Posted at 02/07/2015 12:24 PM
(Editor's note: The Business Mentor invited Caren Kate Cu, an engineer turned entrepreneur, to share her insights. Cu is currently the owner of The Purple Maiden, a weight management and spa center; Purchase Manager of NMCCC, their family business and a Speaker and Trainer for iLearn Philippines. She also founded The Happyness Project, a non-government Volunteer organization focusing on feeding malnourished children in the country.)
MANILA, Philippines - 2015 is the best time to do the plans that we made last 2014 about our dreams that we thought of last 2013. Make sense? It may February but is still the 2nd month of a brand new year.
New years have always been fascinating for me as it brings out positivity in a lot of people. What’s interesting is the New Year’s resolution of which majority starts but not everyone is able to finish, like losing weight or starting a business.
When people ask me for advice on how to start their own business, I realized, that a lot of people fail to start or start but never get to finish because they’re asking the wrong question. Worse, they don’t even ask questions.
You see, the first question should be – What is the mindset of an entrepreneur?
I remember, when I was starting, I would wake up early, work on my part-time job in the morning and work on my business after lunch until night. Talking to clients, delivering orders, upgrading my services, studying about systems, attending seminars, looking for mentors until it all becomes automatic for me.
I understand that the first few years are critical; it was okay for me to not have a car, cut down on my expenses and just focused on developing my business and myself. In the outside, being an employee seemed like a better idea than where I was but I knew that I was building my foundation so that in five or more years, I can have whatever I want.
The truth is, buying your inventory, or getting your own franchise or putting up that four-corner shop office does not make you an entrepreneur overnight. I learned that it is my mind, which determines my business success.
Entrepreneurship is never about having money to start, but having the right mind to understand it. The first year is all about learning. You may earn a few but it should go back to the business and invested into learning more about your chosen field. A lot of people make the mistake of spending their first profit that they end up broke in the first year of business. Delayed gratification is important.
“Be willing to do what other people won’t do so that later on, you will be able to do what other people can’t.”
Caren Kate Cu is seen attending a South East Asian Convention in Singapore about business success with author Jack Zufelt in 2010.
What is the heart set of an entrepreneur? It’s okay to be afraid, if you haven’t been scared, then you’re not human. Everyone makes mistakes. The only person who doesn’t are those that never tried.
Am I scared? Of course I am. Did I fail? Yes, it took me two failed businesses and a lot of debt to finally succeed. Given that, do I still recommend being in business? Yes, but only if you are willing to go through breakdowns because that’s the only time that you’ll experience breakthroughs. A lot of people stop at the first sign of failure. What’s worse they stop even before they start because the people around them – family and friends – tells them it’s impossible.
True, failure, rejections and making mistakes are painful, but it won’t kill you. I’ve had a lot of experiences where orders were taken back, nothing was coming in and creditors are calling. I just kept on. I always remember my mentor telling me, “You act as if your heart is brittle when it is made to handle a million heartbreaks.” It is okay to be afraid or to fail, just do it anyway.
I chose to be with successful and positive people and let go of the negative ones even if they are my family. I am doing it for them anyway. If you want to succeed as a singer, ask a successful singer. If you want to succeed as a writer, ask a successful writer. If you want to succeed in business, whom do you ask? Your co-worker or sister who don’t even has his or her own business?
“People ask me, what if you fail? I reply, what if I succeed?”
The founder of The Happyness Project Organization which helps feed malnourished children in the country
Lastly, one should ask – What are the skillset needed for me to succeed in this business?
Before I went into business, I was a university professor, a planning engineer then an account manager. The skills I needed on how to do those jobs well were different. So, it is just common sense that business also has different skill requirements.
Yes, passion and doing what you love is important, but if you do not know how to manage your finances, do basic accounting or work on sales and marketing then you will end up just breaking even or worse, closing down. I learned that the hard way.
I smile when people tell me “I want to do business but I don’t want to sell”. How is that even possible? You can’t expect customers to call you the minute you set up your business. It’s part of the deal. I am not an employee anymore who should focus only on one area.
As the owner, I should oversee everything: purchasing, inventory, systems, customer service, and salary of my people, taxes. The difference between an expanding business and a failing one is the ability of the owner to learn more skills as they go along.
“If you are not growing and learning, then you are dying.”
In the end, it’s all about preparing and taking action. Be careful, though about preparing too much. Don’t aim to learn everything before you start.
The best lessons are learned on the battleground. You can only learn how to swim by jumping on the water. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it. It’s high time you succeed and give back to the world. Good luck to your 2015 and see you in the beaches of the world.
For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email:philfranchiseguru@gmail.com or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/philfranguru). His website iswww.gmb.com.ph

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