Editor's note: The Business Mentor is a weekly business column by Armando "Butz" Bartolome, president of GMB Franchise Developers Inc. and chairman of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc.
MANILA, Philippines - Many entrepreneurs these days are starting at an early age.
This may be due to their exposure to the Internet and the educational system. Most schools have begun to introduce entrepreneurship courses and programs even as early as the secondary level.
Most important is the drive and passion of the young. They have a willingness to explore and think outside the box.
Yet their journey is not at all a smooth travel. There are challenges which some may decide to retreat, regroup or simply throw the towel. The successful person is the one who despite the obstacles emerges with learned lessons.
Here is a 20-year-old man who began a “cool” business. Indeed it is cool as he successfully created refreshing desserts at “Rainbow Snow” in Lucky China Mall in Binondo, Manila.
Business Mentor interviewed Ricsson Ngo, founder of Rainbow Snow Desserts.
Business Mentor: Thank you for this privilege of meeting you Ricsson. Tell me how old were you when you started this business? What is this Rainbow Snow all about?
Ricsson: I was barely 19 years old when I began this Rainbow Snow dessert. Rainbow Snow serves artisan snow desserts, hard ice cream blocks crushed into fine snow-like consistency. I got the idea from a popular dessert place in Taiwan. However I added my own creative twist to this dessert to make something new, innovative and adapted to the palate of everybody in the Philippines.
BM: What were the challenges you were confronted in the early start-up? How did you overcome?
Ricsson: Going into business without any prior knowledge and experience was risky. I committed many mistakes, which hindered the business from growing. However I learned and took actions to fix the problems. I mitigated many future problems and learned much priceless knowledge by reading many business books, articles, and attending seminars. The best help is to be guided and mentored by professionals.
BM: What made you venture into this dessert business?
Ricsson: The tea industry was booming before I started Rainbow Snow. I could have done what many other businessmen do: follow the trend; but I don't see it as a strategy that could yield high returns. Trying to get a small part of the consumers that is obviously dominated by the existing tea companies is not good business. Personally, just following everything other businesses do is quite boring. So my goal is to make and innovate the next trend. Snow ice is quite popular in Taiwan, and different versions of it are popular as well in other parts of Asia. I believe with the right pricing and marketing, I could serve this dessert here in the Philippines.
BM: How do you envision Rainbow Snow?
Ricsson: I believe Rainbow Snow will become popular dessert store that people will come and enjoy a sweet experience. All ingredients are imported and healthy as well. I have been working closely with this business in the hope of achieving my vision.
There's only one branch here in Lucky Chinatown Mall for now. My goal is to expand Rainbow Snow to Metro Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Taguig and many more. Now my path is quite clear: turn Rainbow Snow into a global brand. One way of doing this is via using the franchising route. I am receiving a number of queries. However I am screening sites as well as applicants. I would like to get a franchisee that can devote and believe in my business. People can email me mailto:[email protected]
BM: What valuable tips can you give people who are as young as you wanting to venture into business?
Ricsson: Allow me to share these 5 important lessons:
1. Never be afraid to explore and follow your dream.
When I saw snow ice in Taiwan, I kept on dreaming the huge opportunities in the Philippines. I began to draw, sketch and even concocting various flavors to start with. The fear was there but it nevertheless overpowered my desire to be in business.
2. Always see the goodness beyond challenges.
There were many obstacles like not sufficient financial capital or customers being skeptic on what my products were all about. However I kept looking beyond and believing in the potential of the business. I may have one branch at the moment but I am confident of branching out to the locations I so desire. Now I am proud to say I have increasing flow of customers of all ages and coming from different parts of Metro Manila. They love my snow ice desserts.
3. Have an open mind.
I began to love reading books, articles, online news on starting a business. There was also the opportunity of participating in trade shows like the Filipino Franchise Show in World Trade to expose my products. Yet my primary purpose was to meet and rub elbows with seasoned entrepreneurs. I was never conscious of my age as to not feel inferior in talking with them.
4. Be people-centered.
As a young man, I learned the importance of working with people as a team. I may be the founder but yet I am just one body. With my present team of 5, we get to exchange notes and suggestions on how we can further make our products be known.
5. Have faith and confidence.
Rainbow Snow may be on its infancy stage. The success will be dependent on the confidence I put in this business. Nevertheless I offer everything I do to the Almighty who I know is there to lend me a helping hand. In fact when I am stuck with a problem, I always say He will make and show me the way. You know what it works!
For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] His website is www.gmb.com.ph