Monday, April 30, 2012

Be Passionate

This is an excerpt in one of the chapters in my ebook.

"Passion is loosely defined as an extreme feeling or emotion. We can be passionate about something or someone. Passion can be illustrated this way: when my dad retired from the service, he wanted to take up a hobby so that he can be physically active. He decided to play golf. He got so passionate about the game that it was the only thing that he talked about for the first couple of weeks. He watched videos to improve his swing. He was on the driving range at least three times a week practicing his swing. He even encouraged me to play golf.
            Although he has not turned pro, he has won some tournaments against his fellow retirees. He proudly says that he has one of the lowest handicaps in their groups.
            That is what passion is. It is so infectious that it transforms your whole life. You begin to dream it, breath it, talk it, live it and even eat it. The whole day is spent on thinking about the ways you can improve ‘your game.’
            This is why most successful entrepreneurs and business-people are so passionate about their ventures. They are always constantly thinking of ways on how to improve their products or service. They whole-heartedly believe about what they are offering that they want more people to try their products or service.
            People gravitate towards passionate people. This is why we see charismatic leaders who have lots of followers. We often see this on religious leaders. We are even currently being governed by the most popular Philippine president since democracy was restored and he is passionate about ridding corruption in the government. Being passionate about something can be very infectious.
            I have learned so much from that the experience that I vowed to myself that my venture will be something I can be passionate about, something that I can readily talk to people for hours and hours. It doesn’t mean that I know everything about the subject. It just means that I live, breathe and talk about that which interests me. I realized that my passion for cars can be a business venture that I can go into.
            When you choose a business make sure that you are choosing something you are passionate about. I don’t recommend choosing a venture just because it is the current craze or trend. They will eventually not last long. There have been so many examples of these kinds of businesses; do you remember the pearl shake craze? Currently, milk teas are being put-up in almost every street corner. What will eventually happen is that the market will be saturated with milk tea kiosks that more and more people will be bombarded with a long list of choices. Just to stay afloat, these businesses will engage in a price war. Some will eventually lower prices just to get enough customers to stay in business. Lower prices mean good news for customers but not for business-owners. In a price war, the businesses lose.
            Here are some of the things that you should look into when choosing a business:
·         Barrier To Entry – would your competitors find it difficult to enter the industry? If you have placed a barrier that is quite steep, you will be able to corner a huge chunk of the market and be profitable for the long-term. Businesses with low-barriers to entry don’t last long or experience stiff competition almost immediately.
·         Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – when you start your business, what are the things that would separate you from the pack? Do you offer an improved version of a product? Are your services better than your competitors? Is your system more efficient and effective? Your customers must immediately take notice and accept the USP that you are offering them.
When Starbucks started operating, they have a unique selling proposition to offer customers. Not only that they offered good coffee and other beverages, they also created an ambiance that is very relaxing and accommodating. Their baristas know you by name and they can easily remember the drinks that you order if you are a loyal customer. I know a lot of people who stay in Starbucks to work. I also know a lot of people who hang-out in Starbucks.
They have become ‘a third place after work and home.’ ( Just imagine how many coffee companies can have that claim.  
·         Primary Market – who are your primary market, the people who will ultimately but your product? What do you know about them? How do they earn? How will they get your products or service?
Learn and understand your market. It would be better if you are also part of the market you are willing to serve. When you know and understand your market really well, you will know how much they are willing to pay for your product or services.
When we started GreenRides there were so many unknowns that we had to consider. For one, we didn’t know who are our target market was. It was a very difficult situation to be in. We did the next best thing – we tried everything through trial and error just to have a clear understanding of our market. It cost us a lot but what we learned was very invaluable.
Our main customers are females who are in their mid-20s to early 40s. They are mostly professionals and mothers. They have enough disposable income to spare that they choose to have their car washes cleaned in a mobile car wash in malls. They don’t want to or hesitant to go to a traditional car wash which is found on street corners.
If you are not too sure about who will be your primary target, do some survey and market studies first.
·         Fad or a possible long-term business – a fad is defined loosely as a temporary fashion or trend. People accept these fads because they are new to the market. They have not seen anything like it before. But as soon as the market is saturated with the same concept or idea, the fad eventually fades. I would go to the pearl shake again as my primary example.

When investing in a business, make sure that what you are putting-up will be viable for the long-term. I have heard people say that health products, tourism and green technology are viable business opportunities and I do agree with them."