Showcasing once again the talent and creativity of Filipino entrepreneurs, two Filipino companies bested over 300 entries from around the world to win in the global NextGen in Franchising award, given to next-generation franchise leaders and recognizes the brands that can further scale up through franchising.
Joseph Calata, the president and CEO of Calata Corporation, and Hans Yao, the president and CEO of The Paper Stone, were both awarded during the International Franchise Association (IFA) Franchise Convention in San Antonio, Texas on February 20, 2016. Each winner was flown to the US to attend and participate in the NextGen Franchise Accelerator program, while also meeting top franchise executives from around the world.
What advice do these global winners have for would-be franchisors?
1. Believe in the concept
“You must first learn to love your business to effectively franchise and manage it,” advised Yao. The passion you put into the business and concept will show at every layer of your business, so you need to make sure you energize everyone with your passion.
Yao, a third-generation retailer, brought in The Paper Stone stationery brand to the Philippines. With a vision of “bringing back the joy and beauty of writing,” The Paper Stone offers cute and lively designs of stationery, pens, and other novelty items. With over 50% of the Philippine population under 24-years-old, Yao sees a big opportunity in letting them experience writing on a piece of paper instead of an iPad, and putting photos and memorable items in a scrapbook instead of just posting on Facebook.
The Philippine market seems to agree with Yao as the company has grown to over 9 stores within a year. And with his recent win in NextGen, he plans to open more in the coming years. “Our initial goal was to open 60 franchise units within five years. After attending the NextGen, we can easily make it to 100 now,” Yao said.
2. Get the entire company on board
A shift from being an operator or distributor into a franchisor is a big change for both the owners and the team. Calata advises franchise owners that “as the leader, it is important to have the entire organization on board, from senior leaders down to the sales and operations teams.”
With over 100 stores, Calata’s Agri retail franchise continues to use franchising as a tool to accelerate their growth nationally. “We will be the ‘7-Eleven of the agri-retail industry,’” said Calata as he shares his vision for the company.
Starting out as a small retail operation, Calata has grown the company into a multi-billion peso corporation that spans retail, distributorship, and food and beverages, pushing forward the farm-to-table model. By offering strong support to farmers, premium quality products, and a professional retail experience, Calata plans to continue entering new provinces and eventually grow internationally. “Our company is growing and, with the right help, we will continue to accelerate our growth in the coming years.”
3. Seek the right mentors
“What I know about franchising, I learned from other people who knew more than me,” said Yao. “The experience of rubbing shoulders with and being mentored by franchise leaders and CEOs, and sharing notes with fellow emerging entrepreneurs worldwide, is something that I will forever cherish.”
For more information on franchising, Francorp Philippines is organizing “How to Franchise Your Business” seminars for entrepreneurs on March 15 and April 13, 2016. For inquiries, please contact (+632) 638-3149, email info[at]francorp.com.ph or visit www.francorp.com.ph.
Chris is the senior vice president for marketing and strategy of Francorp Philippines; president of U-Franchise Sales & Management; and chairperson and director for special projects, ASEAN integration-Philippine Franchise Association