Angela Valenzuela lost her high-paying job seven years ago after the airline she was working for retrenched part of its workforce. But instead of wallowing in the loss, she decided to go into business.
Making the most out of her retrenchment package, Valenzuela got her feet wet in franchising when she opened a Ministop convenience store in Bonifacio Global City. She eventually bought franchises of Big Apple Express Spa and Adobo Connection.
A rare breed of franchisee
With presence in the food, retail, and service segments, Valenzuela is a rare breed among franchisees, who tend to stick to one category, even if they are handling multiple brands and outlets. “It’s really different for every category,” noted Valenzuela on how it is running each business. It is definitely not easy, she conceded.
“Since I have three, I can compare: Managing Big Apple Express Spa is easier compared to Ministop because, with the latter, you deal with inventory. With a service-oriented business, your greatest challenge is manpower. But the hardest area to earn is in the food business because of the competition.”
Choosing the right franchise
In choosing the franchise brands to buy, Valenzuela looked at the market demand, the stability of the franchisors, and the store locations. “I only have three franchises and that’s considerably slow, but that’s okay because that gives me time to attend to each one.”
Aside from going for established brands, she also looked for franchisors she could trust. “If you don’t trust them, you won’t get along and you’ll end up complaining all the time. As a franchisee, I should be able to give feedback and [my criticisms] not taken personally,” she added.
Following the rules
A stickler for rules, Valenzuela has proven her chops as a model franchisee with multiple awards from Ministop and Big Apple Express Spa—her Ministop branch even made it to the system’s top 50 branches. “You have to be willing to follow the rules of your franchisors. Franchisees could be hardheaded and would want to do as they please, but then what would be the point of having a franchise? You really have to trust in the system,” she stressed.
Staying focused and present
The simplest yet most effective advice Valenzuela can give to aspiring franchisees? Stay focused, and be present. That’s why she makes it a point to visit her stores regularly, no matter how far apart they are, what with her Big Apple Express Spa outlet in Festival Mall, Alabang, and Adobo Connection in Robinson’s Galleria, Ortigas. “For me, you have to be focused. It’s also important that your employees get to see you—your presence is necessary.”
Adobo Connection: P2.5 million to P5 million (around $52,193.45 to $104,404.19), depending on the size and location of the store
Big Apple Express Spa: P500,000 to P1.5 million (around $10,440.51 to $31,321.60), for 20-square-meter to 50-square-meter space
Ministop: P4 million to P12 million (around $83,524.30 to $250,572.90), depending on the size and location of the store
Contract term: 5 years
Inclusions: License to use trademark, name, and logo; equipment; initial supplies; store construction; marketing support; comprehensive training; site selection assistance; strong franchisor support, among others.
This article was originally published in the October 2015 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines magazine.