Blog Archives

Starting a Janitorial Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporations or partnerships.

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

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

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

7. Open a bank account for your business.

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

9. Develop an efficient payroll system for your personnel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Setting an Apartment Rental Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Get a Barangay Clearance.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Business Coach: The Seven Common Pricing Mistakes

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

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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.)

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.

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On Making the Big Switch

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

If you’ve been thinking of shifting careers for some time now, purchasing a small (or big!) business franchise is a great way to go

By Tricia V. Morente

 

With entrepreneurship driving a huge chunk of the economy’s growth these days, more and more people are suddenly finding the merits of putting up one’s own business over working as an employee in the corporate world.

For some, this life-changing decision happens in their 40s—an important time for people to reflect on their careers and whether or not they still want to stay on the same course, or make a change. Such is the case of Atty. Ann Cabochan, a Binalot franchisee and the director of the Bureau of International Trade Relations of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “I’ve always thought of myself as a professional lawyer and not an entrepreneur,” begins Cabochan, “but when my husband constructed a building with commercial spaces and eventually asked me to run it, I got to experience managing a small business. It was like a natural progression of events and things just falling into place—and suddenly I realized I was ready to manage a new venture.”

With very little experience in business to speak of, Cabochan and her husband decided that franchising a food business was the best bet for their success. So began their experience with growing their own Binalot branch—one of the most successful franchises in the country today.

Why Franchise?

The beauty about starting a franchise business is that you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself. Buying a franchise can be a rewarding business decision, and is the perfect option for someone who wants to enter the business world without the risks that come with starting one’s own business.

Creating a business operations model from scratch, and then implementing it through trial and error can be very time consuming and unproductive. But franchises have business models that are already developed and ready to be utilized. Binalot, for one, already has its fair share of success, which is why owner Rommel Juan is looking to expand into other areas by selling the Binalot brand and concept to franchisees.

Unlike the Cabochans, former collection officer Irell G. Perez already knew that he wanted to run his own business. He just wasn’t ready yet. “When I first started my own business, I wasn’t totally prepared and ready. I didn’t feel confident enough to go out on my own,” shares Perez, “so I thought that the most practical option was for me to look for a franchise that has the expertise and equipment, and can guide me in running a business.”

There are certainly lone wolf entrepreneurs who can go at it alone and do just fine. But for most newbie business owners and career-shifters, franchising not only gives them the technical assistance and troubleshooting support, it also provides the opportunity to communicate with other owners to learn best practices and exchange ideas.

It’s exactly what happened to Binalot Alphaland Southgate franchisee Annalyn Sayat. Exhausted from working as an employee for a big company, Sayat wanted to be her own boss. But being a newbie in the business arena, Sayat says that she wanted to make sure that her investment would be spent wisely. “I didn’t have the technical know-how of running a business,” she admits, “especially with Human Resource and Accounting. It’s why I opted for a franchise that already has a solid system and structure.” Being with Binalot, she adds, helped her to be more analytical when it comes to her decision-making. “You get to talk to your fellow franchisees, and you get reliable advice because you’re in the same line of business.”

Choosing the right investment

Initiating a career change by purchasing a business franchise definitely has a lot of major benefits. But keep in mind that there is a downside to purchasing a franchise—and that’s if you choose the wrong one to buy. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive analysis of each option you are considering and identify the key weaknesses that may compromise your efforts down the road.

“You really have to do your own research about the company, their system, the location, everything,” advises Sayat. “You also have to do the math because everything will depend on that. And finally, give it your all and the rest is up to God,” she adds.

Choose a product that you truly believe in, adds Perez. “The reason I chose a food franchise was because I, for one, love to eat,” he says, “and when a friend told me about Binalot, I researched about their products, benefits, and read feedback from previous franchisees. Eventually, I decided to go with the company because I believed in the product, their expertise, and the opportunities they’ve provided for me to learn and grow their business.”

Don’t invest in a franchise with your eyes closed, injects Cabochan. “My husband noticed how brisk business was for one of the Binalot stores in theMakaticentral business district. He frequented the mall where it was located, coming at different hours of the day, and different days of the week. We ate a few times in the store, trying something different each time, and we were convinced that it was value for money.”

The moment you decide to invest in Binalot, or any franchise for that matter, choose to take an active role in running the business. “Undergo the same training for store supervisors just to familiarize yourself with the system and intricacies of the business,” advises Cabochan. “Take an active role especially at the start and be sure you have someone trustworthy to look after the store when you’re busy or abroad. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

At the end of the day, the success and sustainability of a new business venture—whether a franchise or not—will always be a result of the entrepreneur’s pro-active role in the enterprise. “Starting my own business made me realize that there is no limit to one’s potentials as long as you put your heart into it,” Cabochan shares. “I never thought I was capable of running a sustainable business, but luckily enough, I proved myself wrong.”

 

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Beginner’s Guide to Project Management

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

How a major project is handled can either make or break a person’s career—and even his company’s fortune. Unfortunately, many of those new to project management are left to “sink or swim” with insufficient guidance. While in developed nations many people engage in formal training in project management, here in thePhilippinesvirtually all project managers learn about project management on the job.

To be able to grasp the essentials of project management, you must know its definition: a project is a temporary undertaking with a defined beginning and an ending, done to meet unique objectives. Its transient nature means projects are not part of operations that are repetitive work to produce products or services.

While reading this article will not make you an instant expert, the basic ideas of project management listed below would be very helpful in guiding the beginner:

• Clarify the project objectives and requirements. You must document precisely what the project seeks to attain, as well as its constraints. Establish the deadline for completion, the budget, and the quality standards. You must consult with all the departments or persons that will be affected or needed to complete the project. Things like possible legal impediments must be ironed out. A lot of brainstorming and negotiation occurs in this stage. Getting the support of internal and external stakeholders is also important for a project’s success.

• Create the project plan supported by using the appropriate planning tools. Before beginning, you must create a detailed plan. Get detailed cost estimates and setup milestones to monitor progress. Tasks must be arranged in the proper order and the dependencies (a task that must be finished before another task is done) noted. In doing this, it is impossible to organize a project properly without the use of planning tools. There are dozens of possible tools, but there are some that are commonly used. One is the Gantt chart, a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. For better control, the more sophisticated tools often used is the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT); these enable you to apply additional resources to relieve bottle necks that delay the whole project.

• Prepare for contingencies. Plan for problems that may be encountered. Build on some slack into your time schedule in order to mitigate the inevitable delays that will result from unforeseen events. Besides the extra time needed, you must also have some allowance in the budget for emergencies that will need additional expenditures.

• Submit timely and well written Project Status Reports. Study how to make project status reports for your superiors. Find out if there is already a prescribed format or precedent before coming up with your own. Reports should be as short as possible without missing important details. Avoid using jargon that may not be understandable to all those who may read your reports. Report if progress is on schedule and being done within the budget. Also, keep copies of your report for future reference.

Effective project management is extremely important and you must try to learn as much as possible to avoid costly mistakes.

To learn more about this important function you may call (2) 727-5628/8860 or e-mail businesscoachphil@gmail.com for details.

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

Business Coach: Applying the Broken Windows Effect

Small Things Can Make a Big Difference

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

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

We often hear that it takes money to make money. This actually means that it takes big money to make big money! Only when we have unlimited resources do we think it possible to achieve great things; but very few companies or individuals are actually that way. Because of a lack of funds, you may feel helpless to make a significant change.

If you are a manager or an entrepreneur on a shoe string budget and want to hatch a project that would make a big difference, what should you do? Fortunately there are things that accomplish results far beyond the proportion to their cost. One such strategy is an idea I recently discovered that could be applied to this problem: the “broken windows effect.”

Essentially what the “broken windows effect” says is that tolerating minor violations set the stage for committing graver offences. The example cited the case of broken windows caused by vandalism in run-down crime-prone neighborhoods being a precedent to worse crimes. What’s interesting about this idea is that in many studies, it was shown that tamping out the minor violations (like the broken windows) also decreased the major problems.

In the business setting, there are numerous cases where the principle of the broken windows effect can be effectively applied. This positive effect does not only include disciplinary matters but other acts that affect productivity or your company’s image. The possibilities are endless; but here are a few to stimulate your thinking:

• Crack down on personal use of office supplies. This may seem petty to some but small things do add up and those who are lenient may soon find out that larger items are missing. Monitor office supplies usage diligently. This will not make you popular, but better this than creating a culture of dishonesty.

• Fix broken equipment as soon as there is a problem. Promptness in repairing faulty equipment will send a strong signal that you want everything to be in good working order. Performing maintenance on the scheduled time is also part of this task. Allowing the continued use of a machine as long as it can still operate is a dangerous practice. A machine in good condition is capable of more output and at a better quality.

• Repair broken signage, cracked counters, vandalized walls, and other items visible to the customer ASAP. These are urgent concerns because these have an immediate effect on your company’s image. Customers will automatically think that your neglect of how your business looks also applies to the quality of your operations.

• Do not tolerate disrespectfulness toward customers. While customers are not always right, there are ways of handling an unreasonable client civilly within the bounds of proper behavior, and there are actions that cannot be allowed. Consistently impressing upon your frontliners that they cannot treat customers poorly will radically improve customer service.

• Be strict with tardiness, long breaks and other time wasters. The long term effects of a lax policy on lateness are worse than most would think. If left unchecked, there will come a time when hardly anyone would bother to be on time. Long breaks and other similar misuse of working hours also have the same tendency to worsen when unchecked. However, it is sometimes not sufficient to just penalize these time wasters. There may be deeper reasons besides slack implementation since consistent tardiness or time wasting is often a sign of lack of motivation. You must also tackle other causes if this is the case.

• Recycle whenever possible. There are many things you can recycle, especially usable paper. If people see that the company is serious in fighting wastage, then you will help develop a mindset that encourages savings. Besides the profit motive, your company will also be doing its share as a socially responsible enterprise.

Lack of resources must not prevent you from maximizing the means that you already have. Small things can indeed cause large changes. Just like repairing broken windows as soon as possible, the resulting benefits of such small efforts may well exceed your wildest expectations.

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.)

Pawnshops Earn During Hard Times

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

Looking to start a business? You would want a venture where the income potential is unlimited; one that grows even during times of economic hardship; one whose products never go out of style; and is an enterprise that gives you plenty of perks.

All the mentioned benefits come together in a pawnshop business. A pawnshop business is expandable, and its earning potential is unlimited. When there is a financial crisis, more people will need a quick loan—ensuring that pawnshops prosper even during recessions. Its product being emergency cash loans will always guarantee a steady influx of demand. And if you are fond of gadgets and jewelry, you will have an endless supply when you foreclose pawned items.

Opening a pawnshop is easy, even if you do need to have enough capital. Putting up this business comes in these easy steps:

1. Register with DTI or SEC. If you plan to be a sole proprietor, go to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). But if you want to be a corporation or partnership, go to the Securities and Exchange Corporation (SEC). Comply with the list of requirements they will give you.

2. Get a Barangay Clearance. Nowadays, it is a requirement to get a barangay clearance before you can proceed to get a Mayor’s permit.

3. Get Mayor’s/Business Permit. Proceed to the local municipality or city hall, and comply with their requirements.

4. Register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Here you will get your Certificate of Registration (COR), which will indicate the schedule of your tax payments and filings. This is also where you will obtain the permit to print official receipts and your TIN number if it was not yet given to you by SEC.

5. Go to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Here is a list of the BSP’s requirements (please note that the data below may not be current):

a. Copy of City/Municipal License/Mayor’s Permit for the current period;

b. Copy of DTI Certificate of Registration of Business Name;

c. Copy of SEC Certificate of Registration for Partnership and Corporation;

d. Copy of Articles of Partnership/Incorporation and By-Laws;

e. Information Sheet duly accomplished by the president/managing partner/proprietor;

f. Biographical Data duly accomplished by the proprietor or partners or incorporators/directors/officers and individual stockholders owning 10 percent or more voting stocks;

g. Bank certification on amount deposited for pawnshop capitalization (at least P100,000);

h. Notarized Written Undertaking signed by the president/partner/proprietor;

i. Sample copy of pawn ticket;

j. Letter request for additional stipulations (if applicable);

k. Authorized signatories with biographical data;

l. Sketch of location;

m. Letter of Authority to receive Certificate of Registration;

n. Filing/Processing fee of P1,000.

As you can see, registering a pawnshop is almost the same as starting a regular business. The Central Bank requirements are the only additional hurdles to handle when compared to the usual requirements needed in other lines of business.

Visit http://www.businesscoachphil.com to check out other business seminars.

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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.)

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