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Business

SPS (Smart & Productive Seafarer)

By CB ORROSCO

 Knowledge + interest = passion

 

ENTREPRENEURIAL gurus or experts in teaching how to put businesses, whether small, medium or large undertakings have always emphasized the need for a good plan, supported by a safety net or fall-back position.

 

A safety net is a sort of an underlying plan (to the main plan) that will serve as a recovery factor or way out once the business turns bad. The main objective in putting a safety net is to minimize losses and maximize recovery once the business flounders.

 

A fall-back position, while basically is considered as a safety net, can take the form of a shift or what one can do once the business fails. Say, for a seafarer, once the business he puts up goes awry, he can always go back to the sea. Or, for example, a seafarer has served enough, he will only invest a portion of that savings to a business, leaving enough to live on or put up another business once the first venture fails.

 

However, some modern schools of thought in entrepreneurship look at safety net and fall-back position as convenient arguments for failure. In Filipino, it would come as: "Hindi bale, kung mapalpak, may alternatibo naman." Or: "Puwede pa naman magsimula uli."

 

This kind of thinking diminishes the drive to succeed. It's like the song "Sapagka't Kami'y Tao Lamang," where failure is justified by human frailty. Before what one thinks as ideal and foolproof plant is implemented, a reason for not succeeding is already in place. And this should not be the case.

 

In recent years, the paradigm shifted and dropped the "failure clause." The slogan is: "Plan to succeed!" And if the plan is not viable, drop it. Moreover, it gave broad consideration of the human aspect, from "tao lamang" to "(mga) taong may sapat na kakayahan upang magtagumpay."

 

Of course, the latter phrase refers to the whole family, not just one trying to reach a dream. And that family is not only going after a dream empty-handed, without knowledge and interest, just sheer capital!

 

Now, which should come first, knowledge or interest? As a rule of thumb, many capital-lending banks rate knowledge higher over interest. But modern entrepreneurial experts rate interest as a bigger factor in success. For our purpose, we will not put one over the other, meaning those two factors should be there in equal measure.

 

So, let's now go back to the final list of businesses we would like to put up, honestly rated in terms of knowledge and interest. In the list we will surely find businesses that rate very high in interest, getting a good combined rating. Against that, there will be businesses that rate quite high on knowledge, with a good cumulative rating.

 

Now, it's time to trim the list further. From the primary list, which should be about five kinds of unrelated businesses, and the secondary list, with the same number of related businesses, check those getting extreme ratings of "8" or "9" in either knowledge or interest. The key here is trying to identify a business where there is a good balance between knowledge and interest. A family business, compared to a corporate one, will not thrive on mere knowledge, an equal measure of passion (interest!) is important.

 

Remember the saying: If you love what you are doing, you will not work a day in your life, or something to that effect. In business, as in work (salaried), knowledge will give you a good headstart and interest will sustain your drive (passion) to succeed.

 

In our case, knowledge will help you to put up a very good plan and interest will open your heart and mind to what you should know more to implement the plan.

 

Now, you should have a list of "probables." Let's presume that your list is down to five or six, all with a good measure of balance between knowledge and interest. You can combine related businesses to trim down the list further. A good example would be, meat processing - siomai, longganisa, ham, tocino, etc. - and outlet retailing - selling meat products and other "multi-level" food concoctions that includes herbal medications - carrying your product instead of others, with an option to add peripheral products. However, we strongly suggest that if you combine manufacturing (meat processing) and selling (the meat products with peripheral merchandise), concentrate on your products. Selling products from source, at the early stages of your business, will divide your attention and affect your focus.

 

More on focus - the successful formula of putting a balance between knowledge and interest - in our next issue.

 

(For reactions, email cbo_seaway@yahoo.com.)

 

 

 

 

 


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