Posts Tagged ‘Personal growth’

First off, I’d like to thank all of those who visited and commented on my blog for Part 1. For those of you who have not yet read it please click here

The Yin and The Yang Salesman

The Yin and The Yang Salesman

From the comments, it was apparent that everyone has a favored salesman type, either Yin or Yang. But I was truly amazed and happy to read some of the comments that came very, very close to what I will be revealing today. These comments validate what I believe a True Salesman should be.

But first here are some interesting stats. 45% of those who commented were Yins, 30% were Yangs and  25% were unsure. And out of all the comments, a whopping 91% believed that Yins will outsell the Yangs!

And that verdict is absolutely, in my experience, CORRECT. Here is the most important revelation that I have discovered in all my years as a Salesman:

“Yangs Can Move Mountains when it comes to selling, but it is the Yins who are the ones who can best influence and maximize the full selling potential of the Yangs. And it is the Yins who have the best chance of closing deals if they so want to.”

One comment on my blog says a lot:

“I Am a Yin but I know that I can beat the Yang…How? By hiring a Yang to sell for me. Hehehe. I am not the type of person willing to develop my weaknesses. Rather, a person who wants to look for a person who can compensate it. Regards!” –Julius

That comment is classic Yin thinking and I applaud Julius for his concise and dead on insight. But you see it is not enough to just hire Yangs, because Yangs can also hire other Yangs to sell for them. The true power of the Yin is that they are one of the few people on earth who can control, correct, influence, and persuade the Yangs to be the best they can be.

Yins Naturally Control Yangs

The Yin Naturally Controls Yangs

Yin Naturally Controls Yangs

I want you to picture a thoroughbred champion race horse, now that horse is a powerful and magnificent creature — that’s a Yang Salesman. A Champion race horse can run 55 to 65 Kilometers / hour, which is pretty darn fast. Anyone (with a lot of money) can buy one (hire a Yang Salesman), but not everyone can ride one (control a Yang Salesman) without causing any serious injuries to the rider or the horse.

Only the right horse Jockey can control the race horse, and typically horse jockeys are no more than 5’5” in height and weighs no more than 116 pounds. Jockeys look normal in every sense of the word, in fact you might not even notice them most of the time, but, they have an enormous power inside of them, they can control the race horse. Now think of the Jockey as the Yin. Without the Yin, a race horse can run like the wind, but it will not be able to run as fast and as hard as when the Jockey is in control, even with the additional 116 pounds.

Do you get the picture? Good, let me go a little deeper now and let me now go back to salesmanship. You see not all Yins would like to become horse Jockeys, in other words, not all Yins would like to venture into sales because not a lot of Yins think that it is possible for them to succeed in it.

From the comments coming from the Yins on my Blog, it is very apparent that Most Yins, are still thinking that to be a true salesman, you need to be a Yang. So I want to let everyone know that that is NOT TRUE, and there really is no need for any transformation. Just a little confidence to know that you have what it takes as a Yin to possibly be the greatest salesman ever. I’d like to add another comment from my blog:

“…with perseverance, direction, interest and positive perception … you can make your goal come true….Its within you….” -Sofia

Great words Sofia, and let me add to that this truth: All Yins, and only the Yins have the immense power to control the Yangs if they so wanted to. Can you imagine a racehorse controlling another racehorse? Or an outgoing, extroverted person controlling another outgoing extroverted person? In some cases it can work, but in most of my experience, that relationship will be “explosive” in tagalong: “kapag pinagsama ang dalawang taong malakas ang dating, sasabog iyan”.

Now, When it comes down to it, Customers Naturally Like Yins more than Yangs

You see, it’s all very simple, Yang Salesmen have a tendency to repel other Yangs and if the other Yang happens to be a potential customer, getting a Super Yang to close will most likely turn into a contest of who can convince who. Instead of just closing the deal, a Yang usually has the tendency of OVER SELLING which is a big No, No in sales. I have had the privilege of seeing my wife (A SUPER YIN) sell a few times and she closes 99% of them (FANTASTIC if you ask me). Honestly though, and my wife will admit this to anyone. She is not comfortable doing the selling on her own, it freaks her out, but still she manages to get the customer to buy anyway because of this simple truth: Yins are perceived as ordinary “honest” folk who do not sell but who give advice and make honest recommendations.

Customers Trust Yins More

Customers Trust Yins More

In other words, if a Yin is selling, the customer usually let’s their guard down, and are more open to possibilities. And if the customer is open to what the Yin has to say, 99% of the time they will buy, because Yins will almost always tell the truth. And in the world of selling, truth and honesty is the key to sales success.

So for the Yins out there, listen to what I have to say: “There is no need to be a great talker, no need to be a great presenter, no need to be a great charmer. There are only 2 things you have to learn to become possibly the greatest salesman in the world: 1.) Have confidence in yourself and 2.) Learn how to close the deal.

If you want to learn how to build confidence and close the deal, I’m inviting all of you, whether Yin or Yang to go sign up for the Intensive 2-day Sales Training Workshop. Conducted by yours truly this June 9 and 10, 2010 ( Wednesday and Thursday) from 9AM to 5PM at Suite 1503A West Tower Philippine Stock Exchange Center Exchange Road Ortigas Center Pasig City.

Mark's Proactive Sales and Marketing Seminar

Attend Mark's 2 day Sales Training Program!

I hope to see you all there! Also feel free to leave a comment, I would honestly love to hear from all of you.

Author box:

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.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila.  A sought after speaker for business and forex, he conducts seminars on Business Skills, Sales and many more.  To know more about these seminars, you may visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  You may email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com

Happy New Year! It is now 2010 and I hope you are looking forward to a great and wonderful year ahead. This is the time of the year when I am often asked, what’s a good business or investment to get into?

So for my very first column of the year, I wanted to share something basic but very often overlooked about succeeding in Business or Investing in general and that is, before you invest in anything, you must  invest in yourself first.

Sounds simple enough but many times, we place all our efforts and even our hard earned money in opportunities that come our way without knowing what it is we are getting into. Most of the time, we hear and see a new business or investment fad and immediately start thinking of putting money into it. And because we so badly want to progress in this world, we let impulse and greed take control over reason, raise our hopes and inevitably shake our heads later when the opportunity turns out to be another dead end, or worse, another scam. Is this the cycle that you continuously experience every year? So if you are asking what’s a good business or what’s a good investment to get into this 2010? My answer is start investing first in the one thing that you have probably overlooked for so many years…Yourself.

For those who want to start businesses, educate yourself first. The following areas are where you should start:

  • Sales and Marketing Skills

This is perhaps the most important skill to learn first. I often say that Sales is the purest form of business. Without it, you can never be in business. If you are a shy person and don’t think that selling is something you can do, think again. In my Sales and Marketing seminars you’d be happily surprised to know that the shy persons will always outsell the outspoken ones.

  • Capital Raising Skills

A lot of people think that they need capital to start a business, although that may be true for some businesses, would you know how to source capital without getting into debt?  Increasing your knowledge in this area will help you in your business ventures.  This is an important skill that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to learn.

  • Cash Flow Management Skills

A business is like a car.  Sales is money coming in or the gas that fuels the business while Business Expenses is what will deplete the money coming in. Cash Flow management is simply about knowing how to keep your business running smoothly even when the money coming in is not enough to sustain the business operations for a few months as sometimes experienced by many entrepreneurs.  If there is one skill that is critical to the survival of your business, this is it.  That’s why I make it appoint to equip my students with the proper tools and systems for cashflow management—it can make or break your business.

  • Human Resource Management Skills

As your business grows, you will need good people to help you run it. Forming your dream team is a must and improving your people handling skills will help you build this team.  For this, you will need to know basic knowledge in Human Resource Management.  From there, you will be able to develop systems to guide your employees, as well as programs to develop and motivate your team.  Applying what our HR training consultants have taught in our seminars, many companies including my own have greatly benefited from the best practices shared.  I’ve learned over the years that it pays to invest in your people too.

For those who want to do better in financial investments, the following areas are where you should look at:

  • Money Management Skills

The most important part of investing is not about how good you pick what to invest in. It’s about what you do with your money when things go bad. In other words, what is your exit strategy and what’s your plan B? As an investor, this is the most crucial thing for you to learn first.

  • Fundamental Analysis Skills

When you decide on what to invest in, you have to understand the underlying reasons for choosing that investment in the first place. For example I chose to invest in real estate because fundamentally, this particular area is a prime area and also because 5 to 10 years from now, this area will continue to increase in value due to continues development improvements by the private and government sectors.

  • Technical Analysis Skills

An important part of investing is also knowing the past price movements of whatever it is you are buying (or selling) Investors use these past price movements to determine trends in the markets which when properly combined with fundamental analysis can greatly improve your investments and the timing of when you get in and out of them.

  • Discipline in following a plan

Lastly, one of the hardest things to master about being an investor is to develop the discipline to only invest when the probabilities of investing is optimal. Too many times newbie investors will have no discipline and will invest based on gut feel and intuition resulting in catastrophe more often than not.

So you see, when you start asking yourself what’s a good business or investment to get into in 2010, do not just look at what people tell you to get into. Instead invest first in educating yourself and developing your skills in these areas. Then determine for yourself if these business or financial investments are indeed worth it.

Invest in yourself in 2010 because you are worth it.

Author box:

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.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila.  A sought after speaker for business and forex, he is scheduled to conduct his signature seminar series on Business Start Up and Entrepreneurship this January 16 to February 13, 2009.  To know more about these seminars, you may visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  You may email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com

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.

Today, I want to start coaching you again on becoming a greater success in whatever you do. I will share with you a simple but powerful truth: “If you want to increase your success, you must:

1.)    Know what you really want in life

2.)    Have the will and desire to go for it; and

3.)    Learn from the experience your journey will bring

So let me ask you: “Do you Really Want to Succeed?”

If you follow what I have to say, I guarantee that you will be successful sooner rather than later.

Tell me if you can relate: Too many times, we get distracted with all that’s happening with everything around us. We run around like headless chickens and most of the time we spend all our energies on things that get us nowhere. It can’t be helped, that is what Life does, it provides you with challenges and distractions which you have to figure out what to do.

What I’ve realized early on and what Life has taught me is that you can’t handle everything without going crazy.

So lesson number 1 to be successful is to “simplify your life”. Every now and then, when I begin to feel overwhelmed, I undergo a “Life simplification” ritual. This basically means, I remove and let go of all the things that are weighing me down. I choose what I really want to be doing and achieving and I focus on (at most) only 3 of them at any given time. I become obsessed with the things I choose to focus on and nothing else matters until I achieve the goals that I set.

Are you overwhelmed right now? Then it’s time to simplify your life and figure out what you want to achieve.

Once you figure out what you want to do. Here comes the next step: Have the will and desire to achieve it.

If there is one thing about me, it is that I will never give up a goal that I set in my head. If I “suck” at that particular area in my life, and I truly want to improve that area, I will keep at it until I get it right. I call it “Stick-to-it-ivity”. In other words, I finish what I start. I guess it was how I was brought up. When my mom would tell me “finish your food”, I obeyed. But kidding aside, it is a trait that you have to develop for yourself, there is one very successful entrepreneur who also has this quality and he goes by the name of Walt Disney. Disney did not start out as a success story immediately, in fact there were huge set backs in his life that if he did not “stick to it”, where would we be?

The trick with never giving up a goal for me is what I learned about life early on. Life will always test your resolve. Life will throw you obstacles and problems that you never thought of. You will be discouraged by people that you love. You will feel frustrated and ignored by the people that you set out to help, you feel that life is hard and are inches away from giving in and giving up. At this point I tell myself 6 very powerful words:

Never give in, Never give up.

Because the true secret about the hardships of life is this: “Life’s purpose is not to make you fail, life’s purpose is to make you succeed. (Even though it does not seem that way). Life is a great teacher, the obstacles are how it teaches you to be better. “when life seems to want you to turn around, it is actually a signal for you to keep going. When things get tough, it is the most critical sign that you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.”

Trust me on this because every time I achieve a goal, the larger the success I become.

Are you having a hard time with what you are trying to achieve right now? Remember NEVER GIVE IN, NEVER GIVE UP. I guarantee that if this is what you really want in life and you follow what I say, you will succeed sooner rather than later.

Now the last step is the most practical step of all: Be willing to invest the time and effort in increasing your skills to achieve what it is you are trying to achieve.

I’m a fervent believer that learning never stops in the classroom and that Life will teach you things that you never thought possible. However, the problem with learning with life alone is that it is learning by trial and error. So if you can avoid trial and error altogether and learn from someone who has achieved more than you, then that would even be better don’t you think so?

So before I get into something that I have no clue on, I always make it a point to “invest in myself” first. Meaning, I will never hesitate to buy and learn from books and seminars, learning events, and spending time learning with people more knowledgeable than me. And once I listen to what they have to say, I apply the lessons immediately and start to really learn through a little trial and error of my own. And although I will still make mistakes, I drastically reduce the errors and the time to achieving my goals.

So if you want to really succeed in anything that you want to do, follow the three things that I do. And you will see that you can be a success sooner rather than later.

The week before I let go of my Makati office, I wanted to say goodbye to it by taking my wife (girlfriend at that time) there for a surprise candlelit dinner. I had my one remaining staff put up about 20 candles and a soft romantic melody playing in the background before she left for the evening. I had everything planned out and when we walked in, the candles took her breath away. I sat her down in the corner of the office where it overlooked the light-filled city below us. Needless to say the evening was picture perfect and utterly romantic, until the part when I showed her what was for dinner.

Because I was still in debt at that time, we dined on 1 order of Mc Donald’s French Fries, 1 box of Chicken Nuggets and a glass of Orange Juice.

That was literally all I could afford at that time, so rather than starve, I decided to go with it and give my best smile while I gave it. And before I could even show how deeply embarrassed I was, my wife without hesitation and with the most sincere smile looked at me and told me that this was the best dinner in her life. And that was all it took to make me want to give her better food and a better life for all her life. That night, she gave me the ultimate reason to want to be a “better man”.

Within 6 months from that night, my troubled business had turned around and we had recovered 90% of my losses thanks to the virtual office that my wife had recommended and the sales coming in. However I was still not making any money because I did not have the right attitude towards money

My problem was that I never really managed the money coming in versus the money going out. Up until that point, I just concentrated on the money coming in, and never really minded where it was going. And worse still, like many men, I was never comfortable talking to women about finances. Like many men, I preferred to keep it a secret.

But my wife would have none of this “male money secret” nonsense, she told me point blank “If you really want to marry me, you’ve got to shape up your finances. I’m willing to help you, but you have to get with it.” Now, when your wife speaks like that, you never argue, you just do. Besides, I really did want to marry her.

So together we explored what I was doing wrong and found solutions that guide me till this day:

1.)    I should have given myself a salary – I used to think that the business is mine anyway so why should I salary myself? My wife’s practicality made sense, she said: “Well even if the business is yours, you still have to eat right? How can you eat if no money from the business is going to you?” So I gave myself back then a small token salary of P5,000 per month. Today, I always make it a point to give myself a salary for all the businesses that I build. Even if it is my business, I’ve learned practically what it means to “pay yourself first”.

2.)    My credit card bills were through the roof – Every time my bill came, I only paid the minimum amount due and worse I would say yes to every single “insurance” offer from my credit card. So I was paying a HUGE amount in unnecessary expenses plus interest every single month. My wife almost freaked out when I finally revealed this to her. But calmly she explained to me that insurance is good, but the terms they gave me were 10 times more expensive than others. And when it comes to paying only the minimum—that was the worst sin of all for her –“Never ever do that” she scolded, “Did you know that when you pay just the minimum amount, you are just paying in essence the interest payment and only a very small amount is removed from your overall balance?” So I had the credit card company first remove all my “card loaded insurances” which immediately lightened my monthly bills. Since I couldn’t pay the entire credit card bill all at once, I did my very best to pay 4 times more than the minimum amount every month. This drastically reduced how much I still had to pay. When I finally had enough money, I paid off the entire balance. Today, all my credit cards are debt-free.  I always pay in full and ON Time. There are no “useless” expenses on any of those cards and my credit line is extremely healthy.

3.)    I never recorded my expenses – Who has the time, right? Wrong. It’s the most important activity in managing money. My wife once again pointed out, “How will you know if you are making enough money if you don’t even record what you are spending on?” So with lots of help from my wife, I started a simple recording system where I record money coming in, money going out, and how much money I have left. It helps tremendously because it makes you more aware of how much money you have at any given time.  Today, I am very hands-on in managing my personal funds, investments and business cash flow.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not know exactly my finances. All of my businesses are debt-free and profitable.

It took me 9 years to get to where I am today. But I wouldn’t have made it if I have not learned early on that: “All of your success in making money will mean nothing if you do not know how to manage your money properly. If you do not know how to manage your money get help from someone who does, better if it is your spouse.”

 

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 couple of weeks ago I wrote an article entitled “The Best Advice I could ever give you about Money”.  I received a lot of feedback for that article and I thank everyone who read and wrote back. If you were not able to read that article yet, please read it here

This post is the story about how I started in business, the hardships I faced, how my wife was instrumental in making me succeed and the most critical decision I made in my life. If you are in debt right now, facing a failed business endeavor or starting to feel down, don’t give in and never give up.  Instead, read on as I hope that through this, you and others like you may know what it takes to win and succeed in anything you do.

In my “Best advice” article I mentioned that generating money for me was as natural as breathing. But after college, I decided to work for someone else and the pay was very good. I put my entrepreneurial ways aside because the salary, benefits and perks were just too convenient and hard to let go. As a result, I became complacent, over confident and cocky which made me careless about managing whatever I made. I spent it all on useless stuff. I never thought about the future because I honestly never saw that far. I was single, lived like there was no tomorrow and always thought, “I’ll spend my money now because I do not want to scrimp and save and be a slave to money. There is no reason to start thinking of the future. Live today because tomorrow you may die.”

I was a fool. I became careless and my debt began to pile up.

Then I decided to revert to my old entrepreneurial ways to augment my income. I thought that because of my high pay, I now have capital to start a serious business. Never mind if I was getting deeper and deeper into debt, never mind that I didn’t know how to manage the money that I earned, I’ll just do it.  I was young, handsome and stupid.

At that time, I was working full time in a multinational company. Because of the time constraints and pressures of my day job, I decided to just “let my money work for me”. I could not personally oversee the business on a day to day basis, so I hired a general manager and she convinced me to hire her cohorts with disgustingly high salaries. BIG MISTAKE. I ended up putting in 90% of my salary and bonuses into this business. Within 8 months, my debt had soared to close to a million pesos.

During the 6th to 8th month, I was already feeling the money drain away from me. I was always waiting for payday to come, this time not to enjoy the luxuries of life but to pay off whatever debt I had accumulated and the needs of the business which up until that point did not produce a single cent of income. My General Manager and her cohorts were milking me for all that I had and although I knew it, I was too arrogant to admit it at that time.

It was exactly like a dramatic movie scene where the room was dark and only the faint moonlight was peeking in, and in the corner of that room was me sitting, crying, and feeling the world falling apart. I couldn’t even think straight, I was close to a million pesos in debt. My job was my only lifeline and I was getting really tired of seeing all my hard earned money go away. Why and how did I get into this mess in the first place?

I asked myself repeatedly if I should close down the business and just pay off my debt slowly through my salary or if I should continue it and try to turn it around. The easy way out was the first option, and it was very, very tempting to just give in, to just give up.

Now I rarely find myself wallowing in self pity, it has never really been my style so after a full hour of drama alone in that dark room I made the most critical decision in my life.

I said to myself in a stern, scolding voice. “Get up, fix this and get it done. You have never been a loser Mark, don’t you dare start acting like one now” That night was the first turning point in my life which no one else could do for me, except me. So I got up, washed my face and started to feel better. So for those who have serious financial problems: “Get Up, Fix It and Get it Done. The first step is for you to first help yourself.”

HOW I GOT UP AND FIXED THE PROBLEM.

1 month before I met my wife: At that point, I had made a decision to fix the business, turn it around and get it done. Problem is, you will never get it done until you find a good enough reason to. For a month, the only reason that was driving me to fix the business was my ego but it was not enough. I found myself ready to give in and take the easy way out again.

I needed a stronger reason to stick to my decision. I prayed religiously for a month, and on October 9, 2000, that prayer was answered. The reason came in the form of my wife. You see I met my wife because I wanted to make a deal with her company to turn my business around. She was an entrepreneur herself and being more seasoned than me, she quickly turned down my business proposal. These were her exact words: “Your deal doesn’t make any sense for us to get into it.” That line, harsh as it may seem to you right now was actually the start of a beautiful relationship. …(Click here for the continuation.)