“Sure ka ba diyan?” “Isn’t it hard?” “How do you even know what to do?” “Will it be worth it?”
These are only a few of the questions aspiring Pinay entrepreneurs have to face. True enough, leaving the comforting routine of a day-to-day job, bringing to life a unique business idea, and convincing others to believe in it can be very challenging and daunting.
But four dedicated Pinay entrepreneurs told a different story during Spark Fest 2018, an annual conference celebrating art, entrepreneurship, and social good supported by Globe myBusiness. Here, Anna Oposa, chief director of marine conservation organization Save Philippine Seas; Chely Esguerra, cofounder of ChannelGood Inc., a multimedia agency for mission-driven organizations; Lynn Pinugu, executive director of Mano Amiga Philipines, a nonprofit organization that provides education to low-income communities; and Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, writer of the bestselling book #PaanoBaTo, share five strategies that worked for them as they leapt into the world of social entrepreneurship.
1. Know your goal, your scope, and your audience.
Bianca shares that from the get-go, every aspiring entrepreneur should already ask themselves these important questions: “What do I want to do? How do I want to do it?"
Once you answer these, the driving purpose of your project is born. When you have a clearer goal in mind and a more defined scope of what you want to achieve, your dreams are a step closer to becoming a reality.
The next step is to practice audience segmentation, which is crucial to starting and sustaining your business. You must know your audience and focus on pleasing them and them only. “With this, you also have to know that you can’t please everyone,” says Bianca.
Chely adds, “Don’t worry about the others.” What is most essential are the people that matter to your cause.
2. Get to know the community you work with.
Anna works with communities around the Philippines, educating them on the importance and practice of marine conservation. Getting to know the people her organization wants to help is vital to her cause and her plans: “If they don’t know who you are, how can they trust you?”
You should also manage your expectations, she reminds. No matter how good and exciting you think your idea is, pause for a moment and ask yourself, ‘Is this really what the community needs?’
3. Invest in the right people.
Lynn understands the temptation of making tipid on the people you work with. That said, hiring more people may get more work done, but it doesn't always do so in the best way possible. “It’s counter-productive,” she says.
“Who you work with is sometimes more important than what you do,” Chely adds, reiterating the importance of hiring a lean and efficient team.
4. Know how and when to draw the line.
The earlier you start learning how to say no, the easier it is to turn down opportunities that don’t align with your values. Drawing the line in terms of your business’ core values, beliefs, and vision is very important to avoid compromising the things that matter most to you. Saying yes to everything can be detrimental, and looking at money as your end goal towards everything can compromise your business’ integrity.
As soon as you know your advocacy, the right opportunities to help your business grow even further will naturally open up.
5. Create your own support system.
Whether it's your business partners, family, close friends, or even your own customers, don’t forget to create and maintain a support group throughout your journey. These are the people who will keep you going and who will be honest enough to call you out when you’re wrong. Build a network, inspire others, and encourage collaboration over competition. With the right people in your circle, anything is possible.