Honored

The Philippine Business for Social Progress – Enterprise Development Group held last Tuesday a forum  for SMEs (that’s small, micro and medium enterprises) on how to make their business operations more eco-friendly.  The same event also honored PBSP’s Volunteer Advisors (VA) under its Business Advisory Program.  I have been a VA for PBSP for some time already, making myself available for small enterprises that need support in the areas of Service Marketing, Customer Service,  Business Planning and Strategic Management.

As an aside, and for you to better appreciate why SMEs are important to the national economy, read today’s A View From Taft column in BusinessWorld written by Aida Velasco of DLSU.  In summary, “SMEs comprise more than 96.6% of all registered establishments in the Philippines (NSO, 2002). Ninety percent of business establishments are micro industries, and 59% are engaged in wholesale and retail businesses. Only 2,984 or 0.4% are classified as big businesss, and 43% are in the manufacturing sector”.  This figure alone tells us that the SMEs are the real engine of commerce, supplying big business and houselholds alike and employing a large number of people at the same time.  Unfortunately, the SMEs are also the least supported sector.  They lack skills, technical know how and capital among many other support mechanisms.

I am sharing below the speech I gave that afternoon, as a response to the recognition PBSP conferred to its volunteer advisors.  Taking inspiration from President Noynoy Aquino’s inaugural speech and SONA, I also prepared my speech in Filipino.  Here you go:

Bagsik ni Ondoy, Tapang ng mga VA, Tibay ng PBSP, at Syempre, Tagumpay ng mga Maliit na Namumunuhan

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Buong galak po naming tinatanggap ang karangalan na iginawad sa amin ngayon ng PBSP.  Sa ngalan ng mga kasamahan kong VA, maraming salamat po.

Noong una kong tinagpo ang mga kababaihan ng Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi Purpose Cooperative (see previos post) para sa isang strategic planning session sa Intramuros, malakas na ang ulan noon.  Medyo nahuli sila ng dating kasi bumaha na sa ibang parte ng Kamaynilaan, at mahirap na din humanap ng masakyan patungong Manila.

Pagkaraan ng ilang linggo, para naman sa aming follow up session, nakatakda kaming magkita sa kanilang lugar sa Nagpayong, Pasig.  Lingid sa aming kaalaman, iyong araw na din yon pala ang nakatakdang pagdating ng mabagsik na si Ondoy.

Syempre pa, na-stranded kami sa daan- ako, si Weng at si Edwin ng PBSP.  Bago pa man lang kami makarating sa Nagpayong, nakatanggap na kami ng tawag mula sa coop na nagsabing huwag na kaming tumuloy.  Hanggang bewang na po daw ang tubig.  Kaya naman bigla din kaming nag U-turn.  Madami na kasi kaming nadaanang mga kalsada na lubog na sa baha.  Madami na din kaming alternate routes na sinubukan.  Nakikinig man kami sa radio noong mga panahon na iyon, pursigido pa din kaming makarating.  Sige lang…sabi namin…makakarating din tayo.

Hindi po kami nakarating sa Nagpayong.  Na-stranded kami sa kalye.  Naghanap ng malulusutang daan na hindi pa lumulubog.  Naipit sa trapik ng mga sasakyang ilang oras na ding nakatigil sa daan.  Hatinggabi na kami nakauwi, sina Weng inumaga na.

Si Ondoy ay matagal pa bago natin makalimutan.  Mas matagal sa apat na linggong pamamalagi ng bahang dulot ni Ondoy sa mga naninirahan sa Pasig.  Mas matagal kaysa sa mahigit 8 oras na walang tigil na pag ulan noong araw na iyon.  Mas matagal pa sa mga madilim at mahabang sandali ng paghihintay ng tulong habang natatakot at nangangamba ang mga nasalanta ng bagyo.

Sa tagal ng pananatili ng alaala ni Ondoy sa ating mga kamalayan, gamitin din natin ang panahong yan sa pagsisikap na maintindihan kung bakit may mga Ondoy o unos o bagyo sa ating buhay.

–         May bagyo para gisingin ang natutulog nating kakayahan para makilahok sa paghugis ng ating lipunan.  Di ba, madami ang nag volunteer, naki-alam, tumulong, nagpaka-bayani?

–         May bagyo para sabihin sa atin ng kalikasan na hindi na nya kayang buhatin pa ang mabigat nating mga basura at pagsasawalang bahala sa ating kapaligiran.  Kaya naman, ibinalik ng kalikasan ang mga basura natin…sa loob mismo ng ating mga tahanan.

–         May bagyo at pagbaha para mamulat tayo sa ating mga angking kakayahan, at upang lubos na maunawaan ang kahalagahan ng pagiging responsableng mamamayan.

–         May bagyo para tayo ay matuto.

Ang bagyo, tunay man o metapora sa mga suliranin sa buhay, ay kasangkapan lamang upang ipaalam sa atin ang mga kelangan nating malaman o matagal nang alam pero tila ay binabalewala. 

–         Na lahat tayo ay may angking kakayahang tumulong sa kapwa.  Kelangan lamang ay panatilihing buhay ang ispirit ng boluntarismo at pakikilahok – bilang propesyonal, bilang negosyante, bilang isang mamamayan. Lahat tayo ay humuhugis sa ating lipunan; nagpapanday sa ating kinabukasan.  Walang sisihan.  Pero wala din dapat lamangan. 

 –         Na lahat tayo ay may pananagutan sa kalikasan.  Kaya dapat tamang sakto lang ang paggamit sa enerhiya, tubig, kahoy, gasolina, papel, hangin, bakal at iba pang likas na yaman. 

 –         Na hindi na natin kelangan ng isa pang bagyo para alamin ulit ang aralin o lessons sa mga sakunang pwede naman talagang maiwasan.

Ganyan din sa buhay mangangalakal o negosyante o namumuhunan di ba?  Kelangan tapat sa mga suki at mamimili; kelangan responsable sa mga kalat o basura at gumagamit ng mga materyales na angkop at hindi nakakasakit sa kalikasan o sa lipunan.

Sa mga VA, ito ay hamon din para sa atin na rumisponde hindi lamang sa mga oras ng kagipitan.  Mas makatutulong tayo kung maging instrumento tayo ng wastong pagnenegosyo – handa, tapat, malinis at may silbi sa kapwa. 

Bilang pagtatapos, maraming salamat sa PBSP sa mga pagkakataong ibinigay nyo sa amin upang maging kapaki-pakinabang.  Sana ay madami pa tayong matutulungan.

Tag ulan na ulit.  Madalas na naman ang bagyo at ang pagbaha.  Sana ngayon ay mas handa na tayo.  Maraming salamat po.

Interested to volunteer as Business Advisor?  Click here.

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Idea Camp Davao

Amidst the cynism and intellectual laziness that seemingly dominate  our generation today,  there are a few things that, thankfully, can still give us space for a refreshing mental masturbation, allowing us to explore the unimagined and create solutions to problems not yet known by ordinary mortals.  One of these few things is the Idea Camp Davao:  the unconference for people who want to make a differenceposter-20090811I am in no way connected to, or friends with the people who are behind this revolutionary initiative.  At least not yet.  But I am an avid observer and a silent supporter, ever since I’ve learned of their first Idea Camp few months ago.  

If I were based in Davao, this event would surely be a never-to-be-missed day on my calendar.  For those who are in Davao City, or nearby provinces, why not pitch a tent to this camp of ideas?  It could be the right orgasmic experience for you- intellectually speaking.

A Social Experiment

In the runup to entering Stage 1 of the Life Entreprenuership Program of the Create Abundance Business Community, I was given a task so extraordinary that the responses I got from my friends were predicably, also extraordinary.

social experiment

Such was the essence of the social experiment:  to get unexpected result from an unexpected action.

The result was varied yet affirming.  Many of those I texted replied with positive responses.  A number of them said yes unconditionally, without even probing for details.  Yet, there were those who are just plain curious but unwilling to help.  They started calling me asking for the big questions– What happened?  Why do you need it?  How come you only need such a small amount?  Can’t you afford it?  As I explain to them, they would withdraw from the conversation.  Ah, I can smell the cynics from several cellsites away.  Of course, there were those who were apologetic for not having extra money to lend me.  Some felt sorry for me that I have resorted to a somewhat desperate act while a few kept their fingers away from their cellphones and chose to just ignore my message.     

That was quite understandble given the many financial fiascos we have had encountered in recent past, from the mega meltdown of the US financial sector to our very own Legacy mess.  Money matters are serious matters.  As an old adage goes, lend money only to people you don’t care about; else you might lose both money and friend.   I hope that was not the case for those friends of mine who lent me their money.

That was the action, and it was very uncharacteristic of me to send a message to all of my friends asking them to lend me three thousand pesos so I can start a business.

The goal of the social experiment was twofold:  for me to come to terms with my money concepts and for others to be tested on their own money concepts.  The subliminal objective was to test how many people trusts me.  The big goal is to really get hold of the money that was promised me.

It took me enough courage and a dose of adventurous spirit to send those messages.  At first though, I was apprehensive:  what will they say about me? Is this ethical?  Would these people change their perception of me?  I later realized that these are the same questions that boxed me in to where I am  right now.  I need to take a risk, like a true entreprenuer should.  I need to get out of the box. 

The box no longer exists.

Taking the MBA Oath

Today’s Pinoy Kasi column of Michael Tan in the Philippine Daily Inquirer discussed a viral contagion of another kind:  the pursuit of ethical conduct in managing a business.  In simpler terms, management professionals particularly MBA graduates want to transform the field of management into a true profession, one in which MBAs are respected for their integrity, professionalism, and leadership.

The MBA Oath initiative was started by Harvard Business School’s graduating class of 2009.  The students asked why should not MBA graduates be similarly bounded by a professional code of conduct like the lawyers and medical doctors.  To them, more than maximizing shareholder’s value, the business leader-manager should also be concerned about the general welfare of the people by doing good business the right way. 

The initiative drew more supporters than the graduating students earlier expected.  From 100 of their classmates as the initial target, there are now more than 1,200 MBA graduates from around the world who took and signed the oath on-line.  In fact, the oath itself has now been translated to Spanish and German versions.  I’m thinking of doing the Filipino version soon!

When Michael Tan mentioned in his article that he has seen no one from a Philippine business school signed the oath yet, I immediately checked the MBA oath website and became the first Filipino to do so.  (Although I am not sure of this because the list only indicates the school graduated from and not the nationality).

Here’s the full text (short version) of the MBA Oath for your reading pleasure.  After reading the text myself, I felt that there is much that managers and leaders can do to make our world a better place. 

When will our public managers replicate this initiative?

THE MBA OATH

 As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can create alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face choices that are not easy for me and others.

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.
  • I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers and the society in which we operate.
  • I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.
  • I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise.
  • I will take responsibility for my actions, and I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly.
  • I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society.
  • I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide.
  • I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath.

This oath I make freely, and upon my honor.

Taxed!

I paid the government P116,065.00 in personal income tax last year.

That’s a hold-up amounting to at least two or three months salary, and it goes puff! like a burst bubble.  I didn’t even had the chance to get hold of the money I paid, just so I can say, “dumaan lang sa palad ko“.

Income taxes are withheld from source.  In my case, as in the case of many other employees, my employer deducts a portion of my salary each pay day as my tax due to the government. 

Robert Kiyosaki was right when he said that people in the E (employment) quadrant pays first the government before they pay themselves.  In contrast to the rich people, or those who are in the B (Big Business) quadrant, who pays themselves first before they pay the government.

Our tax structure is very much skewed in favor of corporations.  Business owners can charge their lunch, dinner, recreation, vacations, gadgets and whatnots to their company’s expenses.  The more they spend, the less corporate income tax they pay.  The formula for computing corporate income tax, in its simplest form is: revenue less expenses equals net profit.  Thirty one percent of the net profit goes to the government as tax.

Did you get my point then?  Business owners are taxed after they have paid themselves with all the luxuries they can afford.  They can even declare a net loss just by spending every penny they earn so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes. 

Meanwhile, salaried workers are taxed even before they get their monthly paycheck.  And it does not stop there.  We are also taxed every time we buy clothes, eat out,  fill up our gas tank, watch a movie, ride an airplane, etc. 

Terrible, you might say but that is just the way it is.  The middleclass runs our economy because most middleclass are employees and it is from employees that taxes are collected almost sweat-free.

We are in a rat race.  We work our butt like there is no more tomorrow, drain our body and mind, beat deadlines like hell all in the name of what– a promotion that comes seldom and sporadically?  a raise just to be taxed some more?  an illustrious career?  Is it worth it?

The solution I believe, is to find a way out of the rat race.  To do that, we must change our mindset and learn to think like a rich man.  The first step is to ensure that we are financially literate.

More about financial literacy on my next post.

r u E S or B I?

I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Kiyosaki these days and I feel enlightened. Like a child in his first Aha! moment, I was surprised by the profundity and power of this book and at the same time, annoyed at myself for not having read Kiyosaki’s books sooner.

51ohfre8lgl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_1I spent almost four years in B-school but not one of my professors there ever mentioned or made Kiyosaki a required reading.  In fact, these types of books were classified as self-help and students were told to shy away from, like the plague, because self-helps, we were told, are just commercial ploys intended to capture the single-minded non-readers.

They were right about the single-minds but wrong about Kiyosaki.

The book’s power lies in its simplicity, honesty, matter-of-fact discussions, and use of stories, or allegories to drive home a point.  I was not at all bothered by those who criticizes Kiyosaki for the seemingly fictional characterization of his Rich Dad (no one can locate him and Kiyosaki is mum about his whereabouts) because, I guess the use of Rich Dad is a literally license.

Rich Dad Poor Dad, like his other books, is for those who want to be wealthy.  The first step to creating wealth is to find out where you are right now.  Kiyosaki thus introduces the Cashflow Quadrants:  the E for employment, S for small business and self-employment, B for big business and I for investments. 

He said that most people were/ are educated to become good employees who pay their taxes religiously (since income taxes are automatically deducted in company’s payroll), and eventually retire upon reaching the age of 65, hoping that their pension plans can pay for their lifestyle after retirement.  People in this quadrant are POOR.

The other poor people are those who have small businesses, the kind where owner is also the sole employee.  Poor people have one thing in common:  they lack passive income and they thrive in fear (fear of losing their jobs, fear of investing their money).

The other two quadrants are where the rich people are:  big business owners and investors.  Rich people are risk takers because they understand what they are doing.  They are not only educated in the traditional school sense but they have, most importantly invested much time in their financial education.  While poor people work for money, rich people let their money work for them. 

Unfortunately, our formal education system does not teach us these things.  Is there a grand conspiracy somewhere to make people stay poor?  I won’t allow myself to be a victim of that. In fact, I have given up my Saturday mornings for my financial education.  I’ve been attending the Cashflow games in Ortigas Center organized by the Create Abundance 2020 Business Community Continue reading