Monday, August 25, 2008

Exchange Links for Bloggers

Inspired to connect with other bloggers, writers and entrepreneurs, I have dedicated a page to do exchange links. This I learned from Mr. Loo or Louie Miranda, which I have added in my blog roll.

All you have to do is to write a comment on the Exchange Links Page. Tell me about your blog and I’ll add you in my blog list.

In exchange, please do the same for me, add me to your blog roll too! Or you can create a dedicated page just like I did and add me in the list.

Let us share passion for writing and promoting one another worldwide.

What are you waiting for, add your link now!

Developed and copyright by M-Vision Business Solutions

Monday, August 18, 2008

Carson Tan: Giving his Best through Aquabest

One of the inspiring franchisers I met in the Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI) was Mr. Carson Tan, GQWEST chief executive officer. He is an open-minded entrepreneur and overflowing with sensible ideas.

After reading the book about Entrepreneurship which was authored by AFFI pioneering leaders and members, I came to know more the story of his business and his background. I gained insights from his integrity and capability in managing business - Global Quality Waters and Environmental Solutions Technologies, Inc. or GQWEST.

Our executive editor Jojo M. Ocampo made an article about him…
Carson Tan, GQWest CEO
Today, at the helm of Aquabest, he has learned to commit his business to God. It is no surprise that the company is doing very well. But in the beginning, it was a hard uphill climb for Carson and Aquabest. He used to be a silent partner, part of a group of businessmen who in 1997 saw a big market for water refilling business.
Initially, they were skeptical because only one water shop brand existed at that time. Nobody bought water then – there was plenty of water gushing out of the faucet. But with skillful marketing and educating of the public, the market soon became ready for the health benefits purified and mineral water brought. And so the Aquabest company flourished.
The good times were short-lived however when, due to mismanagement, the company soon found itself in the brink of bankruptcy. Carson and his family decided to buy out the shares of the other incorporators in order to save Aquabest and its franchisees that would be left orphaned if the company closed down.
With the help of family and friends, Carson raised P1 million to buy out the other partners and pay for the company’s debts. He started anew with nothing in the office except two tables and a skeleton workforce.
Since he used to be a silent partner and the business was so highly technical, he let the current manager operate the business. The initial goal was to just sell water, to pay the debts, and survive. Little did Carson know that inside that store, massive stealing was going on in the form of unrecorded sales. Until someone blew the whistle on the perpetrators then Carson learned the full extent of the problem.
From the time he took over in 2001 till 2004, Carson had to clean the ranks of dishonest employees, while trying to get the company back on its feet. He worked for a non-salary per diem of P200.00 with minimal commission, but eventually his efforts and faith paid off, as 2005 was a tremendous year for Aquabest.
Right now Carson has over 250 franchisees in the Aquabest network. Their approach to franchising is slightly different as they do not collect franchise fees or royalty fees, but rather flat and minimal monthly dues which include free marketing and tri-media exposure, uniforms, streamers, and filters. Aquabest is proud to provide their franchisees with top quality machines and consumables for the water refilling business at a very low markup.
To date, the Global Quality Waters and Environmental Solutions Technologies, Inc. or GQWEST’s portfolio of brands has a combined total of over 500 water-refilling stations operating nationwide, with franchises making up the majority. Added to this, GQWEST has started producing its own bottled water under the Aquabest Premium brand. “We set up an industrial water treatment system for a bottling company here. Since it’s our design, our machine, we asked them to toll pack for us. We’ve started looking for distributors of our bottled water,” announced Tan. GQWEST has also begun diversifying its business line and is now ISO certified to serve its customers better.
GQWEST is one of the top providers of water purification products and services in the Philippines today, introducing more innovations to achieve industry leadership.
Carson believes that if an entrepreneur has a plan or a vision and commits this to God, and works hard on achieving it, this will eventually lead to success. He also believes in not just jumping onto the bandwagon, but being original in some way, tweaking the concept to give the market better with innovative products.
“Keep on visualizing what the future. It’s not the product, it’s the idea. It’s the concept of what you have.”
Aside from vision, Carson believes that timing is also very important. Therefore entrepreneurs should be able to time the carrying out of their vision perfectly. Part of this is having the conviction to forge ahead even if those around you do not support your vision.
Carson believes one big advantage that Filipino entrepreneurs have is their creativity. He is amazed at the constant innovations being done on existing products – he calls the people who are behind this “innovators”.
Carson also sees the need for the Filipino entrepreneur to be more serious about controlling the quality of its products and their way of doing business. He has tried oftentimes to be a supplier or distributor for foreign corporations but is often disqualified due to the bad image the country has when it comes to product standards and how business is done in the country. As a result, the Philippines lose out on many opportunities to bring its business to the global market.
The best way to develop these entrepreneurial skills is to develop one’s character, Carson advises, as having good character means being disciplined and diligent, having integrity and vision. There are no short cuts to success, he adds.

Developed and copyright by M-Vision Business Solutions

Friday, August 8, 2008


A Feel of Heaven at Biofriend

Stress has been called the disease of the 20th century. Doctors warn us that stress is harmful to our health and well-being exposed to it on a regular basis can trigger major problems such as cancer, kidney disease, hypertension and coronary heart disease.

By conditioning oneself to spontaneously relax, relieve tension, cope with conflict, and eliminate anxiety, one can gain freedom from stress and improve both the quantity and the quality of his/her life.

Recently, a visit to Biofriend Facial and Body Spa exactly made me experience bliss and peace. This is a day spa sanctum which is located at the heart of Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.

Entering Biofriend’s portal is already an energizing experience in itself as it immediately changed my world from a fast-paced environment to one of comforting ambience.

At the spa’s entrance, I was immediately overwhelmed by the warm welcome from the spa’s reception.

Then, my senses were touched by the soothing sound of droplets of water and chirping of birds, the relaxing aroma of virgin coconut oil, mint and lavender, the diffused lighting, and the ethnic interior design. All these brought friendly vibes to life!

Like most spas, Biofriend aims to "treat mind, body and soul," says spa owner Ella Manalang.

Ella shares: "Enthusiasts can feel a sense of mental and spiritual harmony during their spa stay. It’s a feeling that they also bring with them when they go back to their normal routines."

A health and lifestyle enthusiast, Ella is a spa lover who pampers herself on a regular basis. Her passion for wellness five years ago created Biofriend Facial and Body Spa.

Ms. Manalang says "Biofriend’s vision is to be known locally and abroad as an authentic Filipino massage center, a hub of peacefulness within the bustling metropolis where patrons can find quality treatments and total relaxation."

Biofriend’s signature offering includes "hilot," a deep tissue kneading practice handed down from generations and indigenous in the Philippines. Hilot employs a combination of both relaxation and therapeutic experience.

Among the other services Biofriend offers include: ventoza, body scrub with milk bath, deep cleansing facial, foot spa with pedicure and the hilot spa.

Ella relates that the "management of Biofriend supports and promotes the Filipino heritage, the "Buy Pinoy" concept that will boost the country’s medical tourism program."
Biofriend is one of the spas accredited by the Department of Tourism and one that pioneers in hilot massage.
Ella assures us that all Biofriend therapists have undergone careful training for all the services they offer.
With Biofriend, our spa visits will certainly bring about personal renewal and well-being, allowing one to relax, reflect, revitalize, and rejoice life.

Now, the business is for sale and is open for buyers/investors to proliferate in the Philippines and any part of the world. For interested parties, please send your letter of intent at for inquiries and appointment. Please give complete details of yourself, name, telephone, address and company.

Developed and copyright by M-Vision Business Solutions

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ricardo Z. Cuna: Banker, entrepreneur

Creating Fiorgelato and Fiorcafe in one

Knowing people like Ricardo "Richie" Cuna is one of the most inspiring and enriching experience our company treasures. It is in this light that we would like to feature him and his products.

Recently, while visiting the tradeshows at SM Mega Mall, we saw Fior Café and Fiorgelato at 5th level Building B which was previously at the basement of Building A. Now, Cuna’s business has expanded, it’s not only for ice-cream lover but for coffee aficionados too!

Let me share with you the article of Kendrick Go, one of our media friends who happened to be Manila Times' writer…

What could a person with a stable and well-paying job be thinking, leaving all that to venture into the unknown? That was the curious thing about Richie Cuna. He turned his back on a promising career as vice president for the Export and Industry Bank to pursue a highly perishable passion, ice cream. 

In 1993, while still working at the bank, Cuna founded the Milkin Corporation and partnered with Maynila Ice Cream to start a business focusing on the concoction that he has loved best since childhood. The following year, he acquired Fiorgelato whose concept came from Milan, Italy. Like any start-up business Fiorgelato suffered from funding problems. To help ease the problem, he invested his income from his job at the bank in Fiorgelato. 

Richie Cuna started his banking career as a clerk in the Bank of the Philippine Islands. Steadily rising from the ranks, he was vice president for product development when he eventually left the bank. But his entry into the banking industry was not part of his original plan. His first job after college was with the Philippine Airlines, until the day he received word from BPI. He jumped at the opportunity to work for a major bank only to be disappointed because he was not a management trainee. But with hard work and dedication, he advanced much faster than those given management training. He earned his promotion to executive level, having spearheaded the project that launched the bank's automated teller machine. 

After a brief hiatus, Cuna joined the Export and Industry Bank, which put him in charge of the bank's expansion, which means the development, selection and design of the bank's branches. 

As his career steadily progressed he began thinking of the future. Realizing that even the most promising of careers only lasts until his retirement, he decided to start his own business on the side while keeping his job. 

For eight years, Richie juggled his time between running Milkin Corp. and his job at the bank. He recalls flying overseas to talk with suppliers and partners and going straight to his office upon arriving home. It taxed him physically and intellectually so that in 2003, with his business expanding tremendously, he left the banking industry. 

To gain better understanding of the business, he enrolled in several cooking schools and eventually became a chef. Cuna's Fiorgelato soon found a niche between commercial ice cream and gourmet ice cream, getting the best traits of both.

To help ensure the quality of his product, Cuna sources 80 percent of its ingredients from Milan and the United States. From Fiorgelato Milkin, the company has expanded to different brands such as Fior Café, Gelateria, and Maynila Ice cream. Its Cocoa Banana Tropical Ice cream has captured the global market with many outlets in the United States. 

In his career as an entrepreneur, Cuna says his experience as a banker has been extremely useful, especially when he has to deal with banks. He has discovered that the corporate structure of banks can actually be adapted to the manufacturing and distribution sector. His training in the banking sector also gave him an insight into economic trends. He remembers seeing the signs of what was to become the 1997 Asian financial crisis months and had prepared for it months before its full impact was felt around the globe.

In his company, Cuna fosters a culture of “pakikisama” and treats his employees as family. Despite the success that he has achieved, Richie remains humble and has kept a low profile. He encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to go into franchising, which has led to a teaching job at St. Scholastica College where he introduced a new course, entrepreneurship and franchising. He also conducts seminars regarding franchising.

Cuna is the man who wants to be known as one who "creates business for people" believes that any business that is founded on transparency, trust and integrity is bound for success.

Developed and copyright by M-Vision Business Solutions

Friday, August 1, 2008

Are You an Entrepreneur?

“If you can dream it, you can do it!
– Walt Disney

Several people asked me how to become an entrepreneur?

Attending seminars, short courses and trainings in Entrepreneurship add knowledge of what I have learned through experience. Promoting entrepreneurship through our former radio program “Una sa Lahat Pinoy”, in our Business magazine and blogs reinforce more the knowledge and skills. Aside from the excitement and interest in interviewing entrepreneurs and business people like Richie Cuna of Fiorgelato/ Fior Café, Rhodora Hizon of Center for Small Entrepreneurs, Antonio Y. Ortiz of Technology Resource Center and Atty. Alfeo Vivas of The EuroCredit Group, we have learned easy-to-understand entrepreneurship and insights about their chosen business.

According to Marlo Sanchez of his book Start and Manage Your Own Business, “Entrepreneurs are different breed. They seem to stand out from the crowd. They walk and talk differently from non-entrepreneurs.”

Based on research, here are the common traits of successful entrepreneurs. Find out more if you have these characteristics and qualities:

  • Passionate and experience. Meaningful and related experiences either in your chosen industry or using your type of skills may help in setting up your own business. Getting into business that you love and that suits you will definitely command success in your endeavor. An entrepreneur is full of enthusiasm about his/ her dreams, products and company.
  • Vision-driven. A clear picture of what you want to do to your enterprise for a certain period of time.
  • Self-confidence. Believing in your abilities, your business and whatever you set in your mind.
  • Risk-Taker. Are you willing to take risk of your present job/ career or your money?
  • Focused. The ability to do what you really want making you more decisive in pursuing your vision, whatever it takes.
  • Willingness to plan. Devising a road map to achieving clear set of objectives to study the market, competition and operations of your chosen business is a tool to achieve progress, the same way as examining the challenges too.
  • Positive Attitude. An entrepreneur always sees opportunities and solutions while others see obstacles and problems.
  • Dynamic and effective leaders. Entrepreneurs are decision makers and forward looking leaders.
  • Flexibility and adaptability. In business, as in our life, change is inevitable. In these hard times, as an entrepreneur we have to adjust in order to cope with the changing business environment and conditions.
  • Ability to overcome the fear of making sales. Every business owner must not be afraid to become a sales person. Cultivating customers, motivating employees and nurturing suppliers are part of the skills to learn in order to stay in business.
  • Willingness to work hard. There’s no short cut in working hard. It is the ability to do what it takes to achieve success. A former high school classmate Margie de Guzman-dela Cruz is one example of a hard working well-rounded individual who wears several hats as mom, a wife, a professor in Wesleyan College, a president of Arellano High School (Manila North) Alumni Association this year, and a business woman in her dental whitening material and travel agency firms.
  • Obsessed with quality. Would it be quality of service, quality of product and quality of project, entrepreneurs are committed to excellence.
  • Creative and innovative.

Other traits that you have to consider are the following: Being task-oriented, have a sense of urgency, a good administrator, a good communicator, a good negotiator, a specialist, a generalist, a team player, an achiever, aggressive, competitive, courageous, customer-oriented, determined, disciplined, efficient, friendly and happy, helpful, industrious, patient, persistent, resourceful, trustworthy and versatile.

Entrepreneurship is an attitude they said. According to Entrepreneurship book compiled by the Center for Small Entrepreneurs, “The entrepreneur has a vision that he would want to achieve. His motivation in going into business is not profit or money but a need for achievement and to be of value to himself and to his customers. He is the prime mover of the business. He is the heart of the business…It is beyond profit and money.”

Developed and copyright by M-Vision Business Solutions

DonburiMix Express opens at Jackman Plaza, Quezon City

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