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 Generic s Pharmacy. “When we were in high school and college, we were helping in the family business. Our family was in to 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 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 price medicines. However, they observed that the effects of their effort does not trickle down to the masses because retailers have high mark ups. This is why in 2001, Benjamin established The Generics Pharmacy. “The difference is that we offer 100% generics 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 proudly relayed.
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 suwapang. Share to retailers. There is already a lot of profit in wholesale,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin explains that the 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 re-purchase,” he said. “We have a product list of 400 medicines. If they are not the same with the SRP, then it is always lower in price. Our medicines are the same as the branded. The only difference is the price,” he added.
When it comes to CSR, Benjamin also already considers the business itself as a 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 5% of the top 500,000 top 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 at 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. “Noong high school ako, 4am palang, nagbubukas na ako ng store. Ikinahihiya ko dati sa mga kaklase ko. Pero, pina-realize sa akin ng tatay ko ang value ng pagnenegosyo. Pinamulat niya sa akin ang self-sustenance through negosyo. Lahat kaming magkakapatid, nag-negosyo. Alam namin ang values ng hard work sa pamilya,” shared Paulo.
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 working as a utility worker. Because of his experience, he further realized the importance of entrepreneurship. “While in college and after I graduated, marami akong pinasok na negosyo. Marami akong mga binentang kung anu-ano.”
Paulo also tried several employments. 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 laundry business. “Lahat yun nag-fail because hindi ako equipped back then. Hindi pwedeng puro guts at gusto mo lang kumita,” Paulo admitted.
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 is 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. “Malaking bagay ang pagpapalaki ng mga magulang ko sa kung sino ako ngayon,” he shared.
When asked about his advice to young and starting entrepreneurs, Paulo gives an acronym: C.H.A.M.P – Commitment. Hard work. Attitude. Motivation. Prayers.
“When I was young, hindi ko inisip na magiging entrepreneur ako. Akala ko sa TV ako,” 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. I used to sell palamig to our carpenters. Ibang klase yung thought na napapalago mo yung pera mo,” she said.
Kamela then tried her hand at employment in a 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 flat bread. She experimented on 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 from their bakery. “Nakita ko na puwede pala siyang maging favorite ng marami.” From her simple urge, flat bread 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 a 12-year 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.”