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5 secrets to business success from Jollibee’s very own Tony Tan Caktiong

Have you ever wanted to become a trailblazer in the world of business? Well then, who can better provide words of business wisdom than a trailblazer who has cemented his legacy as one of the most successful entrepreneur giants in the Philippines: Tony Tan Caktiong.

You may get your Filipino card revoked if you haven’t been to a Jollibee restaurant ever. With a branch in almost every city in the Philippines, and even around the world, it has secured its place as an icon of Filipino culture.

The brains behind this massive fast food corporation is none other than Tony Tan Caktiong. Seeing how Filipinos’ beloved Jollibee grew to legendary proportions, everyone could certainly learn a thing or two about growing an empire from the legend.

1. Dream big, work hard

Tony Tan Caktiong is a classic rags to riches story as he was not born into a wealthy family. With the goal of helping his parents and their family, Tony did not limit his dreams despite their unfavorable conditions. He also made sure to work hard to make these dreams a reality– and become a reality, it did.

“Dreams are free, so why limit what you are aspiring for? But dreaming is not enough. One needs to put in enough energy and input.”

2. You’ll never grow if you don’t take risks

As scary as it is to take risks in business, it is a vital part to success. Despite no assurance on whether his business venture would be a success, he bravely borrowed P350,000 from the family’s meager savings and opened a small ice cream shop, which would soon turn into the first branch of Jollibee.

If Tony did not take the risk of opening that ice cream shop and simply believing that it can work, Jollibee would not have been a possibility today.

3. Embrace mistakes

No business is perfect. Somewhere along the way, whether it’s in marketing or operations or product development, something is always bound to go wrong and not according to plan. 

For Tony, he remembers initially offering chicken barbecue for Jollibee, thinking that it would be their best product. They invested a lot into the development of the product, only for it to turn into a bust. Nevertheless, this mistake gave way for an even bigger return: their famous Chickenjoy.

With this, don’t shy away from mistakes. They are learning experiences that are vital to make your business a success.

4. Invest in growing your brand

Jollibee did not secure its stance in Filipino pop culture overnight. It happened because of years’ worth of careful brand investment.

Some businesses may choose not to invest in branding as much as other aspects of business such as operations and management but the Jollibee success proves that branding is just as important.

Through careful brand investments such as trademarks and innovative marketing and promotions, Jollibee has successfully achieved retention in the minds of its Filipino customers which translates into overall sales.

5. To be financially free, don’t settle for employment

Not known to everyone, Tony Tan Caktiong actually graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Santo Tomas. However, having the heart and mind of an entrepreneur and wanting to help his parents earn more money, he opted to build his own business instead of working as an employee for someone else.

This decision paid off as Tony Tan Caktiong became successful at being his own boss, creating a multimillion franchise where he became ‘jolly’ as a bee.

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