Nothing beats knowing about starting your own business than learning from the valuable experiences of accomplished individuals who were brave enough to take the plunge into the “risky” and “unstable” business world. Most would prefer having the peace of mind and sanity of keeping a stable job knowing there would be money coming in the next payday. There would also occasionally be some curious souls wondering if they can change their financial fate by starting their own business and finally be their own boss (that includes me).
To satisfy that curiosity of ours, I have interviewed a few Filipino entrepreneurs who have experienced the ups and downs of starting abusiness in the Philippines and survived to tell us about their great success stories. Our goal here would be to learn from their experiences, and then ultimately understand what it takes to start our own businesses and identify possible issues that we may not already be aware of.
The first Filipino entrepreneur I have interviewed for this series is Ivan Requinta, who co-founded Liquot Inc. (t-shirt merchandising) and Busog Inc. (food business).
FrustratedBillionaire: Can you tell us just a little bit about how you decided to start your own business? Are you working now, or did you have a day job before and just decided to switch to creating your own business and be your own boss?
Ivan: Having my own business has always been my dream goal. Growing up, I always dreamt of having several foundations and charities supported by the big business that I (or my partners and I) own. It’s just that I never had enough time, drive or people supporting me yet to start and pursue thebusiness that I want. But since graduating from college and eventually while working, I already had several business ideas in mindthat I want to put up. I’m gainfully employed as of the moment and I’m balancing the day job that I’m currently connected with and the businesses that I’m into.
FrustratedBillionaire: Tell us something about your businesses.
Ivan: I currently am partnered with three (3) business corporations, two of them (Liquot Inc and BUSOG Inc). The third one, I will keep silent for now. All the existing businesses that I’m involved in are all Corporations.
Liquot Inc. (LIQ)
Liquot Inc. is basically a t-shirt brand (and a campaign) that my partner Laurent and I started in June 2014. The brand’s objective is to promote our faith thru altering symbols and/or signs (spoofing), replacing it with our own version and message of good faith. It targets the charismatic Catholic and non-Catholic youth to seasoned adults (aged 15-55 yrs. old). We also have another shirt that we don’t like to call a ‘brand’, instead a campaign that we would like to promote. The shirt is called Jesus Army. It’s available also in the Liquot website.
Choose from a variety of shirt designs at a very reasonable price. Via Liquot.com.
BUSOG Inc. (BUS)
This is a food-related company that my fellow entrepreneurs and partners (Marco, Edwin, Laurent, EJ, Jomark, Niko and Raffy) started last July 2015. The company’s primary objective is to create several non-mainstream food business models to inspire several aspiring entrepreneur-wannabes. Next to that is to ensure that all our business models give a certain profit percentage to ALL our supported charities and foundations. Our target is to have at least one business that enable us to give 100% of its profit to these supported charities.
We started BUSOG Inc.’s first business model, in Kapitan Pata, last Nov 7, 2015. We basically sell take-out Crispy Pata. The product aims to put the best Crispy pata in every home not only duringspecial occasions. We also want our brand to be the choice in meat products, now and for the generations to come because of the customer intimacy that we give and the high quality meat products that will satisfy every Filipino family. Our first branch is in Niog, Bacoor, Cavite (in front of Jollibee Niog along E Aguinaldo H-way) and soon our second will either be in Pag-asa or Molino Blvd, both in Cavite. Hopefully, we meet the target of opening eight (8) branches before Oct 2016.
You should try their Premium Boneless Crispy Pata! On the left is their first branch in Cavite.
Another awesome business model for BUSOG Inc. in the making…
This is currently in the works. I won’t disclose it yet but it is related to Agri-Business. It will be mainstream probably by end-Mar 2016. So far, we have been blessed with the progress of these businesses. But of course we still aim to continue improving our craft and our brand. I still have another business, a ladies shoe retail businessin Feet Her Well (FHW), but we temporarily ‘parked’ this since the two business models, especially that of BUSOG Inc’s, is just time consuming and we decided to sacrifice it for now.
FrustratedBillionaire: What were the challenges that you encountered when you first started your businesses?
Ivan: Ohhh, there were a lot of failures. Painful failures, actually… Before Liquot Inc. and BUSOG Inc., I failed in practically eleven (11) businesses since I was 23 years old. I failed to start-up an automotive repair shop, I failed in several real estate transactions (although I succeeded in a few, very few..), I tried affiliating in several partnerships: cakes & pastries, bags, constructions, printing & photocopying services, bakeshops, etc., but failed!
Just very recently, we failed to start a commissary kitchen and a Tiangge-mall. I also consider my Mr. Quickie franchise (in Anabu, Cavite) a ‘semi-failure’. Although return of investment was sooner than expected and I gainfully sold it last Aug 2015, I felt I failed to meet my targets to make it (hopefully) bigger…
FrustratedBillionaire: You’ve obviously had some past failures which you obviously managed to get through and are now benefiting from your learnings. If I may ask, how are your current businesses doing?
Ivan: Yes, these failures and painful experiences actually made me learn so many things the hard way. I’ve practically done some extraordinary efforts just to launch a business, start a business and sustain a business. It was mostly frustrating and emotionally draining, but at the end of the day, it was my dream goals and the drive to pursue my dream goals that kept me working hard and harder. That’s why these pains and failures led me not just to keep on learning, but it also molded my character and outlook and most importantly led me to meet several people, to which a few eventually became my mentors, partners and fellow ‘failures’ (that eventually became successful because of the failures encountered). Business is basically doing well. For Liquot, it has been there for like two years already and it still has many opportunities for growth. BUSOG Inc., on the other hand, is still starting but there has been abundance in business opportunities and growth.
FrustratedBillionaire: Are there things you wish you knew before you started this business (which possibly would’ve saved you from a ton of headaches, or would’ve helped you greatly when you first started your business)?
Ivan: Sometimes, I reflect the things that I encountered growing up and I honestly do not regret the pains and failures that I experienced. It not only expanded my life-learning; it really developed and molded my character and changed my outlook as a person. You become humble, patient, determined, grateful, focused and diligent in your dream goal commitment. I only wished that I met my current mentors earlier so that I won’t encounter some petty mistakes that I endured before. Maybe I could have been prosperous and blessed by the LORD earlier, eventually making me generous earlier than now.
I always wished I knew them when I started. But come to think of it, it was better that I kept on failing before. If not for these failure, Iwouldn’t have developed the character that I was blessed to have and become. I wouldn’t have gained wisdom and maturity, especially spiritual maturity. And if not for these failures, I wouldn’t have met the people that also failed before and are now living the same dream that I have always aspired and looked at myself to achieve as well. I would like to give credit to the community and the group that developed my character for the better in the Light of Jesus Community and the Truly Rich Club (TRC-an organization founded by Bo Sanchez, a prominent spiritual and business leader here in the Philippines). If not for these groups, I wouldn’t have met the partners I have right now who have the same objectives and same business (and generous) mindset as I have.
FrustratedBillionaire: What were the challenges that you are encountering now in your business, and how are you coping with it?
Ivan: I should say time allocation sometimes becomes a challenge. I have been blessed by the LORD with so many opportunities that I don’t have enough time to spare on them as much as I want to. I practice delegation of work, but of course, Istill want to be always involved in all activities of the business. Not only is it exciting, it’s so fulfilling as well!
FrustratedBillionaire: For those who are interested, how can they contact you and your team?
Ivan: Below are our business contact details. You can also reach me at email@example.com. Always remember Philippians 2:4. It is BUSOG’s guiding mantra, our source of (business) inspiration and we hope it will be yours as well.
Like our Facebook page, Kapitan Pata, and send us a message. (No official site yet for BUSOG per se). For Kapitan Pata, you can catch us at Niog, Bacoor, Cavite (in front of Jollibee Niog, along E Aguinaldo Highway) and soon our 2nd branch will open by March either in Pag-asa or Molino Blvd, both in Cavite. You can also check us out on Instagram (@kapitanpataph).
Key takeaway points from the interview…
It really takes guts and a lot of owning up to the risk when starting a business of your own. One will most likely encounter small and huge failures and mistakes from the start, and it’s important not to dwell on failures; do not stop, move on and learn from them instead. As mentioned by Ivan in the interview, having trusted (and experienced) mentors to guide you cannot hurt as well. Have that reliable someone you can always ask in times of need and hardships. After all, it is harsh to feel alone in this treacherous business world.
Thank you Ivan, for sharing with us your failures and triumphs! Your valuable experiences definitely gave us a look into what courage it takes in starting a business.
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