Smalltalk can be a key in negotiations

Posted by oink2 Wednesday, November 30, 2011 0 comments

In the Philippines, business matters are always best dealt with on a face-to-face basis in a warm and pleasant atmosphere.

While many Western business people think that time is gold and want to get to the point immediately, the Filipino likes to be indirect, talk about mutual friends and family, exchange pleasantries, and share a joke or two. Only after establishing a cordial atmosphere will people negotiate.

To a Filipino, cultivating a friend, establishing a valuable contact and developing personal rapport are what make business wheels turn. Coming to negotiations armed with a few but great conversation starters can help you get a better for the coming business deal. Only in the Philippines!


Investing in Mutual Fund

Posted by oink2 Sunday, November 27, 2011 1 comments

Money is precious. As they say, it doesn’t grow on trees. But you can make it grow, even in this time of economic hardship. How? Simple. By investing wisely.
There are indeed many ways to invest in today’s markets, but none is growing faster in popularity than mutual funds. Although this investment instrument has only been recently introduced in the country, mutual funds are prevalent in European, North American and even some Asian countries. But what is a mutual fund anyway?

A mutual fund is a professionally-managed firm of collective investments that collects money from many investors and puts it in stocks, bonds, short-term money market instruments, and/or other securities. After realizing capital gains or losses, the investment proceeds are then passed along to the individual investors annually, through the fund manager, also known as the portfolio manager. The value of the mutual fund, known as the net asset value per share (NAV), is calculated daily based on the total value of the fund divided by the number of shares currently outstanding.
Know your investment goals.
It is important to choose investments that match your goals. Ask yourself the following questions: Why do you want to invest? How much risk are you willing to take? How long is your investment time horizon? Your answers to these questions will help determine the suitable investment for you.
Be realistic.
Set definite and achievable savings and investment targets. Don’t invest money you don’t have. It does not help to set goals that are too ambitious or require a level of savings beyond your present financial state. Decide what you can realistically set aside for investment and work from there.
Protect yourself against inflation.
Ten thousand pesos can buy a lot more in the 1970s compared to what it can buy today. Inflation has eroded our buying power and it will continue to do so unless we invest wisely. The first step is to include inflation protection in your investment goals.
Like the famous saying, “Don’t put your eggs in one basket,” in investing you shouldn’t put all your money in one place, stock or business. Spreading your investment across different assets can help trim your risks. The prices of different assets do not always go in the same direction and even if they do the amount of change varies.
Practice peso cost averaging.
Make investment purchases on a regular basis so as to average your cost over time. For instance, you decide to invest P5,000 in mutual funds every month. On the first month, the price of the mutual fund share is P5, so you buy 1,000 shares. If the price of the share doubles to P10 the following month, you buy another 500 shares. Your average cost is therefore P7.50 per share. Since we don’t have perfect foresight, peso cost averaging allows us to improve our share cost in the face of fluctuating share price.
Buy low, sell high.
This is easier said than done. There is a common misconception that you should buy stocks when the market is good, and sell when it is bad. Without an investment plan, you would easily follow the crowd – selling when prices are already falling and buying when prices are already rising. To avoid this mistake, take time out to create your own investment plan.
Invest for the long-term.
The value of securities tends to rise and fall over the short term over time. Your ability to withstand volatility, especially on the downside, will generally result in greater returns over time. A long investment time horizon will give you the flexibility to include investments that may provide high returns but will require taking additional risks.
Balance risk and reward.
Every investment has a certain degree of risk, and its return is proportionate to the level of risk of the investment: the lower the risk, the lower the return; the higher the risk, the higher the return. Investors need to understand the levels of risk or volatility associated with their investments.
Choose a fund manager that offers you different investment options.
Every individual has his/her own investment needs. Investment needs will also change over time. What works for a 30-year-old may not work for a 50-year-old.
For more information, contact:
Sun Life Financial
12th Floor, The Enterprise Centre Tower 2
6766 Ayala Avenue cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Phone: (02) 886-6188
Call Centre: (02) 849-9888
Web site:

10 tips to thrive in a competitive market

Posted by oink2 0 comments
With the world going through another financial crisis, the cartoon of a chicken screaming “The sky is falling!” is in vogue again. But businessmen don’t have to act like a panicked fowl in times like this.

Four entrepreneurs interviewed for this report— Brian Quebengco of the industrial design firm Inovent Inc., Dondon Atayde of the events company Wishcraft, Richard Cruz of the real-estate consulting company INSPIRE, and Jonathan Dee of Alliance Tuna International Inc.—all agree that instead of yielding to the stress caused by economic instability, SME owners and operators should see the situation as a challenge for their businesses to do even better under great pressure.

1. Know your strengths

Quebengco: “A strength is an activity or talent that makes you feel good while you are doing it, and leaves you energized after,” he explains. “A weakness, on the other hand, leaves you stressed out and tired. Instead of trying to DIY [do it yourself], you need to get partners who are strong where you are weak. You need to build a strong team.”

Cruz: “Instead of spreading the resources of the company thinly, go back to your strengths as a company and focus your resources there,” he explains.

2. Share the load

Quebengco: “Know something about accounting, but if numbers leave you drained, hire an accountant,” he suggests.

Dee: “When my company (it was then called the First Dominion Group) collapsed during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, I found great relief from stress by being with a supportive group of friends and by spending downtime with his family,” he said.

3. Respect the boss

Atayde: “Even if my partners and I have an equal interest in the company and we sometimes clash in the boardroom, we always respect the chain of command. At the end of the day, we are five partners, but there is only one boss.”

4. Stay debt-free

Atayde: “We resisted being greedy and splitting the profits right away when we started,” he says. “We grew the business slowly, a process that allowed us to learn the business better.” The result, he says, is a debt-free company with a very sizable capital base.

5. Protect your capital

Cruz: “Capital is essential in starting a business and protecting that capital is vital especially with the practice of many clients today of paying three to six months after service is rendered to them.”

6. Spend wisely

Atayde on how they grew Wishcraft: “The capital we had put back into our business helped us expand from being simply an events company into a holding company, with businesses in manpower promo activations, staging, rigging and displays, and logistics and vehicle rentals. We are able to keep our costs down because when you own related businesses, you can share resources. In any case, we are cautious about sharing the dividends even until now and would rather invest our capital in new businesses.”

7. Go beyond cost-cutting and strengthen the brand

Atayde: “The old adage, ‘Cut costs to maximize profits,’ still holds true,” he says, “Every year, therefore, we always make it a point to examine where we can cut costs.”

Cruz :“Instead of simply cutting down on advertising, it may be good to study your brand and find a way to make your clients or your customers feel that you care about their situation. In this manner, you can market or advertise your product more effectively to your customers.”

8. Don’t dwell on negatives 

Quebengco: “What holds you back or propels you forward is your belief,” he says.

Atayde : “Business is all about opportunity,” he says. “When you’re on the lookout for opportunities, they will present themselves. Dwelling on the negatives will blind you to the good things coming your way.”

9. Look within and make the hard decisions

Cruz: “An internal failure can be a character flaw like laziness or greed, a loss of drive or passion, depression, or simply doing too much too soon. The ability to honestly assess one’s self at all times can alert one to an internal failure before it becomes detrimental to the business.”

For his part, Dee shares his experience as a once floundering entrepreneur: His First Dominion Group had borrowed heavily in US dollars so it could expand and acquire other companies. This exposed the company to a foreign exchange loss of up to P1 billion when the currency exchange rate went up from P26 to P43 to the dollar, and then to over P50 to the dollar.

When interest rates then rose to 30 percent, Dee’s company—at the time considered the second largest exporter of canned tuna in Asia—got starved of badly needed working capital. He says there were no shortcuts to surviving the crisis, which lasted about six years. “We had to make hard decisions and swallow our pride,” he says. “From a work force of 6,000 in 1996, we shrank to 600 in 2002. From five operating factories, we retained only one.”

10. Pick yourself up

Dee: “If you know your business and are committed to it, you will no doubt find a way to bounce back,” says Dee. “You need to pick yourself up every time you hit the pavement.”

Indeed, in 2003, Dee re-established his tuna canning and export business as Alliance Tuna. Today, the company has a strong balance sheet, zero long-term debt, and is listed as the most profitable tuna packer in the country, with plans to expand operations not only in the Philippines buy also to Indonesia and New Zealand. 


Should you insure your property?

Posted by oink2 Friday, November 25, 2011 0 comments
You may need a policy to cover your building and other structures, your furniture, inventory, equipment and supplies. You may also need a policy to insure your money and securities, records of your accounts receivable, machinery and improvements in your premises.

The events causing damage to property are called “perils,” and these include lightning strikes, burglaries and vehicular accidents. There are two types of policies covering perils: a “named-perils policy” covering losses only from perils named in the policy, and an “all-risk policy” covering all perils except those specifically named. All-risk policies typically have higher premiums, and may include coverage for additional perils if necessary.

Small businessmen can secure property insurance to protect themselves as any hiccup in the cash flow or production may cause catastrophic loss to the entrepreneur due to his limited financial resources.

But how are you compensated if your property is damaged? 
Property insurance is usually categorized into the cost of replacing property at current market value or the cost of replacing the property minus depreciation. Most experts agree that replacement cost value is better: it pays you enough to replace your property at today’s prices.

Property inspection is the most important step in underwriting. Premiums are pegged in relation to exposure, as the more comprehensive the cover, the higher the premium. However, the premium varies depending on variables like your building’s construction, its exposure to hazards, its housekeeping, and the presence or absence of fire-fighting equipment. The insurance company usually will send an inspector to look at your business site to make a quotation. He can also make suggestions on how to minimize hazards to lower your premium payments.

The basic rate may also be adjusted further at the discretion of the insurer. He credits or debits based on claims history or specific loss-control measures. If the rates cannot be adjusted, he uses dividends as a way of reducing premiums.

Some insurance companies have custom-designed insurance packages for the entrepreneur who may not have all the resources to keep track of all the perils he is exposed to.

To keep costs down, you may install burglar alarms, fire extinguishers; smoke alarms, fire doors and a sprinkler system. But you should inform your insurance provider of any major changes in your business that may affect your insurance needs. Don’t get stuck in a pattern of renewing whatever coverage you had the year before. Your needs may have changed, and you could end up renewing coverage for something you no longer use, lease, or own.


Agencies and permits to know when starting a business

Posted by oink2 1 comments
So you've finally decided to push through with your business idea and as luck would have it, also find funding for it. Now comes the part that every entrepreneur doesn't look forward to: securing all the necessary permits to start your business.

Below is a list of the government agencies you need to go to and the permits your need to apply for:
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

- This is where you register if your enterprise is a single proprietorship. The agency will issue a certificate of registration of business name.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- If your enterprise is a partnership or a corporation, this is where you will register. It will issue a certificate of registration.

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA)

- If your set-up is a cooperative, register with this body. The agency will issue the certificate of registration.

Local Government Unit (LGU)

- You register with the municipality or city where you will set up your business. This office will issue the business permit.

Barangay Hall

- You register with the specific barangay in the municipality or city where you will operate your business. This office will issue the barangay clearance.

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

- You register your business with this office and apply for your business’s taxpayer identification number (TIN), registration of books of accounts, authority to print

Social Security System (SSS)

- You register your business as an employer, yourself as a self-employed or as employee, and your workers as employees. This office will issue an SSS number for your business, for yourself, as well as for your workers.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

- If you employ five workers or more, register your business with this agency. The DOLE is asked to promote gainful employment opportunities, protect workers and promote their welfare, develop human resources, and maintain industrial peace.

Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF)

- RA 7742 requires all SSS members earning at least P4,000 a month to register with this agency. HDMF administers the Pag-Ibig Fund.

Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth)

- The New National Health Insurance Act (RA 7875) as amended by RA 9241 requires all employers of the government and private sectors and their employees to register with this agency. PhilHealth manages and administers the government health care system.


3 ways to clinch that sale

Posted by oink2 Thursday, November 24, 2011 0 comments
It’s a tough market out there, but with the right perspective, selling retail can be a breeze for you. listed down three ways on how you can clinch a sale.

• Beat a cold greeting. Many retail salespeople struggle with the “I’m just browsing” rebuff. The question, “Have you shopped with us before?” is an opportunity to reveal the customers knowledge of your product line. One thing you have to know is why a shopper came into the store. If a customer says ‘I’m just looking,’ well, what is she looking for? You have to try to trigger their interests.

• Think for the customer. Once the customers’ interest is triggered, you can start a dressing room and selects an outfit based on that one item. Don’t consider yourself as a mere salesclerk. Be a wardrobe consultant if you have to be. Take notes on each customer after a sale, and then follow up with a call or a handwritten note.

• Attack the sack. You should see opportunity in returns, a philosophy the retail industry calls “attacking the sack.” It helps you find out what doesn’t work for the customer and find a solution, which could be another color, another size or another look. Nine times out of 10, if they bought once, they’ll buy again. 


Foodcart Business under P30,000

Posted by oink2 Monday, November 21, 2011 1 comments
Who say’s you can’t put up a high-quality food cart business under P30,000 or less?  Are  you curious enough to know how much investment needed to put up high-end food carts that sell popular food concept nowadays? Well, two of the most popular cart today that sells only siomai and gulaman will initially cost you P280,000 for the cart and its basic equipment alone. Another popular cart that sells only waffle will cost you P300,000.
Yes, let’s admit, their product is affordable and tastes good but I don’t really get the idea of shelling that much money when you can have your own food cart concept with the same taste and quality for a fraction of the amount.
Of course, there are some food cart companies that offer between P40,000 to P50,000 or even under P30,000, but it merely acts as a front for their MLM scheme. The bulk of the price goes to paying their “network” of people,  so you end up with over-priced and over-hyped foodcart package and products.
If you will not check and scrutinize the package, you will found out later that you were short changed. Most of these companies will not give after-sales support after taking your money. And worse, the products that you’re supposed to sell are not really competitive as promised. Most, if not all, cart with this price range looks like a cardboard box — a few metal poles wrapped with only a tarpaulin. A moderate gust of wind will blow this cart away!
The Real Deal
But, where can you really find an honest-to-goodness start-up foodcart business that will not shortchange you with your P30k investment? Ice Scramble foodcart business is a good example. You can put-up this business and start operation in just two weeks, everything you need is there — ice crusher machine, mixer, initial products, a high quality cart, training, etc. Simply provide a good location and a sales crew, and you’re all set.
Running a foodcart business is not rocket science, it’s even easier to operate this than running a sari-sari store. Return of investment (ROI) is normally 2-4 months, provided of course that your location has at least moderate foot traffic. Your involvement as an owner should be 100%. Yes, complete hands-on or at least checking your cart a few hours a day, if you have a trusted crew.
The Market
What if after sometime, the expected sales are not met anymore? Short answer — change concept. The bulk of your initial investment goes to cart fabrication. If you plan to sell burger instead, simply buy a burger griller for less than P2,000, and you have now a new concept! Another option is to “relocate.”
As of the moment, the most popular food concept in the market are siopao, siomai, burger, noodle, fries, ice scramble, shakes, waffle, rice toppings, dumplings, and nachos. Selling price for these products is between P20 to 50, price that are affordable to people from all walks of life – the “masa price.”
Is the market already saturated with foodcarts? No. As long as people need to eat food and multiply, you will never run out of target market.
To sum up, you can choose a foodcart concept, all-in, and ready to operate in 2 weeks for P29,900. Profit margin is 50-100% and ROI is 2-4 months.
For more information, contact:
FoodcartLink Services
Tel: (02) 340-0156, CP# 0922-862-6154 or 0921-9513522


Mang Inasal Chicken BBQ Franchise

Posted by oink2 1 comments
Apart from the usual food presentations of multinational food company copycats, Mang Inasal endeavors to adhere to elements that bear a distinctively Pinoy stamp-grilling with charcoal, rice wrapped in banana leaves, a marinade concocted out of local spices and herbs, bamboo sticks for skewers, and the ambience that encourages kinamot (the Ilonggo term in eating with the hands) whenever chicken inasal is served. All these evoke a rush of nostalgia for tradition, culture, and most of all, Home.

Mang Inasal has steadily grown since it offered franchising. Mang Inasal has branches in Bacolod, Iloilo Roxas, Kabankalan, Cebu, Boracay, Davao, Koronadal QC, Pasay, Muñoz, Cagayan De Oro, Zamboanga General Santos, Makati, Manila, Muntinlupa, Bulacan Cavite, Bicutan, Baguio, Sta. Rosa, Biñan, Calamba Batangas, Pampanga, Palawan, Ozamiz, Iligan As of today, Mang Inasal has 68 branches nationwide and counting.
What is the mang inasal franchise concept?
Mang Inasal Philippines grants a license to operate to a qualified franchise in a specific location. The franchise makes a commitment to dedicate his time and best effort in operating the store according to the system and standards of Mang Inasal. He pays Mang Inasal a continuing royalty (as a percentage of gross sales) 5% Royalty fee plus 2% advertising fund. Franchise fee P 800,000.00.
Who should qualify as a franchise applicant of mang inasal?
  • Must be willing to strictly follow standard operation system of Mang Inasal.
  • A person who has a desirable business track record
  • Someone who has the commitment to dedicate time and best effort for this investment.
  • Success-driven entrepreneur
  • One who possesses the abilities to manage human resources
  • A person who is willing to attend Mang Inasal Training Program
  • He must have the financial capability.
  • Mang Inasal grants franchise to and individual or sole proprietor
Who selects the site?
Mang Inasal selects the site for the restaurant but the franchise applicant may propose a potential location for assessment.
How much is the total investment? 
The total investment package for Mang Inasal franchise ranges from P5m to P6m. depending on the size of the outlet, locations of the store, land and building. The cost involve are for franchise fee, store equipments, building and leasehold improvement, signages, POS systems, Refundable security deposit, furniture and fixtures, working capital, initial supplies and expenses.
What is the mang inasal franchise training program?
  • The training program is designed to equip the applicant with a hands-on work experience in a chosen Mang Inasal outlet and with appropriate knowledge to properly apply Mang Inasal system and standards for operating his store.
  • The training program covers one month period.
Contact details:
IloIlo Corporate Office
Fuentes St., Iloilo City
Tel: (033) 508-9000 / 508-7555
Fax: (033) 508-5111
Manila Corporate Office
305 Villa Bldg., Makati Avenue
cor.  Jupiter St., Makati City
Tel: (02) 890-2654, Fax: (02) 890-2654
2316 Aurora Blvd. (formerly Tramo St.), Pasay City
Tel.: (02) 854-3346
Fax: (02) 854-5692


Part-time business idea: Dance instructor

Posted by oink2 Saturday, November 19, 2011 0 comments
Do you like dancing? It’s never too late to start making extra cash from your hobbies. And if shifting careers is too daunting for you, do it on the sidelines. You can conduct dance lessons after work, on the weekends and on holidays. All you have to do is just get the word out there and start!dance shoes
Capital: You need about P20,000 to become a dance instructor. Most of it will go to enrolment fees for dance lessons. Getting at least six months of dance training, particularly in ballroom dancing, is ideal. 

Materials: As personal packaging is crucial to success in this type of business, you need to invest in new dancing shoes, shirts, slacks, and perfume or cologne as the case may be. It is also advisable to have dance music CDs of your own.
Workforce: Initially, you need not hire staff. When you are ready to put up your own dance studio, however, you may need an assistant to take care of schedules and studio maintenance.

Process: To go into this business, you need to have deep passion and talent in dancing and the skills to teach it. Add good personal marketing and inter-personal skills and you will be on your way to becoming a sought-after dance instructor.

After undergoing a good training program, you can first work as an in-house dance instructor in a dance club. Once you have already gained confidence in your dance moves and in handling clients, you can start working on your own.

Training: By enrolling in formal dance classes and attending its sessions twice or three times a week, you can become a competent dance instructor in four to six months. In dance, one should never really stop learning; even veteran dance instructors still take lessons in new dance movements. 

The types of ballroom dancing you need to master fall under three categories: standard, Latin, and social dancing. Standard includes waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quick step, and tango; Latin includes cha-cha-cha, rhumba, samba, jive and pasa doble; and  social dancing includes the swing, reggae, mambo, bachata, and Argentine tango. 

Marketing: Word-of-mouth advertising is the best way to promote yourself in this business. You can also use flyers and e-mail campaigns as well as put up a website. In any case, when it comes to choosing a dance instructor, people tend to rely on personal recommendations and referrals. For this reason, says veteran dance instructor Monching Ducay, it is extremely important to maintain a good relationship with clients. Also, punctuality and good grooming are absolute musts.


A reloadable prepaid card for online shopping

Posted by oink2 Thursday, November 17, 2011 0 comments

For those without a credit card but wanting to shop online, fret no more.  There is the new BPI My ePrepaid card—a no-hassle, no-approval-required, reloadable prepaid card that allows you to conveniently buy whatever you want from MasterCard-affiliated online shopping sites without having to worry about submitting documents or maintaining a balance.
“Now, everyone can buy airline tickets, concert passes, gadgets, fashion must-haves, and coupon deals easily and in an instant with the BPI eCredit and My ePrepaid Cards,” shares Aileen Lamasuta, Vice President and BPI Prepaid Cards Business Head.

Filipino habits are changing as they spend longer hours browsing the Internet at home than going out to shop and dine during their spare time. This was shared by the 2011 Net Index Study released by Yahoo! Philippines and Nielsen Media, which revealed that Internet time at home takes about an average of 10.4 hours of most Filipinos’ time in a week—a huge jump from the 4.8 hours that Pinoys allot for web surfing back in 2009.

The same study also noted that 80 percent of Internet users spend much of their time online visiting social networking sites, while 69 percent stay connected with their family and friends through instant messaging. These developments, experts note, have influenced the buying habits of most Internet users today, especially the generation of young Filipinos who use the Internet to search and shop for their must-haves.

Last year, statistics showed that retail sites topped the list of the most visited sites for Filipino online shoppers at 49 percent, while travel sites came in next at 26 percent.

BPI has always been known for staying a step ahead in terms of innovative banking technologies by pioneering best practices that have become the standard for today’s local banking scene. “The explosion of social media the past two years has given way to opportunities for increased interactions and connectedness.  We have seen the tremendous growth of eCommerce, yet, there are many more who are wary of shopping online due to concerns on security and payment inconvenience,” says Ginbee Go, Senior Vice President and BPI Cards Issuing Business Head. 

In addition to My ePrepaid Cards, BPI is also launching the BPI eCredit, the first-ever virtual credit card exclusively designed for online shopping for BPI MasterCard cardholders. It will serve as the companion card for the BPI Express Credit MasterCard variants—Blue, Gold, Edge, Petron and Skymiles— and uses a different card number with its own sub-limit that cardholders can set and adjust as they need it.  

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