#BeTheBoss: What does it take to ‘Make It Big?’

Adrianna Mejia
#BeTheBoss: What does it take to ‘Make It Big?’
Winners of the 2015 #BeTheBossAwards share their experiences and tell us what it takes to make it big

MANILA, Philippines  ­– The #BeTheBoss Awards gave Filipino entrepreneurs a chance to improve their online businesses and learn from those who have “made it.” (READ: 5 lessons from the #BeTheBoss Awards winners)

The finalists’ prize included a trip to Silicon Valley in California – an opportunity to explore new trends, learn different things and meet people who can further help hone their skills and develop their brands.

#BeTheBoss is back. This time, the focus is on how micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can “Make It Big.”

Let some of last year’s winners tell you how that’s possible.

Adapt to change

For entrepreneurs, bringing ideas to reality is only the first step.

As technology continues to evolve and ideas become more innovative, getting into an online business can be pretty competitive. First-time entrepreneurs may ask, “How can I standout?” or “Will I even make it big?”

This is where being open to change and stepping out of your comfort zone can help your business stay relevant and on top of the game.

BE THE BOSS. The 2015 winners and finalists were given fresh ideas on how to innovate and step up to the challenge of growing their online business here in the Philippines. Photos courtesy of PLDT SME Nation

Kim Lato, CEO and President of Kimstore, shares that when she first started her business, e-commerce was still something very new to people.

“The idea of social selling, as I’d like to call it, was fairly new back in 2006. E-commerce was technically non-existent. People had second thoughts on transacting with online shops due to security concerns,” she says. “Back then, [running an] online business is an untapped opportunity here in the Philippines. That’s when I saw its potential that it might become big in the coming years.”

The participants observe some of the live demonstration of a prototype project during one of their tours in in Singularity University.

To get Kimstore off the ground and establish it as a legitimate business, Lato met with her first customers personally. She says: “[I] scheduled meet-ups at strategic locations around Metro Manila to ensure that it would be accessible to my customers. After each transaction, I took photos with my customers and their new gadgets and posted it online as proof of successful transactions.”

As 2016 marks Kimstore’s 10th year anniversary, the business had to go through a lot of changes to be able to keep up with the demand, satisfaction, and curiosity of customers. Lato says: “I believe we’ve accomplished milestones. However, I also believe that there’s no room for complacency. There are still tons of untapped opportunities that Kimstore has yet to conquer in our next ten years. No matter which industry you’re coming from, I believe you have to be ready to adapt to changes, be open to feedback, accept challenges, and keep up with trends.”

Learn from the best

As the 2015 Boss for E-commerce, Lato and the 14 other finalists were able to visit Silicon Valley and take a tour of the headquarters of tech giants such as Google and Twitter.

Of the experience, Lato says: “I realized that though the competition is strong, the market is big and therefore, I must be keen on distinguishing opportunities that would keep me ahead of the competition.”

Kristine Reyes-Lopez of Messy Bessy gets a try at golf putting in one of the common areas during their tour of Google HQ.

Boss for Social Responsibility winner Krie Lopez, CEO and founder of Messy Bessy, says that the awards and the trip gave him leverage and a more global perspective for his business. He shares: “This [trip] has not only given me a good network of peers and like-minded entrepreneurs in Manila, but it has also opened my eyes to the very unique way the businesses in the Valley operate and think. We are currently trying to stay up-to-date with marketing and communications trends in the social media world.  We are constantly ensuring that our brand stays relevant to our customers.”

Now, Lato is optimistic about taking on the bigger playing field. “Though smartphone sales in the Philippines are still expected to grow until 2020, I’m now preparing for the arrival of the next big thing in tech,” she says.

“I don’t think we have made it big yet, but if we stay the course, we are well on our way to do so,” Lopez agrees.

Make it big

ONE OF A KIND. Participants were given the chance to learn through a tour, seminars and workshops in Silicon Valley

Be The Boss’ past winners show that in a entrepreneur’s world, challenges will come day in and day out. Success is all a matter of perspective; the willingness to learn and keep an open mind for change.

The pioneering batch of the Silicon Valley immersion program for Filipino entrepreneurs together with officials from PLDT Smart SME Nation take a photo opportunity at the Air BnB Building Lobby as part of their week-long tour.

Lato shares this final piece of advice: “No idea is good without clear objectives and there is no time to waste but continue to innovate.”

If you’re an entrepreneur, make this year your year. This is your chance to spark change and take the next step. Seek and grab any opportunity to grow, learn and make it big.

Find out how you can join the 2016 #BeTheBoss Awards here. – Rappler.com

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