(Business Mentor Notes: Chit Juan is a serial entrepreneur who has started many businesses from cafes to restaurants, a convenience store, a laundry, a green and organic store and lately an organic vegetable farm. And she keeps going.)
From Left is Chit Juan together with Marivic Sales her farm manager at EchoFarm
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
Not everyone can be a visionary. Not everyone can design. Not everyone is good at numbers. And this may be the reason or reasons why you sometimes cannot go into a business by yourself. You may need partners whose gifts complement yours.
KNOW YOUR WEAK SPOTS.
I cannot design or choose colors to save my life. And this is where partners or consultants come in. I do not know art enough to make a business out of it. So I defer to partners for artistic decisions or choices needing that artist eye.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE.
Seek help and it will come. The reason there are professionals is because we need them for the special things—like taxes, copyright or trademarks, research and development and even franchising. We cannot be a master of all these specialties and are better off paying for these services.
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES
Do not be an armchair entrepreneur or business owner. Stand up and do the work and show your people you can do it. The mistake of some business owners is Extreme Delegation or “Utos”. Palautos (giving orders rather than doing it yourself)is a trait we do not want in succeesful business. One does not succeed by giving orders alone. One does rather than one orders.
TAKE CRITICISM WELL.
No one is perfect. Sometimes we need to improve on some skills or even change or alter management styles. Sometimes we need a sounding board to tell us where we could go wrong.
THINK THINGS THROUGH.
Ideas are always welcome to innovate and have new ideas on board. But when you suggest new ideas, think them through. Are they executable to the end? Will it benefit many? Will it cause a shift in management or operations? Think things through before any knee-jerk changes or innovations.
There are consultants for every business challenge. They can be specialists or consultants. But seek help when you need it or even before you need it. Know your backroom of specialists who can come and help (even with pay) if necessary.
HAVE A GOOD MENTOR AND A VISION.
Have a model. Have a peg. Have a benchmark. Who do you want to be? What do you want your business to become? If you do not know where you are going, your business may not know where it is headed too. It’s called Visioning and then writing down your mission and goals. Select a good mentor who can be objective and provide guidance along the way. There are many so-called mentors. Choose the one who exudes such passion.
HAVE A HANDLE ON NUMBERS.
Everyone’s goal is to be profitable, whether it is decent or obscene profit. But everyone goes into business for the same reasons—social, environmental and financial profits. All will make you sustainable but financial profits will keep your head above water. Know your figures. Like you know the back of your hand. Study accounting and do not leave it to fate. You have to understand numbers.
HAVE A PLAN.
Nothing beats having a plan. It does not have to be a complicated business plan but a simple question and answer plan to ensure you have thought things through. What is my core business? What is my revenue stream or how will I sell my product or service? Who are my competitors? Where will I sell? How much money do I need to see me through?
A plan with no action is just a plan. Go for it. Start small but start now. And if things do not pan out, as they should, do not fret. Adjust, recalibrate, seek advice then keep going. Remember that there are no failures, just lessons. And for every three ideas you start on, if one succeeds, you’re good.