Source of Business Inspiration

When asked by the The Philippine Star owner Kevin to do a column on GoNegosyo, I thought of how it would be best done. GoNegosyo was born as the key advocacy of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, a foundation established when I was joined by the country’s finest entrepreneurs such as Harley Sy (SM Investments), Rolando Hortaleza (Splash Corp.), Tony Tan Cationg (Jollibee), Vivenne Tan (Entrepreneur School of Asia), Butch Campos (Southeast Asian Foods International), Myla Villanueva (MDI), Nanay Coring (National Bookstore), and Felipe Gozon (GMA7).

While convincing this esteem group of entrepreneurs to join this cause, I remember Tony Tan saying for this idea to work, it will require a lot of efforts. And he was totally right. We all knew it’s the passion that drives us entreprenuers to pursue our vision. To some, it’s a hobby—their game where you see them working long hours while they find fullfillment in doing what they do best to create business models.

And this has become my driving force all these years. Like the very idea of selling a business like Cosmos for close to 15B and the idea of challenging the giants like Coca Cola and Magnolia, I guess this initiative somehow led me to continue the same risk-taking journey in a different yet fascinatingly unique form—wanting to help many people to pursue their dreams.

We launched GoNegosyo the time when former department secretaries formed a group they called Hyatt 10, went against the government and tried to oust PGMA. Obviously, it’s impossible for us to have the president as guest. Knowing an enormous danger brought by coup attempt, the Presidential Security Group advised the president not to come. But with her belief that entrepreneurship will help the country move forward despite political instability that time, PGMA still graced the first GoNegosyo event in Fort Bonifacio. Thanks to Sec. Arthur Yap for his extra effort.

The president’s first visit to the GoNegosyo expo with more than 50 thousand people proved that in any the risks taken, there’s a reward waiting. Regardless of any negative circumstances that come our way, in business or in politics, a brave and dedicated hearts can survive and may choose to make another step forward. The coup ended and entrepreneurship revolution begun. The history made its mark.

Considering the response from an overwhelming number of people supporting our cause, I guess this time, it is the passion of building a new brand called GoNegosyo that has inspired me to just continue what I do best. I know it’s not a brand that will give me the billions. But sure enough, it’s going to be a brand that will inspire others to get into business and make there first million and eventually their first billion.

This column Ask Gonegosyo will hopefully encourage more successful entreprenuers out there to come out and help us give advice to those countless of Filipinos here and in abroad who want to start something and those who are thinking twice if they’re going to bring their business to the next level.

Mentoring these people I think is the best way that we can help them achieve their dreamed business success.

This column will feature entrepreneurs responding to questions taken from the rich business wisdom archive of, a website engineered as a venue to reach billions of people in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. Maybe their response will be able to answer many people out there who may have the same questions.

The time has come that we are now to see optimism at work. Hopefully the Filipino people would realize that the very pessimistic attitude willl only take us to nowhere. The results from last year’s concerted efforts is how optimism affects positive change so quickly. For us to encourage more entreprenuers or negosyantes in this country, optimism must prevail over pessimism.

This column hopefully will achieve just that. Lets Go Negosyo!

* * * * *

Dear Mr. Concepcion,

Hi! I have been looking for a mentor who have experiences in the food industry. We have been operating our small food business for four months now and have been doing a lot of trial and errors. We have a vague business plan. We just hope we could find ways to minimize costly errors. Hope that joining this group will elevate our business and someday, we will be mentors like you. Thanks.

Hi Leo, thank you for your email. There are always better ways to do your business and bring it to its higher level. Trial and error could be one but if you could spend some time to learn the lessons from those who already made same mistakes in your industry, then you don’t have to experience the same fate.

One of the keys is research. Identify what works and what doesn’t work. You also need to pay attention to details. Details are very important to succeed. Business planning is an important part also, but the greater challenge is the implementation of it. So it should be two: you plan well and you do the plan well.

Your choice, passion, determination and vision will elevate your business. Success in any endeavor is always personal. And I can only give you inspiration and some knowledge and information.

Thanks a lot.

Joey Concepcion

(Joey A. Concepcion is the chairman and CEO of RFM Corp. He is also the presidential consultant for entrepreneurship and the president of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, the one responsible to the successful Go Negosyo events since its launching. He’s a branding expert.)

* * * * *

Dear Mr. Aldeguer,

I am Benson Gapuz, 34 years old of Proj 8, Quezon City. I would like to go into a business supplying pigeon (fryers) for hotels and restaurants (mainly chinese) here in Metro Manila. I have the supplies but the market aspect and pricing is still dark.

My problem is I dont know the prevailing market price of pigeon. Where could I ask for their purchase price and dressing standard for pigeons and their weekly requirements? Any help towards this direction will be highly appreciated.

Hi Benson,

Doing some research is always necessary and useful so that you don’t go into the business blindedly. Try to make some phone calls to existing restaurants and even suppliers and then inquire. Getting them to talk lengthily to get as much information will be challenging. Also, try to visit them personally and get information. If there is a restaurant association, they can also be very helpful.

Let me know if you have some developments.

Jay Aldeguer

(Jonathan Jay P. Aldeguer is the President of Island Souvenirs, a retail phenomena that captures the essence of tourist destinations through t-shirts of the highest quality and creative designs.)

* * * * *

Dear Johnlu,

How can i improve my financial IQ to manage my resources better?

Hi Terence

Financial IQ, unlike Mental IQ, is not inborn but learned. Start by understanding how business works and how financial resources are used to produce goods and services. Go to a bookstore and pick up some books on accounting. Read the first chapter. If that proves confusing, then pick up a marketing book and read the first chapter. Understand how finance empowers an organization to produce goods and services, extend credit, etc.

Write me back after you’ve read it. By the way, don’t just buy the book. Read thru it and perhaps make some notes.


Johnlu Koa

(Former Business Administration professor, Johnlu Koa is the founder and CEO of The French Baker, Inc. He was named one of The Outstanding Young Filipinos in 1996 for his commitment to the baking industry and was also named one of the 500 Great Asians of the 21st century by the Bibliotheque Worldwide Organization in the U.S. He is also a 2005 Ernst and Young Emerging Master Entrepreneur Awardee.)