Learning about Seaweed and My Natural PH

This month for me has been knowing more about skincare and the different ingredients that I should look for or watch out for. There is a plethora of products that you can choose from in the market, and the challenge really for retailers now is how do I stand out and what will make me unique and different. Looking at different skin care products from Korea and Japan, you would notice that they make use of quite interesting products like snail, lava, horse oil, orange, grapes, and even “unicorn tears” (I wonder how they got that! haha!). Then I got myself looking at Filipino made products, too (of course!) and one brand caught my attention, and that was My Natural PH. They make use of Seaweed.

I wanted to know more about the whats, hows and whys of My Natural. This is why I interviewed, Marina, one of the co-owners of My Natural PH.

Mommy Ginger and Marina Morada

About The Moradas

Marina is the daughter of Noel Morada, who started the business. Noel is a UP Alumnus and has an MBA in Marketing and Finance. He is a graduate of Business Administration and is a businessman who has been in the seaweeds industry for more than 20 years.

Marina is an IMC Graduate from UA&P (yeeeeah! same school and course as me!). She is also a graduate of Masters of Applied Business Economics. EJ Morada is the younger brother who helps in the business. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University (Business Management).

Interview with Marina of My Natural PH:

Ginger: Hi Marina! It’s great to meet you. Can you tell everyone what My Natural is about and how long have you been in business?

Marina: We’ve been in the seaweeds business for more than 20 years but our personal care line  made out of seaweeds was only launched June this year after 2 years of research and product development.

Mr. Noel Morada with the the country’s seaweed experts

 This new venture is all about providing SAFE, HEALTHY, and EFFECTIVE natural products.  It stems from our belief that having a healthy lifestyle does not stop with developing healthy habits and eating healthy foods but should also include the use of different products for personal  care, home care and air care which are natural and environment friendly. Consumers need such products that will help them sustain a healthy lifestyle. This is the need that we wish to address through MyNatural products.  

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Marina: Our product line generally caters to the health- conscious natural advocates who keep on finding ways on how they could maintain a healthy lifestyle. They have personal preference over natural products knowing its benefits.  

We have 3 brands and each have distinctly identifies the type of consumers to address their needs.

 

Algynatural: For the regular consumer who wish to have the benefits of seaweeds and natural personal care products which they could sustain for their everyday needs.

Ocean Blue: For the ultra- sensitive skin consumers who are looking for natural, safe, and effective solutions that could help them manage skin conditions.

MyNatureland: For every homemaker that wishes to keep every corner of her home naturally fresh and clean without using harmful chemicals.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Marina: Being in the seaweeds industry for several years, we have attended International conferences and exhibits and learned the benefits of seaweeds for skin care and other personal care needs. These are evidenced by numerous scientific studies, presentations and research papers by experts in the fields. More than this is our ardent desire to promote sustainable healthy lifestyle through products that help consumers take care of themselves as well as the environment. Last of course is our determination to provide more livelihood and continuously build self-sustaining and sustainable communities.

Before embarking on this business though, to be viable we asked ourselves 3 basic questions:

– Is there a market for the product?
– Do we have the resources ( capital, human, raw materials, etc.) to be in this business?
– Do we have the competitive advantage?

Ginger:  Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Marina: Oh A lot. Putting up a business is always a challenge. But as an entrepreneur, you got to have the grit. You have to be tough – psychologically,  physically, and emotionally, you have to have  the capacity to find solutions to complex problems,  the ability to see the opportunities and potentials of future products to fulfill human needs, the steadfastness to pursue your dreams and strong faith in yourself and God of course.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business?

Marina: Getting the right product that will address the need of the market. This is the product development stage where you really spend a lot of time, resources and human talent to be able to get a perfect product as much as possible. Then you have the challenge of getting your product to the market. Identifying the right market and communicating to them. How is your product relevant to your market?  What are the right channels to reach your market?  What marketing mix shall you use…  Then you have the logistics side of it so that products get to the customer in a seamless and faster way.  Finding customer expectation and fulfilling them is huge challenge for entrepreneurs. Getting the needed resources is likewise a challenge. 

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a Start-up Founder/Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?

  1. The passion to succeed no matter what the odds (grit)
  2. Eagerness to learn to keep up with the changing times.
  3. Perseverance / Hardwork

Ginger: Do you have any unforgettable moments or  lessons that you learned as an Start-up Founder/Entrepreneur?

Marina: Think ahead. As an entrepreneur you should always be forward looking. Your decision today may no longer be applicable tomorrow so you should be always have plan B and C.

Learning is a continuous process.

There is an opportunity that lies for every problem. You just have to identify it.

Of course, never give up!

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Start-up Founders/Entrepreneurs?

Marina: Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset before starting a business. Learn from the mistakes of others. Always put your customers first (know and understand your market ) they are the lifeblood of any business. Never stop learning.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Marina: Everyone has the opportunity but only few succeed. The general ratio they say is 1:10; that means only 1 out of ten succeeds. Being an entrepreneur is a conscious decision that you make to achieve a higher purpose ( change lives, create positive impact, etc) . It’s a commitment you should be willing to make to yourself and to your stakeholders (partners, consumers, investors, suppliers, etc).

Ginger: What is your belief about raising capital? What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Marina: Generally the source of initial capital are personal savings then additional capital from relatives and friends. The formal channels of raising capital like banks, venture capital and other financial intermediaries or institutions and eventually the equity market, come in only in the growth stage  of the business. So raising capital during the start up stage of the business is always challenge.

Ginger: How do you market your products?

Marina: Right now our products can be purchased online through our own website and other online shopping sites like Beauty MNL.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Marina: On line marketing tools and apps. ( Facebook, Instagram, e- store). Automation of the accounting, financial, inventory and customer base.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Marina, for spending time with me! I learned a lot about seaweeds, its benefits and of course, a lot about starting a business!

Contact information about your business:

Website:  www.mynatural.company
Email address: sales@mynatural.company
Mobile Number: 0917 132 1977 OR 0920 977 1977
Facebook Page : MyNaturalPH
Instagram account: @MyNaturalPH

Interview with Blogger Sherwin Ramos-Yeo of Techglimpse

For today, I interviewed a fellow blogger. I love interviewing bloggers that focus on technology and business, because, obviously, these are two things that I love, too! Today, I’ll be interviewing Sherwin Ramos-Yeo of Techglimpse.

Sherwin Ramos-Yeo is the founder of Techglimpse. With his passion on technology, he decided to gather all his research into one repository (the current site). He studied in De La Salle University with a degree in BS-Information Communication Technology Management. Sherwin started his career as an IT professional then shifted his focus to digital marketing, focusing now on eCommerce. Through this, he has learned a lot through his different projects, including the ins and outs of using technology for marketing. He also took up several certification courses to strengthen his skills.

Outside the “digital” world, he also joins billiard tournaments and plays the guitar. He is the eldest among the 3 siblings.

Techglimpse’s Story

Ginger: What is your brand or business, Sherwin?  Please tell the readers what is it about and how long have you been in business?

Sherwin: My blog started as a tech blog, but it focuses on innovations like AR/VR, tablets, mobile apps, etc. I have always been fascinated with technology, and how it affects our life. I had a shift in career, now focusing on digital marketing. I’m not a marketer. I graduated as an IT professional. Digital marketing lead me to see “creativity” and on how technology can be used as a marketing tool. Since then I started to do consulting from watch brands, restaurants, etc.

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Sherwin: My target market would be the the SME’s who don’t understand how they can leverage on digital platforms for their business. And my other market are people who are tech savvy, since I feature tech innovations.  When I started with the blog, it contained most of my research and findings. Later on, I saw the line between innovations in technology and digital marketing has become blurry.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Sherwin: Everybody is into tech/digital nowadays, whether you are just an individual who most likely from time to time try to be updated with the latest gadgets and technology. Now the challenge for the entrepreneurs is how they can maximize this changing lifestyle. Small entrepreneurs can’t afford big ad agency to help their business, so this is where I come in. My aim is to focus on the SME’s or those organizations that are in the stage of “exploring” digital as one of their channels. Big agencies tend to amplify a digital campaign, what I can offer is lay down the basic foundation of your digital strategy. From building your social presence, to understanding how the data you collected can be maximized.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Sherwin: As much as I want everyone to be an entrepreneurs, not all are fit to be one and has the mindset to go into entrepreneurship.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Sherwin: I’ve met with different clients, I tried to solve their problems. Even though all my solutions were good and all of them were theoretically correct but not all didn’t meet the right objective which mostly is creating additional revenue. Clients hire you because mainly they want to increase revenue, and be able to justify their ROI. I started with focusing the whole strategy for the client while the client wanted instant change.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Sherwin: Always continue learning. I have always been insecure with my skills. I’m not a marketing graduate and I’m just your average IT student in school.  Competing with others who graduated cum laude, masteral degrees, marketing graduates, I was thinking of how can I stay competitive compared to others? I started reading about digital marketing everyday before anything else, I open my favorite websites to keep me updated on what’s happening. Since I’m not a marketing graduate but doing actually marketing strategies, I took up a diploma course on marketing to at least gain my foundation on basic marketing principles. As of today, I already have more than 10 certifications from marketing, digital marketing, operations, excel, etc.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder

Sherwin: It is definitely getting that first client. When I started my blog I didn’t have the intention to earn from it, all I wanted was to have my own website. I then tried adding a section on my website offering my services, then eventually someone emailed me. After my first pitch/meeting with the client, it was a success, she actually made a follow up meeting inviting the rest of the team to discuss my plans for the company. It was then that I realized that I can actually be good at this, this is something that not all is knowledgeable with.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Sherwin: Being an entrepreneur is not about having your own office, flexible schedule, or generating more income. It always goes back to doing what you love. It may sound cliche, but really when tough times come, the only thing that will get you moving is doing what you love. For me, the exciting part of being an entrepreneur is the challenge. The challenge of solving problems of your clients, seeing satisfied clients and thanking you on how you have contributed to their business.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Sherwin: For now I’m using up my personal money for my expenses, since it is still minimal. What I usually do is use my earnings from the business to expand the business. In this way I can always improve what I can offer to my clients.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Sherwin: Since my website is a blog, I usually write content that is made for my audience and potential customers. This is to establish my skill and knowledge in the field. Currently I have no plans yet of expanding the services since I still handle the business on my own.  For now, the focus is on digital marketing + eCommerce, I feel that this will be the next shift in digital.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Sherwin: First important thing is to put your files on the cloud. Whether that’s dropbox, google drive (which i recommend), etc, It is always important that you have access and control towards your files. You may never know when you would need them. Website is another must have for any entrepreneur. You can start creating your own website for free, or invest with a freelancer which will cost you around Php 10,000. A website is your online business card, it will showcase what you have to offer and provide information to your potential customers.

Ginger: Thank you for spending your valuable time, Sherwin, in answering our questions for my readers. For those who want to contact Sherwin, I have placed different ways on how you can get in touch with him.

Talk to you soon! 

Contact information:
Website: www.techglimpse.ph
Email address: sherwin.yeo@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 0917-5328482
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/techglimpseph
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/techglimpseph
Linkedin account: https://ph.linkedin.com/in/sherwinyeo

A Reality Show for Start-ups: The Final Pitch

I am an avid fan of Shark Tank. I love watching Start-up pitch their ideas, even if some are super unprepared. I love seeing the different ideas that people have. Man, there are a lot of unique and creative ideas. I love taking note of the judges questions and I am always amazed at how good they are with numbers. I think Shark Tank is the only show that I watch where I have my notebook by my side to actually take down notes. You may laugh at me (haha!) but I do learn a lot from this show.

In my mind, the end goal really of the start-ups joining the show is either to raise capital (which is pretty normal) or to gain enough publicity to build traction. And for the rest of us watching the show, it’s really for our entertainment and education. Anything that I could learn from, I love!

Imagine my delight when I was invited to the Final Pitch press conference. I didn’t get to go (because I had to focus this week on Taxumo, but I decided to share it anyway. The Final Pitch is something like Shark Tank. The show will challenge entrepreneur contestants in every way — from exploring funding options, refining their business plans, and marketing their products and services. The show is set to air on History Channel this May, 2017

creator-of-the-final-pitch-john-aguilar-2

“The Final Pitch aims to help entrepreneurs find success by connecting them to investors who can finance them, and to mentors who can fine-tune their businesses—reducing risk factors and boosting growth potential and sustainability,” shares the creator and host of The Final Pitch, John Aguilar.

The show will make entrepreneurs go through a series of challenges that will test their creativity, motivation and character. At the same time, they will learn the secrets behind the success of their potential investors, who are also tasked to handpick the top finalists to proceed on the show.

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

For Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, founder of a well-loved global food brand and one of the investors on ‘The Final Pitch’, his picks for the show would be based on whether or not he can see them as future business partners. “I’m looking for people who deserve a break, as I believe in the person more than the business,” he shares.

self-made-billionaire-and-the-youngest-to-become-the-chairman-of-a-publicly-listed-company-in-the-pse-joseph-calata

Other investors include the multi-awarded Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong; self-made billionaire and the youngest chairman of a publicly-listed company in the PSE, Joseph Calata; and lastly, 25-year old millennial CEO of the angel investing group MFT Group of Companies, Mica Tan.

In addition to the potential funding from the investors, contestants will receive business coaching from an esteemed lineup of mentors, who are composed of well-known business experts and inclusive business champions, namely Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, Mon Lopez; former President of MicroVentures, Inc., Senator Bam Aquino; Chairman of Start Up Village, Prof. Jay Bernardo and; President of the Ateneo Center for Entrepreneurship-Masters In Entrepreneurship (ACE-ME), Dr. Andy J. Ferreira, among others.

I think this is a good initiative, because (1) Filipinos need to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there — opportunities to solve problems, opportunities to innovate and opportunities to make a difference; (2) We need to stir up the start-up ecosystem in the Philippines and having more publicity for the entire industry is good (in that way, we, startups won’t have to explain what we actually do, especially to our friends and parents. haha!);  and lastly, (3) We need to strive to be better than we are and let go of that “okay na ako” attitude. We, Filipinos, are very talented individuals and it’s such a waste to see people full of potential not maximize their talents and skills.

So there, these are the reasons why I, personally think, that we need shows and other activities like this. Will we join this competition and represent Taxumo? Maybe. We will have to think about it! haha!

But for those who are ready to join, here are some details:

To join The Final Pitch, applicants will be required to fill up and submit an online entry form to The Final Pitch via its official website www.TheFinalPitch.ph Deadline for submission of entries is until March 17, 2017. Investors interested in becoming a part of the show or investing in the entrepreneurs behind the scenes may also get in touch with The Final Pitch through through its website.

*The Final Pitch’ is produced by Streetpark Productions Inc., the company behind the longest-running real estate and construction TV show Philippine Realty TV. For more info and for sponsorship and partnership inquiries, visit www.TheFinalPitch.ph or call 0917-8136674.

Goodluck to all my readers who want to join! Message me so that we can all watch you!

Businesses for Couples to Start: An Interview with Jeff & Ingrid of Stationer Extraordinaire

interviews-with-business-owners

I met up with a couple who wanted to to share with me what their business was. It was perfect! I get a lot of inquiries about what types of businesses for couples to start that can give them financial success and happiness (awww…). I was truly inspired by this couple that I met. They made me thing about making my interviews with new businesses as regular as possible. I dub Thursdays to be the BE INSPIRED DAY! haha!

Every Thursday (hopefully), I plan to continue the tradition of interviewing startups and small businesses all around the globe! Yes, I definitely said ALL AROUND THE WORLD! I will interview single people, who found it challenging to uproot themselves from their current mindset. These people launched a successful business. We will learn from married couples who have amazing tips on businesses for couples to start. I will meet and interview tech start-up founders. Interviewing these tech-y peeps is so cool. Every Thursday will be such a happy and inspiring day!

So going back, today’s topic is a classic example of one of the businesses for couples to start. Jeff and Ingrid have been married for 10 years. They decided to put up a retail business called Stationer Extraordinaire. With only a few months into it, this lovely and cute couple share their experience as a couple in running a business together — a business that is in its early stages.

Jeff and Ingrid of Stationer Extraordinaire

Jeff and Ingrid of Stationer Extraordinaire

Check out this interview with Jeff and Ingrid if you are interested in getting into a retail business or to know what happens when couples go into business together. By the way, this interview is a part of the Pay it Forward Facebook Live sessions brought to you by Payoneer Philippines and the Work in Freedom community. We, at the work in Freedom community, will be doing this on a monthly basis!

Sharing this video interview which I uploaded on GTV (wooohooo! It’s alive again!).

It was one of the most fun interviews I had. We really had a great time laughing and sharing thoughts! Hope you learned a lot! Share with us what new insights or realizations you had after watching this video. Feel free to comment on the video in Youtube!

For more information about Yumi Journals and Kaweco Fountain Pens:

Website: https://www.stationerextraordinaire.com/

WiF Banner 720 x 90 px

 

 

Business Lessons: Cost and Volume

Today, I had a class on COSTS and the relationship of cost and volume. Starting a business means that you won’t be escaping this concept anytime soon. In order to manage and sustain a business, we need to monitor and control costs, because ultimately, to increase profits, you need to increase revenue and decrease costs while maintaining the value of your service.

Understanding costs

Now one of the things we need to look at is the behavior of costs. Here are the three behaviors:

VARIABLE – These are the costs that are directly proportional to the volume (level of activity).

FIXED – These are costs that you incur whether there is volume or not.

MIXED OR SEMI VARIABLE – These are costs that have a variable component and a fixed component. A classic example of this are utilities and manpower (when employees who receive pay but sometimes go overtime).

To be able to make profit, we need to increase volume to be sold to increase sales.

So how do we increase volume and sales?
1. Look for the customers who find value in availing your product.
2. Deliver great service so that your customers will be brand believers. This will be FREE advertising for your company.
3. Pray for sales!

Learning about Costs

Now there is this term, Full Cost which is Unit Variable Cost + Unit Fixed Cost.

Total Variable Cost increases as volume goes up but Unit Variable Cost is constant on a per unit basis.

Total Fixed Cost remains constant as the volume goes up, but Unit Fixed cost decreases on a per unit basis. With this, you are trying to achieve what you call Economies of Scale. This is the reason why we can give discounts when people order in bulk or in huge volume. Check different tiers so that you would know at what volume you will start to earn a margin.

The next term that I learned is Contribution Margin. Contribution Margin is the difference between sales and total variable costs or the difference between selling price and unit variable cost. This margin covers (or supposed to cover) for your fixed cost. Contribution Margin Ratio is Contribution Margin divided by Sales.

You need to find out where the biggest margin is. If you find out that the segments that you are tapping all bring in the same margin, look for the segment that will bring in the most volume.

I wanted to share these things. I just thought of sharing it, since I think it will be useful for startups and entrepreneurs to understand. Hope this helps!

 

It Takes a Village to Raise a Business

For parents, we are all familiar with this statement “It takes a village to raise a child”. I just had a thought the other day while having our weekly check-up meeting with Ideaspace (entity behind the acceleration program we are part of), that the same is true with businesses. We were talking about the value proposition of Taxumo (our startup). In the room, EJ (my husband and CEO), yours truly, Manny and Prim (mentors) and Dustin and Brenda (from Ideaspace) were all pitching ideas and sharing experiences to further solidify our VP, and it was nice to see that everyone was so involved! There was a moment when I stopped and looked at all of them, and thought it takes a village to raise a business, too!

It takes a village to raise a business.

For the longest time, I always thought that there wasn’t anything difficult about putting up a business. Once you overcome that fear and just start turning your concept into reality, it should be that easy. Basically, a business is just a great idea that we implement and that’s it. Making Manila Workshops successful even further strengthened my belief that it’s all about jumping and fast execution. Boy, was I wrong!

In the past year, I have grown leaps and bounds in terms of learning more about putting up a business, and this is because I was open to hearing from other people. There are a lot of things that I see and wished that I could have done better for Manila Workshops. The good thing though is that I could still adjust now and make everything better than how it was. And the other thing is that I could apply what I have learned with this new startup, Taxumo. To tell you honestly, I haven’t had this much clarity as to what I need to do with my business, and this clarity was because I never let anything pass me by (both good or negative inputs about the business).

But being open means also looking at the value of these things. As a startup founder, you need to decipher if these inputs are things that are valuable or things that are not. There are plethora of tools that were explained and given to me by mentors, by our classes,etc. and most of them are available online. These tools are mostly used for validating the need of the customer. The old me would have said, “Doesn’t this lead to analysis-paralysis?”, but since I have seen the value of this process and the value of each tool (from Business Canvas, to QFD, to the Kano model, to strat mapping and usability tests, etc.), I, together with the team, of course, go through each one. As a team, you should talk to each other and discuss what you think are the insights, tips and tools that would make sense for your business.

Being open to listen doesn’t really equate to action or reaction for most of us. For example, even if most of these are readily available online and even if we know that we need to talk to the customers, we are so preoccupied with the idea that our business idea is just so amazing that we think who would not want to purchase or use it? I have been a victim of this (lol!) — in a few business that I have started, which eventually failed. I learned my lesson the hard way, and by validating the need even before you launch it may be the wisest way to go, so that you don’t waste time and effort. You can not know your customer enough. Each day should be a day to look for new insights about the customer.

There is this article from Forbes Magazine that’s circulating the web and it’s the fact that only 10% of the startups make it. Sharing the article here: 90% Of Startups Fail: Here’s What You Need To Know About The 10% This is a very good read!

Just wanted to share my thoughts on this, so go and talk to people. See what they think about your product. You’ll learn a lot from talking to the “villagers”.

Business Lessons You should Know before you Reach 30

After being chosen as one of the top 10 startups for Ideaspace 2016 Cohort 4 last Friday, I wanted to write about our experience, but I decided to write about another topic instead. I wanted to write about business lessons you should know before you reach 30 and about maturity, and this is not about being old, but this more about “business” maturity (although, oftentimes it comes with age). I decided to write about this since I have seen a lot of young people deciding to start a business before they reach 30, which is just AWESOME! I am all for it, but please do read up, learn, interview people, ask around, validate your idea, etc. before you jump the gun.

From my observation of people who have started a business, from both those who have succeeded and failed in keeping it afloat financially, I have noticed a lot of similarities. These lessons (I suppose I could call them that), I feel, would help a lot of younger people in making sounder and wiser decisions. Again, these are all from my personal observations.

One: If you are in the process of finding yourself (quarter life crisis) and are still figuring out what you want, being involved in a startup or let alone, leading one, is not the wisest thing to do. I see that the successful startups are led by people with a pretty good idea of what they want in life (and believe me, being just plain ‘rich’ or being the next Steve Jobs just doesn’t count). They are headstrong, but not stubborn about things. These are two different things and be aware of the difference. Starting a business means that people will look to you, especially if you are the CEO, for direction and you will probably fail at being a leader if you haven’t got your business figured out, let alone your life.

Maturity is seen in founders who know when to drop things temporarily to fight a better fight in the future.

Two: Successful founders know that money doesn’t make the world go round, but they know that money pays for the bills. You probably saw a lot of pictures of your friends who were part of Ideaspace 4 with big checks like these.

Zeeka 2

Well, the feeling of making it to top 10 was similar to probably winning the lotto, but the reasons for being elated were very different. All of us (I hope!) understood that this money was gasoline for our business. It was more to fast track things internally that would make us launch the product within this 4.5 month duration. Although, even if founders understand the purpose of grants and funding, they sometimes fall into the trap of using the funds themselves for a lot of unnecessary expenses, and what unnecessary doesn’t mean giving yourself pay that is due you. Unnecessary things or spending are things that you may not actually need, but end up paying for, and this oftentimes, stem from poor planning.

Maturity is seen in founders who know what they are worth, and who are smart enough to have thought of a financial plan for the business even before funds start coming in. The attractiveness of money/funding will not lure them into the habit of overspending.

Three: I am an advocate of working remotely or working from home, but for businesses that are just starting, I would have to say that it is crucial that you meet face-to-face regularly. Believe me, I have seen the difference that this makes in a lot of instances and scenarios. For CEOs or for the leaders of these startups especially, it is very important that you are with your team often. A wise friend told me once that the leaders or the founders of the “idea” would have an incomparable amount of passion that would be infectious and that would be enough for the entire team to function with gusto. I believe this to be true, as I have personally experienced this. In the business that I run, I see that people draw inspiration from me and in the businesses/startups that I am part of, I draw inspiration and energy from the founder of the idea.

Maturity is seen in founders who know when they need to be there for their team, and when to let go for the business and the team to grow speedily.

Four: Your unique selling proposition is not only the uniqueness of your idea. An idea can be the same as someone else’s but executed better. An idea can be really unique also and totally different from anything else that you might have seen and encountered, but the pain point is not evident or the timing is off. So, really think about what will set you apart, and why will people avail of your service and not that of another entity. Don’t be scared to share your idea with the right people (do your research and look for people with experience in the industry that you want to enter or those who your peers say would be willing to give genuine advice). And when these more experienced people give you advice, have an open mind about it, but also, think things through to know what will make the most sense for your business.

Maturity is seen in founders who embrace the concept of abundance (of ideas, advice, collaborations, information) and discern for themselves which of these information will make sense for their business.

Five: You will fail many times along the way. You will get disheartened not only a few times, but an amazingly whole lot of times. I can’t count the number of times I have cried or the number of times I have not slept, but there were a lot. You should know that this is normal. It’s also good to have someone by your side who truly understands what you are going through.

Maturity is seen in founders who know that hard times make you tougher, and the challenges are not indications that you need to quit, but indications that you need to step a little bit further from your business to see where improvement lies.

Six: Last, but not the least, focus on things that make sense now, while thinking of the bigger picture and your reasons why. I’m not sure though if telling Millenials to go for what they are passionate about and to strive to make a difference is still relevant, since it seems everyone is talking about this already and it seems that these come natural to this new generation. But, what I wanted to harp on is for you to know think about what makes sense now. Will it make more sense to gather knowledge as an employee then possibly start your own business later on? Will it make more sense to start early and continuously learn along the way? Will it make sense to focus on building one startup with a friend and have a part-time stable job on the side? Will it make more sense to study more first to build confidence then start a business?

Maturity is seen in founders who know that there are many decisions that you must make on the road to building your own business. You make them after thoroughly assessing the situation, and ultimately, accept whatever the consequence of that decision is.

These are just some of the things that I thought about over the weekend. I have other thoughts that I want to document, but I’ll just save it for yet another day! If you have thoughts about this that you want to share, or questions that you want to ask, please leave a comment below. Today is yet another busy day for me, but I hope that my moments of reflection and journaling it, helped!

Talk to you soon!

Unbreakable… It’s a Miracle

I had my own full dose of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt yesterday. I wanted something to watch to cheer me up.

Today’s topic is actually about challenges in Business. Yesterday, I felt so bad about something that I did or rather, I failed to do, for one of my businesses. I really thought I did something, but it turns out, I missed doing it, which made me feel so so bad and sad for my team.

But with that challenge, I learned a lot of lessons, which I know will help others, too, who are going through the same thing:

1. It’s okay to feel bad and just let it out. It’s okay to cry about it. It doesn’t make you weak. It just makes you human.

2. Surrounding yourself with “good vibes” is key. You will feel tremendous weight on your shoulders (I felt I couldn’t breathe yesterday), but look for positivity. It was a good thing my meetings yesterday were with inspiring and energetic people!

3. If something for work important to you, check and double check your work. Even if it’s not your own task, check up on it yourself. Because of my experience, I spent the day yesterday checking up on each person in my company. Haha!

4. Missing one detail or failing to do one task, doesn’t make you incompetent. Leaders, too, must know how to deal with people who commit errors. If one fails to do something or lapses on something, taking responsibilities away from that individual, just makes it all worse. It just makes the person demotivated and they’re left feeling incapable.

5. Teamwork is very important. I told my team yesterday that no matter who makes a mistake, we need to stick up for one another and not bring them down. In times of failure, we need to be more sensitive to people who failed to complete a task, especially if it was an honest mistake.

6. In times of challenges like this, you will definitely know who your real friends are. They will not judge you and will help you move on.

7. Realize that it’s just work. The bigger picture is that you keep strong relationships with your co-workers, stakeholders, key partners and your employees. Again, as I always say, business is about managing relationships.

8. Tomorrow is another day. Be unbreakable, like Kimmy Schimdt. It will be a new day.

So, these are the things that I learned yesterday. Today is a new day and I’m excited for it! Let’s go for our dreams! Every day is a miracle!