Most businesses last for three to our years and the select few last for 10 years. Entrepreneur.com.ph asked some of the most successful businesses that have been running for more than a decade as to the secrets of their success and here are their answers:
1.Never say “never.”
After the production of our Spoofs T-shirts, we started looking for established retailers that would consign us. But no one would have us because there was always the question whether it was legal to spoof known brands. The greatest rejection we experienced at that time was from leading fashion retailer Cinderella. Finally, Gift Gate accepted us and distributed our shirts to 21 of their stores. Cinderella then relented and welcomed us into their shops.
CHARLIE DOBLE and DREW MARCELO
Spoofs Limited (founded 1992)
2. Listen to your customers.
Early in the business, a young woman told me, “Judging from the cars parked outside, your clients are very rich people, yet you are passing off your burger as cheaply priced merchandise. The fact, however, is that price is not an issue for them. Your packaging for your burger is also wrong and unappealing.” She was right. When I made these changes in the product, our business experienced a great boost in sales.
Mushroom Burger (1987)
3. Take advantage of new technology and current trends.
The rise of Multiply.com in 2008 as the hub of online sellers gave us the opportunity to become more accessible to our customer base of young mothers and corporate clients. Marketing our products then became a whole lot easier since the Internet is available almost everywhere!
TONG FAMILY (ZENY, MELISSA, MARJORIE)
Sweet Success (1998)
4. Be a hands-on entrepreneur.
I personally select and hire all my voice coaches. I also train the center’s 200-plus staff by myself. Finding time to immerse myself in the business is not easy, but I do it to ensure the quality of my service. It’s hard to find someone who can offer the same dedication that I give to the center.
Center for Pop Music (1984)
5. Set short-term and long-term goals.
In putting up a business, you have to first of all identify what your company wants to achieve in five, 10, 15 and so on years. Listing down specific, tangible and possible goals yearly will allow for growth and improvement.
Hot Pink Lingerie (2000)
6. Challenge your existing concept.
Our business as a food cart started out well, but didn’t work out in the long run. Since I knew that fruit shakes could serve as an alternative to coffee, I didn’t lose all hope in the business. By turning it into a lounge type of diner, I was able to prove that we could compete on a bigger scale.
Fruit Magic (1993)
7. Satisfy the customer through quality products or services.
Curiosity and branding are not enough to lure in customers. Satisfaction is the key to get them hooked to your product. As for us, the only thing we bank on is quality: quality of service and quality of products.
JOSE BROTHERS (Quito, DJ, Martin)
Brothers Burger (1999)
8. Hire the right people and treat them well.
One of my secrets to success is getting the right people to join my team. I also believe in decentralization within the company. Give the people more authority in doing what is good for their own divisions.
Wong Group of Companies (1995)
9. Find a strategic location.
Selecting a location for your physical store should be in sync with the type of business you are introducing to the market you are targeting. A shop’s prospective location has to have a good environment and good surrounding shops. It shouldn’t be crowded, but has good foot traffic and a nice flow of walk-in clients.
PIN ANTONIO and SALVADOR MAGUNDAYAO
Salon de Manila (1984)
10. Follow your heart and live your passion.
Our parents were frustrated when we decided to drop out of medical school. They didn’t understand the whole concept of our business and they initially resented the idea, but we still pursued it. No one in the market was offering scandalous and fun cakes and that was finally our chance. We both believed in what we can offer and how long it can stay in the market.
TOM CARLOS and MARY ANNE CUENCA
Kink Cakes (1990)
Originally published in the November 2010 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.