Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Above Aboard: Part 9 Start Your Small Business Now

Now that we have a very effective business plan, a business plan that we promised to follow throughout our journey to our very own small business, it is now time to make everything legal. What's the first step? BUSINESS REGISTRATION!! Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines is generous enough to define what are the different types of business and the right government agency for each type of business. Read on. ^_^

The first step to operating a business responsibly: REGISTERING YOUR BUSINESS.

CHECKLIST: Basic Parts of a Business Plan: Part 8 Start Your Small Business Now

In the previous post, you learned how to make your very own business plan. Detailed steps are discussed there and it's very helpful to small business enthusiasts like you. In this article, checklist will be given to you so that you will know if you missed something or you've had everything written. Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines shared you the checklist or what we call the basic parts of a business plan. Read on and learn.

7 Steps to Make Your Own Business Plan: Part 7 Start Your Small Business Now

Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines shared the steps on making your very own business plan. Isn't that cool? Read on and learn. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

According To Plan: Part 6 Start Your Small Business Now

You already know what you want right? Then it is time for you to get going. First, MAKE A PLAN! In business, it's making a BUSINESS PLAN. If you wanted to succeed in your small business then make a plan. Don't know how will you make a plan? Then continue reading this series of Start Your Small Business Now by Entrepreneur Magazine Philippines.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Know What You Want: Part 5 Start Your Small Business Now

Now that you already know how to do the research and you already found out what's your market going to be, then it is time to know what you want. It means you need to know exactly what you are looking for. So if you are really interested to know how to set up a small business in a right way, then it is advisable for you to keep continue reading this series of articles from Entrepreneur Philippines magazine. Remember, the more you know what you want, the greater chance of success you will have in the world of business.

Although there are many ways to conduct market research, what's important is that you know exactly what you're looking for. Being clear about what you want to learn, says Perez of Satisfind, will not only lead you to ask the right questions but will also show you the best way to gather the answers from the best possible survey respondents. 

Market research can be classified into qualitative, says Kai Salvino, Satisfind's director for customer research. The former explores the "whys" and "hows" and the latter gets the numbers and other measurable results like age, income bracket, and educational attainment.

Qualitative research methods include focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews, while quantitative research counts the usage, attitude and image (UAI) study; product, concept and brand name tests; and pricing studies among others.

Also, it's important to define the market you would like to penetrate, says Paulo Lao, a strategic marketing lecturer at the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI). "What market is involved? What are the customers' unmet needs and wants? Is the product or service you're going to offer better than the one existing in the market? That's really the source of business opportunity," Lao says.

Continue on Part 6 of Start a Small Business Now: ACCORDING TO PLAN.

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.

Research Basics: Part 4 Start a Small Business Now

The previous post discussed that you need to find the market first before you create the product. That means you need to research. This part will give you the basics of researching in the most simple terms that everybody can understand. Enjoy reading this part from Entrepreneur Philippines magazine and I hope that it will help you expand your knowledge about researching.

Most start-ups think that market research is expensive, and so entrepreneurs forego doing it. But in fact it can be done for free, it pays off in the long term, and can be considered "an investment for the entire business," says Perez of Satisfind.

What's the simplest way to research your market? Ask or interview people, even just your immediate network of relatives, friends and neighbors. Brad Geiser, director for strategics, creatives and market research at Geiser-Maclang Marketing Communications, says:

"As you interview people, your body of knowledge increases. When you're new in a business, it allows you to accumulate facts, and it's cheaper."

Personal interviews are one of the five basic methods of market research; the others are surveys, focus groups, observation and field trials. Most businesses use one or a combination of them based on the data that they need and how much money they're willing to spend to get it.

Interviews, like focus groups, include unstructured and open-ended questions and provide more subjective data than surveys. Although their results aren't statistically reliable, they also yield insights into the attitudes of your target customers and usually uncover issues related to new products or services.

Surveys, meanwhile, have five kinds: In-person or one-on-one, telephone, mail, and online. All of them are relatively inexpensive. In general, you can analyze a sample group that represents your target market with concise, straightforward market with concise, straightforward questionnaires. The larger the survey sample, the more reliable the results will be.

Observation research removes the inconsistencies between people's response to a survey or focus group and their actual behavior, because when you observe customers in action at stores, at work or at home, you can see how they buy or use a product or service -- thus giving you a more accurate picture of customers' usage habits and shopping patterns.

Lastly, field trials work by placing new products in selected stores to test a customer's response in real-life selling conditions, which can help you modify your product, adjust your prices or improve your packaging. Usually, startup business owners should establish a rapport with local store owners and websites that can help test their products.

If after your research you realize your business probably won't work out, "it's not death sentence for your idea," says Geiser, who was also interviewed in The Ultimate Guide bookazine. "A real entrepreneur will figure out a way to make it work. What people really look for in market research are new ideas, new beliefs, and new directions -- an edge. Not just what is, but what could be."

Continue on Part 5 of Start a Small Business Now: KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.

Get Off On The Right Foot:Part 3 Start a Small Business Now

Now that you know that you are meant to build an empire starting from being a small business owner, you need to make one step towards creating your business NOW. Go ahead and read this article from Entrepreneur Philippines magazine and you will learn a lot.


Make sound business decisions -- even before you start your enterprise -- based on solid market research.

IT IS ALWAYS wise to exercise caution, or as the saying goes, "look before you leap." New entrepreneurs taking the leap into a new business, therefore, would be prudent to scope out or research their market even before they put their first peso into their pet ventures. 

Market research means collecting the information you need to make decisions about your business. It is the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data relevant to selling the goods or services you produce.

Why research your market? As small business expert Susan Ward of puts it, "Trying to start a small business without researching your potential market is as sensible as setting out for the North Pole with a surfboard."

Or, as noted Internet business expert Ian del Carmen of the Fireball Group of Companies says: "Do your research. Your amazing idea might not be the perfect business for you. What I always teach my students through my Internet-business coaching program is to find a market first before creating a product, not the other way around.

"If you think your beloved product would sell without extensive research -- if there is a ready market craving for that product -- you're one the wrong track," adds del Carmen, who has recently moved his growing business to the United States after years of operating locally.

Market research not only gets you on the right track, it is "a way of collecting information you can use to solve or avoid marketing problems," according to the Start Your Own Business book published by Entrepreneur Press USA (2004). The book adds: "It enables you to identify specific segments within a market that you want to target, and to create an identity for your product or service that separates it from your competition."

Ward stresses that market research isn't something you shelve when you're working on your business plan; in fact, it should come before a business plan, and then "needs to be an integral, ongoing part of your business' development," she says.

Although it is likewise true that many businesses have succeeded without researching their markets -- the old "build it and they will come" tactic does work -- the wise entrepreneur knows that market research will help minimize the risks that must be taken.

"It is about finding the answers to a particular question," Michelle Perez, president of the marketing communications first Satisfind, says in the ENTREPRENEUR Philippines bookazine The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Business (2007). "Understanding customers, how they look at the product or service, and what kind of impact that product or service has on them [is the heart of market research]."

Continue on Part 4 of Start a Small Business Now: RESEARCH BASICS

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.

10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Sailing On With Your Own Entreprise: Part 2 of Start a Small Business Now

Let me continue rewriting one of the most important issues of Entrepreneur Philippines magazine, my favorite business mentor. This part will discuss self assessment towards setting up your own business. Enjoy reading and continue asking yourself NOW!

Ian del Carmen, president of the Internet marketing firm Fireball Group of Companies, takes a more cautious tone. "I agree that any time is the perfect time to start a business BUT it is not right to say any person is the perfect person to start a business," he says. "Anyone can start any business in 2010 as long as he/she is emotionally, intellectually, financially, and most of all, strategically ready."

Here are 10 questions -- as advised by the entrepreneurs we interviewed -- you need to ask yourself before sailing on with your own enterprise:

1. Do you enjoy making decisions and being in charge?
2. Do you have the willingness to take initiative?
3. Do you have enough money saved up to start your business?
4. Do you have a good credit rating?
5. Do you have strong people skills?
6. Are you flexible, and can you adapt to changing circumstances?
7. Are you good at short-range and long-term planning?
8. Are you willing to take calculated risks?
9. Are you good at following through on your ideas, plans and projects?
10. You don't expect your household income to rise within a year of starting your business?

If you can answer "yes" to all of them, then you probably are ready to be an entrepreneur. But to learn about the other details of starting a business, turn to the next several pages. Your time is now.

Continue on Part 3 of Start a Small Business Now: GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.


While we were strolling in the mall, we bumped into a magazine stand that sells back copies. I rushed through it and while others are getting magazines about fashion and foods, I went to the business and finance section. For sure, I looked immediately for my favorite magazine, my inspirational and motivational partner in business, Entrepreneur Philippines. I was shocked to see that I missed a very important issue this year. My God, it was titled as NEW BUSINESS STARTER GUIDE! That’s actually why this blog was established! It is for small business enthusiasts especially for those who are just starting.

I will rewrite here straight from the magazine, yes I’m gonna type it manually, all the articles that I think will be useful to the small business enthusiasts who are reading this blog especially those who were not able to get a copy of this magazine. Since I really love this issue, I think I will type almost everything that’s in the magazine and it needs to be divided into several posts. Well, Entrepreneur magazine is an angel, a business partner, and a business mentor to all of small business enthusiasts in the Philippines.

Ok, let me begin the first article that I saw which is entitled “START A BUSINESS – NOW!

There’s not better time than the present to begin your own entrepreneurial journey. We tell you why.

The time is now – to start a business, that is. Why is that? Well, there’s no better time to start anything that the present moment. And we’re not just saying that because it’s the New Year, which always lends itself to thoughts about beginnings. But while these musings may just be fancies, forgotten as soon as February steps in, starting a new business is an entirely more serious and committed undertaking.

And because we at ENTREPRENEUR don’t want you wasting your Christmas bonuses, savings or retirement fund on a venture that won’t last three months – leaving your would-be employees grumbling the rest of the year – here’s our effort to help you along the road of entrepreneurship: a concise business starter guide that you can turn to when you feel you are ready to take the plunge.

Again, we assert that now is the time to be your own boss, whether of a small enterprise or, if your resources allow it, a big-capital undertaking. Besides the fact that you can only dilly-dally for so long before you decide it’s the right time to start, here are some macroeconomic facts to support our stand:

• The Asian Development Bank forecasts the Philippine economy to grow by 3.3% this year – meaning it has weathered global financial crisis. “Economic recovery is under way and is likely to strengthen in 2010,” ADB assistant chief economist Joseph E. Zveglich Jr. Said in a recent BusinessWorld report. “The prospects are looking up. We are seeing some improved business and consumer sentiment in recent months. And there are some signs that trade has bottomed out.”

• Personal consumption and government consumption, which are measures of private and public spending, are also on the rise, indicating that people are starting to let their money loose.

• The number of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – which make up 99.6% of all businesses in the country – continues to rise, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

If you’re not the kind that’s swayed by big number and official forecasts, then maybe advice from fellow entrepreneurs will. Asked if it’s wise to start a business in 2010, Armando Bartolome, a noted franchising consultant and president of GMB Franchise Developers, says: “Starting a business does not depend on having a perfect time; what is required is for an entrepreneur to have established a business concept and written down a business plan.”

“I see that next year (2010) things will be much better (for business) yes full of challenges,” Bartolome adds.

Ditto with Lex Ledesma, a serial entrepreneur who is part owner of the iconic Whistlestop restaurant and one of the founders of The One School. He says: “I don’t believe that timing or the general state of the economy has anything to do with the timing of starting a business. The big question is, what is the business? The specific business should serve the needs of the present market. Plus this should be differentiated.

“Also, the nature of enterprise should be aligned with the passion and skills of the entrepreneur. If these criteria are met, then the time doesn’t matter, “Ledesma adds.

Continue on Part 2 of Start a Small Business Now: 10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Sailing On With Your Own Entrerprise.

Rewrite from Entrepreneur Philippines
January – February 2010 issue. All rights reserved.