Stressed out over work? Sweat it off with Bikram yoga

(Originally published on August 31, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

As with many successful professionals in the country’s growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, Ria Cejero has learned to thrive in a very competitive environment.

The 41-year-old human resource officer has handled employee relations since 2002, and has experienced more than her fair share of late hours and work-related stress.

While she spends around 12 hours a day working in a major call center, Cejero makes time to practice Bikram yoga. She had read about the benefits of Bikram yoga before joining colleagues for a class at Bikram Yoga Alabang, the newest certified Bikram yoga studio in the country. “Losing weight was not a priority at that time,” says Cejero, “but I felt that I needed to relax.”

Developed by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is a form of yoga involving 26 postures or asanas and two breathing exercises practiced for 90 minutes inside a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius. Choudhury himself was able to benefit from the practice when he suffered from a knee injury at the age of 17.

“Bikram yoga is intended for all fitness levels,” explains Ginger Diaz, studio director of Bikram Yoga Alabang. “Regular practice may help improve flexibility, cardiovascular and muscular st rength, and endurance if the series of postures are executed properly. The room is heated to allow the muscles to become more responsive to deeper and sustained stretching.”

Since opening in October 2010, over 1,500 people have practiced at Bikram Yoga Alabang. “We are proud to have contributed in introducing more people to the wonderful benefits of Bikram yoga,” Diaz says.

Full-body Workout

As a busy career woman, Cejero still considers it a challenge to dedicate 90 minutes a day for exercise. But she says that the benefits of practicing Bikram yoga outweigh the challenges. She recalls that her first few classes made her dizzy and nauseous, something beginners are advised to anticipate. “Bikram yoga helped me relax,” Cejero shares, “I started sleeping well when I started the practice. Getting enough sleep was all I needed at that time to get the balance for the practice.” Gradually, the dizziness disappeared.

“Focus and discipline are skills that will greatly improve when you practice Bikram,” Cejero adds. “It helped me manage my schedule as well, because my goal is to be more efficient and to finish work earlier.”

In Bikram yoga, hydration is key. Practitioners are advised to double the normal water intake of eight glasses a day. Hours before practice, Cejero drinks plenty of water and only eats light meals.

Despite being used to working the night shift, Cejero says there are days when she finds it difficult to sleep. “Bikram helped me deal with that,” she reveals, “my breathing improved dramatically, which in turn allowed me to handle stress effectively.”

Cejero believes that Bikram yoga is a good fit for professionals in the BPO industry. “Bikram yoga is an excellent full-body workout that will leave you feeling incredible,” she shares. “Just be sure to drink lots of water before class. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”

To know more about Bikram Yoga Alabang, call (2) 846-5496 and (927) 916-9909 or send an e-mail to Visit for more information and resources on Bikram yoga.

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Globe Telecom provides technology support for TESDA’s job profiling program

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Leading telecommunications company Globe Telecom provided the technology support to the recently held Jobs Bridging Fair in Cebu Citythat showcased, among others, the job-profiling program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The event was organized by the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) in partnership with TESDA Region 7.

The job fair, one of the highlights of the CBE tenth anniversary, aimed to bridge job seekers and jobready graduates with employment opportunities as a relevant input in the thrust to quality education. The event also included job facilitation activities participated by key industries from the priority sectors of tourism, information and communications technology (ICT), business process outsourcing and construction.

Being a major partner of CBE on various programs, Globe provided 25 laptops with Internet connection for the job fair. The laptops were used for TESDA’s YP4SC or Youth Profiling for Starring Careers, a multi-phase program that aims to help high school students, out-of-school youths, unemployed adults, course shifters and retirees make informed decisions on their careers to avoid education and job mismatch. YP4SC components include career profiling, labor market information, education and training information, career guidance and tracking. TESDA is one of the 36 institutions and 250 individual stakeholders that make up CBE, a Cebu-based non-stock, non-profit organization committed to the vision of creating empowered communities of learning. Its members represent the academe, students, parents, government, nongovernment, business organizations, media practitioners and professional and civic groups.

Being an expert on research and development of ICT integration in teaching and curriculum development, CBE is currently the major partner of Globe in its Global Filipino Teacher (GFT) and Global Filipino Schools (GFS) programs. GFT is a teacher enhancement training where CBE helps in developing capacities of teachers to conduct ICT-enabled learning activities in the classroom. Following its success, Globe and CBE, together with the Department of Education, are now looking at further improving the capability of ICT-mature public high schools to become the community expert in ICT through GFS.

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Monster Philippines launches Android application for job seekers and employers

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

MonsterPhilippines, a leading online career and recruitment solutions provider in the country, recently announced the launch of its new Android applications. With the lifestyle of young working professionals in mind, Monster’s new mobile applications aim to provide consumers with a flexible and on the go 24/7 platform to scout and apply for job opportunities.

To further strengthen mobile penetration, MonsterPhilippinesalso launched a new employer/ recruiter interface on its WAP portal. The company has also recently revamped its WAP portal for jobseekers with newer and enhanced features.

Monster’s Android application can be downloaded for free on the Google Android marketplace. The application has all the features and services present in

ph, but it gives users the choice to choose the way they want to search for their next job opportunity. The WAP portal for employers, meanwhile, will help them search, shortlist, reach out and interact with prospective candidates. They can also post, renew and manage job postings.

Elaborating on the launch, Sanjay Modi, managing director of, Middle East andSouth East Asia, says: “Monster has always strived to innovate, keeping the consumer at the center of every initiative. Our Android application and WAP portal for job search are a direct outcome of consumer feedback we’ve received, which pointed to an increasingly active and mobile lifestyle that necessitated the need for a mobile version of our job search capabilities. With our new Android application, we’re converging traditional online job searching with mobile technology to cater to a young, mobile, tech-savvy working population, giving them an on the go and user-friendly mobile job search application.”

“Today the mobile handset and smart phone market is growing at an exponential pace,” continues Modi, “and the Android platform is at the top of the heap, with analysts expecting it to overtake all existing mobile platforms by 2012. Based on the future potential of the Android platform, the new Monster app provides a huge opportunity for us to tap into even more job seekers in a platform they are naturally gravitating towards more and more often.”

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Starting a Janitorial Business

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

A janitorial services business has excellent potential and needs little capital to start. There are janitorial companies that have started small and are now deploying hundreds and thousands of workers because more companies now turn to agencies to handle their  sanitation requirements. Not only do they find it cheaper, but the manpower are usually better trained.

To get into the janitorial services business, here is a list of the basic steps:

1. Undergo training. Learn how to properly conduct janitorial services. Unless you will be hiring a supervisor or manager, you will have to be the one to teach your janitors. Learn how to minimize your supplies usage as well as maintain housekeeping work standards. You also need to know the legal standards and safety measures to avoid accidents and health hazards.

2. Select a location for your office. Go for the most affordable site since office location is not important in this business. In fact, you could start first by being home-based to save on rentals.

3. Come up with a descriptive business name and register with the appropriate agencies: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for single proprietor; and with the Securities

and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporations or partnerships.

4. Get a barangay clearance and then proceed to the municipal or city hall to get your business permit.

5. Register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and get your TIN, Certificate of Registration, and obtain authority to print receipts.

6. Register with the Social Security System, Philhealth, Pagibig Fund and the Department of Labor.

7. Open a bank account for your business.

8. Hire qualified manpower and train them to properly conform to you and your client’s standards. They must be well-trained before deployed to a client.

9. Develop an efficient payroll system for your personnel.

10. Purchase the appropriate equipment and supplies. Some of the pricier equipment you must have are floor polishers, vacuum cleaners, pressure washers and power scrubbing machines.

11. Pick the most appropriate marketing strategy. If you are a startup, network to gain potential clients or to scout for establishments that may need your janitorial service. You

can also post your services on free ads websites since many people now use the internet to look for janitorial services. This is cost-effective for those with limited capital. Those with more resources should advertise in newspapers and/or the yellow pages.

12. Be able to cost and price your services properly. While labor costs will be the bulk of your expenses, cleaning supplies, equipment  depreciation and office overhead must be taken into account.

The janitorial services business is not glamorous, but due to necessity, lesser competition and simplicity, it is a solid business with a reliable cash flow. For people with limited capital and who are not afraid to work hard, this is indeed a promising venture.

Want to learn more about this business? BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts seminars on “How to Start a Janitorial Business.” Contact (2) 727-5628/8860 or visit for details.


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Success Wizard: Manage Your Credit Cards Effectively

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jordan Patente

Whoever said genies aren’t real? While they no longer live in traditional magic lamps, they’ve moved to a smaller and more powerful house: the credit card. One swipe  (no need to rub!) and you’ll get what you want. And unlike the old genies, the credit card will not ask you to trade your soul in exchange for three wishes—you just need to affix your signature.

This is the life most of us are living. We treat the credit card as the modern day genie. This genie can give you the life you’ve been dreaming of, but on the other hand, it can also make your life miserable. If mismanaged, it can ruin you, your family and even your career.

With the help of my business partner Ramonchito Alba Flores, I will share tips on how to use your credit card and maximize its numerous benefits.

Your credit card management style ref lects your cash management approach. If you handle your cash right, you will do the same thing with the credit card. This means that if you have troubles handling cash, expect to have more of it with credit card. If you’re looking at a credit card to settle your debts, think twice and figure out long-term solutions.

For beginners, it is wise to maintain only one credit card account. Once you are confident about managing your credit card finances, then you can get another account that will give you more perks.

Choose your credit card wisely. There are several types of credit cards available. You can pick the most suitable card based on your requirements and financial situation. I highly recommend an account with annual membership charge. If you manage your account dues well and have no outstanding balance at the end of the year, your annual fee can be waived.

Make wise decisions about purchasing items you need versus those you simply want. Using your credit card responsibly means recognizing which things you need and which you just want. Use your credit card to buy things you can afford. Living a borrowed lifestyle and using a credit card as a substitute for cash is the quickest way to get into debt. To purchase something is easy, but it is hard to pay higher interest rates on credit amount. For ordinary purchases, leave your credit card in your wallet and use cash or a debit card instead.

Zero percent deals are good, but only if you have the cash to pay for these items. If the lack of cash is your reason for availing of the deal, forget it. Don’t count your chicken if the eggs have not yet hatched. If you have full control over your credit card, only then can you start enjoying credit card deals and promos. You can charge most of your expenses to it.

Be in touch with your credit card company and pay your monthly dues on time to avoid interest. You should have also knowledge of late fees, extra charges and hidden factors of your credit card account. Knowing your credit card terms and conditions will help you manage your debt effectively.

Don’t get into the habit of making minimum-only payments. Making only the minimum payment each month increases the amount of time it will take to pay off your debt. It also increases the amount of interest you end up paying. Spend based on your financial status.

Use your credit card if you have cash on hand. After the credit card purchase, save the cash to pay for it, and it should not be used until the due date comes. This strategy will earn credit card perks for you to enjoy. Credit card companies will entice you to spend and be indebted to them. That’s perfectly fine, but paying them so much interest is not.

Don’t give your credit card to someone. If you want to share your credit card, share it with someone you trust. Supplementary cards are good if the other person has credible exceptional financial management skills; if not, forget it.

Stay within 30 percent of your credit limit. Lower balances are easier to manage.

Communication is key. Let your creditor know in advance if you won’t be able to make your monthly payment on time. The worst thing you can do is simply forgoing your credit card payment. Most creditors will assist you if you let them know before you miss your payment. Simply call your creditor, briefly explain the situation, and ask that any late fees be waived. As a one-time goodwill gesture, credit card companies will grant you that. Let me end this article with a memorable story. This took place a couple of months ago and it will continue to happen as a result of good credit card management. Hopefully the above tips will earn you the same experience in the near future.

It was such a busy week for Dynamic Empowerment Philippines Co. that my business partner and I decided to unwind that weekend. We had a good meal and we watched a movie. The movie left us with topics to chat about over coffee. Just before we left the mall, for the first time I appreciated their parking system. It was an excellent day!

Dinner to parking was all-expense paid—thanks to our credit card. Credit card providers offered good promotions with our prior purchases and we’ve accumulated enough

receipts to exchange for all those perks that day. This, too, can happen to you. Don’t let your debt manage you; instead, manage it and enjoy boundless opportunities.


Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.

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Business Coach: How to Get Good Employees

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

Good employees are the foundation of any company’s success. However, most small to medium-scale enterprises have no HR department to do the hiring process that getting suitable personnel is seldom done in a professional manner. Making things more difficult is that the most qualified candidates naturally gravitate to larger companies because of higher offers and perceived job security.

Because entrepreneurs tend to be hands-on when it comes to all aspects of the business, they cannot hope to match the sophistication of the HR specialists in larger firms. Still, having a prepared procedure based on best practices will go a long way in improving your recruitment process.

Below are some of the most important things to do when you are hiring:

1. Have a list of the qualities necessary or desirable for the position. This will enable you to better judge the suitability of a job seeker. You could also supplement this with a negative list that shows characteristics that are absolutely banned from your workplace.

2. Interview enough applicants to select from. If you only have few choices, there is a strong tendency to just pick the bad from the worse, so I would suggest that you interview at least 20 applicants to have a better chance of getting an ideal candidate. To get a sufficient number of competent applicants, it may be necessary to spend a substantial amount on advertising for the position. This is one expense that will pay off in the long run.

3. Have an application form. Even if job seekers will be bringing their own resume, it is important that you have them complete an application form when they arrive. Customize your application form according to the position. Note that job seekers’ resumes contain what they want you to see, while your application form will bring out what you want to see.

4. Have plenty of space to indicate employment history in the application form. It is crucial to have the most complete employment record possible, so design your application form in such a way that there would be no reason not to include the applicant’s entire employment history.

5. Check gaps in employment records. It is important to know the reasons for an extended period of unemployment between jobs. There is a possibility that the gap was due to the non-inclusion of a job where the departure was due to a termination, or where the company is likely to give poor feedback. If the gap was attributed to a stint abroad, request to see the job seeker’s passport as proof.

6. Demand the necessary clearances. It is standard operating procedure to at least ask for a current NBI and employer clearance. Still, there are some small companies that neglect to check even the most elementary documents.

7. Allot sufficient time to do a thorough interview. Depending on the position, a proper interview should last from ten minutes to half an hour, at the very least. Rushing the questions will not allow the job seeker enough time to answer thoroughly. You would also be missing opportunities to better assess the suitability of the candidate.

8. Have prepared tests. Design or obtain tests that would measure the capacity of the applicant to do the job. These may be general tests like IQ tests or they may be more specific, like seeing if the applicant can operate a particular machine effectively.

9. Check on previous employers. One of the best ways to know if a prospective employee is truly suitable is by calling on previous employers. Inquire not only on his work proficiency but also regarding his personal attitude.

10. Require a physical checkup. Since it is very inconvenient and costly, one of the last but necessary things to do is to require the applicant to undergo a physical check-up.

This is very important because no company wants to be hindered by an employee that is always absent due to poor health. It may also be that the applicant is suffering from a highly contagious disease.


Despite all the pessimism, there are plenty of good employees in the market that are a fine fit for your operations. It just takes a little more effort and preparation to see a dramatic improvement in your hiring. This will give your company’s operations a big boost since having qualified employees in your company will enable higher levels of productivity and fewer headaches.


Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of  BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit or e-mail


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Success Wizard: Control Bad Spending Habits Now

(Originally published on August 24,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jordan Patente

My mother moved to a new address recently. She had to organize a lot of things before moving to the new house, and the most challenging part of moving was transporting all her knickknacks. I saw a lot of unused items still in their original packaging. These are pieces that do not fit her lifestyle and just occupy space in her house. Summing up the cost of all those items, she could have already bought a brand new bed.

Most of us complain about not having enough resources to fund our lifestyles. But if we look closely at our expenses, we’ll find that we’ve been investing in a lot on things we don’t need. Not a lot of us are aware of our spending habits.

Who doesn’t love red-hot specials? I know friends who mark their calendars to anticipate the big event. Some prepare their credit cards and borrow money, while others purchase items they feel are badly needed at that time.

There are thousands of good deals out there and if you are not strong enough to turn down temptations, you’ll be an impulsive buyer. I know colleagues who enjoy shopping so much that they let expenses control their lives.

Who said your earning is not enough for you to meet both ends? Who said the amount of money that comes in is more important than what you’re saving? I know a lot of employees who earn well and spend bigger than what they earn every month. Regardless of your earning capacity, how you deal with money defines your present and your future.

Below are some of the tips that you could use to control bad spending habits and start saving:

Make a list and stick to it. You have to be organized when shopping. Create a list and religiously follow it. This will help you avoid unnecessary purchases. The list is created to identify items that you need, and if it’s not in there, then it is unnecessary.

Follow a mandatory waiting period. When you see something you’d like to buy, rather than buying it on the spot, force yourself to think about it for a week. We normally want something with so much emotion the first time we see it, but think—do you really need it? After a week, you will realize if it’s a must-buy, or forget about it altogether.

Avoid shopping on payday. Most people feel richer on payday and are more vulnerable to frivolous purchases. Set a working budget first before you go shopping. This will set a limit to your spending so make sure you stick to it.

Pay in cash. Numerous studies have shown that when people pay in cash rather than their credit card, they tend to spend less. This is because using cash makes spending more real, and the money harder to part with. If you still opt to use your card, every time you use it, set aside your cash payment or pay your provider the day after.

Wait for second-generation gadgets. When it comes to buying the latest high tech gadgets, it makes sense to wait. Most technology decreases in price after it is initially released. Later versions usually have fewer bugs and better capability. Most of your current gadgets have all the functions you desire, so think wisely if you need a new one or just save the money for better use.

Set and focus on your goals. Knowing what’s important to you and what you really want to achieve with your money will help distract you from short-term wants.

Always begin with an end in mind. If discipline and control over your spending is a must to achieve your greater goals, do it. Saving and achieving your goals are just the effect of good money management. What you learn from the process is priceless and will give you boundless opportunities in return. Bigger goals, once achieved, will help finance your wants in the near future. For now, maximize your hard earned money by multiplying your fortune, not your liabilities.

These are some of the benefits that you’ll get when you follow these tips: you’ll see your savings grow, you’ll feel great pride in controlling your spending, and saving will become second nature.


Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.


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Setting an Apartment Rental Business

(Originally published on August 21,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

For those looking for a steady source of income with minimal time to spend, an apartment rental business is hard to beat. You may have heard a lot of horror stories about problem tenants, but notice that most landlords will never sell their apartments.

The truth is a lot of retirees depend on the monthly rental payments for their everyday expenses. Despite everything, apartments normally do not go bankrupt like many small businesses. That is why they are a favorite investment for people who want minimal risk.

However, there is a downside to the safety of this business. The lesser risk comes at the price of lower returns. It will take a relatively long time to get back your investment compared to other ventures. The cash flow, while steady, is small in comparison to the size of the investment.

You must also be updated with current rental laws. The rules on how much you can increase rentals and the ejectment procedures constantly change, so you must be abreast.

Be very selective in screening tenants. Reject those who have a strong chance of not paying their obligations. Do not allow those who will likely cause too much wear and tear on your apartment, as well.

Your lease agreement must be carefully drafted. It would be best to have one drafted by an attorney with experience in making lease contracts. Buying a ready-made document from a store may not only result in an unfavorable agreement, but your tenants will have a lesser view of the agreement.

The registration requirements for an apartment rental business are simple. Assuming that you will be constructing your own, here are the basic steps:

1. Check first if the property you have or plan to acquire is zoned for the construction of a residential apartment. Know, too, about restrictions like the maximum number of floors you can build. These restrictions may possibly make your investment not feasible.

2. Register with the Department of Trade if you will be the sole owner of the property or with the Securities and Exchange Commission if you plan to be a corporation. Have your accountant or lawyer prepare the needed papers.

3. Get a Barangay Clearance.

4. Obtain a Building Permit and Occupation Permit from the municipal or city hall. You must also secure your Fire Safety Permit there.

5.Register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Get your certificate of registration. This will contain the schedule of your tax obligations with the national government. If you still do not have a Tax Identification Number, obtain it at the BIR along with your authority to print official receipts.

6. Have your receipts printed. Starting an apartment is a sound investment, but you must know what you are doing to avoid mistakes. Since apartments require a substantial capital, and laws and trends change fast, it would be prudent to know more about this venture before proceeding.


BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts seminars on starting an Apartment or Commercial Stall Rentals Business. Contact them at (2) 727-5628/8860 or e-mail for details.


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BizMaker: Money Leeches in the Family

(Originally published on August 21,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Mark So

Because this is the third part in a series of articles, please go to my blog if you have not read the previous articles:

Recently I talked about being aware and effectively stopping your “Money Leeches.” Should a money leech appear who is not part of your immediate family, I recommended that you only offer P50 and not a centavo more. Although it may seem harsh, this is the first real step in getting your money to stay with you. Also remember that if you think you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your immediate family instead.

Money Leeches in the Family

The question now is, what if your money leeches are from your immediate family? Like a brother or a sister or a parent? What then?

First, let me define what an “immediate family money leech” is. This is the brother or sister or parent that will habitually ask you for money. Most of the time, they even feel entitled to it because of your blood relationship.

This is where it gets very sensitive for a lot of people. Everybody has a different opinion on this, but this is my clear-cut view on it: not all members of your immediate family carry the same weight. You must prioritize within your immediate family whom you can be generous to first.

In my life, my first priority is my wife and children, then my parents and my siblings. With that in mind, I give 90 percent of my money to my wife and children first, the next five goes to me, and the remaining five percent goes to a special fund in case an immediate family member needs it. So should there be a money leech in my immediate family, the maximum amount of cash I give is only the five percent of whatever I have at the time. Depending on how much money you have right now, that can either be very little or very big, but the point is even if it concerns immediate family (outside of my wife and children) my cash generosity is budgeted, controlled and managed.

If you are single, I do not suggest offering 90 percent to your immediate family—unless you plan to never marry, budget it at five to 10 percent because of two reasons: 1) If you give more than that, you might not have a money leech now. But if they get used to it, you would have created one down the road; and 2) You need money for when you get married someday. If there was a major regret I had in my life, it was that I didn’t plan financially when the time came for me to marry the love of my life. Even though it worked out in the end, I could have planned it much better.

Make no mistake—my life’s wealth is meant for my immediate family. Everything I make and have is meant to be shared with them, and to give them a better life. But if I have a money leech problem and do not budget and control it, the money leech will most definitely bleed me dry financially. And if I might add, if you are married and a money leech is within the immediate family, it can destroy your marriage if you don’t handle it properly Trust me. I’ve seen it happen. This is why I urge you to understand what I am sharing. If nothing else, I want all of you to have a great and happy marriage.

Be Generous in the Right Way

Before you decide that I am a heartless scrooge, do remember that we are just talking about money leeches in the immediate family who habitually ask for money and even feel entitled to it. If they are not leeching you dry and they desperately need help and you can afford to do so, then give what you can.

If you know me well enough, you would know that I am a very generous person. And the reason why I wrote what I wrote is because I was once extremely generous with my money to anyone and everyone. I learned that being overly generous with money, especially if you do not know how to manage it, is extremely dangerous and is a clear recipe for money to run away from you.

Instead, what I learned to do and what I want you to learn to do is to be generous in kind. To explain this further, I will give you two assignments today.

Assignment 1: Read my past article, entitled “Business Reciprocity,” in Comment on either that article or this one. Complain to me about the problems you have in completing the assignments. Believe me, I will read every single one.

Assignment 2: Set a budget for your Family Leeches and stick to it. Create a script on how you will say it to them. You can e-mail it to me if you want:


Mark So is a businessman, investor and educator. He is the chairman and CEO of BusinessmakerAcademy—a business, finance and corporate training center. He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, a trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the founder and chief trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute, which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses. A sought after speaker for business and investing, you may e-mail your comments and questions to or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.


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Business Coach: The Seven Common Pricing Mistakes

(Originally published on August 21,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

Of all the components of the marketing mix, pricing is the most neglected. This is a common mistake made by entrepreneurs because despite everything, price is the primary determinant of sales and profits. To a large extent, your company’s strategy and physical appearance are affected by your pricing decisions.

The truth is, figuring the best price to sell your product or service is no simple task. In fact, many books have been written on this topic alone. To be able to offer useful advice, I am constrained to limit our discussion only to the worst pricing bloopers usually committed by entrepreneurs:

1. Adopting the going rate. The majority of businessmen choose this option because it is considered a safe choice. Going with the general market price, many think, is a great short cut because your competitors are unlikely to sell at a loss. However, this is not always the case. It is possible that they are able to obtain supplies at a far lower cost and you may suffer a loss if you copy their price. On the other hand, there may be compelling reasons why you should price higher; your quality and service may be superior and a premium price is justified.

2. Neglecting to cost in your overhead. You must be able to recover not only the materials you bought, but also cover expenses like rental, depreciation and labor costs. Going through all the expenses that make up your total cost with an accountant is time and money well spent.

3. Engaging in a price war. Rarely is this a wise choice for an entrepreneur, as everyone loses in a price war. You must have a lot of reserve capital to sustain this strategy, and most of the time it is not the ideal course. In case you find yourself being attacked by a price- cutting competitor, a better strategy is to differentiate your product or to launch a lower cost brand.

4. Refusing to lower prices when necessary. There are times when you need to lower the price even below cost in order to make the item move. But many would not sell below their cost, preferring to wait for months or years to dispose of the item. This results in capital being tied unproductively, besides incurring storage costs. Another bad side effect of this is that your customers will not like being offered shop-worn and passé items.

5. Forgetting to factor in taxes. There are taxes that must be paid, and you must take them into account when setting your price. The most important tax to consider is the value added tax or VAT, because unless you are VAT-exempt, this must be paid even if you do not make a profit.

6. Applying the same markup across all items. If you carry a lot of inventory, you must take the time to study the best markup for each item. One tip I can give you is to price competitively on popular, fast-moving items. I know some retailers that have a reputation for low prices, when in fact they are low on only a handful of popular items.

7. Neglecting to continuously monitor market prices. While I advised not blindly copying the going market rates, ignoring it is a worse blunder. You must always be vigilant in checking the prices of competitors. Having this knowledge early will give you more time to plan how to react before too much damage on your sales is done.

Pricing is the most potent variable in marketing that you can easily control. The pricing policy you adopt can make or break your business. As you realize its importance, it will be wise to ponder your current pricing strategy.


Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of  BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He

discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit or e-mail


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