Blog Archives

Starting Your Own Pet Shop

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


Animal lovers will find a pet shop not only fulfilling to handle but surprisingly lucrative—if you know how to do it right. For those already involved in breeding pets, setting up a pet shop promises a profitable extension of their business.

The following are the steps and tips to get you started on this fascinating business:

1. Register your business with all the proper government agencies. Before you start, get a business name from the Department of Trade (DTI) if your business will be a sole proprietorship, or from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if you plan it to be a corporation or partnership. Obtain a barangay clearance before you proceed to get a business permit from the mayor’s office, and then acquire a certificate of registration and authority to print receipts from the BIR. Other entities you have to comply with are the SSS, Pag-ibig, Philhealth, DOLE, Bureau of Animal Industry, and the Department of Agriculture.

2. Know the laws that govern the sourcing, handling and selling of animals. There are endangered species that cannot be sold legally. You may also be liable for cruelty to animals if you fail to implement the proper care of the pets, which includes proper feeding, facilities and handling.

3. Choose a location where there are other pet shops or a mall. People buying pets tend to shop around before they buy. They want to check a wide variety so buyers tend to flock to places where there are many pet shops in the same area. You can observe this in Arranque, Cartimar and other places where plenty of pet animals are sold. However, a pet shop may also be successful alone if it is located inside a large mall. Here the advantage of convenience and high foot traffic can give good sales to pet shops.

4. Invest in good displays. Make sure the containment structures are of the right size for the animals. There must be enough room for the pets to move around and maintain their health. Remember that some animals quickly outgrow their space.

5. Source from reputable dealers. Get only from sources that can provide the legal papers. Never get from illegal sources, not only to avoid future legal problems but there is also that strong possibility of getting a disease-carrier.

6. Know what animals can be kept together. Due to space constraints, it is impractical to keep every animal in its own cage. However, make it a point to find out which animals are antagonistic toward each other. Note that there are members of the same species that cannot be put in the same cage or aquarium.

7. Have a veterinarian on retainer. Your pets will need medical care, from vaccines to antibiotics and vitamins. These are the things that only qualified veterinarians know. They can also provide you valuable advice on how to best take care of the pets.

8. Carry a line of pet supplies and accessories as well. These will help you have a more even cash flow. You may even earn more from the supplies and accessories because they are purchased regularly. People will also want to have all they will need for their pet available in one place. Every time they go back to your store, there is also a chance that you can sell them more pets.

9. Learn as much as you can about the pets you are selling. Customers will patronize pet shops that can give them reliable information. You will also minimize losses due to pets dying of faulty care. Healthy pets also look nicer; hence, they are easier to sell. Knowing about the animals you are selling also ensures you can be in better compliance with the regulatory agencies.

10. Set the proper prices. To price profitably, you must always be aware of the prevailing market prices by canvassing your competitors. This will enable you to set your prices at a level that will sell and still have a good margin. Nevertheless, there are some rules of thumb that are useful to know. Life animals usually go for at least double the cost of the pet including transportation.

11. Market your pet shop. It is not sufficient to just wait for customers to walk in; you must also be continuously promoting your store. Come up with flyers with special offers and learn internet marketing. It is also cost effective to place advertisements in local publications in the area where your store is located.

Pet shops consist of a delightful business to operate but because your inventory are living things, extra special effort must be exerted to ensure their well-being.


If you want to learn more about BusinessCoach Inc., call (2) 727-5628 or 727-8860 for details or e-mail businesscoachphil@gmail.com. You can also visit their website at http://www.businesscoachphil.com to see more business opportunities.

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

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Back to School with Omnicom

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

The Omnicom Media Group (OMG) Philippines resumed its “U@OMG” classes earlier this month. This is the third consecutive year that the agency, known for its insight driven and pioneering business solutions (through its media outlets, OMD and PHD), opened its doors to a new batch of hopefuls, who have the makings demanded of a successful career in advertising.  Initiated back in 2009, U@OMG was the brainchild of the company’s  CEO and President, Hermie de Leon, who envisioned it to be an in-house scholastic mechanism anchored on the principle of continuous education, wherein promising young talents are instructed, rigorously trained, and immersed into the insides and depths of the media industry.

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

 

TELUS International Philippines Invites Sitti to Talk on Musical Career

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

Successful bossa nova singer Sitti Navarro shares her life as an artist in a talk organized by TELUS International Philippines’ (TIP) music club at the TELUS office in Market! Market!

The music club is one of TIP’s several special interest groups, part of TIP’s efforts in initiating a “career first culture.” The special interest groups are organized and managed by TIP team members to develop and explore their talents and get to know other members from different departments. Other groups include the photography club, entrepreneurship, gaming, dance, fashion, movie, socio-civic, Magic: The Gathering and cooking clubs.

According to TIP president Javier Infante, providing variety in terms of benefits and potential career paths in the outsourcing industry is something TIP included in its corporate culture early on. “We invest in building a highly differentiated corporate culture that includes strategies that help team members find meaning and have fun at work. We know that work in the industry can be routine. There is high potential for burn-out for call center agents, so we ensure our activities are engaging.”

The music club’s career talk was attended by TIP team members, club and non-club members alike. The activity featured Sitti, the country’s queen of bossa nova who shared her passion for music and gave insightful pointers on how to make it big in the music industry.

“Everyone was excited about the activity,” stated TIP vice president for human resources Cris Rosenthal. “Most of the attendees came from their shifts the night before. You can see the enthusiasm—instead of heading home, they spent a few more hours in the office to listen to Sitti as she shared her experiences.”

Sitti had kind words to say after her talk at TIP which she posted in her Twitter account: “Thank you to the beautiful people of TELUS for having me earlier! I had a fun time and I hope that they all did too. I wanna say I was inspiring but I’m not really sure I was! But I had a great time. Remember, you call center agents are the new heroes of today’s economy!”

 

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

 

Making Creativity Work for You

(Originally published on June 26,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Renowned event designer Preston Bailey shares tips for those looking into a career in event design

 

By Irene V. Fernando

For someone who entered the industry of event designing by mistake, Preston Bailey must have done something right. Today, he is one of the favorite event stylists ofHollywood’s big names: Oprah, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers and Uma Thurman, among others. He has written best-selling books like “Design for Entertaining,” “Fantasy Weddings,” “Inspirations”, and his latest, “Celebrations” will be on the stands this September.

Bailey visited the country to discuss what makes an event design successful during Rita Neri Planners (RNEP)’s 18th year celebration in the event planning industry. The anniversary also showcased wedding table settings presented at the Upper Lobby of Peninsula Manila from May 29 to 30 by the country’s major wedding magazines.

A Career Out of Unemployment

Bailey left his hometown ofPanamaat the age of 19 and moved toNew York, where he started his career as a fashion model before opening a man’s clothing boutique. When his store closed down, he ventured into floral arrangements before finally meeting Joan Rivers, who asked him to design and produce her daughter Melissa’s wedding. Soon enough,Preston’s talent for event design became the talk of the town, with his works often referred to as art installations. He has been known to transform ordinary spaces into theatrical environments, much to his clients’ amazement.

With his profession relying heavily on creativity, one wonders if he has no problems dealing with the business side. “It’s not easy,” he says, “I have my own people. I design, get to know my clients. Once they talk about money, I let them talk to my Chief Financial Officer (CFO).”

Event Design as a Career

When asked what striving event designers should bear in mind in pursuing this profession, Bailey was quick to enumerate the following: “1) Develop your own look; 2) Learn how to charge your clients; 3) Do not give up; and 4) Continue growing.”

For one, Bailey loves an enormous first impression. He once designed elephants from lotus leaves and 10-foot lions from roses. His designs allow his clients’ fantasies to become jaw-dropping reality.

In charging clients, Bailey discussed in his blog the few ways to prevent being cash poor:

You must always keep in mind the three key things you’re selling to potential clients:

1. Your time. Time is money. Our time is our most valuable commodity.

2. Your ideas. As much as I want to get clients excited about what I can do for them, my ideas are my product. I know that I can’t give all of my ideas away in the very first meeting before they’ve made it clear they want to give me the job. Some potential clients expect personal design ideas right there in the first meeting, but the danger of this is that they could take that idea and hire someone else to do it.

3. Your materials. If you give a presentation to potential clients, you will be using your own cash to do so. Therefore, if a client insists on seeing any flowers or other design elements before hiring you, make sure you charge them for it.

And for those looking into starting their own business, Bailey also lists a few pointers on how to keep your business afloat:

1. Do your very best to build a financial nest egg. What does this mean exactly? It means having a savings account worth 30 percent of your annual income or as close to that as you can manage.

2. Every three months, sit down and evaluate your financial situation. Yes, I know, this is not fun, and it can be extremely hard to face the reality of your finances. But ignore them, and you’ll eventually be forced to face the consequences. Trust me, that hurts a lot more. Once you have a clear understanding of your current finances, make a projection. What jobs do you have? What jobs do you think you have a good chance of getting? Do you need to start increasing your sales efforts? Answer these questions honestly. Now is not the time to kid yourself. Use this newfound awareness to keep you grounded and help you make smart money decisions in the coming months.

3. When clients give you a deposit, never use that money for anything other than their project. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a game of stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

4. Be consistent with your profit margin. If you’re not making the proper profit, which is 50 percent, then you’ll mostly likely always be cash poor. You must learn to charge what you’re worth, because there are a lot of expenses and a lot of people you to need pay at the end of every job.

5. Don’t forget Uncle Sam! You work for yourself, which means no one is taking money out of your paycheck to cover taxes. You must set aside money for taxes in a separate account. Never, and I mean never, use this money for anything other than taxes.

While Bailey admits he does not live for dealing with money, he knows that he needs it and that he has learned that it is still part of his job of planning and designing to pay close attention to his finances. “Please learn from my mistakes,” he says, “be financially savvy, and you’ll get to keep doing what you love for decades to come.”

Lastly, Bailey encourages everyone to never stop learning. “I get to travel a lot that I learned a lot,” he shares, “I try to spend much time in the area, pay attention, (and) understand the culture. This way, you’ll also discover that every culture has different needs, and every client has varied tastes.”

To get more of Preston Bailey’s advice, visit http://www.blog.prestonbailey.com.

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

 

Classifieds Classic: Networking Basics

(Originally published on Sunday, July 18, 2010; reprints previous original material published in this section.)

For every career professional, most especially entrepreneurs, networking is a skill that is definitely indispensable. In this fast-paced modern world where people often need to work together in loose partnerships in order to achieve their goals at the soonest possible time, the ability to know, develop, and maintain a network of and positive relationships with business contacts is surely a more important pursuit than ever.

Professional networking is defined as meeting and connecting with other people and getting to know their abilities and interests in the hopes that this may help each other acquire mutual benefit especially in the business aspect. To put it simply, it means talking to people who can help you get things done.

People who know the value of having not just broad but strong networks get things done more quickly and effectively. They learn from each other’s different knowledge or experience which help them do better in their careers. For those who are still in the process of building a new career, they are able to use their network as they seek to move on — whether it is a planned switch or brought about by a sudden career crisis.

Fortunately, networking is not that much of a hard task as long as you are patient. As a part of your professional progress, it can be one that is both enjoyable and rewarding if done properly. You might even be a part of numerous networks already without realizing it. It is only a matter of identifying the mutual benefits that can bring both parties and building from that point on.

So, how do you begin creating this much-needed asset? Here’s how to start and pump up your professional network.

Make a list of people whom you can talk to. People in your list need not necessarily be a personal friend or an acquaintance. They could be anyone who you believe you have enough of a common interest with to be able to initiate a conversation or someone whom is friends with someone you know. Keep in mind that all you need is a connection that would allow you to call and say who you are, obtain a nod of recognition and approval that there is indeed a connection between the two of you, and ask for specific details, information, and introductions.

Your possible contacts may include the following:

* Personal contacts – Your friends, acquaintances, neighbors, relatives, church members, classmates, professors, club or organization members, alumni or former schoolmates.

* Professional contacts – Your employers, supervisors, managers, colleagues, subordinates, clients, customers, fellow association members.

* Internet contacts – Any personal and professional contact that you might be able to get in touch with through electronic mail. Subscribers to mailing lists you participate in can also be included.

* Online social network contacts. Social networking such as Friendster, Multiply, and Facebook is a trend nowadays. You can definitely make use of your online contacts as long as you know that they are trustworthy in handling the transactions you need.

* All the people your contacts know. Just as you have hundreds or even thousands of people connected in your network, so each person is also connected to others. In case you need to get in touch with a contact of your contact, you can easily do so through referrals.

Maintain a give-and-take relationship. Probably one of the biggest flaws you can commit in your networking pursuit is to constantly ask for help or expect something in return every time you interact with them. Furthermore, avoid making it your initial point of contact whenever you meet or talk to someone for the very first time. For example, you do not directly approach someone and ask for a job; rather, you should seek for advice, leads, and suggestions.

Build your network ahead before you need it. It is important to invest in your network even before you actually need it. Building a beneficial professional network may take a lot of time. After all, you do not easily gain other people’s trust especially when you come to them and ask for something. Therefore, even before the situation calls for it, it would be more advantageous if you know that you already have someone whom you can turn to and assist you in times of career-oriented needs.

( Get more networking tips next Sunday: learn how to build your network even if you’re shy!)

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

Creating Opportunities in Adversity

(Originally published on Sunday, June 20, 2010)

By C. F. BOBIS

Make your own good news by adapting your job search

If you’ve kept an eye on the news, the April 2010 Labor Force Survey (LFS) recently released by the National Statistics Office tells us that the unemployment rate has increased (see charts included with this article). But remember that there is always a way to turn things to your advantage.

Take the LFS results. If you read carefully, you’ll see that the jobs are in the services sector (making a culture of good customer of vital importance—something we’ll tackle). They will tell you that you have a better chance of being employed as a full-time laborer or unskilled worker at a private company, and if you’re a woman and/or you have a college degree.

So how can you increase your chances of getting a good job? Over the two years the Classifieds have been around, here are the best tips that have appeared on these pages:

1. Finish your education. Though over 40% of those unemployed have college degrees, remember that the survey includes fresh graduates. The jobs with higher starting salaries and greater room for promotions are most often open to those with college degrees.

2. Approach your job search differently and learn to be both flexible and creative. Be prepared to have to do more to find a job, and be willing to take a long hard look at your options. Remember, if you aren’t flexible and creative, there’s always someone else out there who is willing to be, and who will land the job ahead of you.

3. Now is the time to network. Why not let your Facebook, Multiply, and/or Friendster connections know you’re searching for a job? (Just be sure your account isn’t filled with photos and/or comments that make you look silly, unprofessional, or cast you in a bad light.) Don’t forget alumni associations for your school, past bosses and colleagues, even the people you interned for in your last year of college. Just two things to remember: Make a personal connection; be prepared to help the other person in turn, and be sincere.

4. Be armed. Improve your resume by updating it with job-oriented achievements instead of a mere list of work experiences, and reformatting it, if necessary. Ask for letters of reference now, and inform other references that you have listed them as such. Tailor your cover letter to specific companies you’re applying for, the better to show your suitability for a particular job. And why not get your employment requirements now? (See list of pre-employment requirements below.)

5. Be willing to work outside your comfort zone and to train in new skills. The good news is that new jobs in different growing fields, particularly in the BPO sector and in IT, are opening up to those who are willing to work outside their comfort zone and learn new things. Richard Nelson Bolles, author of “What Color Is Your Parachute?’’ He advises jobseekers to be receptive to the idea that in the future they may be working “in the service of new technologies,’’ he said. To prepare for this, why not take advantage of free training offered by institutions like the Philippine Trade Training Center or PTTC hold free training sessions (the last Friday of the month, and it’s listed in the Classified Calendar) to upgrade your skills?

5. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Consider jobs you weren’t sure you wanted to apply for. Take a few risks. Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer for Adecco, a staffing company, suggests that jobseekers make a list of what you need to do each day (see the sample list on this page), and “try to keep your emotions separate from the tasks of the day… This is not the time to say, ‘Well, there aren’t any jobs out there, so I won’t look,’ ” she says. Bolles adds that with the right attitude, job seekers “can often turn this crisis into a real advantage for themselves” by moving their life in a new and more fulfilling direction” so that they can look back and realize that “this is the best thing that ever happened to me.’’

6. Be willing to go outside your comfort zone. Don’t just look for the same job over and over. Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer for Adecco, a staffing company, advises jobseekers It is time to think harder about transferring the skills you have or acquiring new ones to move into a new type of job or industry.

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

Biz Maker: The Tale of Two Salespersons (Part 3, Conclusion)

(Originally published on Sunday, June 20, 2010)

By MARK SO

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog for Part 1 and 2. For those of you who have not yet read those, please go to http://www.markso.wordpress.com.

In Part 2 of my blog, I wrote that 25% of the commenters were undecided as to whether they were Yin or Yang salespersons, and about 2% of this group (a very small number) felt that a great salesperson should be a balance of both. I totally agree: Yangs must learn from the Yins, and likewise, Yins must learn from Yangs but honestly, it is easier said than done.

Just learning skills from each other and developing these would be the obvious way to reach a balance, but I believe that having a deeper understanding of sales is the real answer.

So here I will explain that being a great salesperson is NOT just about developing a skill or transforming yourself from Yin to Yang or vice versa. Instead, evolving as a salesperson is simpler than you think.

Let’s begin. In my sales and marketing seminars, I ask my students what their motivation for selling is. Can you guess what their three main answers are? They were: 1. money; 2. recognition; and 3. more money.

To which I say, “That’s very honest of all of you, but you see, you don’t need to sell to get money and recognition. You can inherit wealth (money), or you can learn to Invest and grow your money. You can invent a new gadget or write an article for a newspaper for recognition. In other words, what you mention are motivations, but not really motivations to make you sell better.”

And the room gets very quiet. So I continue, “You see the best salespeople in the world, whether Yin or Yang, are motivated by only two things when they start selling. They are: 1. excited and motivated by the product itself; and 2. They absolutely care about the people that they sell to, their customers.”

You Can’t Sell What You Don’t Believe In

My wife Jhoanna is, as I mentioned earlier, a Super Yin; she absolutely gets freaked out when she needs to do the selling herself, but not when it comes to our seminars and our real estate properties.

Jhoanna absolutely believes in practical education; she has read self-help and how-to books all her life and has become a maven of information. The seminars we hold at Businessmaker Academy are the product of her beliefs (and mine, of course); she is very proud of them and is willing to sell them to anyone who inquires about them. When she is in the office and she answers a phone call inquiring about any of our seminars, her face lights up and she can sell very naturally and easily. (She closes 99% of them!)

The same goes for real estate; yes, she loves real estate. In fact, ever since she was seven years old, she would regularly encircle with a red marker the properties for rent or sale in the Classifieds section of the Manila Bulletin and ask her parents to call and inquire how much it was. She would even insist on going with her family every Sunday to see some of the properties they owned at that time. She was and still is obsessed with real estate, so when one of our condominium units was turned over to us, she was able to rent it out on the first day we opened the door (I am not exaggerating). This is the power of believing in your product.

You Should Not Sell If You Do Not Care For the People You Sell To

Notice that I said “should not,” and not “cannot” because you can sell to people you don’t care about, but your customers will know that you are not selling for their benefit but for yours only. This is the other must-have ingredient when it comes to selling very well. You must love your customers for you to be able to gain their trust and their loyalty. It is very hard to fake sincerity, and without sincerity, there can never be trust. If the customer trusts you, the customer will buy from you; it’s that simple.

I really care about my customers, and they know it. It is not about what I say; it is about what I do that makes my customers understand that my businesses and I are here for them. In my seminars I tell my students that I am sincerely excited to be here today to teach them, and indeed I am excited and thrilled. I always am, because at the end of the day, I love the feeling of being able to help, inspire, and provide a means for a better life for all of them.

After my seminars, they come up to me and say “thank you” and the next time they come over, I shake their hands and ask about their families or how their startup business is doing, I mention the details of our meeting several weeks ago and they are surprised that I remembered. These small things, these sincere things that I do over time, show my customers that I care.

But I go several steps further. I don’t just sell to my customers, I build businesses around them to provide them with what they need. And my customers gladly buy almost any product that I offer them because: one, I believe in and trust the product that I’m selling, and two, all my long-time customers know I am selling something that I believe can be used for their best interests.

I am not perfect, and neither is my wife, but in my examples above, Jhoanna and I, together with our growing businesses, continue to strive to be better salespeople using these two very simple truths in selling. I hope it will help you too in your quest to be even better as a salesperson now and in the future. Good luck and God bless!

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

Proof of Professional Qualifications

(Originally published on Sunday, June 13, 2010)

Tell employers you are the right candidate, with a certificate

by PATRICK GLENN O. ACORIN

Looking for a job and have finally decided where to apply? You’re probably getting ready for the interview. But remember that more important than being prepared for the interview is being prepared for the job itself.

Are you really qualified for the position you are applying for? How qualified are you? For a single position in the company, there could be tens or hundreds of applicants. How do you stand out from the crowd?

If you’re just applying for a job to have a job, then nothing you do will truly qualify you for the job, and that’s what will work against you. What really matters to employers when hiring people is that they find the right applicants – applicants who have, aside from the knowledge, the right skills to survive and succeed in the workplace. This has been a problem for many companies in the country – there is a need for a credible indicator of a person’s job skills.

Now, two organizations have partnered to solve the problem of providing people the credentials and certifications that are reliable indicators of their skills. Servicio Filipino, Inc. (SFI) CareerCenter, provider of innovative solutions aimed at enhancing the skills of the Filipino workforce, and ACT, an internationally recognized assessment and research company, launched recently the International Career Readiness Certificate (ICRC) program.

The main purpose of the ICRC is to create a common language for workforce development. This program serves as a common language that helps educators and employers communicate in terms of skills.

For jobseekers, this program helps them to know what exactly their skills are, what jobs they are qualified for, and how they can improve their own skills to qualify for better jobs.

For employers, this program is helpful in screening employees. This has also been proven to help increase a company’s efficiency in training – allowing the company to train people on more specific job-related tasks and not on foundational skills. Basically, this program helps the company increase the overall bottom line: helps improve overall productivity, reduce turnover, overtime, and waste, and reduce training time. This program can also help employers to assess their current employees’ skills – to determine what skills they have so far and what additional training they would need in the future.

For educators, the ICRC serves as a tool in better aligning curricula through increased and improved communication between the education and industry sectors, making each of the graduate fit for work anywhere in the world.

ICRC is a work-related skills credentials developed by ACT that complements traditional credentials such as the diploma. This certificate serves as a proof that a job candidate has the skills critical in the workplace and demonstrates the person’s level in each of those skills. This program is powered by WorkKeys Foundational Skills Assessments (or WorkKeys).

WorkKeys is a battery of ten skill assessments that are related to work. These ten skills that are associated with the WorkKeys test are Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, Applied Technology, Locating Information, Listening, Observation, Writing, Business Writing, Workplace Observation, and Teamwork.

The ICRC is based on three WorkKeys skill assessments. According to ACT’s database of 17,000 jobs profiled in the US on key workplace skills, three workplace skills stood out as the most important, and therefore most required in jobs:

Reading for Information – This assessment measures a person’s ability to understand workplace documents in performing his or her job. These documents include memos, manuals, letters, notices, and bulletins. This skill is important regardless of profession because in any workplace, documents are a way of life, whether electronic or printed. Many critical errors stem from miscommunication. Mistakes cost companies, and the fewer made, the better.

Applied Mathematics – This measures a person’s mathematical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Employees need to go beyond basic mathematical operations and be able to analyze situations to create solutions when needed.

Locating Information – This test measures how well a person can work with workplace graphics. In an era of information overload, employees (and job applicants, for that matter) should have the ability to glean information and process it in a way that helps a company do its work better and more profitably.

ICRC certification tells employers that you have the necessary skills critical to workplace success. The certificate has four levels (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) which also help employers determine which jobs you are qualified for. For example, a Bronze certificate signifies that you scored at least level 3 in each of the three core areas and are qualified for 35% of the jobs in the ACT database. A Platinum certificate is the highest of its kind, given to highly skilled individuals who scored at least Level 6 in the three core areas and signifies that the holder is qualified for virtually all of the jobs in the ACT database.

For inquiries on the International Career Readiness Certificate, email info@sficareercenter.com.

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

Biz Maker: The Tale of Two Salespersons (Part 2)

(Originally published on Wednesday, June 9, 2010)

By MARK SO

First off, I’d like to thank all of those who visited my blog and commented on Part 1. (For those of you who have not yet read it, please go to http://www.markso.wordpress.com) I was amazed and happy to read some of the comments that came very, very close to what I will be revealing today, and validated what I believe a True Salesperson should be.

45% of those who commented said they were Yins, 30% said they were Yangs, and 25% were unsure. And out of all the comments, a whopping 91% believed that Yins would outsell the Yangs! And that verdict is absolutely, in my experience, correct. Yangs can move mountains when it comes to selling, but it is the Yins who are the ones who can best influence and maximize the full selling potential of the Yangs. And it is the Yins who have the best chance of closing deals if they so want to.

One comment on my blog says a lot: “I am a Yin but I know that I can beat the Yang… How? By hiring a Yang to sell for me. Hehehe. I am not the type of person willing to develop my weaknesses; (rather, I am) a person who wants to look for a person who can compensate (for them). Regards!” – Julius

That comment is classic Yin thinking and I applaud Julius for his insight. But it is not enough to just hire Yangs, because they can also hire other Yangs to sell for them.

The true power of the Yin is that they can control, correct, influence, and persuade Yangs to be the best they can be. Yins Naturally Control Yangs I want you to picture a thoroughbred champion racehorse, a powerful and magnificent creature. That’s a Yang Salesman.

A champion racehorse can run 55 to 65 kilometers per hour, which is pretty fast. Anyone (with a lot of money) can buy one (hire a Yang salesman), but not everyone can ride one (control a Yang salesman). Only the right jockey can control the racehorse, and typically jockeys are no more than 5’5” in height and weigh no more than 116 pounds. Jockeys look normal in every sense of the word; you might not even notice them most of the time, but they have a great power that allows them to control the racehorse.

Now think of the jockey as the Yin. Without the Yin, a racehorse can run like the wind, but it will not be able to run as efficiently as when the jockey is in control, even with the additional weight. Do you get the picture? Good, let me go a little deeper now, back to salesmanship. You see, not all Yins want to become jockeys.

In other words, not all Yins venture into sales because few Yins think it is possible for them to succeed in it. From the comments coming from Yins on my blog, it is apparent that most Yins think that to be a true salesperson, you need to be a Yang. But I want to let everyone know that there is no need for a transformation, just a little confidence in that you have what it takes as a Yin to possibly be the greatest salesperson ever.

I’d like to add another comment from my blog: “…with perseverance, direction, interest, and positive perception … you can make your goal come true…(It’s) within you…” – Sofia

Great words Sofia, and let me add this truth: All Yins, and only the Yins, have the power to control the Yangs if they wanted to. Can you imagine a racehorse controlling another racehorse, or an outgoing, extroverted person controlling another outgoing extroverted person? In some cases it can work, but experience tells me that in most cases, that relationship will be explosive; in Tagalog, “Kapag pinagsama ang dalawang taong malakas ang dating, sasabog iyan (Put together two strong personalities, and they will explode).”

Now, when it comes down to it, customers naturally like Yins more than Yangs You see, it’s very simple. Yang salespersons have a tendency to repel other Yangs, and if the other Yang happens to be a potential customer, getting a super Yang to close will most likely turn into a contest of who can convince the other. Instead of just closing the deal, a Yang has the tendency to oversell, which is a big no-no in sales.

I have had the privilege of seeing my wife (a super Yin) sell a few times, and she closes 99% of them (fantastic, if you ask me). My wife will admit to anyone though that she is not comfortable doing the selling on her own. But still, she manages to get the customer to buy anyway because of this simple truth: Yins are perceived as ordinary honest folk who do not sell but who give advice and make honest recommendations.

In other words, if a Yin is selling, customers usually let their guard down and are more open to possibilities. And customers are open to what the Yin has to say, 99% of the time they will buy, because Yins will almost always tell the truth. And in the world of selling, truth and honesty are the key to sales success.

So for Yins out there, listen to what I have to say: there is no need to be a great talker, no need to be a great presenter, no need to be a great charmer. There are only two things you have to learn to become possibly the greatest salesperson in the world. One, have confidence in yourself. Two, learn how to close the deal.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I explain how Yangs can harness the power of the Yins, and teach Yins how to gain more confidence and close the deal. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you regarding this article. Please leave a comment on my blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com

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

In the Business of Hospitality

Who says jobs in the tourism industry are limited to tour guides and translators?

Not Department of Tourism (DoT) Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, OIC for Tourism Promotions Sector and OIC for Planning, Product Development and Coordination Sector, who says, “There is no better time to be in the industry than now. I can’t imagine of any other industry that has so many opportunities and within that industry you can move from one place to the other; we have people starting as reservation clerks and in the end they end up in the PR department. It is a (growing) industry, so it cannot fail. If you know your calling, grab it now and go for it.”

Jarque says passion is necessary for any career, particularly one in tourism. Without it, he says, no amount of preparation will help. Having your heart set on a career in tourism also makes things easier. He urges those looking for a career to consider tourism as “Opportunities are everywhere.” Jarque reveals an interesting problem: tourism has many jobs unfilled because people don’t know of the vast range of opportunities available in the field. One problem may be the misconceptions about jobs in the industry. “(We tend to say), ‘tour guide ka lang (you’re just a tour guide)’ (even though) abroad, (it’s) a profession.”

To upgrade the quality of professionals in the industry, Jarque was among those who started the Mabuhay Guide program, in which applicants must pass screenings by panels and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), and learn under industry experts and national artists. The DoT is gearing up to train another batch soon. So are there opportunities in the tourism industry for those who didn’t finish their studies? Of course, Jarque says. You just “have to have the right attitude and you have to love people. First, you have to know yourself, your capabilities, and all that. (Opportunities) are everywhere. Come to the DoT; we can give you a list of hotels, tour operators, the shipping lines.” You can also keep your eyes open by looking for listings in the classified ads, he adds. “But you must realize that travel and tourism is not all glamour. It’s hard work, it’s 24/7.”

“When you love your job, you’ll never have worked a single day in your life. At this stage of my life, I still look forward to the mornings, dying to come to work,” Jarque says. “But when it’s work, it’s work. They can call you any time of day,” especially if there is an emergency. Don’t expect an 8-5 job in tourism because it’s a calling,” he adds.

What about career shifters? Jarque has good news for them too; he tells the story of a butler at a hotel in Boracay who was a medical representative who knew nothing of the hotel industry. But, “He was willing to be trained; so he trained. Now, he is one of the most popular butlers in (his hotel).”

Attitude is key, regardless of where you are in your professional life. But Jarque cautions, “Don’t go (into tourism) for the wrong reasons. You have to study yourself. And if you think you got it, go for it. And it’s never too late to start anything. Some people that I have known who are in their autumn years of their lives are into travel writing now. You can really shift. There are so many facets now of travel. It’s a way of life.” Jarque believes that traveling is a way of expanding horizons, and those in the later years of their lives can make the best tourism professionals. “There is no age limitation for tourism jobs. You can be a tour guide. The best tour guides we’ve had are the people who have lived life, who have seen the world, and they have read so much. People love having those tour guides.”

Even better, a person can create his or her own opportunities in tourism. “Even people who are obsessed with their bodies, they end up as lifeguards. People who surf all their lives – some people call it a bum, but no, they call it a way of life…you just bring yourself to surf destinations and you can become a teacher. You just have to look for (an opportunity) and make something good out of it; (this is always) possible in the industry. It’s within us, to take care of others. We take care of people because we want the tourist to come here, stay longer, and spend more to keep the tourism industry going. And you just to be an important part of the picture. The tourists (we take care of) should not be limited to international travels. We are tourists of our own country. Everybody is travelling now.”

Confidence plays a role in choosing a career in tourism. Jarque advises, “You have to know your value, and then you have to go for it. Knock on doors. They will see through you (especially if you have) what it takes. Don’t overplan. You just have to be honest to yourself: Is this for me? You have to make sacrifices. Some people do a fantastic job of juggling family and career, especially the ladies. They have mastered it. So there is no reason that we’ll be running out of [job opportunities]. [Tourism] is the biggest industry in the world. And with our proficiency in the English language, we should be able to work here and outside [the country].”

You’d be surprised at the fields that involve tourism in the Philippines: medicine, dentistry, and cosmetic procedures cater to tourists, as do English language schools. Jarque says, “We wish there are more qualified tour guides. We wish there are more qualified taxi drivers; we hold seminars here for taxi drivers, (teaching them) how to be friendly with tourists. You just have to have a little bit of imagination, creativity, innovativeness, adaptability…all these things.” (C. F. Bobis)

For more information, visit the DoT website at http://www.wowphilippines.com.ph; to find out about their training programs, click on the “Business and Investments” header then on the “Tourism Training” link.

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

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