UPDATE: Editor's note: Added video taken by INQUIRER.net business editor Ma. Salve Duplito.
(From left to right, Marvin Natores, Meme Natores, Allan Cruz and Willy Arcilla)
Most newbie entrepreneurs rack their brains trying to think of ways to sell more. Marvin
and Melani Natores wonder how they can keep up with surging demand for their products and are even struggling with the basic question: “Are we ready to grow the business? Are we ready for wealth? Is it possible to be rich and happy
Nuts? Foolish? Crazy? Who wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, huh? Believe it or not, it’s a serious matter on their part.
They have received queries on franchising, been booked for events outside Metro Manila, toying with other novel product ideas and are wondering whether to consider advertising. But they still come back to that question on whether they are ready to expand.
Business mentor Willy Arcilla attacks the issue with sensitivity and understanding. He reminded them that competition comes naturally with business growth and they have to be ready for it. Operations and logistics become more complicated.
Finding time to be with family becomes a constant struggle when business keeps you occupied and pre-occupied. There’s also the issue of putting in more money. Expansion without careful thought can be counter-productive.
“You have to calibrate your own vision. Are you happy with being a P50-million company or do you want to be the next Hallmark?
” says Willy.
, the company they built only four years ago, makes unique souvenirs for events like weddings, graduations, parties and even corporate events. Fotoloco, their biggest brand, is like a portable photo booth that prints out quality pictures with customized backgrounds all within 10 seconds.
Impatient guests get a kick out of the booth and hardly grumble at the delayed bridal entourage and corporate people find it unique and exciting. From just one booth, Konsepto now has four and the husband-and-wife team hasn’t run out of ideas. And yet, like many small businesses, they still don’t have a vision or mission statement.
Does it really matter? Aren’t these only meant as impressive decorations in corporate buildings? ? What does a corny mission/vision statement that have to do with growth?
Everything, Willy says.
“A vision is good because it’s your guiding star. You will be facing difficulties, competition, employees who run away and steal money and many problems as your business grows. It’s your vision that will keep you focused on your passion” Willy says.
The couple has agreed that their mission statement is to make people happy. How they do that can be communicated through their vision. A vision statement is not static and should be changed as the business flow expands or contracts. It doesn’t have to be specific. It merely has to be big and bold, Willy says.
“You have to have a dream. Think about your customers; do something for them,” Willy advises.
It all takes a lot of self-searching. Knowing yourself and your product, differentiating yourself from your competitors, finding your core competence – all of the things that matter in creating a strategy that fit business owners like a glove.
Such soul searching may also help the Natores couple figure out whether they are ready for the dizzying growth their company is facing and how they are going to deal with it. At the second business mentoring session, Willy assured Marvin that growing both rich and happy is possible -- and finding the right rhythm and balance between the growing business and family is part of it.
For the coming month, here are the Natores couple’s homework:
1. Finalize a mission/vision statement
2. Write a business plan
3. Consult lawyers
4. Know more about competitors
ing on Willy’s suggestions for product development and marketing strategies (confidential)
What are your suggestions for the couple? What are your questions for Willy?
(Business Mentoring is a one-year project by Open For Business of INQUIRER.net. Eight businesses that have been chosen by a panel and readers’ votes will be mentored by Willy Arcilla, regional director of ZMG Signium Ward Howell and president of Business Mentors Inc. Willy is an industrial economist from the UA&P-CRC with a 25 year career in corporate planning, marketing, sales and general management across Asia-Pacific, and is a recipient of the Agora Award for Marketing Excellence.)