Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting Back To Business

For the past few weeks, I have been compiling materials who would help entrepreneurs and those who would want to go into business to help their business.

I will be posting these materials and lessons in my blog starting tomorrow.

My goal is to help people determine the right business for them and how they can succeed in their business ventures. These materials and lessons are taken from various sources. I would compile these lessons and explain them the best way I can for it to be easily understood by my readers.

All developed economies has a strong business foundation. Entrepreneurs and businessmen drive the economy to greater heights. However, entrepreneurship is a calling. Not all people can become entrepreneurs.

I, for one, have thought about giving up a couple of times already. I have spent sleepless nights and stressful moments just to keep my business going.

So, aside from the lessons and materials I have collated, I will also share my experiences and insights in the hopes that people would learn something from my failures and successes.

So let the lessons begin...

The Business Game

Almost everyone I know wants to put-up a business. However, only a few people actually do.

In most cases, people I have talked with know that putting up a business is one of the ways where they can be financially independent. What actually stops them from putting up their own business are the risks involved. But as the saying goes; the higher the risks, the bigger the rewards.

If only people would realize the business is a game then it a lot more people would be willing to take calculated risks. To succeed and become a winner in any game, one must know the rules and must be able to play by them, 

Unfortunately, we were not taught the rules of business. Even in business schools, there was hardly any mention of any rules of setting-up a successful business venture.

This is the first rule of business... businesses should earn.

There are some cases, however, that the business owner forgets that. If the business does not turn a profit, it is a non-profit organization that just helps individuals get jobs. This is not sustainable. Sooner or later, the organization will fold up if they don't earn enough money to meet the expenses.

Businesses are run and structured so that they will be able to earn money. The money earned should be used to grow the business further, meet the expenses (i.e. payroll, utilities, etc.) and pay the shareholders.

                                                    Business = Profit

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Selling Techniques For Graduates

This was the article I wrote for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and was published on the 14th of April 2013.

A few days ago, my mom asked me to drop her off at PICC to attend their university’s commencement exercise. As I approached the venue, I could not help but remember my own experience after graduation.

According to the latest statistics by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), there are about 500,000 graduates annually. However, only a handful will gain meaningful employment – applicants who were accepted on the jobs they want. Other applicants will just settle for any job offer that comes their way.

Sadly, this happens every year. This is why our unemployment and underemployment rates remain high. More than a skills mismatch, the issue lies in how fresh graduates can market themselves effectively to companies.

Companies need fresh graduates. These new batch of employees bring in new ideas to any organization and organizations also need fresh graduates to mentor and take over once the company grows and expands.

In most cases, however, a fresh graduate blows his or her chances during the initial interview. Fear and lack of self-confidence take over and the fresh graduate becomes tongue-tied, not being able to communicate ideas clearly, concretely and concisely.

A human resource personnel calls an applicant for an interview because he/she sees the applicant as suitable for the position. It is already one foot in the door.

Fresh graduates must do well to understand that they are selling a product and a service. The product they are selling is themselves. The service they are offering their skills and talents. Selling and marketing is part of any job-hunting process.

Here are some of the selling techniques that can be utilized by fresh graduates to help them get the job they want.

·         Know the product/service you are offering. Any good salesman will tell you that the key to closing sales is by knowing the product or service they are offering. A salesman can immediately identify his customers and state how his product or service can help solve the problems of his customer.

Fresh graduates must know realize how their skills, talents and capacities can help companies. They must be able to tell their interviewers how they can contribute to their organization.

·         Be specific with the target market. By knowing who your customers are, you can adjust your sales pitch accordingly. Developing rapport and relationship would be much easier since you are speaking the same language.

Fresh graduates are pressured to apply to many companies in different industries. However, this only decreases their chances of finding gainful employment. What happens is that, a fresh graduate accepts the first job offer that comes along.

Apply to a specific industry and tailor-fit the resume to make it more relatable to the interviewer. This shows that the fresh graduate knows what he/she is talking about. The interviewer will be impressed with the applicant’s knowledge of the industry and will stand-out from the rest of the applicants.

·         Communicate what you are offering very clearly. Good sales men know how to communicate well. They can describe how their products or services will be able to help the customer. The words they use are direct to the point.

Interviewing fresh graduates in the past, I can say that 90% of them are not sure about the words they are using. In most instances, fresh graduates are sending mixed messages.

This normally happens when there are so many ideas waiting to be said. The best thing that a fresh graduate can do is to focus on each idea one at a time. See if it would fit the general theme of his or her message. If it would only send confusing signals, drop it.

The key to effective communication is by keeping it simple. Avoid using highfalutin words that only confuse the audience without adding much to the essence of the conversation.

Other salesmanship techniques a fresh graduate must are dressing up properly and coming on time.

As a former jobseeker, I know that applying for a job and being getting interviewed is a very stressful and nerve-wracking experience. The best thing an applicant can do is to prepare for the interview and always trust in himself and his capabilities.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sharing Through Speaking and Training

"You teach best what you need to learn." - Richard Bach

For the longest time, I was in the dumps. I was having difficulty picking myself up.

I was depressed and continually thought about the worse that can happen. However, a very good friend of mine believed in me and encouraged me to take things one step at a time.

Try new things out and just go out and try new things. She advised me to go out of comfort zone and help other people.

At first, I was confused and did not know where to start. Fortunately, a friend from the Philippine Daily Inquirer called and asked me to give a talk helping job-seekers find a job.

It was then I thought about my situation and how I can help job-seekers feel good about themselves.

During the talk, I felt that was getting my self-confidence back.

When I saw job-seekers listening and nodding their heads, I knew that I was getting through to them. I knew that the words I am saying meant so much to them.

My talk was divided into three parts. As it was meant to help job-seekers, I wanted my talk to be simple yet relate-able. I compared job-searching to going on a blind date.
Third part of my speech.

I will skip the first two parts of my talk and go directly to the last part; "If Things Don't Work Out, There Is Still HOPE."

I have used mnemonics in my talks to make the lessons I want to share very easy to remember.

In my last public speaking gig, HOPE is defined as:

  • O - consider other OPPORTUNITIES 
  • E - ENJOY the moment
These are the things which I need to learn again and which undergoing any trial need to consider. It may be easier said than done; but, hey, we got to start somewhere. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Challenges Do Come

The past couple of months have been a struggle.

It was a challenge waking up and face the day. There are moments when I would rather sleep all day, disappear or just walk away from it all.

I never thought that the desire to make a difference in people's lives would be so very hard. There are times I feel alone.

There was a point where I wanted to close the company and admit to myself that I failed.

However, as I talk to my employees and ask them about their dreams and what they want to accomplish, I realize that I owe them so much. These employees have stuck by me through thick and thin. They are doing the best they can to make the company grow.

I begin to ask, when would I then abandon them?

Something worth anything, is worth fighting for. I have won some small battles and have lost some; but the war is still going on. There is time left to do something and make the company grow and succeed.

I may have been abandoned by some people, but there are new allies and friends who have stuck with me and have helped me along the way.

To be sure, I am still in the trenches; the war being far from over. I have been bloodied and wounded. I have fallen more times than I can count. There are no more tears left.

But I continue to fight on, to keep on believing and rising... knowing that someday, all these challenges will be all worth it. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Leadership Lessons

While I was browsing through the online edition of the Entrepreneur Magazine, I came across this article.

Hopefully, budding and aspiring business and political leaders get to read this.

4 Leadership Lessons From Abraham Lincoln

In a scene from the Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln tells her husband: "No one is loved as much as you by the people. Don't waste that power." Spoiler alert: He doesn't.

While the movie focuses on the passing of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, it also gives a lot of insight to Lincoln's strong leadership skills -- those things that have made him so admired.

While you may not be leading revolutionary change in the country, here are four leadership lessons from our 16th president on how to lead revolutionary change at your startup or small business.

1. Say no to 'Yes Men.' At a time in history when the United States was at war with itself, Lincoln surprisingly chose to fill his cabinet with a team of his rivals. These were men he considered to be the best and brightest minds in the country, and they were unafraid to challenge Lincoln and assert their opposition. A self-confident man, Lincoln welcomed strong opinions as it provoked thoughtful debate as well as inner reflection. It proved to be an important tactic during his presidency.

Rick Lepsinger, president of the New York City-based leadership consulting firm OnPoint, agrees: "Don't hire in your own image," he says. "Get comfortable with conflict and learn how to manage differences productively."

Lepsinger suggests that leaders not allow conflicts to fester, but bring them to the surface as soon as possible. He also recommends avoiding the overuse of compromise, looking instead for common ground and alternatives.

To read the full article, you can go to this link.