25 Business Success Secrets to Learn From Rich Filipino Entrepreneurs

Success in business comes out with secret sauce.

I’ve just read 25 Success Secrets of the Country’s Richest featured in Entrepreneur magazine October 2011 issue written by Peter Imbong. I’m fascinated with the experts opinion from respected business guru Dan Antonio (president of the Asian Center for Entrepreneurship and Management Education), Wilson Lee Flores (my favorite business journalist of Philippine Star) and Edgardo Rodriguez (dean of the College of Business of Endurun Colleges) on what success factors these Rich Filipino entrepreneurs have that brought them to the helm of business success. Successful entrepreneurs mentioned are Edgar Sia, Tony Tan Caktiong, Henry Sy, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, John Gokongwei, Jr., Betty Ang, Lucio Tan, Enrique Aboitiz, Luis Virata, Eugenio Lopez III, Andrew Tan, David Consunji and Felipe Gozon

I’m sharing you the 25 Success Secrets of the Country’s Richest here. Please read it below…

1. Start with a great idea
Examples: Edgar Sia II and Tony Tan Caktiong
Edgar Sia II started Mang Inasal and Tony Tan Caktiong started Jollibee

2. Build a strong brand
Example: Edgar Sia II
Edgar Sia build Mang Inasal as a strong brand even if it’s very young at less than a decade.

3. Hire the best people and treat them well
Examples: Henry Sy Sr. and children
Henry Sy and children through its SM Group hire the best people and pay well to make sure the company continues to be run well.

4. Don’t be afraid to go your own way
Example: Henry Sy Sr.
Henry Sy developed his owned shopping centers (SM Malls) instead of becoming a tenant.

5. Take it to the next level
Examples: Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala
The Ayala clan’s main business is real estate but they are now heavily venturing into information technology especially in Globe Telecoms.

6. Diversify your business
Example: John Gokongwei, Jr.
John Gokongwei, Jr. Started in food processing (Universal Robina Corp.) then established supermarkets and department stores (Robinsons Supermarkets and Department Stores), build SUN Cellular and investing heavily in low-budget fare Cebu Pacific.

7. Don’t be afraid to become a second mover
Example: John Gokongwei, Jr.
John Gokongwei, Jr. Loves to offer an alternative from the number 1 company offering products and services like in telecommunications (Sun Cellular) and real estate (Robinsons Land)

8. Politics and business don’t mix
Example: John Gokongwei, Jr.
John Gokongwei doesn’t like being very close to government. Because according to him, wealth that’s based purely on politics cannot be sustained.

9. Create a product that could rule a market
Example: Betty Ang
Betty Ang established Monde Nissin the producer of Lucky Me. Lucky Me instant noodles with chicken and beef flavor dominates the entire noodle industry.

10. Be a good manager
The country’s richest entrepreneurs and business people capitalize on their strong points, then hire the talents to address their weak points.

11. Learn people skills
Examples: Lucio Tan and Henry Sy Sr.
People like Henry Sy and Lucion Tan don’t have graduate degrees but they become successful entrerepreneurs and pillars of Philippine business. They learned to have people skills, how to deal with people, manage business and acquire leadership skills.

12. Run your business like a business
Examples: Enrique Aboitiz, Luis Virata, and Eugenio Lopez III
Enrique Aboitiz, Luis Virata, and Eugenio Lopez III, who inherited wealth, debunk the particular theory that “while the first generation builds wealth and the second generation sustains it, the third generation spends it.” With their professionalism and management skills, they keep their inherited business, grow it and  nourish it.

13. Think outside the envelope
Examples: Henry Sy Sr., John Gokongwei Jr., and Andrew Tan
Henry Sy Sr., John Gokongwei Jr., and Andrew Tan think outside the envelope because they started their businesses from scratch. There’s no baggage and no tradition to follow.

14. Keep your friends close but enemies closer
Example: Tony Tan Caktiong
Fried chicken is Jollibee’s number one selling product. And because Mang Inasal’s chicken inasal grabbed a big portion of Jollibee’s fried chicken market, Tony Tan Caktiong bought majority shares of Mang Inasal to kill off the competition.

15. Target the bigger market
Example: Henry Sy Sr.
Henry Sy Sr. positioned his retail brand by targeting the lower socio-economic segments. He built his SM Mall brand targeting the general population where we can shop, dine and entertain.

16. Support other brands in a big way
Example: David M. Consunji
David M. Consunji’s DMCI Holdings is a big time developer contractor. It become the preferred contractor because it gives high-quality service and provides competitive prices.

17. Learn to ‘play dirty’
Dealing with dirt is a necessary element in the business world. The way you should look at dirt is the way those in the real estate industry look at dirt – it’s a component of whatever you construct. You either make it prominent, or you hide it. But you have to deal with it, one way or the other.

18. Look to other industries
San Miguel Corporation’s traditional business is in the food and beverage industry but it is now heavily investing in other industries like mining, power and banking.

19. Be hands-on
Example: Felipe Gozon
Felipe Gozon is a hands-on entrepreneur CEO. Everyday, all sales departments report to him and all TV programs report ratings to him. Also, every month, he eats with his employees and talks to them about the company. He is more aggressive, more entrepreneurial and have better management skills.

20. Give back
Examples: Zobel de Ayala family, John Gokongwei Jr., and Lucio Tan
What is success in business without sharing the profits? Nothing! But Zobel de Ayalas have always given emphasis to corporate social responsibility. John Gokongwei donates his money in a businessman-like way. He gives money to schools like Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University, institutions that know how to use it. And Lucio Tan also donating to hundreds of public schools around the country. These rich entrepreneurs maybe get the cue from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet,  the two richest billionaires and well-known philanthropist in the world.

21. Be a whole-brainer
Successful business people are actually whole-brainers, who keep in mind the three O’s of business. Originating ideas is a creative activity, and therefore very right brain. Organizing straddles the middle. And Operation uses the left brain.

22. Love what you do more than what you earn
Examples: John Gokongwei Jr., and Henry Sy Sr.
Self-made entrepreneurs like John Gokongwei and Henry Sy love what they’re doing more than they love the money. John Gokongwei has retired from this official functions and title but still remains active in JG Summit. And Henry Sy still enjoys doing business and will probably never retire even at the age of 90.

23. Get the ‘immigrant drive’
Chinese immigrants or of Chinese descent have the immigrant drive. They have the drive to succeed and were risk-takers.

24. Think about an IPO
Initial Public Offering is one way to pressure you to perform even better . It gives access to more capital, and banks become more willing to lend even more money for business expansion.

25. Know when to let go
Example: Enrique Aboitiz
Enrique Aboitiz Sr. used to be in the shipping industry. Now, Aboitiz & Company has diversified into power, construction, banking, and real estate. Aboitiz knew shipping wasn’t going to be okay (so many Superferry debacle), so he sold it and kept the business that looked good and will grow.

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