MANILA, Philippines - Entrepreneurship has always been embedded in my head, raised by both entrepreneur parents; it was a path that was clear to me since I was a child.
My fascination with technology was also part of the generation where we were introduced with computer games which captured most of our attention and time. I started technology businesses over time, some failed and some found good success.
Here's my path into entrepreneurship.
After high school, I went to Oxford, United Kingdom to pursue my Bachelors in Computing Science and Masters in Business & Enterprise. At that time, I attended many conferences and events, being young and foolish approaching directors of huge companies with a social networking idea. I was shut down at every pitch I made, partly was that Facebook was definitely known to be the next big thing at that time. Good thing nothing pushed thru or I would've failed miserably without the knowledge and understanding of doing real business.
After I graduated, I went straight back to the Philippines. I was armed with optimism and some arrogance to think that business was going to be a breeze and easy. So I dove straight into doing a business on outsourcing and building websites, at the same time, I helped out in our family business.
Being a foolish young man, I had a hard time grasping the real world, and with my time split into two companies, focus was definitely lacking. I failed miserably on my own business, I burned all the capital I invested and my ego burned down as well. Looking back, it was a good thing to have that happen as I learned lots of valuable lessons in life and business which has led me to do better. Looking back, I learned to accept failure but never stop learning and make myself better.
WhenInManila.com was never really a success during the start, it struggled a lot, but thanks to a great Editor in Chief and my business partner, Vince Golangco, when the Internet adaption picked up in the Philippines, traffic shot up. Today, it gets around 4 million page views a month and has more than 1 million fans on Facebook.
One of the ideas we had was Blogapalooza, we wanted to help businesses connect with bloggers in the real physical world. We tested the concept in Fully Booked Penthouse and it was overly booked with sponsors and bloggers which led to us doing 3 more, 1 every year. Every Blogapalooza event attracted 40+ sponsors and 500+ Bloggers.
Launching of the Blogapalooza event. From left is Butz Bartolome The Business Mentor, Ramon Lopez of Go Negosyo, Tim Tayag, Rachelle Diaz, Francis Simisim, Annabelle Simisim, Vince Golangco, Bogart The Explorer, Mikey Bustos
After getting married, I wanted to start a business with my wife Annabelle. I wanted to find a solution that I struggled with in my entrepreneurship journey, which was how can a business generate more sales. You can only do so much with cost cutting and efficiency, and, most of the time, increasing sales is the only answer. The first product that came to mind was using Wi-Fi to increase sales, it was linked to online / offline marketing efforts is very close to tills / cashiers and convert sales pretty well.
We were the ones to introduce this first in the Philippines and pioneered this technology. This is where Zion Wi-Fi was born, with almost a year of research, we partnered with a UK technology firm to bring the technology here. We believe our technology helps businesses in many ways. We help businesses understand their business better by knowing who their customers really are, help them market their business better and make it fast, safe and secure.
We believe this is just the start; we're keeping updated and advanced by adding new solutions to help. We believe our solution can help businesses create better engagement, relationships and experiences with customers to ultimately make them repeat customers and increase sales per customer. Today, we're present in 7 countries and still growing, we aim to grow our business thru resellers / distributors to give us a better local prescience.
Let me therefore share 8 Entrepreneurship Tips I learned during and after school:
1. You only fail if you don’t learn anything
2. Always keep on learning, ego is your worst enemy
3. Communications and Relationships play a big part in Business
4. Learn to read Financial Statements to understand business dynamics and steer you to the right path to profitability
5. Always aim to improve and add more value to your customers
6. Find mentors to help you grow, understand and resolve problems faster.
7. Have a scarcity mindset, I find people do best when their backs are on the wall or at least think like so.
8. Grow as a team and as individuals, and push yourselves out of your comfort zone
Francis Simisim is the CEO of Social Light Inc. (Zion Wi-Fi), the first social Wi-Fi solution in the Philippines, Co-Founder of WhenInManila.com, one of the top Lifestyle / Travel Blog in the Philippines and Organizer of Blogapalooza, the biggest Business to Blogger networking event in the Philippines.
For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/philfranguru). His website is www.gmb.com.ph