By Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo
The pandemic has seen many Filipinos starting their own businesses and leaning heavily on technology for operations. In a forum for women entrepreneurs, experts offered three tips that can help anyone start their business ventures smoothly.
1. Through learning
“If you know how to operate and get on to Zoom and how to find all the posts that are on Facebook, you are already way ahead of a lot of people,” said Cheryl Liew, chief executive officer of LifeWorkz, a Singapore-based work-life integration consultancy firm.
Entrepreneurs can improve themselves by joining online communities where members share tips and provide moral support. They can also sign up for online courses on websites such as Skillshare and Udemy.
Learning must be done consistently in order for it to be effective. “Start spending all of your day learning things. Just give it one hour per day and do it every day, so that by the end of the week, you will see that you have spent seven hours learning something and also practicing,” said Ayeesha Hammaad, co-founder and partner of Bazar Nagar, a Pakistan-based e-commerce platform for women.
2. Through purpose
A strong sense of purpose can push people beyond their comfort zone. Arianne David shared how RJ David, her husband and fellow co-founder of e-commerce platform sulit.com.ph, learned how to code even if he was a mechanical engineer by profession.
“You have to really dig deeper and understand your journey, understand what you can do… and how to help yourself, your family, and the community around you,” she said, adding that this journey must be undertaken at one’s own pace.
“I have seen young people, they end up nowhere after five years because they’ve been spending three months on one opportunity, and another six months on another opportunity,” said Ms. Hammaad. “Find out what is this one thing that you would like to do and keep doing it without feeling hurried.”
3. Through grit
The path to success may be littered with failure, especially for first-time entrepreneurs who are only getting the lay of the land.
“Rejection, as I’ve learned very hard, is a redirection to a better ‘yes.’ If you keep that in perspective, rejection is a way for you to eliminate what is not for you,” said Ms. Liew.
Handling a business can be exhausting when there are other responsibilities to juggle. When it gets too much, entrepreneurs can try slowing down before thinking of completely giving up. “They say, if you cannot run, walk; if you cannot walk, crawl… Just keep spending your efforts, your energies, and your time with consistency,” said Ms. Hammaad.