Friday, December 5, 2008

Business Tips: Starting a Business that Needs a Little Branding

Hi there kabayan, another post here from your resident blogger, and this time we’ll be featuring some tips on how to get started in an ice cream business, um, well, basically, how to get started in just about any business that needs a little good branding.

So if you’re ready, I’m ready, let’s get started.

QUESTION: We want to go into an ice cream business full time because we have amazing family ice cream recipes that all our friends love. What’s the best way to go into this business that is dominated by big name brands? Do we even have a fighting chance? – Charina of Davao

(This was taken from Bam Aquino’s Start Up show’s QA segment, aired last November 20, 2008. Bam-Ninoy-look-alike Aquino interviewed Professor Danny Antonio of Asian Center for Entrepreneurship, AIM)

ANSWER:

DANNY: Well, definitely you have a very big fighting chance. So the most important thing to get started in business is a good product, and apparently the product looks good already, ‘cause it’s already popular among friends and relatives, no, so how to get started?

TIP: Start small. Sell to relatives and friends. (Source: Start Up show)

My suggestion is start small, maybe start delivering to friends, coming up with a small booth somewhere there and basically selling local. The most important thing is come up with a brand. You have to be known for something, ‘cause ice cream is very generic, so the best way to get known by the market is by having a brand, easily accepted by people near your locality. That’s where, so is this Davao City?

TIP: Build your brand in its home base. (Source: Start Up show)

So if it’s in Davao, get started there, somewhere there, get a small space, a small booth and start selling. And then you graduate towards becoming bigger over time. So most probably, when you get better known, you could graduate to maybe coming up with a small booth inside a better known shopping center, and take from there.

BAM: Then eventually go to the supermarkets…and everything.

DANNY: Yes, yes, there are various ways but the important thing is getting started correctly by not being too ambitious. But develop a plan, because this is ice cream, plenty of competitors, the best way to match against the big ones is to be known for something, and build from there. That is the most important thing to do.

BAM: And I guess she has to differentiate her product right away. Dapat siya ang pinakamasarap o pinakamatamis, (laughs) hindi ko alam (laughs), but that’s to be something.

DANNY: Find out from his, from their friends what makes their particular product, you know, given appreciated by them, what is it, is it the, you know, is it the taste, is it the sweetness, or whatever, so capitalize on that.

Some points to remember:

Ok. So you didn’t read the whole interview because you thought it was long, eh? (Most of my posts are long :-)) Well, you’re right; it’s long, that’s why I came up with a bulleted list below.

• The most important thing to get started in business is a good product. Why? Because whatever your product is, you will have competitors, and for you to win against the big ones, you have (like what Prof. Danny said) “to be known for something, and build from there.”

• Start small first. Cater first to friends. I agree. The “go small time first” way is the best, not to mention, the safest way to go. Prof. Danny said: “the important thing is getting started correctly by not being too ambitious.”

Cater first to friends, but make sure to politely tell them “no utang.” Business is business, you know. Yes, I know it’s hard, but if they love you and don’t want your business to fail, they will understand.

In my opinion, “utangs” are murderers of the sari-sari store business. If you have a sari-sari store and people always make “utang” but always fail to pay, you can go to their houses and tell them, “Anu ba? Hindi ba kayo magbabayad? Utang ng ina n’yo naman, o, magbayad na kayo!” :-)

Hey, Bam, if you ever get to read this, I know you “co-started” Hapinoy, right, what can you advice sari-sari store owners about “utang?” :-)

• Go local first. Get started locally. This won’t hurt your budget, and who knows, when you get big, UNESCO will declare your town a world heritage! :-) Prof. Danny said: “the best way to get known by the market is by having a brand, easily accepted by people near your locality.” So go local muna.

• Build a good brand. In my opinion, this is really important. Even Mr. J. Gokongwei, Jr. realized the power of brands when he said: “I saw that all they (big multinational companies) did to capture the market was to brand their products…give their coffee and toothpaste a name, a face, and an image that customers would instantly recognize and identify with quality.”

I have this habit of looking at products’ packages to find out its manufacturers, and most of the time, I always get surprised like, “Ha? Gawa din pala ito ng Universal Robina (Mr. J. Gokongwei’s)?” or “What? Kapamilya rin pala ng Coca-cola ‘to?”

• Aim to grow your business over time. Prof. Danny said: “get a small space, a small booth and start selling… when you get better known, you could graduate to maybe coming up with a small booth inside a better known shopping center, and take from there.”

So that’s it for now. If you find this post useful, please tell others, ok. Until next post uli, I haven’t had lunch pa, e, kain muna ako. :-)

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