by becoming educated. Know your business. Know the ins and outs of your industry. Know how to properly and effectively manage your money first. Knowledge can be your priceless asset. And remember, knowledge is power. Invest first in your education. Know what you’re getting into. This way, you’ll be able to manage your business effectively, increase your self-confidence, and eventually, lessen your fear of failure.

But really, in my opinion, the question that we should be asking our selves is, “What can I do to boost my self-confidence?” instead of, “How can I conquer my fear of failure?”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mario Sanchez’s “WHAT BUSINESS TO GET INTO?”

I don’t have any Mario Sanchez book, though I would really love to have one, or two, or three – for free. Hehehe. Frankly, I didn’t know who this Mario Sanchez was just until this week, when he guested on Shoptalk with Pia Hontiveros, although I think I must have seen his face, or his books at the National Bookstore. Hmmmm *thinking*

Yes, I think I’ve seen his books, although at that time, I was more into Bo Sanchez’s books, so I never bothered to check out Mario’s books, or any other books. Wait a minute, what’s this – Bo SANCHEZ and Mario SANCHEZ? Are these guys related?

Well, anyway, it’s time to get down to blogging business, so here we go. This post will be about Mario’s “WHAT BUSINESS TO GET INTO?” It’s not actually about the different businesses that you can go into, it’s only a list of questions that you can ask yourself to have better idea on what business to pursue. Frankly, I am not sure if the following are Mario’s; I only saw them being flashed on my TV screen while Mario was talking to Pia Hontiveros. Hehehe. So let’s start.


1. LOOK INTO YOUR PAST – Look into my past? Why? (NOTE: Not advisable for those who have been abused as a child. Hehehe. Just kidding.) Perhaps Mario wants us to look back and have an idea on our past interests, the things that we’ve engaged in, the things that we found we love doing, the things we found we were good at, etc. This, of course, will prove helpful by giving us ideas on what business to put up today. Everyone, if given a chance, would want to put up something he/she loves doing, plus knowing the things that he/she’s good at, he/she’ll be able to assess, or come up with a decision on what business to start.

2. WHAT SKILLS OR SERVICES DO YOU KNOW? – This one’s a no-brainer. Do you know how to fix cars? How ‘bout fixing computers? Do you have a green-thumb? Do you know how to make clothes or bags? As long as you know or have skills on something, definitely you can build a business out of your talent/skills/gift. You’re more likely to succeed if you enjoy what you’re doing.

3. WHAT BUSINESSES ARE YOUR FRIENDS/RELATIVES ENGAGED IN? – Because they can help you. You’ll have an idea on what businesses they’re into, how they running their businesses, how successful they are at it, what were the common problems that they’ve encountered, and how did they deal with the challenges? Running your own business can be tough, that’s why their advice, tips, and guidance may prove valuable, or even priceless, to you.

4. WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO LEARN? – It’s a tough question to answer (for me). I think what needs to be answered first is, “Are you willing to learn?” Like what I’ve said, running a business can be tough. Are you willing to go the extra mile? What are you willing to learn? Experience, of course, is the best teacher, but most of the time, learning from experience is the hardest. Are you willing to take on the hard lessons?

How to Become an Innovative Entrepreneur

NOTE: This article is very long (over 3100 words) and some parts are written in Tag-lish (combination of Tagalog and English). If you don’t have time to read it now, feel free to bookmark it or print it out for later. And if you can’t understand Tagalog, then you can go directly and read my summary (in English).

Sometimes, in our fast changing world, it’s not enough to become just businessmen/women. Sometimes, we have to become “innovative entrepreneurs” to succeed. What is “innovation?” What do we mean by “innovative entrepreneur?” And how do we become one?
"When you invent, you create something new. When you innovate, you turn an idea into something of value."
- Bam Aquino

Above are Bam Aquino’s words as he opened up his show, “Start Up” last Thursday. He interviewed Mark Ruiz (of Microventures) and Brian Quebengco (of Innovent) to give us an idea of what is “innovation” and why should we strive to become “innovators.”


(START)

BAM AQUINO: Tonight, we’ll talk about how entrepreneurs can become innovators with Mark Ruiz of Microventures and Brian Quebengco of Innovent. Good evening to both of you.

INTERVIEWEES: Good evening also.

BAM AQUINO: Of course, Mark, my business partner in a number of things, but Mark, aside from that, you’re also part of Innovent as the Chief Marketing Innovator. Ok, that’s big title to have, right?

MARK RUIZ: Innoventor.

BAM AQUINO: Innoventor? And of course, Innovent is in Industrial Design, prides itself in being innovative, so let me throw the first question. A, how important is it to innovate these days, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a company, how important is innovation?

MARK RUIZ: Yeah, well, basically if you look at a lot of businesses right now, they’re all beginning to look the same, because you know, culturally, Filipinos, they love copying and pasting.

BAM AQUINO: The lechon-manok phenomenon!

MARK RUIZ: The lechon-manok phenomenon, for example, ‘di ba? So kung baga, parang, in a market or in an industry where people are just basically copying each other then basically there’s no sense of differentiation. What happens is that, the value, kung baga, the price becomes eroded, so there’s less value, really, as more competition comes in, and everybody’s the same, so innovation, for entrepreneurs is really important because it allows you to find something different, something new. And that’s basically it.

BAM AQUINO: So you have to set yourself apart. Is that it?

MARK RUIZ: Exactly! ’Cause that can be a marketing (strategy?), you just say, “I’ll be different.”, say, green lechon-manok for example, but that’s not necessarily an innovation. Innovation is looking for value, if everybody’s doing lechon-manok, lechon-manok, then you have to go back to the consumers and ask, “What else is missing? What other needs are not being met?” If we’re talking about the lechon-manok or food, “What are the other things around that space that people can innovate on?”

BAM AQUINO: So you’ll look at particular, particular group of things or people or product, and you’re saying, “I need to be something that gives more value than what’ already there, right?” With Innovent, Brian, you create things, so you’re an Industrial Design firm, so it’s just not a matter of the business (planning?) innovative; you actually have to have physical innovative things, right? Ok, is that difficult to always be, to have physically innovative things all the time, or different designs all the time?

BRIAN QUEBENGCO: In the beginning, yes, it’s quite a challenge, but when we got into, we, it does come naturally if you have the right people. Um, innovation also starts with having the right chemistry of people, the right people thinking of, like, “What if, what if we do this?” So thinking of crazy ideas.

BAM AQUINO: So kailangan malikot talaga rin ang utak mo to be innovative. So give us an example, with Innovent, how does innovation happen exactly?

BRIAN QUEBENGCO: A, well, we don’t believe in steps or process. We believe in a philosophy, and, one thing that we always share with the client is that, “give us a problem that you’re having a hard time solving, and we’ll come in and solve it through design.” And that’s how we create innovation for our clients.

BAM AQUINO: Ok. Can you give us an example on how Innovent has actually innovated something for clients?

BRIAN QUEBENGCO: Yea, sure, well, because of the non-disclosure agreements I’ll just use the word, Company X. So Company X asked us, they had a problem that they had for 2 years trying to create a system for PWDs – People with Disability to empower them. So they gave the brief, and it was a big problem that we have to solve. And what we did was, we immersed ourselves with the people at Tahanan na Walang Hagdanan, and also the blind community, we visited them, asked them questions, and because of our probing, we were able to get insights and we were able to solve the problem.

BAM AQUINO: How did the problem solve, exactly?

BRIAN QUEBENGCO: Well, basically, some key insights, for instance, for the blind was that, they wanted, they actually wanted to walk in the mall by themselves. So we also realized that they use plastic pads to touch and feel. So we created system that incorporated the designed product that what we did inside the mall, that would act as a beacon for them.

BAM AQUINO: Parang guide.

BRIAN QUEBENGCO: Guide exactly, and they were very excited about it. We actually went to them, showed them the mock-up that we did, we made them feel it, we explained the system again, and they were just so excited they couldn’t wait to go to the mall by themselves.

BAM AQUINO: Ok. Mark in your classes, I know you teach innovation also, are there exercises to get people to be more innovative?

MARK RUIZ: Well, one of the most practical really is, actually very simple; it’s the art of observation. And that’s really one of the most important exercises I ask my students to do, because observation really, a, innovation, sometimes comes from simple observations from the world around us. ‘Cause a lot of the time, when we draw inspiration, we sort of just try to draw it from inside us. But if you wanna be innovative, then you have to be grounded in what, you know, people are doing. So just learn to observe every day, everyday simple acts, ok, and then try to notice trends and patterns. It’s really very that simple, it’s just looking at everyday occurrences, but with a deeper lens, I mean, just try to ask yourself, “What’s going on in these everyday scene?”

BAM AQUINO: And how can I make life easier for everybody, right?

MARK RUIZ: Exactly.

BAM AQUINO: And if you’re an entrepreneur, how can I make money out of that, too.

MARK RUIZ: Exactly. So then that’s the next question…

BAM AQUINO: In your classes, for example, are there exercises like, do you ask your students to just go out and observe things and write things up?

MARK RUIZ: Yeah, actually, I have a whole exercise, one whole afternoon, all they have to do is basically go around the campus, and they’re armed, you know, now in this day and age, camera phones, digital cameras. So they take all these photos, we go back to class, we process them and just look at the pictures, so “What’s going on here? What’s going on here? What’s going on here? And what could we invent? What could we innovate around what’s going on here?” So it’s very simple, I mean, look at the world around you.

BAM AQUINO: So everyone can be an innovator?

MARK RUIZ: Well, it takes a certain mindset, actually to be an innovator, because you know, it would be unfair to say that everybody is an innovator, but it takes a certain mindset to really want to create something new, and want to create of higher value, actually to be an innovator.

BAM AQUINO: Ok, what will you say to be the, maybe, a local and international examples of really great innovations that we experience these days?

MARK RUIZ: The sad fact is, if you think, international, it’s so easy to come with a lot of examples, of course right now, the whole phenomenon of Web 2.0, social media. These are innovations because, who would have imagined these things 10 years ago, just talk about Facebook, about MySpace, Multiply, all of these things, you know…

BAM AQUINO: You know, in fact, if you would ask somebody, would you want to see videos of common people up on the Net 10 years ago, they probably would say, “I wouldn’t wanna watch regular people put on the Net, but now, YouTube’s like the biggest thing, right?

MARK RUIZ: And innovation is exactly that, you can never predict, a, you know, YouTube, Facebook, things you don’t find out in a FGD when you ask consumers what they want. This is something that you actually, just sort of try to see, and try to understand as patterns, and I guess, what was going on was, the people invented these tools, these web-based tools, just so that, the latent need was really for people to connect with each other, and they just basically created web presence.

BAM AQUINO: So, like YouTube is an innovation of both the Internet and media, per se, right?

MARK RUIZ: Absolutely.

BAM AQUINO: Ok. How ‘bout local? ‘Cause when we’re talking earlier, you had a difficult time looking for local example.

MARK RUIZ: Well, that’s the sad part of it, it’s really, if you really think about its examples, it’s a little bit harder to actually think of, well, one that actually comes to mind is Chikka, a few years back when they came out, Chikka web-based, you know, messenger platform, and you know, actually predated the Yahoo Messenger sending-through-text. So that’s an easy example, but I guess now, it’s a bit of a challenge. I asked my students to research on that also, and it’s either really funky inventions by Filipinos that can’t be really used or, um, that’s a challenge. But I guess, there’s a lot of space in outsourcing, I think, I think a lot of Filipinos are creating new business models serving foreign clients. Um, retail, I think is also a place, a space wherein companies are innovating. You look at Greenbelt 5, wherein, or, even, you know, that whole Greenbelt area, that’s an entire experience in itself. And I’d like to call that an “experience innovation,” so like Starbucks, they invent there…

BAM AQUINO: So it’s not your usual mall already, right?

MARK RUIZ: Yeah. That’s probably a good example on that space.

BAM AQUINO: Ok. With regard to Filipinos, is it because, anu ba, hindi ba tayo magaling mag-innovate? I mean, you’re saying, local examples are hard to come by. Filipinos and innovation is it, it’s not a natural fit or there is an issue in it?

MARK RUIZ: No, I think Brian and I would want to answer that. Let me just, I’ll give my 2 cents. I think Filipinos are afraid of risk. Um, and to be innovative, you have to be a little bit risky, I mean, first step. Filipinos don’t wanna be, aren’t natural entrepreneurs sometimes, so it’s a challenge for them to, they’d rather work for companies, rather than being entrepreneurs, so that’s a hurdle. Now second hurdle is, “Ok, I’ve decided to become an entrepreneur…”

BAM AQUINO: Gagayahin ko ‘yung sa other side…

MARK RUIZ: Exactly, so that’s the second hurdle. It’s what kind of business do I wanna be in and again, ‘yung parang, aversion of, to risk, of Filipinos, would say, “Ok, I’m gonna be an entrepreneur, I want to start my own business, let me just copy what other guys are doing.” So I think it’s not risk aversion, of Filipinos…

BAM AQUINO: So how do we get out of it? How do we get out of this? Brian give me the last word. How do we get out being a, you know, not innovative, basically, how do you become innovative?

BRIAN QUEBENGCO: Well, I think, to just be fair as well, there are small pockets of Filipinos who are innovative. It’s just that we have to reach that tipping point where, all these people and their efforts will be seen. We need more heroes. So that we could show examples to other Filipinos who are, like Mark said, less risk averse, and maybe we can inspire more Filipinos to do it, but we require those pockets of few Filipinos who are already doing it now.

BAM AQUINO: All right, Brian and Mark, thank you very much. Maraming-maraming salamat. We hope that more of our viewers will be inspired to be innovative by this interview.

(END)

SUMMARY: How to Become an Innovative Entrepreneur

So how do we become innovative entrepreneurs? The program gave us 7 tips. Here they are: (I added my comments after each tip)

1. Find a new way of looking at products. Set yourself apart. The country that comes to mind is Japan. Japan is so innovative. I prefer to call them the “innovation nation.” It’s like the Japanese people are always thinking of new ways to do something. They’re always striving to create something different, something unique, and sometimes, even something odd. Examples would be the Nintendo Wii, the EPSON projector that can project movie images to the ceiling so you can watch movies even while lying in bed, automated toilet bowls, robots, and so many more. I remember one tech-reporter who was asked to describe Japan. His answer was, “it’s where the future happens.” And I absolutely agree. I don’t know why, but do they have some special kind of DNA that we don’t have? Hehehe.

2. Look for new value. Identify the needs of your market. This reminds me the ballpen brand PILOT. I didn’t know that they’re a Japanese brand until they got featured on NHK (a Japanese TV network). They came up with this very unique pen that has an ink that can you can erase using heat. You’ll just have to rub the other end of the ballpen on the paper and the friction will generate heat that will cause the ink to dissipate. It was an amazing product. But what’s more amazing is that, this company knows how to value and identify the needs and preferences of their market. For example, from time to time, one of their employees would visit school supplies stores and quietly observe what their customers are buying, the color of ballpens that their customers prefer, etc. And with this knowledge, they are able to create ballpens that their customers actually want to use.

3. Hire the right people. What comes to mind is Google. To quote Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, “Virtually every person who interviews at Google talks to at least half-a-dozen interviewers, drawn from both management and potential colleagues. Everyone’s opinion counts, making the hiring process more fair and pushing standards higher. Yes, it takes longer, but we think it’s worth it. If you hire great people and involve them intensively in the hiring process, you’ll get more great people.” And I absolutely agree. The people you hire can make or break your business. Perhaps this is the reason why Google is at the forefront of innovation today. The company is heavily investing on its “knowledge workers,” who, in my opinion, Google’s greatest asset.

4. Innovation comes from simple observations from the world around us. What comes to mind? Airplanes. For hundreds of years, people have dreamt of flying, and it was only when humans discovered the science behind birds’ ability to fly, that they were able to build flying machines. Other examples would be – incubators (sea turtles and some birds lay their eggs in the warm sand), light bulbs (fireflies), sonar (bats and dolphins), etc. People can always draw inspiration from nature. And according to Mark Ruiz, you just need to look at everyday occurrences with a “deeper lens.”

5. Observe simple acts and try to notice trends and patterns. I guess this is the reason why we have Google Analytics, Statcounter and the like. We somehow have to know the trends and patterns of what’s going on around us, so we can arrive at a conclusion of what people want and why do they want it. The modern world is dynamic. What’s new today becomes obsolete tomorrow. As innovators, or as entrepreneurs, we should arm ourselves with knowledge of these trends and patterns in order for us to provide whatever the world wants or may want, and of course, more importantly, what the world may need. Change is all around us, and I guess, we need to have a healthy attitude towards change. Innovation, after all, is “change for the better,” right? So here’s an inspiring quote from Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr. (my favorite hero – entrepreneur): “I somehow survived…because I recognized change when I saw it.”

6. Develop a mindset to really create something new and of higher value. My question is, “How?” I guess this comes naturally to Japanese people. I just don’t know with Filipinos. What Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr. said in one of his speeches should be a challenge for all of us, “in the Philippines, progress is slow. Very little is new. Hardly anything is fresh. With a few exceptions, the biggest companies before the war – like PLDT, Ayala, and San Miguel – are still the biggest companies today.” Yes, I know, our political system is not perfect. Problem is, for so many of us, all we see is hopelessness. Many have lost their trust in the government, or perhaps they are simply selfish people. I don’t know why, but, instead of hopelessness, I can see so many opportunities for this South-East Asian country of ours.

7. Don’t be afraid to take risks. This last tip reminds me of the 90s band, the Eraserheads. Although I can cite so many other examples aside from the band, I just feel the need to introduce them more to the world. What’s amazing about this band is, they were able to make history with their music. Their secret? In my opinion, it was because they were not afraid to take risks. They went beyond what was considered “pop” then. They included cuss words in one of their songs, which was a pretty brave thing to do at that time. But then again, I know that not everyone is cut out to become risk takers, but let me, at least, inspire you with this quote by Mr. J. Gokongwei, “set aside comfort to set up businesses that will provide jobs.”