Starting a business in the Philippines is pretty easy. You come up with an idea, create a business plan, get the necessary paperwork, finish the BIR registration, and you’re in business.

While starting is relatively easy, growing it is the hard part. In this article, we’ll share ten business tips from some of the top names in the Philippine business world.

Top Business Moguls’ Expert Advice

1. You Must Have Determination

It is important for a business owner to be determined in his/her purpose to help guide him in the rough patches ahead.

The road to entrepreneurial success is never smooth. There are major challenges that you need to overcome. And when you do, more await you ahead.

If you are determined in your purpose, you will always be eager to move past one challenge without losing focus on the goal.

Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.
San Miguel Corporation, Bank of Commerce

“Since I was young, I was determined and told myself that I was never going to be an employee of anybody. Maski mahirap, never an employee (Even if difficult, never an employee),”

shared the then 77-year-old Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. during a 2012 interview with Philippine Star (Philstar).

2. Explore the Roads Less Traveled

Many entrepreneurs strike where the iron is hot. In fishing, they flock to where the fishes are biting. However, this could end up in a saturated market.

Having a vision to invest in the next big thing is one of the traits that could help you become a game changer in the business arena.

Andrew Tan
Megaworld Corporation, Alliance Global Group Inc., Emperador Distillers, Golden Arches Development Corporation

“I hope we business people can invest more aggressively outside Metro Manila, whether in real estate, factories, or other enterprises, in order to give equal opportunities to all other regions. If we invest more outside Metro Manila, there will be more jobs in other regions, then people need not all flock here to seek better lives, and then our roads wouldn’t be too congested,”

said Andrew Tan during an interview with the Philippine Star in 2014.

3. Failure Is Part of the Game

The success equation consists of the good, the bad, the successes, and the failures. The country’s top business moguls didn’t start at the triumph.

Just because they are very successful now doesn’t mean they didn’t experience rejections and failures along the way. Failure is part of the ballgame. If you are planning to jump ships from being an employee to an employer, you have to understand this part of the equation as early as possible.

Lucio Tan
Asia Brewery, Tanduay Holdings, Fortune Tobacco, Philippine Airlines (PAL)

“Entrepreneurs should never give up due to failure. Not just entrepreneurs, but people of whatever profession – all of us- should learn from our setbacks. We should never surrender to despair,”

said Lucio Tan.

4. Aspire to Be No. 1

Planning to open an ice buko business? Sell the best ice buko there is. Opening a hair salon? Hire the right people and help them become the best.

Give the best value for your customer’s hard-earned money. It doesn’t matter what business or industry you’re in. A good business owner will always have the mindset of becoming no. 1 in his field.

Henry Sy
Shoe Mart (SM), SM Group, SM Prime Holdings

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always believed in doing my best, that one should aspire to be No. 1. Our businesses also help promote socio-economic progress,”

said Henry Sy in a 2011 interview with the Philippine Star.

5. Take Risks

McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, once said,

“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”

Business is for people who have the guts to fail and the determination to success. So, take risks, especially in your younger years because you will have more time to recover.

We’re not saying you should burn your money at a casino. We’re talking about calculated risks such as going into a business and withstanding the challenges that come with it.

6. Hire the Right People

When you’re running a family business, it’s normal to hire individuals in the family. This is especially rampant in the Philippines. However, if you believe that day-to-day operations will run better in the hands of outside professionals, leave the mindset of “utang na loob” and get the right people for the job.

Lance Gokongwei
JG Summit Group

“There comes a time when there is not enough jobs for everyone in the family. Oftentimes, professionals may even be better in running the day to day operations,”

said Lance Gokongwei in an interview with the Philippine Star in 2012. Lance is the son of business mogul, John Gokongwei. This is one of the commandments John followed in running the family business.

7. Trust Your Gut

You hear this all the time: go with your gut. It sounds too old school, especially if it comes from business moguls who have done their share of hardships and sacrifices and aren’t reaping the rewards of their hard work.

There’s a scientific explanation behind this. Your brain has two memory types—implicit and explicit. Implicit memory is said to be involved in the so-called gut feelings. This memory type covers all the information that gets stuck in your head and is the reason you can recall lines to a song you heard years ago. It is also the one that tells you not to touch a burning coal. These are the information that your brain absorbed.

In business, listening to your gut is having that second voice that guides or prevents you from doing something you might regret because of an experience or information you unconsciously absorbed before. Listening to your gut is quite useful if you’re on a fork road in business.

Kathleen Dy-Go
Universal Records

“Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut feel for a certain strategy or business model that you want to try. It is not always good to stay on the safe side because you never know if something will work unless you try,”

shared Kathleen Dy-Go of Universal Records in an interview with the Philippine Star in 2015.

8. Build Your A-Team

A successful entrepreneur did not make it on his own. Talk to any entrepreneur, and you’ll see that there are many people who helped him become who he is today. These people may be mentors or partners or even your own employees.

If you want massive success, you have to build a great team, and when you do, you have to do your role in nation building and helping communities succeeded by teaching them relevant skills.

Bam Aquino
Philippine Senator, Go Negosyo

“We shouldn’t forget we have a role to play in nation-building. The best entrepreneur is the one that never succeeds alone, and helps the success of his community,”

said Senator Bam Aquino during a 2015 interview with the Philippine Star.

9. Do Your Time

You hear a lot of overnight success all the time, especially now that anyone can become a millionaire by building a single app.

Yes, they became millionaires overnight because they sold their products to the bigger players, but what you don’t know is that they spent years building prototypes, testing, launching, and getting the world out until they landed a big break.

These years are part of their success equation, as nobody becomes a successful entrepreneur overnight.

10. Be Brave

There are going to be rough days, months, and even years. What you do in times of adversity will build you character. This is where determination comes into play and will keep you focused on moving forward.

Ben Chan
Bench Apparels

“The real test of an entrepreneur is how far he can go when the tides of business turn for the worse. It is in times like these when he should be unafraid. Be aggressive. Know your market’s needs and serve them,”

said Ben Chan.

Start Building the Future You Want Today

Being an entrepreneur is easy, but becoming a successful entrepreneur is a new ball game. It takes more than just a very good idea to have a successful business. You need vision, determination, a strong gut, and most of all, courage to plow ahead and take your idea as far as it can go.

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