It has been almost seven (7) years since my wife and I started Bright Hope Room for Growth Inc., and I am glad that we never gave up even if there were times that we really wanted to.
Bright Hope is a small school with a big heart and it continues to advance as one of the premiere christian Pre-kinder and Kindergarten School in the City of Baguio. Apart from its uniquely designed age appropriate programs, one thing that makes it different from other schools is that it offers Baby Classes for ages 1 year 8 months to 2 years and 2 months old babies.
Currently, BRIGHT HOPE is composed of 11 employees and we are blessed to have leaders who actively manage it. This allows my wife and I to just be around as volunteer management and academic consultants.
Looking back from where Bright Hope started, I can say that it has become a ministry just like how we envisioned it to be and we are making it a goal to continue to grow.
I’m no business guru but with seven (7) years of Bright Hope existence, let me share to you seven (7) life lessons that I learned that may be useful to those who are putting up a business or an organization:
- Do not quit your day job – If you are currently employed and are just relying from your monthly salary for daily sustenance -DO-NOT-QUIT-YOUR-DAY-JOB. Resigning from work will probably apply to those who have savings that could support them for five years or more. It takes time to grow a business and your monthly salary can help cushion your survival expenses. If you are stressed just because you don’t have enough time to be hands-on in your business, you’ll be more stressed during off peak seasons and realize that you have no cash flow.
2. If you can, avoid investors who do not understand your vision and is just up for the money – we have different views when it comes to entertaining investors so to each his own. But what worked for Bright Hope is not getting other people to invest. Carefully consider this especially if your vision differ from individuals who offer to invest. The advantage of not getting investors is that we can allocate our budget to wherever we see fit without consulting other individuals. It takes away unnecessary headaches caused by clashing decision makers.
3. Love your employees, they are a big factor why your business is a success. I like this quote from Stephen Covey –
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.
Bright Hope’s success is attributed to the dedicated teachers and staff who sincerely love their students. In a business or in any organization, I learned that taking care of your employees or the people who help you run the organization does really make the difference. Give them what is due. We enter into business so that we can earn a living, but our employees need to live too. People who work for your organization will not demand more if they see that they are getting what is just and due to them. Plus, you’ll be greatly blessed as you allow yourself to be used to bless other people.
4. Exceed customer expectation – I worked for several BPOs as a call center agent and that is where I learned about the importance of exceeding customer expectation. It actually works if you care about your customers. Besides, they are the very reason you are there. It is true that we cannot please everybody but in the field of providing services, we try to please everyone in as much as we can. This creates regular clients and customers. Businesses do not aim for one time customers, they aim for repeat customers and that’s what you’ll need to thrive.
5. Never stop learning – continue to develop your craft, your people, your services. Evolving will ensure your existence even if there are other products and services that are being created everyday. Invest in education and in trainings. My wife had to enroll in online classes just so she can learn new preschool concepts. I had to take up management classes just to learn how to handle people (though I did not finish it after Math came in so I am looking at other Math-less courses okay?). The teachers at Bright Hope had to go through series of trainings including make-up lessons so they can look presentable and professional even if they already are.
The point is, learn new things everyday.
6. Don’t be discouraged by people who do not believe in your crazy ideas – business concepts start off as crazy ideas until they are developed and are ready for hatching. While you are contemplating on your business model you will find yourself tempted to tell your friends about it and that is normal. Prepare to get laughed at. That is also normal. Remember that not everybody is born a dreamer like you. Put that in mind, okay? But don’t hold it against them, they are created to challenge you.
7. Never, never, never give up. There were times when my wife and I were on the verge of panicking because we were worried we could not pay the rent for Bright Hope but we just focused on answering this question: “How can we better our services so that we can attract more parents to enroll?” We then created program after program and blessedly, there were parents who enrolled and believed in the programs that we offered. This kept us going. This kept us believing that Bright Hope exists for a purpose and we will never see that purpose if we gave up. We are thanking the Lord for giving us the strength to not give up and providing for our needs.
Currently, apart from Bright Hope’s mission of sharing the good news to the children and their families, we are glad that it is able to help alleviate poverty by providing employment, a college scholarship, and a plan to subsidize skills training for children in conflict with the law.
The things that I shared are not new, but I hope it encouraged you. We can all make a difference, hold on to that bright hope and use it to ignite a bright tomorrow.
I have to go now, my son has been playing with my phone for almost 2 hours as I write this! haha.