Sunday, July 25, 2010

Businesses you can start from P51,000 to P100,000

Wanted to put up a small business and you've got at least P50,000 to P100,000 in savings. Then it's time to withdraw them from the bank that earns just 1% interest a year and start to grow it more and enjoy the life of a small business owner.

My favorite magazine Entrepreneur helps a lot of small business enthusiasts including me and this article will give you list of small business ideas with your P50,000:  Part 2 of businesses you can start from P1k to P100k ENJOY READING!!! 

P51,000 TO P100,000

Organic Produce


Travel Agency
When entrepreneurs put in P51,000 to P100,000 of their own money to start a business, they had better be sure that they are passionate enough about it to learn as much as possible about the business from the very start and to run it hands-on afterwards if need be. 

This is the common thread in the experience of Mara Pardo de Tavera of Mara's Organic Market in Makati City, of Carlos Granados of Farmacia Divina Gracia in San Fernando City, La Union, and of Pamela Alfaro of Ashta Holidays Travel & Tours in Mandaluyong City.

In 1995, at a time when the organic food movement was still at its infancy, Mara Pardo de Tavera established one of Asia's first organic markets with around P50,000 in initial capital. All that she wanted at first was an organic market where she could source food for her family's needs, but once she got her organic market started, it soon evolved into a personal advocacy for getting the public to know the benefits of going organic.

To achieve her objective, Pardo de Tavera had gone around the country looking for suppliers. During her trips, however, she realized that although there was potential for organic producers, there was hardly any market for organic products. "Suppliers were even asking us why I was the only one asking them about organic production," she recalls. 

After a couple of years, however, she finally got enough reliable suppliers of organic products and started to look for space for her organic market. She asked the Zobel de Ayala family if they could spare one for her in what is now at Makati City's Greenbelt Mall, which was then a park. After some time, the Ayalas gave her and her husband Raymond a space at the park for free. They then put up a shop that was to become Mara's Organic Market today.

For Carlos Granados, the love between him and his pharmacist wife provided the inspiration for putting up their own pharmacy, Farmacia Divina Gracia, in San Fernando City in 1990. "Since my wife was a pharmacist and I used to work as a manager for a pharmaceutical company, we thought we would have good chemistry on a pharmaceutical business," he recalls.

He then borrowed P80,000 from his parents for capital and bought the small drug store of his mother-in-law, renaming it after his wife Divina Gracia (now deceased). He kept his regular job while his wife tended the store. "It was my wife who knew which items were fast-moving, so I took responsibility of buying them from bigger drugstores so we can stock and sell them in our own store," he recalls.

In the case of Pamela Alfaro, putting up her own travel agency was a dream borne out of her passion for traveling. "I started traveling in 2001 when I was studying tourism," she recalls. "When I saw Hong Kong during one of those travels, I knew that running my own travel agency was what I wanted." But she decided to work in related fields first to gain valuable experience.  

She initially worked with the Department of Tourism to become familiar with the tourism business, and later took a job in the United Kingdom as a liaison officer of the Birmingham City Council's change management group. In 2006, she returned to the Philippines and trained herself in how to use travel-booking software and in the legal requirements of the business.

Confident that she had now forearmed herself, Alfaro then took a leap of faith and put up Ashta Holidays Travel & Tours, using P100,000 of her own savings as initial capital. To keep costs down, she put up her business office in her own condominium and used free booking software.

Keys to success

Often, one single decision becomes the key to the success of a business. This decision may seem minor at the time it's made, but it could have wide-reaching effects on the future of the business.

Pardo de Tavera's naming her organic market after herself and making herself its spokeswoman was one such decision. A very private person in the beginning, she recalls that she didn't like the idea of using her name for the business or of giving interviews to the media about it.

What prompted her to name the store after herself was the fact that several organic markets were calling themselves as such although they were not actually selling any organic produce. To her, therefore, those organic markets had no credibility at all and she didn't want her own organic store to be identified with them.

Pardo de Tavera then thought of getting a celebrity to epitomize her organic market but couldn't find anyone suitable. Ultimately, with the encouragement of her husband and a friend who was a public relations professional, she realized and decided that she herself was perfect for the role. "After all, I was both the owner and biggest customer of the market that I had in mind," she says. 

For Granados, that pivotal decision was to manage his business hands-on: "I want to believe that I can be successful in any endeavor. I don't want to entertain failures in life. This is why I decided to practice hands-on management in my business from the very start."

And for Alfaro, that most important decision was not to be daunted by problems along the way and to pursue her passion relentlessly. "If you don't have passion, the business will fail," she says, "but if you have passion, you will pursue the business no matter what."

Roadblocks notwithstanding

Along the way, it is inevitable for every entrepreneur to encounter challenges, whether simple or complex. The first few years of the business usually prove most difficult, as reality sometimes dashes even the most carefully laid out plans. Indeed, among the most common problems encountered by startups are supply roadblocks and operational hitches arising from organizational weakness.

For Pardo de Tavera, a major problem lay in convincing the public of the benefits of organic food at a time when it still wasn't a popular lifestyle choice among Filipinos. Another major drawback was the difficulty she was to encounter in finding suppliers for her organic market.

In Alfaro's case, she had to deal with government gridlock and reluctance in giving business to her startup travel agency.

And as to the fledgling pharmacy of Granados, it had to endure low sales during its first few months like any other business.

In the face of these challenges to their businesses, the three entrepreneurs took decisive action in ways that other startup entrepreneurs can learn from.
Pardo de Tavera engaged the mass media to promote her business and arranged for celebrities to visit her market, creating public awareness and curiosity about her market in particular and about organic products in general.
For both Alfaro and Granados, the key to success was continuously improving their customer service. In the case of Alfaro's travel agency, in particular, its efforts to customize travel packages helped differentiate it from other travel agencies and made its services more attractive to clients.

She explains: "Your travel agency has become very personalized in its service if your clients can tell you, 'Pam, I want this and I want that.' This is precisely what my agency has become. I try to give them what they want and I tell them all their options. And I try to be available anytime to my clients, even if they have to call me at night or on Saturdays and Sundays."

For Granados, it is obvious that customer service is top priority at Farmacia Divina Gracia by merely watching how the store attendants serve its customers, and that his hands-on management style is at play. "You have to be there to know what's going on in your business, and also to know what to do next. Focus and be there," he says.

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