Work Life: Age Limits

(Originally published on August 17,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jhoanna O. Gan-So

When you are young and free, your career possibilities are endless. Opportunities abound. You can experiment a bit and hopefully find a career that is best suited for you.

As you grow older, however, your choices begin to shape your career and you’ll find yourself in a set line of work. By the time you are in your late thirties, you’ve gained enough knowledge in your chosen field and you should ideally be moving upwards in your industry.

This is also the time when you would have already taken on more of life’s responsibilities. You may have gotten married and begun to have children. You may need to take care of ailing parents or other siblings. All of these are reasons why you want to work to provide well for your family.

But what if, all of a sudden, you find yourself longing for a change of career? Or what if life suddenly threw you a curveball and you find yourself out of work and in need of a new job?

You then open Manila Bulletin’s classified ads section. You look for job listings that are suitable for your knowledge and experience since you want to capitalize on what you’ve mastered in the last decade. You find a couple of job advertisements that suit you.

Good reputable company, check.

Good position, check.

Skills required, check.

Competitive compensation and benefits, check.

You’ve found your next job…but wait! It says in the job ad that the age requirement is from 25 to 35 years old. And you’ve just celebrated your 40th birthday. Bummer. You then look at other job ads and notice a similar pattern. There is an age limit specified in the job ads. You’re way above the age limit.  You then start wondering exactly what another reader questioned in this letter:

I’m an engineer by profession and I also finished EMBA. I currently work overseas for a power plant. The pay is good and knowledge advancement is great. However, I miss home and have been exploring the possibility of coming back for good. I’ve been looking at job advertisements, but I have noticed age limitations that are, well, limiting. We say that experience plays a big part in true learning, and you can acquire this through years of working as you also age. As I browsed job listings, I saw that I am qualified for most of the openings, but I always end up frustrated because of the age requirement. So I have a few questions regarding this issue: Is the age limit mandatory as a minimum requirement for all hiring companies? Does HR have an influence on this? Is this what we call “Equal Opportunity”? I hope you can enlighten me.—A Mature Engineer

My Response:

Before HR practitioners post job advertisements, they usually conduct a job analysis wherein they try to define the required skills, competencies and scope of work needed for the position. They also determine what age range and, sometimes, even the gender the manager in need of staffing prefers so that they will have a clear set of criteria for recruitment. As much as possible, HR confers with the manager on his or her preference since s/he will be the one working directly with the new hire.

Although age limitations and gender specification do not exactly reflect the ideals of  equal opportunity, which has been made into law by some first world countries, it is commonly practiced in our country for practical purposes.

From an employer’s point of view, younger employees are seen as less costly and tend to demand lower compensation because they do not have that many family obligations or medical health problems yet. They also have more years ahead, so investing in their training offers the chance for longer service time. On the other hand, some companies are also aware that older and veteran workers have more experience and knowledge. They have already been trained by their previous employers. They have first-hand practical experience and are usually more emotionally mature to handle work concerns and issues.

In the end, it really depends on the company’s culture, needs and financial capacity. Some companies have strict age requirements while others are more flexible. If they can afford to, they hire veterans for higher positions; if they cannot, they get consultants to help out and train their younger work force.

I understand how difficult it is for older people to find jobs. Usually, the older you become and the higher your position gets, the opportunities seem to get narrower. But older people still have a lot of options. You just have to go out of your comfort zone, think outside the box, and explore other ways to pursue your career.

Stay tuned for my next article to get ideas on how to conquer age limits. Meanwhile, you can read up on past articles at http://hrclubonline.blogspot.com/.

 

Jhoanna O. Gan -So is president of Businessmaker Academy, HR Club Philippines and Teach It Forward Organization. Her company holds corporate skills training programs and HR seminars for various individuals and corporations. To know more about the seminars and services that they offer, visit http://www.businessmaker-academy.com or http://www.hrclubphilippines.com. You may also call (632)6874645 or e-mail your comments and questions to mbworklife@gmail.com.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 

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‘Career Success: the 48 Cs’—the Little Book that Could

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Confused about your career? This book may be the one you need to figure things out

By Irene V. Fernando

Whether you’re just starting to figure out what career best suits you or stuck in your work and clueless on what to do, the latest book by career coach Ed Pilapil Jr. can help you analyze your current state and inspire you to take the next step.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” gives you 48 words that start with the letter C, all of which aim to help you make sense of your career. You might think that getting through all the 48 Cs is burdensome, but it might surprise you to find yourself turning to the last page in no time. Pilapil makes his discussions short enough to be easily read, yet packs them with insights to help you in your everyday reading.

The 48 characteristics of a successful career

The C-words are not high-fallutin terms. The first C-word he discusses, for example, is Career. Pilapil defines the difference between having a career and having a job. Most of us have a blurred definition of both terms or even have the wrong notion that either you can’t have a career different from the job you currently have or a career out of the job you have. Pilapil tells us that a career is the result of you taking that initiative to make things happen, not just because you are getting paid for it but because you want to excel in it.

Unlike some books on career that insists on following a pattern, this book gives you the prerogative to decide for yourself. It assures you that even if you have your weaknesses and limitations, you can still soar and succeed. The book doesn’t give you the step by step guide on making it big in your career; rather, it gives you the chance to evaluate yourself, your work and your life.

It’s never too late or too early

The book contains anecdotes that Pilapil sourced from his everyday readings and personal interactions. One thing that the book clearly tells us is that it’s never too early nor too late to begin mapping out one’s career. The challenge is to start now. Don’t wait for things to happen; instead, make them happen.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” has exercises—some long, some short—posted at the end of each chapter. It’s lightweight enough to stash in your bag and take anywhere.

Don’t think that solving your career problems, though, is as easy as whipping this book out and doing the exercises. It is, after all, just a book. You still have to do your part in seeking out guidance from experts and learning from first-hand experiences.

So, take a pause and re-evaluate your life. Think about who you are and identify your passions. “You are the master of your ship,” goes that saying; yet you will need all the help you can get to sail through the waves. This book can be one of those tools.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” by Ed Pilapil, Jr. is now available at Fully Booked and National Bookstore for Php198.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 

Work Life: Ten Characteristics of Great Employers

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jhoanna O. Gan-So

In my last column, I wrote about “Ten Characteristics of Star Employees.”  This time, I’d like to explore the flip side and discuss what makes great employers.

See, your happiness and contentment in the workplace is directly affected by how the you work for company is run. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the salary that people look at when they choose employers. Money is not the end-all and be-all of job satisfaction. So if you want to be part of a great company, aspire to find or even help develop these 10 characteristics in your workplace:

1. They have a clear vision. Great employers have direction. Their leaders have a clear picture of what they want their company to stand for and where they want to go. We’re talking here about full enculturation of the company’s vision, mission and values that employees live by as guiding principles. It’s not just about putting a mission statement in a frame and hanging it on the wall. It’s about building a culture that employees are proud of and can easily identify with on a daily basis.

2 . They have a good recruitment process. Great employers know that top notch employees equal an excellent company. So they establish recruitment systems that are

designed to get the crème of the crop, not the bottom of the barrel. They seek out people who are skilled with the right attitude to fill in key positions in their company. They

are organized in their recruitment efforts and have done the necessary homework for finding competent employees.

3. They have adequate compensation and benefits programs. Once they’ve hired their employees, great employers are able to keep them longer because they provide not just competitive salaries, but also benefits and perks. These benefits may include essentials from healthcare and allowances for uniforms or food, to fun stuff like workshops and outings, to cool perks like transportation assistance and mobile phone loads.

4. They train their people. Great employers also ensure that each employee grows professionally by providing training to help enhance their capabilities. As soon as an employee is hired, they are given an orientation. Then as they settle into their jobs, they are provided on-the-job training. This is also followed up by seminars, workshops and learning materials that will help employees develop further.

5. They monitor their people’s performance. After all the training, great employers make sure that their employees are able to apply what they have learned. This is done by continuously monitoring performance. Managers and supervisors constantly look at how their subordinates are doing. They provide guidance and immediate feedback. Then this is followed up by regular performance evaluations that are documented by the company’s HR people.

6. They recognize and reward good performance. The reason why performance is monitored is so that the company can reward the good ones and correct those that need improvement. To encourage and motivate employees, great companies provide rewards and incentives. This could range from simple treats and tokens to elaborate programs like “employee of the month” recognitions and sales target bonuses with gifts like gadgets and trips abroad.

7. They equip their people with tools that help them work better and faster. If you want to double or triple your team’s performance, it is important to equip them with the right tools and equipment. Great employers understand this, s o they make sure that their people are given the best software and hardware. More importantly, they are trained to maximize them. They understand the tennet that, “When you give a man the tools and know-how, you can step back and see the ingenuity that may come after.”

8. They have safe and conducive work environments. Great employers understand that a person’s environment affects his or her moods. So they take care to provide a workplace that’s conducive and safe for work. You can easily determine if a company is great or not by how clean and well-maintained the place is. So gather those waste baskets and purge unimportant items, clear your desks and organize! A clean work station will improve your mood and make you work better for a great company.

9. They care about their people. Great employers are able to provide programs that ensure their employees are well-taken care of physically, emotionally and spiritually. The company has heart and they show it to their people with kind words, caring leaders, firm and constant guidance. They understand that “when you care for your people, your people will take care of the company.”

10. They develop leaders. Lastly, great employees develop leaders. They encourage initiative and innovation. They allow their employees to shine and provide opportunities for star performers to develop themselves as leaders. From the group of star performers, they choose and hone select people to lead the company to greater heights. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect company. Great employers are simply built by the people who work for them. If you want to work for a great company, it is in your hands to make your company a great and happy place to work in.

If you are looking for a job, seek to find a company that has these qualities. If you are already employed, make your company a great place to work in. If you have influence in your company, seek to develop these characteristics to make your company great and reap the rewards of a happy and productive workplace!

Jhoanna O. Gan -So is president of Businessmaker Academy, HR Club Philippines and Teach It Forward Organization. Her company holds corporate skills training programs and HR seminars for various individuals and corporations. To know more about the seminars and services that they offer, visit http://www.businessmaker-academy.com or http://www.hrclubphilippines.com. You may also call (632) 687-4645 or e-mail your comments and questions to mbworklife@gmail.com.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Bizmaker: Get Rid of Money Leeches

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Mark So

This article continues where we left off in the last one (if you have not yet read Part 1 of this article, please go to my blog now at (www.markso.wordpress.com), which touches on being more financially prepared to enable wealth to start flowing towards you.

Today’s lesson in particular is about being aware and effectively stopping your “Money Leeches,” or as I’d like to call them, people or “cosmically uncanny” situations that just happen to show up at the exact moment you come into some money. Sound familiar?

Think back to the time that you got that Php 5,000 bonus or an unexpected business from a client…who called or showed up at your doorstep needing urgent help or “who just  happened to drop by” that very same week needing exactly Php 5,000? Did your car, refrigerator or cell phone break down needing urgent repairs totaling more or less Php 5,000? Did you just happen to go to the mall that weekend, which incidentally had a sale on all items, and buy something that you would never use for more or less Php 5,000?

I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yup, whoever he or she is, or whatever “situation” arose the last time you came into money, you have just identified your money

leeches. I know because I used to have lots of them. And I thought that that was the story of my life. And because I thought that way, the next time I got into some money, my money leeches would come. It became a reality for me, so much so that all the money I

made almost always went to some useless expense.

The problem is that most money leeches are usually family members or close friends. Or when situations arise, like your appliance breaking down or a cellphone gets stolen, you feel that it was by divine providence, that it was beyond your control, and you just have to give in.

Let me say right now that these can be stopped and it can be controlled. But it will take a major attitude and cultural change in you. It will require a lot of effort and a very thick face but if you apply what I will share, you will immediately achieve a major    breakthrough in our “wealth transfer project.”

First, stop thinking that having money leeches is normal—it’s not. You have to change your attitude, and your first assignment will help you do just that:

1. On a blank piece of paper I want you to hand write the following: “I am now aware that having Money Leeches will kill me financially. I will defend myself and get rid of them now.” Print your first name on a blank space below the statement, and then sign your name on top of it.

2. Scan the piece of paper or take a digital picture of it.

3. E-mail it to me as soon as you can. Please note that if you e-mail it to me, you are allowing me to post it on my blog should I choose to do so.

4. Place that piece of paper in a prominent spot in your wallet so that you can see it every time you open it.

The exercise above is meant to kick start your brain into acting and thinking about defending yourself against these money leeches. And yes, it is true; if you do not fix it right now, you will die financially.

Next, identify the people who are not immediate family members who constantly ask you for money. Note that these are the people who are not your wife, your children, your brother, your sister or your parents.

Here’s what you tell the people who are not immediate family the next time they ask for money.

Situation: “My _______ just got hospitalized, may I borrow Php 5,000?”

Your response: “I’m so sorry to hear that, I hope _______ is all right. I wish I could give you Php 5,000; but I can only afford to give Php 50 right now so I hope you understand.”

Regardless of the situation or any amount that a non-immediate family wants to “borrow” from you, only offer Php 50! There will be three possible reactions: 1) insulted, and will never want to ask money from you again; 2) grateful, and they take it; and 3) they negotiate. Regardless of their reaction, be willing to give only Php 50 and not a centavo more.

You might think it heartless, but it has to be done if you really want to get rid of your money leeches. Remember, this is to be used only on non-immediate family. They are not your burden and they are not your problem. The priority should always be your  immediate family. Reserve your generosity for them. But be smart with how you go about it. In the next article, I will talk about how to financially protect your immediate family and yourself from money leeches within your immediate family.

I’ll end this with another assignment: e-mail your feedback about this article or the preceding one. What I am interested in are not praises (although that would be nice, too); instead, complain to me about the problems you have in completing the assignments. E-mail me at markso@zerocapitalclub.com and tell me why you don’t think this or any of the assignments I have given you will ever work for you. Believe me, I will read every single one and I promise that I will not ban you or even get mad at you when you do. It is all part of the process.

Until the next article.

 

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 mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Business Coach: Surviving Your Business, Surviving Marriage

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

 

Can Husbands and Wives Run a Successful Business?

 

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

Most couples dream of having a business together. Being in love, and believing in “for richer, and for poorer,” it sure seems a good decision for couples to be working together in the same business. Unfortunately, this is not always true.

A husband and wife together in the same business can bring chaos in the workplace. It is almost always inevitable to bring personal problems in the company, and vice-versa. In fact, I know some employers who would not even employ couples in their company.

Their personal problems become the issues of their bosses.

After getting married, my wife and I immediately started a business. It was not easy the first time because we brought work home. We debated on work-related issues over breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. Yes, we went to coffee shops during weekends, but still we talked about business while sipping coffee. It was a nightmare!

Also, at first, we decided to bring home just some paperwork. But later on we brought almost half our jobs home so we could work on it overtime. Our bedroom consisted of two worktables, computers, printers, telephone lines, broadband Internet connection, and tons of paper.

Working together, we faced a lot of struggles. It was difficult because you cannot terminate your spouse when he or she doesn’t meet your expectations!

Employees’ Problem, too

It was also difficult with our employees, as they have to decide between “He Says, She Says”, or face the consequences. A few Machiavellian employees sometimes played us against each other to their advantage.

I thought that always being together would allow us to share more good times, but that was far from what happened. Since both of us had key roles in the company, it was virtually impossible to take vacations without worrying.

It is not as easy as it looks, but we survived. Let me share how we did it:

• Know your strengths. This is so you can divide your work, and prevent tasks from overlapping. This also brings a clear understanding on who’s in charge of what. Designate positions to minimize confusion and clarify who is responsible for a task.

• Make it clear who makes the final decision. Decide on who is “The Real Boss.” Despite all the talk about equality, there comes a time when a major decision must be made.  When there is a tie, then one of you must have the authority to make the final decision.

• Respect each other. Even if you have opposing views, speak calmly and listen well. When you disagree, refrain from attacking each other on a personal level. On the other hand, you can also use this opportunity—as my wife and I did—to learn not to be sensitive to criticism.

• Separate personal from business finances. Be clear about money matters. Even if you are a co-owner of the business, discuss expenses with your spouse. Refrain from just getting money from the cash register, or issuing checks without the knowledge of your partner. Separate your business from your personal bank account.

• Be honest about your limitations. If you believe you are having difficulty with your responsibilities, admit it to your partner. Explain that your qualifications do not jive with your current work situations, if that is the case.

• Have quality time for each other. Do things apart from work. Allot time together for hobbies, and don’t forget about family. Just because you are always together doesn’t mean that you no longer need to have time for things other than business.

• Celebrate successes. Give importance to each other’s contribution by celebrating achievements. Never take things for granted. Even if you are together 24/7, treat each other for every milestone in your business.

My final piece of advice: if you don’t have a strong relationship with your spouse, don’t go into business together, especially if both of you have dominant personalities. It is not simple, and will just weigh down the marriage if you are already prone to arguing with each other. But if you love and treat each other with respect, I’m sure you’re both going to make it just fine. Good luck!

 

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 http://entrepcoach.blogspot.com or e-mail entrepcoach@gmail.com.

 

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Work Life: Ten Characteristics of Star Employees

(Originally published on August 10,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

 

By Jhoanna O. Gan-So

In the workplace, there will always be star employees who shine. These people are well-liked by their bosses. They reach their targets and accomplish notable achievements. They are star performers, which is why they get promoted faster than the rest of the staff. It’s pretty cool to be a star employee. So let’s all aspire to be one.

If you are currently employed, I’d like you to take a good look at yourself. From a scale of one to 10, 10 being the highest, how would you rate your general work performance? If you were your boss, would you point to yourself as a star employee?

If your answer is yes, then keep up the good work. Kudos to you! But if you are not quite there yet and would like to become one, let’s take a look at the qualities that separates star employees from the ordinary ones.

1. They are always present. Star Employees are always present physically, mentally and emotionally. This means that they have good attendance records. They understand that quantity affects quality of time—that no matter how brilliant you are, if you’re not present for work, then you can’t really do a good job. So they come to their place of work, alert and ready to face the challenges the day brings. They leave their personal issues and problems at the door, which allows them to focus on the job at hand.

2. They are results-oriented. When Star Employees are busy, they really are. They do not spend time doing meaningless tasks just to look busy. They actually do tasks they deem instrumental in helping them reach their goals. These people look at the end results all the time. They measure their performance with targets and actual results. For example, star sales officers know their sales targets by heart. They find the best use of their time that will get them the desired results.

3. They are self-reliant. Star employees do not need to be micromanaged. They require very little supervision as they are capable of making sensible decisions. They are not too dependent on their bosses or co-workers. Unlike some people who ask their bosses to solve everything and decide on the littlest of things, they are well-capable of managing themselves and dealing with everyday work issues. They are also self-motivated.

4. They are reliable. Star employees carry a sense of dependability about them. They look and act responsible. Bosses feel at ease assigning them to important projects because they are diligent and consistent with the quality of their work. They are steadfast, which is why they don’t make their bosses worry too much about project completions.

5. They are progressive. For most employees, change is difficult to swallow. They like doing things that they are comfortable with. They like things to be the way they are. Star employees, on the other hand, adapt well to change. In fact, they initiate it. They constantly look at how their work, the procedures and systems in their office can be improved. In the process, they find innovative solutions that increase their company’s  profits or generate huge savings for the company which their employers appreciate.

6. They give updates and don’t need to be reminded about what to do. Star employees are on top of things. Bosses often get frustrated with constantly reminding their subordinates about things they need to do and they often waste a lot of time following up on projects. Meanwhile, star employees get there first. They regularly update their bosses and teammates on what’s happening. You don’t have to ask them what’s up with a certain account, because chances are, they’ve already told you before you even thought of asking.

7. They can communicate with ease. When star employees talk to people, they are not tense and uptight. They communicate in a comfortable and enthusiastic manner that makes the other person feel immediately at ease. They can talk to bosses, co-workers, suppliers and customer in a conversational manner. They are naturally personable, which draws people to them.

8. They are confident. Many people equate confidence as being extroverted and outspoken. But not all star employees are made that way. There are many star employees who are quiet and not so gregarious. Confidence is about knowing who you are and your selfworth. Star employees know their capabilities and limitations. They courageously face challenges and are not afraid to seek assistance if needed.

9. They go the extra mile. What sets star employees apart from regular folks is they go further than what is expected. If they are expected to know a specific product of their company, they go the extra mile in learning the whole product line, the competitor ’s product, pricing and promos. If they are expected to reach a sales quota, they don’t stop upon reaching the quota. They go for more.

10. They are grateful Most important of all, star employees are grateful. They are not brats who feel entitled to all the benefits, rewards and incentives given by their company. Instead, they sincerely appreciate what is given to them. The reason they perform better than the rest and why bosses like them is because they value their jobs, their employers and colleagues.

Given the 10 characteristics above, take a look at yourself: which of these traits do you have? Which ones do you lack? Are you a star employee? Aspire to be a star employee because it’s pretty cool to be recognized and appreciated by your bosses and colleagues—not to mention the perks and rewards attached to it. Everyone has the capacity to become a star employee; all you have to do is hone yourself and build on the ten characteristics of a star employee.

 

 

Jhoanna O. Gan -So is president of Businessmaker Academy, HR Club Philippines and Teach It Forward Organization. Her company holds corporate skills training programs and HR seminars for various individuals and corporations. To know more about the  seminars and services that they offer, visit http://www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.hrclubphilippines.com. You may also call (632)6874645 or e-mail your comments and questions to mbworklife@gmail.com.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 

Success Wizard: Start Managing Your Money Now

(Originally published on August 7,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jordan Patente

I landed my first job as soon as I graduated college. That was seven years ago. Just like any other Juan, I wanted to plant as many trees that could bear fruits in the near future.

Those were the years I established my career and personal life. I now have my training business and still manage to work in a multi-million company. I live in my own house and drive my own car, all because of my relationship with money.

Growing up was a humbling experience. I only had my mother to raise me. Mom did her best to meet both ends for my two siblings and me. I know that there were times when Mom was in financial turmoil, and it was for this reason that I started managing my finances during college; and it contributed a lot to my accomplishments of seven years.

If you manage your finances early in your life, you will most likely do the same thing when you mature. You only reap what you sow. Below are some of the tips that I used to train myself in money management:

Allocate a weekly budget

If your parents can afford to give you a week’s worth of allowance, ask for it. This is an effective strategy to forecast your expense limit for the week. I still do the same thing now. Every payday, I allocate a daily and weekly allowance. Keeping your expenses within limit will develop self-discipline. Managing money is about self-control. Never let money control you.

Most of my work colleagues are in financial turmoil because they allow money to manage their life. Money is just an object, and without the spender it is nothing. Take full control of your money, and decide on when and how to use it.

Social stature

Today, high tech mobile phones are selling like hot cakes. If you don’t possess the latest popular gadget, you are out of fashion. Part of managing your finances is the people that you surround yourself with. If you choose to group yourself with “rich kids,” you might force yourself to spend like them. I have nothing against people with money, but you need to keep your finances within limits. If you can’t meet their standards, the choice is yours to either stretch it or look for a better crowd to suit your money situation.

Invest early

Your today is your tomorrow. When I was still in school, I sold all types of bags, coffee mugs and even scented candles to help me save for my thesis. Today, I have small businesses that have become earning streams. Selling would’ve been out of my comfort zone if I didn’t try it firsthand.

In my last “Magic to Success” theatrical seminar, I had a participant who was just 17 years old. It was a heartfelt experience, because having a participant his age is a testament that in the near future, another successful man will be born.

Starting early is good training for all of us. The more we expose ourselves to success, the more we become successful.

We are all after our own emotional growth and maturity. Starting young means more opportunity to learn, as well as a bigger chance of becoming the new breeds of success.

I’ll be teaching a financial management seminar dubbed “Magic to Success (Money, Love and Health)” on September 24 in Ortigas Foundation Library at 7:30 a.m. To maintain high quality of training, we will only accommodate 50 participants. This event is not your typical seminar. We will talk about success tips to fast track the  accomplishment of your dreams. Participants will be asked to put their learning into action within the seminar. We also have actors to play key parts to fast track your learning. You may contact us at (915) 211- 7878, (2) 380-3180 or e-mail us at dynamicempowermentphilippines@gmail.com.

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: Answering the Call to Transfer

(Originally published on August 7,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

I received an e-mail from a reader recently. She wanted to know if it was okay to look for another job while still employed. She wanted to transfer to a company in the same industry that offers a higher pay. Compounding her problem is that she is currently in a dispute with her employer.

This is a common scenario in the corporate world. Anyone in the same situation would probably feel aggrieved, but it’s best not to let your emotions rule your decision. Many people planning to look for another employer share the same problem. Many of them have done it well and are now enjoying a better job. However, there are those that made the wrong moves and are presently in a worse position than before.

The situation must be carefully studied before deciding on a course of action, since a wrong move may do enormous damage to your career.

There are many aspects to consider; among these are the legal, ethical and practical consequences.

Think first of your legal standing. The first thing that you must do is to review all the employment related papers you have signed with your company. There might be a non-compete clause in your employment contract. This forbids you from seeking employment from a company in the same type of business.

If there is a non-compete clause, you should consult a lawyer with extensive experience in labor cases if you are still determined to transfer to a company in the same industry. I suggest you try to work out something mutually acceptable.

If you want to be tough, you may be able to win your case in court but that will entail much time and money if the company decides to give you trouble. Besides, there is always the possibility that you may lose your case.

An other potential legal impediment is if it states in your contract that you are required to be employed a minimum number of years by the company; this is usually the case if you were given special training. This was an issue some time ago when several pilots resigned to work for another airline. Their previous employer sued them because they have not yet completed the required number of years as compensation for their training.

Study all the practical implications of your resignation. What are the benefits that will be foregone? There may be loans that will be immediately deducted from your separation pay. Check the terms of your Pag-ibig and SSS loans, if you have outstanding balances that may automatically be due in full. You may be counting on your separation pay to tide you over while unemployed, without knowing that it may be significantly reduced.

Take note that no matter what your personal opinion is of your present company, now is not the time to burn bridges. It is virtually certain that interviewers will check on your current employer and if you are not in good terms with them, they are unlikely to give a good recommendation. In fact just around a year ago, I was interviewing an applicant who was out of work for two years. She was highly talented, and she did not know that the probable reason why no one was hiring was because one of her references gave her a terrible feedback.

Although you are likely to be interviewed by a fellow employee, sympathetic to your cause. Never badmouth your previous employer. Since there is an abundance of applicants to choose from, it will most likely eliminate you from consideration if there is the slightest possibility that you are a troublemaker.

Regarding the ethical aspects, I do not see any problem applying before filing your resignation—unless you are using company time and resources in your job search. As long as there is no malice in any of your acts, like intentionally filing your resignation at a time when it will cause the most inconvenience, then the thirty days’ notice should be sufficient for both legal and ethical considerations.

The main problem with looking for work before filing your resignation is that prospective employers cannot call on your current employer to check on your performance.

Hopefully your credentials will outweigh this disadvantage.

Finally, be extra nice on your last days in your company. Instead of slacking off, exert more effort and try to make the transition for your successor as easy as possible. Just

as the first impression has a long impact, so are your last actions long remembered; so try to leave on a high note. A cordial exit may reap future benefits later in your career

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 http://entrepcoach.blogspot.com or e-mail entrepcoach@gmail.com.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Bizmaker: Make Money Run After You

(Originally published on August 3,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Mark So

Don’t think for one second that because the world is in financial crisis, there is no money going around. The truth is far from it. The fact is that the world is literally overflowing with money. It may not seem like this applies today, but always remember this: money is never destroyed—only transferred.

Wealth, on a daily basis, is constantly transferred from those who do not know how to manage money to those who do. Even, and most especially, during a financial crisis, this holds true.

Let me take the recent financial crisis, break it down for you, and explain how wealth was transferred. I’ll show you the steps to begin the process of “wealth flow.”

This article will be the first of a series, with each article ending with an activity or task. If you seriously want money to run after you, I strongly recommend that you follow the assignments for every article and give me feedback along the way.

In the recentU.S.financial crisis that started June of 2007 and reached its peak in October of 2008, theU.S.stock market (and consequently the Philippine stock market) lost more than 50 percent of its value. Most people panicked and took out their money, or whatever that was left of it, for fear of losing even more. When they did that, they lost half of their wealth—which took a lifetime to build—in a span of days. As of

September 29, 2008, approximately $1.2 trillion was wiped out in theU.S.alone.

Let me repeat: The money was not lost. It was merely transferred.

During the same crisis, there were a few brave souls who bought those stocks at extremely low prices. They held on to it, and became a whole lot richer overnight. Warning: Do not be overwhelmed by what I am going to share next. Even if my examples are in billions of U.S. dollars, the principles I want you to pick up will and can be applied to your situation. More importantly, do not put in everything you have in any investment vehicle because of this. This is not the point of my example.

In theU.S.the most notable figure to do this was Warren Buffet, who bought a significant chunk of shares at Goldman Sachs in September 2008.

Despite the odds and the panic, Buffet bought the shares at basement bargain prices. He invested $5 billion, held on to it during the worst of the crisis (which was October 2008), and turned it into $8.7 billion very recently. Another similar story–although he did not buy stocks but rather bet against them (a.k.a. short trading)—is John Paulson of Paulson and Co., who made a killing by betting against the U.S. subprime mortgage market. He made $4 billion after the worst of the crisis was over. Although Buffet and Paulson were the few covered by the media, there were more who made killings, as well, but the public just didn’t know about it.

Now you might be thinking that those guys are professional investors—how can you ever come close to doing that yourself? Well, first let me explain that this is just one of many examples of “wealth flow transference.” You don’t have to be in stocks or investments to apply what I will be teaching you in the next few articles. For those of you who know me and have been following my column, you know that I will teach you how to do it in a very practical and “anybody-can-do-it” approach, so read on.

While I am not saying that you cannot be a billionaire, I will leave that option wide open for anybody willing to try; but before we think about billions, or even millions, let’s first come back to earth and start with the basics.

How and where do I Begin?

I’m designing this and the succeeding articles as thoroughly as possible so that you will not only understand it, but also experience it by applying it to your life, article by article. Of course you may opt to go faster and I will inform you how to do that in the very near future.

In the meantime, this should be your first “realization” for this particular article: Running after money if you do not know how to manage it will result in you forever chasing after it. Get your house in order first, build a strong foundation for money management, and you will see that the money will start running towards you—and staying with you.

Now to learn and apply this lesson, here is your first assignment:

1. Go to my blog http://www.markso.wordpress.com and subscribe to it.

2. Search for, read and comment on the following articles in the blog’s search box:

a. “The Most Important Advice About Money I can Ever Give You”

b. “Money Management Simplified parts 1 to 3”

Good luck—until the next article!

 

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 mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at (2) 687-4445/3416/4645 for a schedule of his seminars.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Business Coach: Insights on Retail Location Hunting

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

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

I recently wrote an article (archived at http://www.businesscoachphil.com/finding-the-bestlocation-for-your-retail-business) on how to look for a good retail location, but due to space constraints there were many vital considerations that were not discussed.

For the benefit of those who want to know more about choosing a retail location, we will go deeper into the other factors:

• Know what type of goods you are selling. While location is a vital element in any retail establishment, its degree of importance depends on the type of goods sold. Convenience items like groceries need to be very accessible since buyers are unlikely to travel far to buy these type of goods. On the other hand, “shopping” type of goods like clothing and furniture are usually canvassed and compared so people may spend more time and effort looking for the items.

• Pick the far corner lot. We all know that a corner lot is more desirable than an inside lot because it is more visible and has more frontage, but since there are four corners in an intersection you must know which corner is the most desirable. Generally, it is the corner to the right after crossing the intersection that is more attractive. This concept is crucial to apply if your store is relying on vehicular traffic for a significant portion of your sales.

• Know what the past tenant was paying. Even if you know the going rental rate for a location, it is a good idea to find out what the former tenant was paying. If it turns out that the last tenant was paying far below the going rate, you could use that fact in negotiating for your rental. It would not hurt your bargaining position and you may get lucky especially if the landlord is in a hurry to have the place rented.

• Know if the franchisor wants to get the site for himself/herself. If after submitting your proposed site to a franchisor you receive rejection in a couple of days, then you must worry if the franchisor is after your site. It is highly unlikely that the franchisor had already properly assessed your site in the span of two days.

• The role of frontage. All retails stores will benefit from a larger frontage, but a counter type operation will need a bigger frontage than a self-service operation. In a counter type retail store, it is more advantageous to double the frontage than to double the store area.

• Store size in itself is a traffic magnet. Consumers believe that the larger the store the better assortment it has and the more reliable it is. We learned this the hard way when we drastically reduced the floor area of a drugstore branch to save on rental. However, after one year, while we did not reduce our inventory, sales fell by almost half.

• Study census data. This information can be gathered from the National Statistics Office (NSO). Find out the population, income and other data in your location that may help you have a better idea of your market.

• Use Google Maps. This is a website by Google wherein you can get an actual satellite view of your site. Previously, only large companies could get an aerial view by hiring a helicopter or plane. Much of what they obtained at a prohibitive cost then you can now get for free. There are so many things you can learn from studying your potential location in Google maps. You can see both customer generators, obstacles and other useful data that you may miss on foot.

• Check if there are zoning problems. Do not be complacent just because the previous tenant or owner of the site was able to operate the same business, they may have clout with the local authorities or their operation was tolerated because it has been there for a long time.

• Factor in the cost of renovation. Often you will find a location that seems amazingly cheap, but it is just an unfinished shell. The cost of fixing and furnishing the place may greatly exceed the savings from the lower rent. Furthermore, there may be some specifications (like the need to use tempered glass) that you must comply with that will jack up your projected budget.

• Walk around the property in all the different locations. Allocate several days to walking around your prospective site. This will allow you to have a better feel for the place and you will learn many things that will not show up in a market research report.

• Ask people that may be in position to know about the site. Be resourceful and interview suppliers of the past tenant. Strike a conversation with people who see the place everyday, like the sales clerks in the adjoining store, and ask about the number of people patronizing the place. One very successful food entrepreneur even interviewed a garbage collector of a restaurant to gauge how strong their sales were!

• Make sure you are signing up with the owner of the site or his/her authorized representative. Ask around the neighborhood to verify ownership. You can even check with the register of deeds in city hall to confirm that you are dealing with the right party.

Do not be too shy to ask for the proper identification since you will be giving out a substantial amount of money.

Location is the most important decision in most retails stores because reversing a mistake is extremely costly or impossible. Spending more time and effort to choose the best location must not be considered an expense, but instead view it as an investment with a very high rate of return.

 

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 http://entrepcoach.blogspot.com or e-mail entrepcoach@gmail.com.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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