Archive for September, 2008

When I was younger, I read that competition is the consumer’s best friend because if there are more businesses offering the same thing, prices should go down. As a consumer, I agree and have benefited lots of times from it. Problem is that thought process became the norm even to Business owners. Start-up entrepreneurs started thinking that to be successful in business, you have to get “market share” by killing competition, and to kill competition, you sell at a lower price.

In my marketing seminars to start-up entrepreneurs, I will almost always start by saying “We are merchants, not warriors” to remind the participants to focus not on competition but on their business. In business you should never think about killing competition, worse, never even try it by selling at predatory prices. Why? Because competition will ALWAYS be there, even if you manage to destroy one or two today, 10 more will spring up tomorrow. It’s a losing battle that you will never win. Then I would say “As merchants, we price for profit, not for war”. No one wins in a price war, but the business with the most profits will always win against its competitors.

Here’s a case in point. A couple of years ago I was invited to speak on “How to Start and Manage a Food Cart” At first, the organizers wanted me to price it at P500 / seat since their other speakers was offering that price. I said no.

I ended up negotiating the price to P2,500 / seat, 5 times higher than what the competition was pricing it. Though the organizers were reluctant at first, they finally said okay. When the seminar day came, there were three seminars going on at the same time, mine and 2 others. The other 2 seminars were jam packed with about 60 participants each, mine had only 30 participants. Yes, the other 2 speakers had the market share, but I made the most in profits.

Speaker A/B had 60 participants x P500 = P30,000.
I had 30 participants x P2,500 = P75,000.

Even if I only had 12 participants, I would have made the same amount compared to the competition, in my example above I only had half of what they got but I won over them in profits by an astounding 150%.

So here’s the point, I did not have to lower my price to compete and in the end the business who is left standing is the one with the money to continue going.

All the best!
-Mark

The thought that it takes money to make money is simply ingrained into society when it comes to businesses.

I was interviewed a few months ago for a TV show hosted by Arch Bishop Chito Tagle on ABC 5 and the theme of the show was “Entrepreneurship for nation building in the Philippines”. In the course of the interview, I was asked how someone can start a business when they have no money to begin with. To this I replied, “I think a lot of people have it backwards, the reason why you will go into business in the first place is because you don’t have money to begin with.”

As you may have guessed, I got a quizzical and interested look when I said this and the host asked me to elaborate further, so I replied: “In business, you do not need capital, you need customers. If you have Capital but no customers, you are not in business, but if you have customers even with no capital, then you ARE in business “ I then faced the camera and said “If you want to know more, take my class.” to which the host and everyone in the room burst into laughter.

After the interview, I left the studio with my lovely wife Jhoanna with everyone in the production crew from the producer to the camera man with a smile. Walking to the car, a young man who was in the studio ran up to us and said thank you, and that felt great.

When the show aired the week after, people who watched the TV show called my company Businessmaker Academy and enrolled in my class. The class is called “Capital Raising and Cash Flow Management” which I still conduct until today.

The TV show interview allowed me to help others by sharing a different perspective, if you’ve read this far, this post will hopefully do the same thing.

But on a more practical level, the show allowed me to find my customers. This blog does the same. The interview was free, opening this blog is free. Did I find my customer? Yes. Am I in business? You bet.

All the best!
-Mark

Hi All!

I decided to start this blog to share my business and investing experiences for those who want to help themselves.

So for those reading this post right now, welcome!

Let me first start by saying that I did not take up commerce, business school or any formal financial training, my experience in these fields come from the school of “hard knocks”, which to me is the best school there is. I do however have a college degree from De La Salle University but what I finished is no where near business or finance, I am a licensed (but non-practicing,) Electronics and Communications Engineer.

Like many people I know, I ended up pursuing a passion different from my formal schooling and i’m happier to have done so. Which leads me to talk about one of my (and my wife’s) best ideas that became (and continues to be) a thriving, profitable, and helpful business: Businessmaker Academy, Inc

Before I continue about Businessmaker, let me first introduce my wife, her name is Jhoanna and it is because of her that I am who I am today. Perhaps one of the best advice I could ever give you is for you to find someone to marry who loves you, teaches you, and supports you, AND for that person to be willing to be loved, be taught and be supported by you as well. Find that person and your dreams will come true, I know because I married mine.

So Businessmaker Academy was actually Jhoanna’s dream which became a reality sooner rather than later. She wanted to teach people the practical art of Money Management because as you may have noticed, this is not taught in any school, at least on a practical, do it yourself level. So Jhoanna and I began this idealistic and what we believed to be a “noble and very necessary” pursuit. But we knew that we needed help, so we found and recruited our very dear friend Cindy to become our business partner. The three of us then embarked on a mission: “To create a company to help those who want to help themselves”.

That was 5 years ago, today, the three of us are still at it. But instead of just teaching people money management, we’ve expanded into a ton of different practical courses for anyone to take at their own time. Our courses now range from Business Start-Up, Forex Trading, Human Resource Managment, Team building, and Corporate training

So if you’re like me and the many people out there who want to pursue a passion other than what you were trained to do, a passion that you are unclear about the first steps in achieving it, or a passion in just helping yourself be better, know that you are not alone, Businessmaker Academy is here.

All the best!
-Mark So