Monday, July 11, 2011

Business Planning Reborn

This time, let me share my various business ideas. Learn from my brilliant business concepts…my failures rather. This is the third piece of My Journey to Financial Freedom.

The Ups and Downs of Taking Risks” was my official entry to Bro. Bo’s blogger contest last October 2010. It was about the different businesses that my family got into. Hitting rock bottom was a no stranger to me and my family. We failed in 5 businesses (two of which were not in my entry) and lost lots of money. Worst, some of my parents’ hard-earned labor just went to the hands of the greedy. Realizing our past mistakes, we have learned two lessons (1) aggressiveness is good but timing is more important and (2) know who to trust.

Venturing into business is risky. And there is no way that you can totally eliminate problems even in micro business such as sari-sari store – the sixth business venture. Today, problems are still left and right. In fact, last month we experienced our first loss in one year. It’s frustrating, of course. But there is no basis for panic yet since the situation is still manageable. We are confident that we can recover what we have lost. We are aware, however, that in the long run expenditures will increase and this type of business may not possibly be enough or let’s just put it straight - it’s not enough. We have to go up at least one level.

Just this year, we thought of entering into another business. My first idea was a food business and my target market was high school or college students. But we didn’t want to rush things and make the same mistakes again. So I had a “serendipity walk (the mental exercise involves strolling through Manila and observing the community to see what business opportunities could be developed source: Negosyo Joey Concepcion’s Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories).” I went to different schools and universities in Metro Manila except in Diliman, Katipunan and Vito Cruz. My travel immensely influenced my initial plan. I started switching from one idea to another. When I finally accepted that my food business concept was not possible I suddenly considered selling school supplies or buying franchise. One day, I saw a seemingly perfect spot to sell school supplies – PUP. There was a relatively perfect space available just few steps away from the main gate. Few hours later I found out that the space was already taken. Sigh!

Franchising, on the other hand, is also a good option since when you buy a franchise there is already an established system. On the downside, it entails huge capital. A good franchise business requires an investment capital of 150 thousand to millions. If you are going to rent a space, add that to your initial costs. The question was “Where are we going to get that large amount?” Setting the problem aside, I went to different places like shopping malls, supermarkets and other public places. My goal was to observe the operations of various food-carts particularly the ones I like. I would go to the nearest mall as often as I could. To my dismay, I observed that a lot of businesses were closing. Some of them just opened in less than a year. My frequent visit resulted to another breakdown. My conclusion: NO to franchising at least for now.

Next in line is to establish a clothing line for male. My daily life revolves with four young men. I also have two uncles in the neighborhood. And they have one common denominator - they love t-shirts. So a new business idea was born. I was ecstatic to do this since it deals with art and the capital is moderately small. In the absence of Adobe Photoshop in my computer system, I started making designs using google images and boost it using Microsoft Office Picture Manager or Paint or Photobucket. I printed a few samples and voila an online business. I thought. The scenario has drastically changed when my big brother installed Adobe Photoshop and started using it. OMG! It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I couldn’t squeeze out even a drop of creative juice. Cynical, I’m taking a break. Mastering the program will probably take a while. As I have said, aggressiveness is good but timing is more important.

Thinking about all the business plans I had is annoying. I failed again. Failure seems to be never-ending. My only consolation is a deeper realization about business planning which is a different story. Despite that, I choose to stay optimistic. Today, I’m actively monitoring our daily income vs. operating expenses. I just want to think that this is a time to hone my financial and decision making skills in preparation to a bigger challenge ahead…

Watch out!!! I see it coming… :D

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