Events, Profiles, Stories, Taoke (Business)

Businessman Robert S. Tan’s Tips to Grow a Nationwide Company

Business has been a driving force in shaping what the world looks like. For Robert S. Tan, founder of Blade Auto Center, the largest car accessories chain in the country, business — and life — isn’t just about earning profit. It’s so much more.

Tan was a guest speaker at the Anvil Business Club’s virtual event titled, Online Exchange Forum with Robert S. Tan: Journey from Employee to Entrepreneur, where he shared more of his realizations on how we can maximize both:


1. If you start now, you will start seeing the results one day earlier than if you wait until tomorrow.

For Tan, his youth involved having a part-time job. He would sell calculators and television sets, and because of his good work ethic, he received praise for his efforts. He also joined a start-up company early in his career.

So, for Tan, starting early can prove quite beneficial and it’s a valuable lesson he would like to impart to others. Though students ought to focus on their academics and even their much-needed leisure, working part-time allows one to be immersed in the realities of work life early on. 

“I have to start early because the sooner I get started, the sooner I get exposed, the sooner that it will open my mind into what is possible, what I can do with my life.”


2. Your future is a result of the decisions you make today.

Tan shared that he met American businessman Robert Kiyosaki, who wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a bestselling book that inspired Tan.

“To summarize the whole thing, I focused on the story of [the] poor dad. Poor dad is a very educated person. Nagtrabaho siya ng maayosPero his ideas always clashed with his boss. Then it reached a point wherein nakalaban niya yung boss, at natalo siya. And in the end, he retired in Hawaii a poor man … I actually saw my future in the future of [the] poor dad,” Tan said. 

That was in 2004, and it was one of the key inspirations for the founding of Blade Auto Center. Since 2004, the company has expanded to over 50 branches all around the country. It has also created five movies, all of which have garnered a total of 10 million views. 


The original team in 2004

3. Dare to be different. Successful people always stand out. 

Tan understands that one of the key aspects in business is being different and innovating to survive. For him, and for all successful business people, it’s what’s different that will make a company stand out. 

Mahirap ka mapansin kung hindi ka magstastandout. Kailangan maiiba ka kasi kung ikaw ay matulad ng kahit sino diyan, it’s very hard to become a market leader, it’s hard to even be recognized. You have to have something different,” Tan passionately said.

Tan mentioned how his company has utilized social media that’s free, like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Their YouTube channel recently hit 100,000 subscribers. The promotional movies that his company makes have even been pirated already, but as for Tan, he expressed his happiness towards the phenomenon because that means free promotion for the company.


The team ten years after

4. Build a team. Trust your team. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Tan poured his heart out at this point. Indeed, it would be so tempting to invest minimally in a team, paying them only average wages and not engaging them. However, not properly investing in a team is a recipe for disaster, a hurdle to a company’s true development and an unfortunate disregard for the dignity of its workers. 

Tayo ay merong dadalawang kamay … For us to be able to expand, for us to be able to make our business bigger, we need to build a team, we need to trust our team. Kailangan ito kasi physically hindi ko mapuntahan lahat ng tindahan ko eh. We have over 50 stores nationwide. We have stores as far as Batangas, Lucena, and we have stores up to Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga,” said Tan.

For him, fulfillment is found when his employees become better people because of their work. They have been able to visit places outside the country, and for them to experience things they have never experienced is Tan’s pride and joy.


For more business tips from another recent Anvil Business Club speaker, real estate mogul Cesar Wee, check out the article here.


The author of this article: 

An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook:

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