Friday, April 10, 2015

4 Business Principles That May Help Startups

A few days back I had the awesome privilege to talk to two amazing people named Nap Garcia and John Martin Figuracion, founders of a startup called ProTEES Project. The project offers high quality shirts for groups and individuals with advocacy -- at no cost. I fell in love with the idea the first time I really get to know about it because I really believe in the genius of mirroring other causes using one's own business.

Because of that extended talk with Nap and John, I realized that there a lot of ideas a marketing professional like me can offer to those who are contemplating or currently putting up a startup business. I myself am a startup founder and my business called #BOTV is still on the works. I will definitely work on this project right after I am done will all these present commitments -- isa-isa lang.

Anyhoo, below are the 4 business principles that are stuck inside my head and ready to be shared anytime to any startup founder who may need it.

1. Business Model Canvas

What I really like about this tool created by Alexander Osterwalder is that it outlays in a single sheet of paper everything that you need to know about your business. It allows you to enumerate your Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources, Value Propositions, Customer Relationships, Channels, Customer Segments, Cost Structure and Revenue Streams in one place. Looking at them in one place gives you a sense of unity and oneness that should be present in all the elements of your business. Without this "solid feel" about your business, it's almost very difficult to describe it in a few words -- let alone starting it. By looking at everything that you need to see about your business, you must be quick in recognizing patterns and even roadblocks that shall allow you to strategically improve on things before you finally run your business idea. The Business Model Canvas is a wonderful creation and it's free! Download it here.

2. Positioning

What often startup founders forget because, sometimes, they become too enamored with their ideas is the importance of the "positioning" of their brand. Positioning (in my own word) is simply how your customers view your brand. It must be simple, single and solid. Before you launch your business to the market, make sure that your co-founders can explain the brand using just a few words. In fact, allow other people (in a mini-FGD, perhaps, during the conceptualization of the business) to describe to you your brand. If they find it hard it to describe your brand using just a few words, you have a problem. Tweak everything that can be tweaked -- your brand name, your logo, your tagline, your Business Model Canvas, your ads and etc. -- until you arrive at a satisfactory description of your own brand rendered by other people.

3. Blue Ocean Strategy

I learned about the Business Ocean Strategy way back in 2007 and I still believe that it is one of the greatest business principles ever invented. The book basically argues that to win in a market competition, a business need not compete. Instead, it must create its own "niche" away from the bloody ocean of competition where everyone is killing everyone. To be able to create one's own "niche", it must be able to differentiate itself from the competition. BOS suggests a practical way of doing this. Having the competition as the basis, a business must be able to Eliminate, Reduce, Raise and Create certain elements of it. For example, Ton Ton Thai Massage was able to create its own niche for itself by eliminating massage oils in its services. It then raised the use of garments in lieu of massage oils. Because of this, a certain segment of the market which dislikes massage oils during massage is being catered. Also, some market segments prefer stretching than rubbing which makes them a perfect target market for Ton Ton Thai Massage. Do not forget though that the end of BOS is encapsulated in two words -- value innovation. The result of BOS-ing your business must drive down the cost and drive up the innovation.

4. Simplicity 

One of the most prized possessions that I have as a marketing professional is the book called "Simplicty: The Secret To Effective Marketing" by Sunny Goh. The book basically guns for a single principle and that is, without suprise, simplicity. In everything that you do, never deviate from this principle. Some startup founders commit the error of spending time, energy and money on some things that can be acquired in the future because they become too excited. I say, if your business requires you to spend so much money on the onset, you are in for some hard business. Remember that you have to work as fast as you can to gain the ROI. So, as much as you can, spend and focus on things that really matter for the business.

*Please feel free to share this blog post to your friends and teammates.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

3 Major Takeaways During Personal Collection's ALFA-1 Launch

It was an honor to be invited by one of the biggest direct selling companies in the Philippines, Personal Collection, during the launch of their advanced men 's care line called ALFA-1. It was held at Blue Water Day Spa in San Juan. Here are my three major takeaways from the event.

1. A complete set of ALFA-1 products. ALFA-1, as a brand, encourages all men to use only products formulated for them. They say that men have thicker, tougher skin than women because of higher levels of testosterone and larger amounts of collagen and elastin. They say men also tend to have larger pores and oilier skin. As a product, ALFA-1 is infused with CoolActiv Technology, a unique formulation that gives a superior overall clean, a fresh scent and an extremely cool after-feel. During the event, I got a shampoo, facial wash, body soap, body lotion and body spray. How's that for a loot bag, eh?

2. Opportunity to meet ALFA-1's endorser. Albie Casino is ALFA-1's newest endorser. I may not have been able to really talk to him but my fellow bloggers liked him so much. They said he was nice, down to earth and approachable. No wonder why he was chosen to be the endorser of this important brand by Personal Collection.

3. Awesome experience at Blue Water Day Spa. Though it was only the first time for me to attend an event by Personal Collection, I would say that they already have the knack for making a blogging event really fun and enjoyable. Although they could have done the launch at just any events place but they chose to go the extra mile and decided to hold it at the heavenly Blue Water Day Spa. We were offered foot, back and massage at the theater room while we were watching Captain America. It was my first time to experience something like that as I was accustomed to going to regular spas. I really like the experience and I'm definitely be going back to Blue Water Day Spa!
Overall, it was an awesome experience. I can't wait to be invited again to the next events of
Personal Collection!

To know more about the brand, please like their Facebook Page.

Friday, January 23, 2015

3 Tips To Declutter Your Life This 2015

Are you feeling guilty because of the too many purchases you made during the holiday season? Did it make you feel stressed than happy and elated? Do you feel the need to declutter and go back to living a simpler lifestyle? Perhaps you're in for some simplication treat at the start of this year. Below are three things that I'd like to share with you as you begin this season of letting go.

1. Have a Declutter Plan. First, take a step back and think how you are going to go about this whole simplification process. What are the things you want to remove from your list of possessions? What activities are you willing to let go this year? What items do you have that you can now live without? Decluttering is such a fun thing to do. What more if you were able to think through the whole process and achieve it successfully? It's double the relief! Plus you can help others too by simply sharing how you went about your whole decluttering process.

2. Take out your empty boxes and trash bags this year. It's because you will use them for the items you will let go. Don't wait for the items to speak to you and tell you to let go of them. Have a box or a trash bag ready by labeling them with what you intend to place inside them. Sample labels include For Sale, For Gift Giving, For Donation and etc. One day, you will find this whole process useful and you will thank yourself for it. It's all about being intentional and proactive. For example, in my country, the Philippines, I know that every year a lot of people get affected by the typhoons (God forbid this year.). Even though in my mind, I wanted to avoid this kind of thought, I know there's a fat chance that many Filipinos will be homeless, cold and hungry again because of the typhoons. It's been happening for years. Instead of avoiding the thought, why not do something about it such as pooling in one place the things that I can donate to the (would be) victims of typhoon. If the need comes, I will be one of the firsts to help out. What an incredible privilege!

3. Sign in at OLX. This 3-letter name is starting to make a huge difference in my life. It's so aligned with my goal to declutter and what's good about it is that it gives me the opportunity to earn by just simply desiring to own less. Because of OLX, there are more incentives to live a life of less clutter and at the same time form the habit of earning through selling the things I don't need anymore.

Monday, January 5, 2015

#Fasting2015 Day 1: Rest

Today marks the first day of our #Fasting2015 at Victory Ortigas. As I reflect on my newly written faith goals for this year, God impressed in my heart the word "rest". How amazing can God put words inside my head at the right time! It's because after reading my faith goals a few times, I felt a little worried. How will I be able to accomplish all these things? 

Then it hit me. The battle is not mine. It's God's.

"...and he said, "Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, "Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's." -2 Chronicles 20:15

Upon realizing this, I immediately ran away from the computer and headed to my room. Then I locked the door and started talking to God. Then a bird suddenly perched upon my room's window. Now, an event such as this doesn't always happen. Birds won't perch upon our windows because they aren't always fully open which means there is not much space for the birds to move around. The birds usually prefer electric wires. But not only that. The next second, the bird did something extraordinary. It began tapping on my window. As I waited for what it's gonna do next, I muttered the name of my Lord and Savior "Yeshua" and then it flew away.

Then I found myself tearing up as I was reminded of the things that the King said in the Bible involving birds.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" -Matthew 6:25-27

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:29-31

There are two things that I got from these verses.

On the first verse, God is telling me not to worry about my faith goals for everything is to be accomplished by Him. The battle is His, not mine.

On the second verse, God is telling me that I have no idea how valuable I am to Him. Wow.

Brothers and sisters, our God is clearly a romantic. How he delivers His messages to his sons and daughters in subtle but powerful ways! Right now, my mind is totally blown away and I am admittedly "kinikilig" while I was writing this. How can I help it?

It's only Day 1, church! My prayer is that may you find "rest" in God as you begin this new season. Remember. The battle is His, not yours.

"For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." -Romans 11:36