3 Lessons from Startups

Today’s business landscape in the Philippines is consistently becoming more diversified, with startups being projected to grow and exist in almost every industry. Indeed, more and more people are embracing the possibility of achieving financial success through business endeavors. In the years since I started my executive coaching in the Philippines, I have seen firsthand the struggles as much as the success of startups. As a business coach who aspires to share my accumulated knowledge for the growth of an organization, I feel responsible to share with you the top three lessons we can learn from startup culture in the Philippines. This way, we could all contribute to the vision of moving the nation forward through businesses.


Some people are hesitant to start their own business for fear of failing and because they have low tolerance for risks. Yet, we have heard stories of how people were able to grow profit for selling a product or service they randomly came up with. A seed would not bear fruits when it isn’t planted. Similarly, an idea would not prosper if it remains as such. Founding a startup bears fruit after three important lessons have been taken into account: the team, the business model, and the people network.


1. The Three-Man Team

A business could hire many employees, but without the ones with the necessary talents to help bring the company forward, it would go nowhere. In fact, a startup could commence operations with but three people: the hustler, the hacker, and the designer. Each of them is tasked to fulfill specific responsibilities but is expected to work together towards a common vision – that is, to help the company grow more profits. Let me discuss these personalities one by one in hopes that you could be able to find the right fit for your business endeavor.


The Hustler. The hustler is the team’s leader. This could be you, the CEO who builds the team together and the one who has the vision for the business. We could also call him the “visionary” as he oversees all business operations, including partnerships, projects, finances, and even company culture. The hustler is also the chief decision-maker of the company. We could say he also performs as a general troubleshooter. He makes sure that the operations are in line with the company’s vision and objectives. This means that the hustler ought to have the skills as that of an entrepreneur in order to satisfy the expectations that come with the role.


The Hacker. The hacker is the team’s technical developer who does all programming-related jobs. In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for not using the online platform in business operations. In order to realize this, the computer geek needs to be present.


The Designer. The designer is the one responsible for brand management and user experience. This person is the one with a wide range of people network (which I’ll talk about later) and has a huge expanse of knowledge about marketing and promotions. In other words, the designer has a glass overflowing with creativity to help the business come up with a design that sells.


2. The Business Model

The past clients I had as a business technology coach in the Philippines encountered problems with their long-term vision. They have a vision, yes, but they do not have a plan on how to accomplish it. The problem with this is an incoherent business model. Just like a house has its architectural plan, a business needs to have its blueprint. A business model is a plan on how to make your business idea flourish. Some questions you need to address in crafting the business model are the following: how are you going to get the product or service to the customers, how is it possible to create customer value, how would the business keep up and overtake its competitors, and what are the costs and revenue of the business. In fact, the business models of successful firms like Google and Facebook clearly indicate the companies’ strategies on partnerships, activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segmentation, cost structure, and revenue structure. Essentially, the business model is your general idea on how to lead the business to succeed.


3. The People Network

As a motivational speaker here in the Philippines, I always emphasize the significance of networking skills. In looking for a job, networking is a huge benefit. In a business, it is also equally important. A startup needs to have a group of people who can contribute, either for short-term or long-term, to the business. This network of people or connections include the coach, the mentors, the network, the ecosystem, and the community. These individuals will help you get connected to a wider range of audience and eventually help you reach your target market.


The team, the business model, and the people network are indispensable contributors to the growth of a business, whether it is a startup hoping to make its own mark in the industry or a struggling business hoping to revamp and regain composure. Without sufficient planning about these three factors, a business idea would remain idle. We all want a good harvest. Nonetheless, a harvest is only possible when we plant and care for the seeds.


So, do you think you’re ready to plant those seeds?


This is Joey Gurango, your Business Technology Coach!

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