Posts Tagged ‘businessmaker academy zero capital club’

My wife and I used to live in a condo unit when we were newly married. At first, the condo was pretty spacious and needed some furniture so we got a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, then gifts would come from friends and family on special occasions and over time the stuff we had would pile up. I remember one time feeling claustrophobic already, I literally couldn’t breathe anymore and no matter how many times we would donate, or purge we would feel that the condo was magically getting smaller and smaller.

Now this is not because we keep buying stuff, we actually live (then and now) a very simple life. We do not buy anything we do not need and we donate and “purge” regularly, the fact is everyone will eventually have more “stuff” over time. This is what I call “the power of accumulation” and what I wanted to share with you today is how I use this power in businesses. And how you too can build something small first then slowly, over time, accumulate not just “stuff” but wealth.

Before I start, I’m sure you are thinking right now: “I can’t start a business yet, I don’t know anything about businesses”. So I want to let you know one powerful truth:

“Everyone starts at ZERO.”

Every successful business owner starts by not knowing much about business. Sure, some of them might have studied about starting a business whether in college, grad school, books and even through seminars. And I wholeheartedly believe in education, but let me tell you another powerful truth:

“Experience is the best teacher of all”.

Let me explain further. If I were to tell a 5 year old child to stay away from the stove because he/she might get burned, then show the child pictures of what a burn looks like and tell her that it is very, very painful then the child has been educated on how not to get burned right?

Now, the child will listen to you…for a while that is.  But when you are not looking and the stove is on, chances are, the child will still go near the stove and accidentally burn her hand anyway. Because the child needs to fulfill her curiosity on what the word “burn” is and understand what you meant about how painful it can really be. Now, the moment she gets hurt and realizes that she never wants to get burned again, she has gained experience.

Likewise, the best way to learn about business is to experience doing business and find out first hand what it is like to go through the pains and gains of being in business.

So are you ready to gain experience and accumulate businesses? Alright then here’s the simple formula / plan that you must start doing now to start accumulating wealth through businesses: “S+R+A” = Power of Accumulation

S = “Start small”

There are many ways to start a business, but my method is the one that you can do right now. First off, know that no one can ever be sure if a business will succeed or not. So, common sense would dictate that you start small. If you have a small business already, good! If you don’t, then start one now by starting a sideline or racket. If you need some suggestions on creating a business without adding any costs, go to my blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com and search this phrase: “Money Management Simplified Part 3”. In that article are two incredibly simple ways to start a small sideline business with Zero Costs. I would also suggest that you read the whole series (parts 1 to 3) to learn how to manage your money for businesses.

As my readers already know, when I start businesses I start them with Zero costs, to me that is the ultimate way of starting small.

R = “Remain Small”

When I start a small business, and it becomes a success, I do not hire a lot of people, I keep it small and manageable. But I do something “special” inside the business to make it even more profitable. I call it “Multiple Streaming”. It’s a technique that I teach in my 7 point formula seminar. What Multiple Streaming does is that it takes an ordinary sideline or racket and it “doubles” the income streams of that business every year. Now, if I increase my income stream per business and keep my staff small and manageable, the business becomes a lot more profitable even without becoming too big. Why do I like keeping my businesses small? Well, lots of reasons but the most important reason is that small businesses can move a lot faster than bigger businesses and the relationship between the customers, the staff and me are more direct and personal, no red tape.

A = “Accumulate”

Now, once my small business’ income stream stabilizes. I do it all over again with the same process, I start another small business, then I “Multiple Stream it” until profitable, then add another when ready. I simply keep adding small, profitable businesses over time that accumulate into true wealth. Imagine money coming in from multiple sources — when you wake up, when you are asleep, when you are eating, when you are on vacation. It’s an incredible feeling I assure you.

“The Power of Accumulation”

So going back to the introduction of this article when my wife and I started out in a small condominium, the fact is, you will always accumulate more “stuff” no matter what. So I learned to apply this incredible power into businesses and instead of the awful feeling of Claustrophobia, I achieve something else- “freedom from financial worry”. So now, you too can accumulate more wealth by just following the simple plan that I just outlined for you and of course gaining as much experience in the process. All the best! Good luck and God bless!

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader, marketer, sales consultant, and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So is slated to conduct his “7 Point Formula Seminar” this July 31, 2010. If you are interested in attending this seminar, email Mark directly at markso@zerocapitalclub.com. To read more of Mark’s interesting and life enriching articles you can go to his blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com

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A few months ago, a friend of mine requested if I could help her nephew (an undergrad student from an Ivy league school) with his business practicum project that he was becoming frustrated with. Their business practicum’s goal was to produce and sell as many “uniquely different” T-Shirts as possible and she requested if I could just help him out a bit and get him back on track.

When we met, I asked him what the problem was and he said “well you see, my team mates do not want to shell out the capital that the group needs to produce the T-Shirts”. So I asked him how much capital he needed.  He said, “Well, we need 200,000 pesos…” I raised my hands to stop him in mid sentence and said: “Whoa, back up there a little bit, 200,000? Why do you need that much money to produce and sell T-Shirts?”

“Well sir, because to ‘market test’ and produce the shirts, we’ll have to purchase the machine to print on the shirts…”, “Who said that?” I asked. “My adviser” he replied, “Does your adviser have a business?”  He said, “No, but she’s been teaching this course for a while now, and she says that in order to know if your business venture will make money, you must learn how to do a break even analysis, and to do that, you must know the costs…”

“Okay”…I said, “…now I understand why your team mates are not willing to put up the capital. Well for one, you are asking for P200,000 and two, because it is not necessary. Let’s simplify things for you, forget the costs of the machine for a while, how much is the cost of a plain non-printed T-Shirt?”

He grabbed several spreadsheet print outs from his bag  and began searching for the costs of the T-Shirts.  Five minutes later he still could not give me an answer and said “Sorry sir, to get the costs, I have to reverse-engineer the calculations that I did…”  Needless to say, I was a bit surprised to hear that he had to “reverse-engineer” anything to come up with the costs because in my mind, to know the price of a T-Shirt, you simply have to ask the price from the supplier of the T-Shirt. Apparently, he did not do that but instead was taught to calculate costs based on some sort of theoretical model.

After a few more minutes of waiting, I said “Okay please listen for a moment, I’m going to estimate right now that the price of a plain white shirt is about P100 give or take, so to get you and your team started, you don’t need P200,000. All you need to do is to buy maybe 10 shirts x P100 = P 1,000 then add the cost of printing of whatever design you have. So I’ll assume that printing the design will be another P100 give or take, so with these top of mind estimates your initial costs will be about P2,000, not P200,000.”

“But 10 shirts only, that’s pretty small isn’t it?” he asked. “Well I said, since you are ‘market testing’ the shirts, you just need samples of the shirts initially. Then what you do is to get pre-orders and get a down payment for those orders from your customers. You can also sell the shirts immediately and produce more of them after, based on demand.  Once you get the down payment, you can then purchase the materials (shirts) needed to produce and deliver the T-shirts.”

“But how do we go about producing the T-shirts when we don’t have the machine to produce it” he asked.  I then answered, “there is no need for you to buy the printing machine yourselves to produce it, doing so would be ridiculous because this is just a project for you. Also, we are no longer in the Industrial age where you have to produce everything yourself.   We are at an age of outsourcing jobs to avoid huge capital investments.  You can simply outsource the printing of the shirts to a company that does that.”

“But Sir, what about the design and price of the T-shirts? We were taught that we have to have a unique design and that we should price it very low so that we can sell a lot of shirts.” I responded “If you can come up with a unique design that people want, then I do not recommend that you price it low, in fact quite the opposite, you should price it at a premium because of its uniqueness.”

“Listen,” I said to the student, “Business is simple.  It need not be based on theoretical mathematical models, nor does it have to be over analyzed and over complicated.”

Even though this story just involves a college business practicum, the common misconceptions about business is just as true with most start up businesses. A lot of times, people feel that if they are doing something “sophisticated” or with big capital, or with common phrase clichés, that they are doing it right. The fact is, Business is not complicated at all.  Just find the simplest way to make a profit. If it is simple, trust me, it is right.

Authorbox:

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy and Forex Club Manila.  He regularly holds seminars on Business, Finance and Investments.  To read about past articles from the BIZMAKER column, you may visit www.markso.wordpress.com.  For more information about his seminars, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com

A long time ago, I used to think that the true way to success is to outwit and outmaneuver competition. Truth be told, I am a very competitive person by nature and I hate losing to competition. And I’m sure that a part of you feels the same way deep down inside, it’s called the “competitive spirit”.

In fact I would wager that a lot of people who want to venture into business have a very healthy dose of competitiveness and most of the time think of starting a business as similar to going to war. You start to buy and read books such as the “art of war” and numerous business strategy books to beat your opponent(s). You have in your heads that to be in business, you must focus on “Killing Competition”.

Through the years of teaching business, I’ve encountered a lot of start-up businesses and even growing businesses that do not focus on what is really important, and that is learning how to make profits regardless of competition.

A lot of businesses that I’ve encountered will typically price their products lower than competition so that they can “steal” the clients from them. They feel that the more clients they are able to take from other businesses, the more successful they become.

For Example: You just opened a water refilling station just a few blocks away from an existing one who sells their 5 gallon jug at P50 each, you decide that for the opening promo you are going to price your 5 gallon jug at P45 each so that the customers of the existing business will switch to buying from you.

If you are starting to think this way, let me say right now that this is faulty thinking. Why? Because:

1.)    Your competition will most probably match or even price their products lower than yours and a price war may start. A price war is never good for business, not for you, not for your competitor. If you go down this path I guarantee, no one will win.

2.)    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. Plus, this is the sure fire way to attract more enemies and possibly bankrupt you.

3.)    You are not acting in your business’ best interest because your profitability suffers and you are running your business not like a merchant but like a warrior.

So instead of thinking like a warrior let me give you now a few insights that will help you think more like a merchant whether you are just starting a business or have been in business for a while.

First, let’s re-focus you, repeat after me: “Businessmen are merchants, not warriors”. Business is not about going to war with your competitors, it’s about being profitable first with your customers.

There are many methods for pricing your products and services to be profitable with customers which I discuss fully in my Business seminars, but for this article I want to focus on a very important philosophy of profitability and that is to start learning how to

“Price for Profit, never for war”.

Here’s a real life example on how I did that. 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 (talking about other topics such as catering and baking) was offering that price. I said no to P500 and ended up negotiating the price to P2,500 / seat, 5 times higher than what the other seminars were going for. Though the organizers were reluctant at first, they finally said okay. You should have seen the poster. My seminar was the only one that was priced at P2,500 and the rest of the seminars were all P500. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

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. Here’s the math:

Seminar A had 60 participants x P500 = P30,000.

Seminar B had 60 participants x P500 = P30,000

Sub Total                                              = P60,000
My seminar had 30 participants x P2,500 = P75,000.

Even if you add up the sales of my 2 “competitors” I still produced P15,000 more. Another way to look at it is that even if I only had 12 participants, I would have made the same amount compared to seminar a or b’s 60 participants, in my example above I only had half of what they got but I won over them in profits by an astounding 150%.

So you see, as businessmen, if you focus too much on increasing your customers by lowering your price, it is not at all as profitable as getting a smaller number of customers at a much better price. I never try to steal the customers away from my competition by lowering my price, instead I focus on giving more value to my customers with the price that they pay, regardless of what competition does.

Knowing this is the most important first step to becoming a merchant and a true Businessman.

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy and Forex Club Manila.  He regularly holds seminars on Business, Finance and Investments.  To read about past articles from the BIZMAKER column, you may visit www.markso.wordpress.com.  For more information about his seminars, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com.

(Continued from last week’s article… if you have not yet read Part 1, please click here)

One month before I met my wife, I started to work and turn my troubled business around. So I did what I should’ve done a long time ago, I fired my non-producing General Manager and her cohort but kept one staff who was loyal to me.  That reduced my costs tremendously. I could now afford to pay that one staff to continue to chase after the deals that we were supposed to close and I could start to pay off the debt that had piled up.

But cutting costs wasn’t enough.  I needed to get more sales in so that I could get out of debt faster.  So I made a few phone calls and I was referred to a person who could probably help.  I called and arranged a meeting with the person and she mentioned that she would introduce me to her business partner so that we can discuss the matter thoroughly.  I did not know it at that time, but the business partner was destined to be my wife.

When I first met my wife Jhoanna, I was immediately attracted to her. She was radiant, elegant, beautiful, and little did I know then, a genius. After a minute or two of introductions, I explained what I thought would be the best deal ever and handed her a 2 page proposal.  After looking through it, she simply said: “Your deal doesn’t make any sense for us to get into it.” Bam! I thought I had the deal in the bag, where did that left hook come from?

Although the deal did not push through as planned, my wife made me realize one of the most important traits a successful entrepreneur should have. And that was to think about action and results, not fluff. You see the deal that I was proposing was to outsource 100% of the work of my company to them and I would take 70% while they got 30%. And how I went about pitching the deal to them was with nothing more than charm and fluffy words. My wife saw right through that and showed me with her matter of fact statement that handsome and charming I may be, that would get me nowhere. A lesser man would have just walked away, but not me.  I got even more attracted to her. She gave me another reason to turn the business around.

Well, back to the drawing board I told myself. The one staff I had kept was making little progress, there was still NO income, and the debt was still piling up. I had to do something more drastic.

Now at that time, Jhoanna and I were already dating and she became my sounding board, business advisor and more importantly, my source of strength.

One of the most crucial ideas that she gave me during those times was to get a “virtual office” to lessen my operating costs yet make my company still professional looking.  A virtual office is a business center service where you pay a minimal fee to rent the office address including the phone line and a receptionist without actually staying in that office.  With my wife’s help (she called up all the virtual offices in town and got me the best deal), I got one that charged only Php900 per month.

Armed with this solution, I decided to let go of my Makati office and phone lines to save more on costs. I made a deal with my staff to let her bring home the computer and printer and to use her home phone temporarily. I would pay for half of the phone bill and whatever excess electricity she would consume because she’d be working from home.  She agreed.

Interestingly, the Virtual Office was the key to getting our first client in. This was the next crucial lesson my wife had taught me about business:  You need to package yourself well. Perception is key. The Virtual Office allowed me to look extremely professional, yet lessen my overhead.

On our calling card was printed:

Office Address: …West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Center, Exchange Road Ortigas, Center Pasig City, 1605 Philippines.

Phone: (632) 6873416; Fax: (632)6874645

I instructed my staff to call all our prospects and inform them that we were moving to a better office. When my staff started calling our prospects telling them that exact line and of course our office address and phone numbers, guess what?  Most of the prospects’ reactions were very positive and that immediately increased their perception of us.  In fact, one of the comments that my staff relayed to me was “Wow you guys must be doing really well, because that address is expensive”.  Little did they know that it only cost me P900 / month!

And sure enough, after a couple of weeks, we closed our first major deal. It was for a Million Pesos Gross and that was the first sigh of relief I had in 10 months. Finally, the business was turning around.

The projects were now coming in, and in the next 6 months, we had recovered 90% of the losses which was truly remarkable. However, I was still not making any money at that time from the business, I was still in debt and for some reason, I could not pay it off. Now this is where my wife truly helped me out. The turn-around of the business was just a small victory for the real problem that had to be fixed was my unhealthy attitude about money which my wife, through tough love, patience and practicality taught me to turn around as well.  (To be concluded next Sunday, Nov 15, 2009)

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy.  A sought-after Business Trainer & Consultant, he has taught thousands of people practical insights and strategies to win in business.  On November 14, he is scheduled to conduct his signature seminar on Capital Raising and Cashflow Management.  For more information, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com.

Money can get really tight when you are looking for a job and sometimes, even when you already have a job!  But the good news is, you can start your own business and create extra income almost immediately with ZERO CAPITAL whether you are currently employed or not.  So, are you ready to take in the secrets that I will share today?  Read closely.

You Don’t Need Money to Make Money

I was interviewed for a TV show hosted by 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 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 a lot of money to begin with.”

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 and you can make money”

The Zero Capital Method

Let me share with you some insights for making money without money, I call it THE ZERO CAPITAL METHOD which is really about starting your own profitable business, sideline or racket—with nothing (okay, less than a thousand pesos if you really want to be strict about it) and I don’t mean getting a loan or a hand out from your parents or relatives.

With the Zero Capital Method, you can immediately make extra money whether you are aspiring to become an entrepreneur, looking for a job or already have a job but just want extra income.  So without further ado, here are my no-nonsense learning principles and action must-do’s based on what I and my business teams do to start Zero Capital Businesses.

1. Erase from your heads that it takes money to make money – This saying is not for Entrepreneurs but for Investors. There is a big difference between the two: Entrepreneurship is about making money from nothing, Investing is about growing your money.

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2. Understand the true meaning of Capital. We loosely associate the word capital with Money. There are many other forms of capital that is not related to money but with the right plan can be made into money and a successful business. These are:

  1. Talent / Skill Capital – Do you have a marketable talent or skill in something? Write it down and make your list as long as possible
  2. Experience Capital – Do you have sought after experience in something? Think about how you can use that to start a business.
  3. Social Capital – Do you have any Influential connections in your network whom you can tap (not to give you capital) but to open doors for you?
  4. Time Capital – Do you have time? Time can be made into a business.
  5. Solution Capital – Do you have Solutions to everyday problems?
  6. Ownership Capital – Do you own everyday, useful equipment or property  that you can make money with?

3. Learn how to market and sell these forms of capital with ZERO Costs. The purest form of business is when you are able to sell. The sweetest form of selling is if you are able to do it without any upfront costs! If selling is not for you, partner with someone who does it well and work out a “Commission-Based-Zero-Cash-Out” arrangement.

4. Learn to negotiate. If you are used to bargain hunting and haggling in Divisoria, then this should be second nature for you. If you do not know how to negotiate, you must learn. – This is a non-negotiable. How? Go to divisoria with an experienced bargain hunter / negotiator, make a goal to buy something that you need at 50% of the asking price. If not successful, repeat until you are.

5. Learn to manage your money. In business, you can start with zero capital but you don’t want to end up with zero profits.  When you generate money, don’t spend it all on useless (non-profit generating) expenses.  Learn how to separate business and personal transactions using financial and tracking tools.

6. Learn from experience, or at least someone with experience to guide you and shorten the time to get to your goal. Do not get advice from people who have not done what you want to do and just tell you why it won’t work. Do not get advice from people who are not successful because you don’t want to end up like them. You want to end up like someone who has been down this road and who has succeeded.

Now, these 6 pointers are just the beginning of a very exciting road ahead. It is not for everyone.  But if you truly want to start making extra money now, there is no need to wait any further. All you need to do is ACT ON IT.

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Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center and the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila.  A sought after speaker for business and forex, he is scheduled to conduct his signature workshop “Zero Capital Business” on October 17 and 24, 2009.  To know more about workshop, you may visit www.zerocapitalclub.com and www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  You may email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com