Monday, March 17, 2003

Keep adding creativity

BusinessTimes ppB5
Monday, March 17, 2003

By Moje RamosAquino
Keep adding creativity

“Entrepreneurs are not risktakers. The world in general agree that entrepreneurs are risktakers, yet entrepreneurs say they are not. Can anyone explain that?” wrote Wilson Harrell in his book For Entrepreneurs Only.

Harrell answers his own question, “Entrepreneurs are so sure that whatever project they are currently working on is going to succeed that, in their minds, there is no risk. They go back to the drawing board and keep adding creativity until risk goes away. If you think any project you’re working on is ‘risky,’ don’t do it. Just do what entrepreneurs do and keep adding creativity until the risk goes away.”

Last Monday, I told you about my experience with JTQ Securities Corp. When the manager challenged me that instead of listening and helping me solve my issues with him, he would just give me back my full reservation deposit to cancel my reservation for a stall, he took a risk. He was bluffing, I knew. He did not seem to know his customers and was not interested in their concerns. That is not entrepreneurial. So to this day, Sta. Mesa Mart has not officially opened or if they had, it doesn’t look like they have enough tenants. You can guess what happened with the other tenants.

I think that doing business with an arrogant manager is taking a big risk. So I took his dare. There are many better places I could locate my gift shop. It is not quitting; I still have my business intact. It is just one step backward or sideward to avoid risk. Entrepreneurs are flexible, ready to change strategy on a moment’s notice. The last thing we would do is to take a “risky” risk.

So when you are considering a location for your business, take a careful and organized approach. Whether you are buying or leasing, meticulously check the condition of the building or stall you are considering. Calculate the modifications required to meet your needs. Is the building in need of repair? If it is a new building, does it meet your local building code requirements? Interview the other tenants of the building or mall. Does the building have regular preventative and repair maintenance program?

Does the building have the necessary infrastructure to support your hightech needs? For example, if you are setting up an Internet café, consider your requirements for electrical and telephone facilities before signing up for a site. If you are in the food business, is a good water supply available in the area?

What about other costs? Who will provide janitorial and security services and what will they cost? What are the insurance rates for the area? Do you have to pay extra for parking—your own and that of your customers? What about the cost of utilities and security deposits? How will cost be allocated for shared facilities and utilities?

Also, ask yourself: Why is the site available? How long has it been vacant? Why did the former tenant leave? What is the success average of the other previous and current businesses at that location? What businesses succeeded in this area? This will give you the odds for your own success.

Look around your chosen location. What other businesses are located there? Will these nearby businesses enhance your own business, as in they attract the kind of customers who could be your potential customers, their employees could be your customers or they could be potential suppliers?

One good thing about locating in a mall or commercial area is the availability of goods and services that you or your employees would need. Such as a restaurant where you and your employees can have your snacks and meals. Naku, never mong gugutumin ang mga tauhan mo. Or a nearby beauty parlor, magazine stand, grocery or convenience store? Or a daycare center for your employees where both husband and wife work and don’t have maid or yaya?

Will your environment enrich the prestige and quality of your workplace and business? For example, our immediate neighbors at the night market last Christmas were a children’s toy store and one selling electric scooters. We were a perfect trio of stores for the whole family. The moms and teenage daughters shopped in our bags and gift shop while the children had a heyday completing their beyblade collection. Guess where the dads and sons went? Everybody happy; nobody is bored.

Compatibility test: winwin or winlose or nowin? A funeral parlor beside a medical clinic. An Internet café near a school. Boarding house just outside an industrial park. Laundry place beside a residential condominium. Water filtering station in a lowwater pressure area.

Check for any ordinances or zoning restrictions that could affect your business and the environment in various ways. You wouldn’t open a cocktail bar near a school. Or a piggery inside a residential village. Or an LPG dealership beside a restaurant. Or tilapia ponds within a certain distance from a coppersmelting company.

What about the days and hours of service and access to your potential location? In malls, for example, you can only enter or leave your stall at certain hours. You are not allowed to open earlier than the designated time or stay open after closing time. In some buildings that allow you to work overtime, to do your paperwork perhaps, will you have airconditioning facilities or security service available?

Locating near your competition could yield positive or negative results. If you are in the food business, it will be beneficial to locate within a cluster of food retailers. Diners will naturally go to these areas when they need food because they know that they could have a choice there anytime. How many times would a customer go to Antipolo from Makati on a hot summer or cold rainy day just to eat grilled food, even if the view is fantastic? Do you notice that businesses of the same kind flock together? The guitar and music store cluster along R. Magsaysay Boulevard, Manila. The group of home and office furniture shops along Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City. The antique shops in Sariaya, Quezon. The rows of clothing stalls on Ylaya, Divisoria. The bars and nightspots sidebyside in Malate.

Finally, for the issue of location, have an eye for the future, for growth, for expansion. It will not be advisable to immediately start with more space than you will use, but anticipate the success of your business and choose a site that could give you enough flexibility to maneuver and grow your business. If your present location is not big enough for your successful operation, you’re ready to branch out to another location. You’re getting big, Mr./Ms. Entrepreneur.

Next Monday, we will move on to another interesting topic in our Journey in Entrepreneurship. Stick around and tell us what is interesting to you.

Puedeng bumati? Hello to aspiring scientistsjournalists from the Manila Science High School: Wenchelle Berdin, Jerson Diana, Ma. Lauren Gallano, Jacqueline Joy Glumalid, Nicholai Noel Lazaro, Ricky Limlingan, Ray Bastien Silva Mayol, Ma. Christina Sendin. They interviewed me for a class project on media people.

Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., a communication and HROD consulting company, and invites you to send your feedback via

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