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Go out of your comfort zone – Lia Monica Chua

Meet Lia Monica H. Chua, who opened The Holy Crab PH with a starting capital of PhP50,000, but got ROI in just a few months. Every venture is a risk, she says, but challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone.

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In October 2018, Lia Monica H. Chua opened The Holy Crab PH with a starting capital of PhP50,000. “We initially targeted being a supplier to restaurants and concessionaires,” she recalled, although “there, the competition was fierce, especially when it came to pricing. This nudged us to thinking of other ways to further build our business with the resources we had available, which then led us to coming up with an online food business with crab and shrimps as our main offerings.”

Lia said that going into any business always entails risks. But her former mentor (also currently a partner in Holy Crab PH) of three years encouraged her to start a business. “As a mentor, he has always inspired me to challenge myself and to go out of my comfort zone. Now, we work together in building our brand, our selection and our reach,” Lia said.

But Lia said she was always fascinated with entrepreneurs, including her father. “He always encouraged me to start my own business. There will be a lot more challenges, and a lot more uncertainty but being a business owner would prove to be fulfilling, just as my dad said.”

It helps that Lia graduated in Business Administration.

“But in terms of the actual cooking, I’m afraid I still need more experience,” she smiled. “As our line of business is largely dependent on how we prepare and cook the food, I relied on my partner as he has the know-how on sourcing our ingredients and on the actual cooking.”

But The Holy Crab PH is succeeding; so what they are doing is obviously working.

Lia said that “what sets us apart is our attention to detail, receptive customer service and how we value customer feedback.”

“The need to know and study about the facets needed in your business is important, but do not let your hesitations tie you down. Just take the leap.”

There remain challenges.

For one, “given that our line of business is food, it was critical to ensure the consistency of the taste and quality in the platters we serve. We needed to intensely train our staff on how to properly prepare and cook the food. However, we are directly affected when there is a movement in our staff (resignation, new hires, etc). We had to come up with a system to make sure that there will be minimal disruptions to our processes despite any changes,” Lia said.

Another ongoing challenge is product development to “keep your brand relevant to the market. Without this, the business will stagnate. Product quality is the main reason why your customers will order again from you. This is why it is essential to always, always get customer feedback.”

There is also the issue of scaling up. “When’s the right time to scale up? This was a question that we continuously pondered on. It was a big decision as it would mean we would be investing on equipment, ingredients, manpower, marketing efforts and so on. We were hesitant. But seeing as our sales trend was consistent enough to sustain our investments, and with the common aim to grow our business, we took the risk. There were areas where our investment did not return any income, but this did not dishearten us. Rather, we took the time to reassess what went wrong, and how we can do better. In time, we were able to see our overall sales go beyond our expectations.”

“There is always something new and change is constant. It is essential to be able to stay relevant and be aware of the trends. By being curious, you develop the urge to learn and become open to ideas.”

Nonetheless, looking back, Lia said that “every time we encountered problems, we always had an open mind and faced them head on. No shortcuts, no excuses. As long as you do not lose sight of your main objective in growing the business and are fully determined to give your utmost effort to meet that goal, you will be able to overcome any obstacle.”

For people who may also want to go into this line of business, what tips can Lia give?

First, she said, “don’t be afraid to the take the risk. There will always be doubts when you try out something new, but it’s always best to start somewhere than to never start at all. There are some who have the tendency to overthink to the point that they do not make any decisions any more, which is disastrous in any business. The need to know and study about the facets needed in your business is important, but do not let your hesitations tie you down. Just take the leap.”

Second, “surround yourself with people you aspire to be. This was the major turning point for me where I wanted to become more. Mindset for me is the hardest to change, but once you are able to shift your perspective, everything will follow. That is why it is important to surround yourself with the people you usually look up to, since you will unconsciously try to keep up with them and be inspired by them. Ultimately, you will keep pushing yourself forward and you will be able to reach to their level.”

And lastly, “be curious. There is always something new and change is constant. It is essential to be able to stay relevant and be aware of the trends. By being curious, you develop the urge to learn and become open to ideas,” Lia said.

For a business that reached ROI less than three months after opening,  Lia knows what she’s talking about. And yes, this could definitely help others too.

For more information about The Holy Crab PH, head to Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/theholycrabph) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/theholycrabph/); or email holycrabph2018@gmail.com.

BizWiz

Make time and go for it – Rankin Cailles

Like many, Rankin Cailles’ work was affected by Covid-19. This led to him opening By Chef Kin, an online bakery. He now says: “I say go for it even if you have a hectic schedule. It’s a continuous learning process.”

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By Chef Kin – an online bakery – was opened in May 2020, with a startup capital of approximately P100,000.

“I am a chef at an airline catering company,” said Rankin Cailles, who was ” used to (being) in the kitchen most of the time.” But then the lockdowns came, and “I was not used to being idle.” Itching to do something, “that’s when I started to bake breads and pastries at home.”

Cailles said that his family inspires him; ditto great chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Dominique Ansel and Gordon Ramsey.

But looking back now, “honestly, I was focused on being an employee for quite sometime,” said Cailles, who graduated from Enderun Colleges with a Bachelor’s degree in International Hospital Management major in Culinary Arts. But then “I had the time to bake and create new products.”

Here’s the thing, though: work re-started already for Cailles.

And so, he said, “right now, my biggest challenge is time. Since work resumed, I usually bake when I get home.” His wife – who also looks after their kid – helps out, along with her brother who is also studying culinary.

Rankin Cailles with his wife
The sous chef of Rankin Cailles

Cailles said that “in our less than a year operation, I can say it’s a profitable venture.” In fact, “yes, we already reached ROI; but we’re planning to purchase new equipment for efficiency.”

This is why – he stressed – going into business should be considered by people.

“I say go for it even if you have a hectic schedule. Make time because I learned a lot from starting By Chef Kin,” Cailles said. “It’s a continuous learning process for me.”

Interested to try the offerings of By Chef Kin? Head to FB: https://www.facebook.com/bychefkin or IG: https://www.instagram.com/bychefkin/.

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BizWiz

Explore things aligned to your passion – Lloyd Jeremy Matias

“Find your passion. Try exploring things aligned to your passion. Seek for business opportunities that is linked to that passion because nothing beats the feeling of doing what you really love and gaining something from it than doing things just for the sake of money,” said Lloyd Jeremy Matias of Mad Pastry PH.

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Mad Pastry PH – a small and local food brand located at Santa Rosa City, Laguna – was started in the last quarter of 2020, with initial capital of around PhP70,000 to PhP100,000 to cover the equipment, baking tools, kitchen renovation and packaging materials.

It may just be new (since the business started selling on December 10), but Lloyd Jeremy Matias can say in hindsight that “during this time of pandemic, I discovered a lot of things about myself, and that includes the talent of baking. At first, it was just a hobby – baking cookies and brownies – and then sharing them only to my family and friends.” 

Lloyd is a graduate of Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering, which is really not aligned with baking; and “I came from a typical Filipino family, raised by parents who always inspires us to study, do well in school in order to find good paying jobs and the thought of business was really not taught,” he said. So “I was afraid to take risks.”

But then “there were a lot of positive feedbacks about my cookies.” It helped that his sister started giving out cookies – without Lloyd knowing of this – and these random people like what they got.

“I realized (that) maybe I should start trying online business, since it is trending nowadays. That is my trigger point on why I started this business,” Lloyd said.

Choosing this industry in particular, he added, was easy. “Food is essential and everyone loves food,” Lloyd said.

It’s only been weeks since the business started, so ROI has yet to be attained.

But “I am really hoping that this will be profitable. The reception of people is really overwhelming and I hope this continues since we will also continue improving our products and services,” Lloyd said.

So far, the only challenge for Lloyd is time. 

“I didn’t quite expect the number of orders coming our way on our first week of selling. We are overwhelmed by the acceptance of our customers and we do not have the right system and the right approach yet,” he said. “But of course, with extra brain and extra hands, nothing is impossible. I will commend my family for really helping me overcome… challenges.”

And for people who may want to also open their business, what tips can Lloyd give?

“Find your passion. Try exploring things aligned to your passion. Seek for business opportunities that is linked to that passion because nothing beats the feeling of doing what you really love and gaining something from it than doing things just for the sake of money,” Lloyd said. “Do whatever makes you happy.”

For more information or to order from Mad Pastry PH, head to Facebook or Instagram @madpastryph; call/text 09338649797; or email madpastry.ph@gmail.com.

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BizWiz

Love and be confident about your products – Marianne Rose Valera

Marianne Rose Valera established Yuna’s in 2019; and the biz has been growing. “Focus on something that you are passionate about when starting a business,” she said. “You’ve got to love and be confident about your products.”

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Yuna’s was started around October 2019, with an initial capital of around PhP2,000, and only with baked mac and Korean chicken wings in the menu, recalled Marianne Rose Valera. 

But it was a field she was bound to enter. 

Marianne Rose noted that online businesses have been trending, and “I’ve been wanting to have a business but can’t think of a product to sell… until I got the idea of selling comfort foods.”

It helps, of course, that “aside from cooking, I love feeding people. I grew up cooking with my mom (who) taught me the basics of cooking. And I am a housewife with a two year old daughter. I am a nurse by profession but chose to be a hands-on mom, putting aside my career for a moment. I thought of using my extra time on this food business,” she said.

Now, her family inspires her to do good. “In this time of crisis, I thought I’m still lucky having this business. My husband works abroad but due to the pandemic, work has been temporarily halted leaving him with no salary for three months. This business helped us through financially.”

There remain challenges.

For instance, “I am running my business alone. Prep work and cooking are tiring especially if you work alone,” she said. 

Also, “I have a two-year-old daughter who’s being looked after by my older sister if I have to cook or go to the grocery store to get supplies.”

All the same, “it is just a matter of time management.”

But yes, Marianne Rose already reached ROI; and she said this is a “profitable venture.”

And for people who may want to also open their business, what tips can Marianne Rose give?

“Focus on something that you are passionate about when starting a business,” she said. “You’ve got to love and be confident about your products.”

Wanna grab the offerings of Yuna’s? Head to Yuna’s Facebook page.

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