Mentoring and being mentored

Last week I read something in the internet about a wealthy Chinese entrepreneur from mainland China who decided to donate all his fortune to charity when he dies. Mr. Yu Pengnian did not even leave some of his wealth for the inheritance of his children. He said that if his children are competent, then they don’t need money; and if they are not, then leaving them a lot of money is doing them harm. His intentions are good and noble, but this might be an extreme case in my opinion.

For me, it is more important to really be involved in an advocacy than to give out money. It is very easy to give a donation. Some people follow what the bible says about living the Christian life through charity and donations. In my opinion it is about how we treat the people around us and how we become part of their lives.

The Go Negosyo advocacy is all about helping others help themselves. It is about giving hope, inspiring and empowering the Filipinos around us so that they too can convert their dreams into reality. The advocacy, therefore, is also about mentoring and being mentored. Different entrepreneurs in the Philippines (and also some from abroad) have joined our community to be mentored or sometimes help mentor many aspiring and small entrepreneurs. This process of interaction has been rewarding to many, a discovery that they too can help improve the lives of others by simply giving advice or sharing best practices. This interaction has also led people to inspire each other. Definitely, positive vibes is spreading around. Remember the movie ‘Pay it Forward”? In the end, there is growing realization that it is really in changing our attitude and mindset in life that helps us reach our dreams.

Our vision is to continue to build a large community of entrepreneurs. What we do is not considered as a dole out. We teach people how to fish rather than giving the fish. As an aspiring or starting entrepreneur becomes successful, he too will share his success story to inspire more people and teach them also how to fish. This cycle is something that we would want to continue.

Here are only some of the heartwarming messages that also help us to keep doing what we do in Go Negosyo. And, I would like to share them.

“You and the Go Negosyo guys have been my inspiration lately. I’m busy opening up a small business with some friends. I do agree with your vision – the more Filipinos go into business, the more jobs can be created. More income means more savings and savings create more investments. Investments, big or small, create more jobs. We will be joining you in this cause. Thank you for championing the cause of Filipino entrepreneurs. More power to Go Negosyo and God bless.” –Lemuel Acosta

“Actually, you are one of my mentors and my inspirations to become a successful businessman/entrepreneur someday. Hopefully, within this year I will have a franchising business. Thanks and God Bless you Sir.” –Peter de Villa

“I always follow your Column, Ask Negosyo, whenever I can. I laud the time, money and efforts you have put in to instill the mindset of entrepreneurship among our countrymen. I truly believe that this is The Only Way to grow our economy and extricate the millions of Filipinos who are still in dire poverty. Corruption is not an excuse for finding ourselves in the situation we are in. I firmly believe that it is by producing more entrepreneurs that we can create more wealth and generate more employment for our country.” –Renato Go

Let me also share some of the queries I received through my Facebook, as well as our response from the Go Negosyo community.

From Jess: We have started a business and it has been two months already. It’s a photo studio and digital printing business. But, it looks like it is not working. We have tried to offer to some people and businesses our services pero parang hindi parin gumagana.

To Jess, let me ask you some guide questions that can help you. When you started the business, did you assess if there was a market in your area? Who was your target market? Who are the people who are expected to use or avail of the services? Is the market huge in your area? The concept might be good, but if it is in the wrong location, there will definitely be problems. No matter how nice or good you promote your business, if the location is not good, there is no use. You must also realize that with the technology now, can many people do the services you offer in their own household? Or, are you offering something that can only be done professionally by your business? You better offer something – a reason for consumers to go to you. You should be able to answer the simple but difficult question — why will they go to you and buy your services? Do you have a compelling product or service that is a solution to a problem with a specific target market? You should be able to answer these questions.

From Nanette Castillo: Hello. I am a good cook. I can also innovate new products. I want to put up a food business, undergo training on entrepreneurship and have my own name. I know God gave me that wisdom and talent. But, I don’t know where to start. I want to use my talent in cooking. I can make a simple dish into a very different taste. I had a food stall sometime ago and it has been very popular to students because of the taste and preparation. Unfortunately, it closed because the food center was converted into a warehouse. Now, I want to do something and offer it for franchising.

To Nanette, it is good to see that you are passionate about food and food preparation. Passion about what you are doing is a key ingredient in successful entrepreneurship. If you say you were popular once upon a time to students because of your previous stall, maybe you can start by trying to recapture that market again. Try to look for a location near that place that will serve this market so you can capitalize on the loyalty that you once had in this market. Ask the students what particular product they enjoy the most. This can be your flagship product. Innovate on this product using your talent and create a product that is much more superior than the rest. Make yourself known as the best place for people who are looking for this particular product. As you gain more awareness about how good your flagship product is, more and more customers, beyond the students will dine in your place. Pretty soon, you can think of putting up another branch closer to your other customers. Before you know it, you are on your way opening up more branches and eventually developing your own franchise.