The business world has never been easy to survive in. This has been made especially true after the spread of the global pandemic.
In uncertain times such as this one, marked by a rapidly changing entrepreneurial landscape, it is important now, more than ever, to re-evaluate the priorities and mindset one has when facing both the local and international business scene.
On September 29, Globe myBusiness Academy, in collaboration with CHiNOY TV, hosted the fifth installment of the Create. Modern Tao Ke. – The Transformation Journey of Family Businesses Through Innovation webinar series to support local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Moderated by Valerie Tan, the webinar featured a panel who discussed the Chinoy business values and principles they uphold, particularly in response to the challenges of abrupt digital transitions. Invited speakers included Dr. Francis Chua, Founding Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mr. Johnlu Koa, CEO of the French Baker; and Mr. Eric Thomas Dee, COO of Foodie Global Concepts.
To recap their insights on adjusting to a modernizing business environment are four Chinoy business qualities that every modern tao ke should have:
“I believe in diversification,” stated Dr. Francis Chua, explaining the necessity of being receptive to opportunities that lead to success. “No matter what business you’re in, you should always keep innovating. The competition is always there; it won’t stop. You have to keep fighting yourself. If you don’t have a competitor, create one. This is what you need to grow.”
If there is anything that the pandemic brought, it is change—in lifestyles, behavior, communication, and society itself. Change brings opportunities when one’s mind is open enough to receive them.
“This pandemic is not the end of the world,” continued Chua. “It’s the beginning of a new business challenge and a great opportunity. Before you might not have had the chance to be bigger than the biggest business. But now you do.”
When asked about how managing his businesses (e.g. Mesa, Tim Ho Wan, Todd English Food Hall) in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry went, Eric Thomas Dee shared, “We’re being flexible and resilient. We’re trying to weather this storm.”
Being open to ideas is only the beginning. Effectively carrying them out is another step in itself. The key to being flexible is recognizing when ideas are applicable, when they are recyclable, and when they are re-workable.
“We had to re-engineer our menus and consider the delivery time. What extra services do we have to put so that the services we put in [a] dine-in [experience] transcend in taking out?” explained Dee.
When trying new ideas and systems, he also offered this piece of advice: “Make sure to do a lot of research. We do a lot of trials. Try out systems before you commit. There are no cookie-cutter systems that work for one set up.”
“All we can do is to buckle down to work, look at what we’re doing day-to-day, and try to find out a new way to do is,” shared Johnlu Koa. “I put on my chef suit and went to my stores. [I was] very religious in hand-washing—all the works—but I made sure I was there.”
Those striving for success must be resilient in their endeavors. Experienced entrepreneurs in the industry know how volatile the markets can be, especially when affected by catastrophic world-changing events. When faced with such challenges, the best action to take is to not panic and analyze the most that can be done with that situation.
“Those experienced know that things change without you knowing it or controlling it,” explained Chua. “You just have to cope with the situation you are in. It pays to be resilient. You should know how to expand and how to contract as far as the situation goes.”
4. A Sense of Community
Managing a business entails maintaining open and communitive relationships with both family and competitors in the business world. In the Philippines, where family associations and business organizations are common, it is important to remember not only that growth and stability arise when loyalty, resources, and support are mutually offered but also that entrepreneurs and tao kes are all humans.
“Being involved in family associations, wanting to help each other in any and every way possible… I think this trait of the Chinoys in the Philippines is very unique,” commented Koa. “This little community—whenever there is something, we try to find a way to help each other. Whether it’s a social conflict or a business conflict, in a settlement of conflicts, the community is very, very helpful. And that, I think, is very important because it just brings people together, not just in business but in other things as well.”
Adding to the sentiment, Dee also advised, “Ask friends. Ask others what you need to do to stay alive.”
Stay tuned for more updates on the Create. Modern Tao Ke. series to learn more about business tips and solutions for SMEs!