Happy Lockversary!

It has been one year since the lockdown, for some it was more. Classes were suspended one week before, while us at work had a trial lockdown starting March 12. A trial lockdown that is more than one year old now. I do not need to tell you how hard a year it was, we were all affected:

So how was your one year in lockdown? Some say you need 40 days to change a habit, others say you need to to do the 21/90 days to build a new one. Which ever is more effective, we have been in lockdown for more than 365 days, definitely we all changed. I even wonder what will be the new me after the lockdown, from someone who likes to go out or travel I might be now a home body.

During the one year lockdown I was able to follow my reset-realign-restart formula which reinvented SMEpinoy.com and AgentisConsult.com. If I was to plot my wheel of life, there would be major improvements in most aspects of my life.

(SOURCE: https://codescale.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/wheel-of-life/)

Sometimes I felt guilty that the lockdown was more a blessing to me compared to other people. Until I lost my mother, although she did not die because of COVID, I believed she was an indirect victim of COVID. Being a nonagenarian, she cannot get the proper medical attention she needed.

Furthermore, there is now a more contagious variant which brought things closer to home. There is at least one from my different circle of friends getting COVID, not just individuals but also their families. From averaging 2,000 new cases a day, we are now at 5,000 new cases a day. The UP OCTA even projected it can go to 6,000 new cases a day by the end of March. Even if there is already a vaccine, a Philippine Senator projected that at the pace we are going, we will reach the needed 70% vaccinated to get herd immunity by 2033. Even if we drastically improve our pace, it only mean we would not be able to reach the 70% needed this 2021. It only mean that at best we are just halfway into this lockdown.

I am stating this not to scare people, or make them lose hope. In the spirit of Strategic Planning, we should know the real score so we can plan appropriately. In the spirit of ISO 9001, we should revisit our plans, check how we are meeting them and adjust where necessary.

If you have hibernated for one year, do not believe you can survive by being idle for another year unless you have millions in your account. Even if you have millions, you still need to reset, realign and restart the other aspects of your life.

If you have been adept to have followed a plan during the pandemic, it is now time to for a revalidation. Personally, I have neglected my health. I also feel a need to have more impact in helping the community. Sharing what I know is not enough, I should start a project that would have a more direct impact to people’s lives and the environment. Whatever it would be, I would now review and adjust my plans.

Just do not forget, that to survive another year of lockdown we need more than ourselves. We need support from other heroes in our life. Whether we like it or not, this is not the end of the longest lockdown in the world. Happy Lockversary to you all!

Data Privacy

Before anything, I would like to apologize for the long hiatus in my articles. I lost a very special person in my life and am actually still grieving. Writing became more a struggle when you are sad. But while searching for a video to promote our new product Data Security Consulting (http://agentisconsult.com/new-normal/data-security/), I stumbled into something that even a seasoned techie like me was shocked. I was forced to at least write about this discovery. Initially I thought the data being collected was simply the data you post in your social media account and the indoctrination were simple digital marketing. The Artificial Intelligence was more advanced than I knew.

Psychographics, the first time I learned of the word is the game changer. Mass advertising for me is still tolerable through influencing by bombardment or shotgun approach. But when you can already zoom in to the psychology of an individual and surgically target the matching niche advertising this is already the realization of the Matrix and V for Vendetta level of indoctrination. It is hard to explain my fear, but as a Martial law baby, I have a phobia to dictatorship and government control. Psychographics can lead to brainwashing without my knowing it. If you are a techy and would want to learn more how they do it, please proceed to view the next video and get a nose bleed.

This video was posted in 2016, now I am not so sure if the choices I made are my own or am I already mind controlled. Although I knew Cambridge Analytica operated in the Philippines, I dared to Google, “Cambridge Analytica Philippines” and this is what i got.

At risk to be called crazy or a conspiracy theorist, my advise…Be afraid…Be very afraid…

Joke only! I want to make this article to be an eye-opener of your Data Rights and teach how to protect your Facebook Privacy:

and lastly…Be afraid…Be very afraid…

Pitching for Funding

As promised, this week I will talk about how to pitch to the bank or potential investors to get funding for your business. It is not enough to have a business plan, you also need to sell it to potential investors. Even after your business is operational, you still need to continuously pitch your products and services to potential clients.

There are different kinds of pitch but personally I just use two, a short or informal pitch and a long or formal pitch. The short pitch is used to get the attention and attract the potential investor to setup a meeting for a more formal presentation where you will need a Pitch Deck or a PowerPoint presentation.

SHORT PITCH

There are different kinds of short pitches such as the Twitter Pitch, where your pitch is limited to 140 characters, and Elevator Pitch, where your pitch should not be longer than 2 minutes or an elevator ride. Although there are a lot of variations in doing a short pitch this are the essentials :

  • A strong opener that will capture their attention.
  • Introduction of your business, including what you do.
  • What is the problem your business is trying to solve?
  • What is the solution of your business to the problem?
  • Why is your solution unique and why it is hard to copy?
  • What you need, i assume its money?
  • How will they be assured to get their money back with interest? If your talking to an investor, how much money will they make by investing in your company?
  • Close by setting an appointment for a more detailed presentation.

Here is a video of how to do an elevator pitch;

LONG PITCH

If you are successful in your Short Pitch, be it in the phone, social media or an elevator it means you need to prepare a Pitch Deck. Here are the essential information that must be present in your PowerPoint presentation:

  • A strong opener that will capture their attention.
  • What is the problem your business is trying to solve?
  • What is the solution of your business to the problem?
  • Your product that will deliver the solution.
  • Present the team, with short description, that will create the product.
  • Show the competition or alternatives to your product.
  • Describe your target market.
  • Present how you plan to make money.
  • Show your financial projections including how much investment is needed and how it will be spent.
  • A strong closer, including how much money they will make by investing in your company.

There is a 10/20/30 Rule in PowerPoint Presentations, it should have 10 slides, should not last more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points(1). So where do you put your contact information if you already have 10 slides? I put it at the bottom of all my slides.

Lastly, do not forget that you are still talking to a human therefore always add eye candies or anything that will touch on the human emotion;

References:

  1. 10/20/30 Rule : https://www.pier8group.com/the-10-20-30-rule-of-powerpoint/

Philippines Economic Outlook 3Q20 by Kaye Riguer (https://www.facebook.com/kayeriguer)

ECONOMICS : Philippines during the pandemic.

Official figures and stats. These are very interesting to see. Used these slides for the interview/presentation this dawn.

Key points :

* From -16.5% growth in the Q2; it is recovering, -11.5% in the Q3.

* Agriculture sector remained positive all throughout.

* Manufacturing and Export are now reporting stable recovery.

* Unemployment rate is improving.

* The number of online businesses skyrocketed. The figures surprised us too! Crazy surge!

* Check out the last slide. This year stirred it a bit, but potential is there.

We got to compare the situation here with the situation in Norway and Europe in general. Europe is having 2nd wave now, so we have to be careful to avoid going through what we went through mid of the year.

Got some help with these. I feel so blessed to have someone ridiculously smart and utterly supportive.

Jerry Maguire’s Mission Statement

When Jerry Maguire came out in the 90’s, it had a strong impact to some people. Some looked for the one who completes them while some like my co-sales teammate resigned from work. Like Jerry Maguire, he too had a quarter-life crisis and wanted to go back to school to pursue his passion. I, like some of Jerry Maguire’s officemate we’re clapping but deep inside was wary he will achieve his passion. If you are wondering what happened to him, he is now successful in the same work and industry he tried to leave.

Wikipedia defines quarter-life crisis as “involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life” which is most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person’s early twenties up to their mid-thirties[1]. I define quarter-life crisis this way; we go through college and find a job just focused on earning money until one day we wakeup and begin to ask, is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? In this crossroad of our life, we begin to look for our passion and purpose. If you are successful in finding your purpose and pursuing it, life seems easier. Actually the problems are the same but since you are doing what you love, you have gained the resilience to continue in spite of the difficulties. Plus the comfortable feeling that you are doing something that you are meant to do.

Business is like life, that is why it needs a Mission Statement. Otherwise your business would just be for earning money. In my “How to Start Your Own Business” Seminar, I always ask the attendees what is their passion, then I tell them to start the business of their passion. Business is a struggle, it is harder than just being employed and earning salary. Your continuing the business and closing it will depend if the business is your passion.

Another point from the movie, Jerry Maguire was fired for trying to change the direction of the company when he was not part of the Board of Directors. In fact he was like Don Quixote, dreaming people will embrace his mission when he is in the middle of the organizational chart. There will be no twist to the movie if Jerry Maguire was part of the Board of Director. It is the Owners or Board of Directors who sets the Vision and Mission of the business then cascades down this direction through policies and corporate culture. In fact, Jerry Maguire was only able to set the direction he wanted when he was the owner of his own company.

Two lessons I want to reiterate from this movie:

  1. Your business needs a Mission and Vision based on your passion. There are a lot of advantages to this, one of which is you won’t have a quarter-life crisis which in business years is just after a few years. Owning a business is like sailing towards waves and you continuing or going back when you encounter rough seas would depend if your business completes you.
  2. The Mission, Vision and Values are developed by the owners and cascaded down their employees. The analogy is like steering a ship with the directions coming from somewhere below deck and not on top at the bridge.

Ever wondered what was really inside Jerry Maguire’s Mission Statement? The movie’s writer, director and producer – Cameron Crowe released the full 25-page Mission Statement in his website to commemorate the 20th year of the movie in 2016. You can read it at http://www.theuncool.com/films/jerry-maguire/jerrys-mission-statement/ .

Reference :

  1. Quarter-Life Crisis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarter-life_crisis#:~:text=In%20popular%20psychology%2C%20a%20quarter,begin%20as%20early%20as%2018).

Funding Your Business

In the spirit of reading the signs of the times, I would change my article this week into Funding Your Business. I received a private message (PM) this morning from one of the attendees of my “How To Start Your Own Business” Seminar. He asked advice on how to fund a business he WANTS to put up. His savings run out and needs to get funding so he can generate income. Which is our mission for Business Sanctuary (http://sanctuary.smepinoy.com/) having foreseen this issue being encountered by a lot of people in the New Normal.

My first feedback, is the business you WANT to put up feasible? Is there a market for your product or are you just asking for funding to build your clubhouse?

Are you trying to get a loan from the bank, or funding from anyone, without a business plan? Good luck! Having a business plan gives assurance to whomever you approach that you are legitimate. It also show that you have a plan and not just starting something on a whim.

Having a business plan also gives you the opportunity to analyse if the business you WANT to put up has a chance of succeeding. Is there a market need for the product you want to offer or is it something people can wait until after the Covid Pandemic to purchase? To answer this question, you can do market research. If you think market research is too tedious and difficult, you can try to use the Pestle Method which I touched on at CH 2 : The struggles of an Entrepreneur (http://smepinoy.com/the-struggles-of-an-entrepreneur/).

I will discuss in my future articles how to create a business plan, but for the meantime try to put yourself in the shoes of the bank. What are the things you will ask the business loan applicant before you approve their application? Example of some questions I might ask myself are:

  • How will the loan applicant spend the money?
  • How will the loan applicant give back the money?

Lastly, he told me all banks he visited said they are not offering loans for small businesses. As a guide, this are the institutions whom you can approach to ask for funding:

  • Development Bank of the Philippines and Landbank are government banks which they use as conduits for loans to MSMEs. (https://www.dbp.ph/developmental-banking/micro-small-and-medium-enterprises/sustainable-enterprises-for-economic-development-seed/879-2/)
  • If you Google “MSME loans in the Philippines” you would get a list of private institutions, not only banks, offering loans to MSMEs.
  • Crowd and Seed funding, if your business project has a technology or social impact you can also Google “Crowd/Seed Funding Philippines” to get a list and instructions on how to do Crowd or Seed Funding for your business.

This are just a few institutional sources of funding for your business, but before you even start looking for funding, create a business plan. Next week I will talk on how to pitch your business plan.