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24 answers: Toby Claudio of Toby\\\'s Sports

And how he started doing business
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Roberto “Toby” Claudio Jr. is the vice president for operations and business development of Quorum International Inc.—and “the name” behind Toby’s Sports, the largest network of sporting goods stores in the country today.

In the same role, he also founded sports specialty stores Runnr and urbanAthletics. Toby helped entrench the company founded by his father Roberto “Bobby” Sr. as the leader in sports retail by setting up Toby’s Arena, the first interactive sports store concept in the country. For this he was named the Awardee for Business Development in the 2007 Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA).

Toby is currently president for 2010 of the Manila Jaycees (or the Manila chapter of the Junior Chamber International, the first in the Philippines and the oldest in Asia) where he has been a member since 2001. He went to high school at La Salle Greenhills before graduating from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Business Economics. Toby also worked for two years as an assistant brand manager for Selecta Dairy Products before joining the Claudio family business in 1999. His other business concerns up to the present, apart from Quorum, are as director of Sports Resources Inc. and president of Total Sports Technologies from 2004.

24 Answers:


Innovation vs. Tradition
“This is at the heart of all businesses, and it’s what’s needed to keep the same businesses fresh and current.”

Copy vs. Create
 “Creation is how we got to where we are, with Toby’s Arena and now Runnr and urbanAthletics. If we didn’t create, we would end up just like any other retail store, so we needed to really invent or out business model and create a need for our products.”

Results vs. Performance
“We’re in the business of improving athletic performance. Athletes who buy from our stores want to know how fast their heart is beating, so they’ll know how to prepare for an upcoming competition.”

Boss vs. Mentor
“You can be the boss just by being the son of the (business) owner, which I am. But being a mentor is something you earn and have to deserve.”

Liquid vs. Profitable
“You have to be profitable to sustain a business. Liquidity is just one factor in the quest for profit.”

Acquire vs. Lease
“You acquire based on your needs; you can acquire some items through terms or outright payment. But with some things you normally acquire, leasing might be the better option.”

Train vs. Pirate
“We rely on training as a matter of policy. Hiring from others gives us an opportunity to explore new systems, or when we need that talent quickly, but we still want to build up our own employees.”

Midyear bonus vs. 14th month
“Although I favor both, I want my employees to have something to look forward to at Christmas, when spending is heaviest.”

Cash vs. Kind (CSR)
“At Toby’s we have our own CSR programs through sports that we ourselves designed. We don’t have to give money to buy equipment because we have them ourselves, and we find that the kids or our beneficiaries are happier with that.”

Short-term vs. Long-term
“You should not just settle with the present. Thinking long term allows you to adjust with the times and prepare for whatever lies ahead.”

Dole-out vs. Program/Project (CSR)
“As I mentioned, we design and run our own CSR programs, from sports clinics to youth tournaments to races and marathons. The other part of it is, cash is always there, but training people to do the right thing is always the better option.”

Volume vs. Margins
“It’s really a function of our business. Higher margins won’t always assure you profit, so you have to offer something that will get you more income from more people.”

Spend vs. Save
“In the context of a business, you have to spend to grow. Spending gives you the capacity to earn more. It’s like what we did with Toby’s Arena: we knew it was a costly project, but we also felt it would pay off with more people going into our stores. We’re happy it paid off.”

U.S. vs. China
“The US is still first in terms of innovations and business ideas. No matter how big China gets, we will still look up to the US for inspiration and leadership.”

Niche vs. Mass Market
“I believe in the whole Blue Ocean Strategy of finding new markets instead of fighting in old ones. It’s the reason why we built Runnr, our specialty store for runners, and not just because we were trying to catch a running trend.”

MBA vs. Experience
“This is a real tough one for me. Those who have taken MBAs after they became entrepreneurs will tell you it’s the best thing that happened to them. I have a deeper appreciation of business because of my work experience, but at the same time a lot of things about business made sense after I took my MBA.”

Stocks vs. Bonds
“Both are useful depending on your need. Both instruments will allow entrepreneurs to reach their money aims.”

Golf vs. Running
“It may seem to be obvious, but I’m really torn about this. I can say I’m an avid golfer; Fridays are my golf days and I look forward to it. But running has changed my life, it energizes me, and it’s better for your health.”

Coffee vs. Tea
“It’s the pick-me-up that I use to get me through long meetings and days.”

Iphone vs. Blackberry
“I also own a BlackBerry, but it doesn’t have enough of the things the iPhone offers.”

MAC vs. PC
“I’m a Mac fan, but I’m comfortable with a PC too.”

Dogs vs. Cats
 “I love dogs, although sometimes I wish my dogs would be gentler.”

Car vs. SUV
“It just carries more and takes me to more places, especially when I just want to get out of the city and drive.”

Saturday vs. Sunday
 “It’s just a fun day overall, and it allows me to catch up on work. Sundays are sacred; they’re for family and friends.”

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