Connected Women, headed by Ms. Gina Romero and co-founder Ms. Ruth Yu-Owen, in partnership with Facebook, through Prof. Aries Patawaran, conducted a one-day seminar about starting up a business and marketing it.
One of our team members was present at the event; thus, we are sharing the things to avoid so you, too, can have a profitable business in the Philippines.
Note that the following items are not listed according to how they were discussed in the seminar. Also, this is a mash-up of the two topics mentioned above.
Reasons Why You Don’t Have a Profitable Business
You don’t understand the market.
Understanding your market, through market research, is crucial for any business. The University of British Columbia says accurate data about your market is critical. The video below explains how you can get data.
You have to know their needs and wants so that your solutions fit what exactly they are looking for. But it’s not only that.
Understanding the market is not a one-time thing. You have to continuously follow them to ensure you’re aware of the changes in their preferences so that you can adjust your sails accordingly.
To paraphrase Prof. Patawaran, he said:
If you have a business, you must always ensure your solutions fit your market’s needs and wants.
How do you do that?
Dapat lagi mong alamin kung dikit ang solutions mo sa kelangan ng market mo. Kasi pag hindi, magkakaron ng gap.
At pag may gap, pwedeng may sumingit.
Parang pag-ibig lang yan. Pag di mo na kinakausap, masisingitan.
Case in point, McDonald’s. This fast-food giant knows its market very well, which is why it has different price ranges for each one. They have the McSaver Meals that do not go beyond PhP100 for those who are on a budget, the Happy Meals for the children, and the Mega Meals for those with big appetites among others.
You don’t offer value.
If you started your business because you saw a friend making money out of the same business, you could be on the wrong path. Also, if the value you offer is based merely on the price, your business will be in trouble sooner or later.
“Anything cheap will probably sell,” says Prof. Patawaran.
What you have to do instead is to offer value. But how does that work?
To provide value, consider these three things:
Prof. Patawaran added, “You know your product/service is of quality if a) hindi tinatawaran, b) willing hintayin, and c) willing dayuhin.” Delivery is about proximity and speed. How fast can your market access your products or services?
Among these three, quality should be your priority. How you’re going to present it also depends on various factors. It can be the durability, reliability, or even the service that goes with it.
A personal example one of our team members has experienced is at a branch of Starbucks. She frequents this branch so much that the staff knows her and her order. This doesn’t seem to be extraordinary, but here’s where it gets more interesting.
She went away for about two months, and upon her return, she visited the Starbucks branch again. Guess what the staff told her? “Ma’am, ang tagal nyong nawala.”
It’s a simple gesture, but it manifests a lot. It shows how much the staff is recognizing people–showing a sense of connection–that one’s absence is definitely noted.
You don’t delegate things you’re not good at.
You probably heard the adage, “Jack of all trades; master of none.” It rings true to anyone. If you’re trying to do everything by yourself because you want to save money, sooner or later, it will take a toll on at least one of your responsibilities. Then, of course, it will have a domino effect on the other aspects of your business.
But Forbes warns us to delegate only what’s necessary. What we’re saying is, you should delegate something that you really cannot do PLUS it should be a critical aspect of your business.
An example of this is website development. If you don’t know the right words to say, the proper design to use, or anything about websites, leave it to the experts.
You’re not handling your finances well.
We mentioned before how accounting for startups or for any business for that matter is critical. Make one mistake, and everything could crumble.
For example, if you don’t separate business and personal finances, it could cause complications down the road. Do not entertain the thought of separating the two only when the business has grown large enough. Also, if you can, register your business as one person corporation. This choice will protect your personal finances should your business fail.
You’re not embracing new tools.
Technology has given us so many tools we can choose from to simplify our tasks. In fact, there are speculations that technology can take over some of our jobs.
There are different social media platforms that can help you market and advertise your products to more people. There are instant messaging tools that can help you save money on monthly load credits. There’s also accounting software that can automate a lot of your manual bookkeeping tasks.
These are just some examples of applications that technology has provided us so we can be more productive; and hence, profitable. If you’re not employing these, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to be rake in a whole lot of cash.
Which of these are you making?