7 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PUTTING UP A BUSINESS

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 moving up
BRIGHT HOPE MOVING UP DAY 2018

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.


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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:

  1. 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.

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Bright Hope Team 2018.  This was taken after the Parents’ Orientation. (3 others not on photo, sorry guys!)

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.

make up bright hope class
Make Up Tutorial for Birght Hope teachers by Krizia Guevara.

And just recently, my wife and I attended the E-Commerce and Social Media Learning Sessions of Ms. Janette Toral held at Cordillera School of Digital Arts Baguio.

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with Ms. Janette Toral of Digital Filipino.
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Certificates given by Ms. Janette Toral during the Social Media Learning Sessions at Cordillera School of Digital Arts Baguio. 

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.

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My wife working on her paper as I write this blog, my son took this stolen shot upon my instruction.

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5 Screaming signs your employee is not happy and might resign anytime

     From the time that I worked as an employer-employee relations officer for some BPOs and for retained small business clients (when I was in the private practice) up to this moment that I am managing our own business, I had the privilege to observe and learn how to interpret human behavior in an organization.

     What amazed me are that the signs that will eventually lead to someone leaving the company are predictable. Let me share some indicators that will help you tell if it’s nearing goodbye between you and your employee:

1. They suddenly become frequently tardy – if your employee usually reports to work earlier than anyone else in the office and suddenly started to incur frequent tardiness (almost everyday), this is already a sign that their motivation to come to work has been affected. Their drive to wake up early has waned and they might be considering looking for another job.

If you are in charge of personnel, take this opportunity to get to know them and ask them what’s causing their being tardy. Take this cue to come up with a program that will inspire all members who are going through the same situation.

Important! Don’t forget to document this though as it might prove handy in the future in case their tardiness becomes a liability to the organization and it is already you who wants to say goodbye to them.


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Enroll your child at Bright Hope Room for Growth Inc.  Baguio City’s Premiere Kindergarten School that offers Baby, Toddler, Nursery, Pre-Kinder, and Kindergarten Program. Visit our facebook page by CLICKING THIS.

Located at 2nd Floor, Luke Foundation Building, 90 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City.  Contact 074-424-2647 or  09176562006.  Look for Teacher Amanda Demandante.


2. They have used up their leave credits and their number of absences have dramatically increased: a motivated employee would love to be in the workplace almost everyday. They have this certain drive and noticeable liveliness at work. But a person who feels he should be somewhere else other than his workplace would usually use up his leave credits to escape the pit where he is currently in. These employees regard leave credits and the chance to be absent like “life lines” that will give them extra energy to survive the daily grind at work.

But when their leave credits are depleted, what happens next?  This might likewise be damaging to your organization so better find out what is causing it.

3. They become less productive: if at first they were usually one of those who close the most number of sales or have always submitted work before deadlines. Now, you feel like the decision of hiring them was all a mistake and you wonder where the person you so courted to join your team has gone.

This is already a waving red flag.  Their enthusiasm to deliver has already faded and allowing this to continue is harmful to both the employee and the employer.  Try to rescue him/her by getting to know what’s causing the problem and start your HR strategy from there.

4. Their linkedin account suddenly becomes updated – stalk them a little and see if their linked in account has been updated. If their linked in account became “so attractive you want to hire him again”, tendency is that they are waiting for that next head hunter to pounce on them.

5. Has facebook posts of being stressed at work – Browsing their facebook account makes you look at your life and say “thank you” that you are not on their shoes. They’ve posted a lot of depressing quotes regarding work or cryptic messages about their workmates that they recently fought with. If he is one talented guy, this person will readily grab an opportunity that comes his way.

Those are just few of the indications that your employee might not be happy at or with his work and has probably contemplated leaving soon.

What will you do then if you see those signs?

If you want to keep them, you better know what motivates them. Come up with programs that will keep them at work such as incentives (money is not always it though) or other activities that will once again ignite their love for their job.

However, if you want to let them go? Do it the right way. Document each tardiness, absence, or decline in productivity (you should be doing this from the onset anyway). Once there is enough evidence that their tardiness, absence, or decline in productivity is becoming a liability, notify them about it and impose the necessary disciplinary action based on the company policy and the law. (Avoid litigation expenses, contact your employer-employee relations lawyer for the proper way to do this)

Just to share, in my experience, there are instances where it is more beneficial for both parties (the employer and the employee) to let go of each other. To make it easier for both of you, you can talk to your employee and tell him/her that you support his/her plans and that if he/she intends to leave, he/she might as well do it the right way so that his/her performance and records will not be affected.

Assure your employees that you will give them a good recommendation for as long as they give their 100 percent dedication while they are in your organization. Sounds so ideal? I have always done this with all of my employees and we have maintained a healthy friendship even if they left the company. So somehow, it works.  It is two-pronged, a win-win solution. You get the necessary dedication while they get the needed support for their career growth.

But the bigger question will be: why would they want to leave in the first place? (But that’s another topic for another time)

So, there you go! As HR people, it may be cliche but why not take advantage of the above signs to help our respective organizations lessen attrition rate and increase productivity.

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About the Author:

Dexter D. Diwas is the co-founder of Bright Hope Room for Growth Inc., a premiere Kindergarten School in the City of Baguio, Philippines.  Apart from being a lawyer, he is also passionate about Business, Human Resource Development, and Career Advising. He is currently taking up Master of Management at the Institute of Management, University of the Philippines – Baguio.

6 Effective Tips to making “employment termination” less heartbreaking

Our organization may be small at this stage, but thankfully, we reached a point where we gained the trust of our clients because of the way we do things.  Because of this, we committed to do everything to be able to hire the best fit to join our team.


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Enroll your child at Bright Hope Room for Growth Inc.  Baguio City’s Premiere Kindergarten School that offers Baby, Toddler, Nursery, Pre-Kinder, and Kindergarten Program. Visit our facebook page by CLICKING THIS.

Located at 2nd Floor, Luke Foundation Building, 90 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City.  Contact 074-424-2647 or  09176562006.  Look for Teacher Amanda Demandante.


In the process of hiring new team members, there will always be times that we commit lapses – meaning, we hire the wrong people. Thus, there are those who make the cut but eventually get cut.

As a Human Resource Development practitioner,  one of the important aspects of effectively managing people is one’s ability to relay the phrase – “you are fired” with less drama, less heartbreak.

I consider it an achievement being able to deliver bad news and at the same time helping the receiver look at the brighter side of the message.

Here are some tips that I can share to my fellow HR practitioners:

  1. Give the news personally and directly – There are several channels of communication, but the most effective channel to breaking down this kind of news is through a face to face meeting.  In this way, you will immediately know your employee’s reaction and be able to address it right away.

Na-imagine mo ba na makatanggap ng text message na ang laman ay tinatanggal ka sa trabaho?  Nakamamatay yan.  What if your employee received that message while crossing the pedestrian lane? What if na-shock siya, hindi nakagalaw, at nasagasaan? Dagdag kunsensiya mo pa. So better relay the message ng harap harapan.

Also, you must do it directly para hindi mukhang chismis.  Hindi pwede yung i-teterminate mo si Ana pero bago pa malaman ni Ana e alam na ni Mila dahil idinaan mo sa kanya. Diba?

2. Balance the content – One technique in balancing the content is to apply the “sandwich approach”.

This means that you say good things first about his or her performance (dapat sincere ka naman dito).  After affirming the person, carefully move to the more sensitive information, the fact that he or she committed something and that it is a ground for termination, then assure him or her that it is not the person but it is the act (kasi ganun naman talaga, walang personalan, trabaho lang).

Example:

Employer:  You know, you are a good employee etc etc. I have not heard anything bad about you. However, there is this instance that we would need some explanation. (Tell him or her the facts) Would you want to say something about it?

Employee:  Explain, explain, explain.

Employer:  Ok, thank you for giving your side on the matter.  We will use this in crafting our decision.  We are however, giving you 5 days to explain this in writing. While preparing your written explanation, please remember that this is not about you, but it is about what happened. Ok? 

Employee: Thanks. 

Don’t immediately condemn the employee.  Everybody commits mistakes and this might just be another hump in their careers.

3. Be specific – How will the employee know the specific violation he or she committed if you speak in general?  Dapat sabihin mo kung ano talaga yung violation niya complete with details e.g. incident report by a witness, cctv footage, and other available evidence.

This will avoid unnecessary debate kasi kitang kita na kung sino nagkamali.  This has saved me a lot of energy debating with employees who have the tendency to deny to death.

4. Give feedback when the receiver is most ready to accept it – there is no better timing than immediately after the incident happened.

Nawawalan ng halaga ang mensahe mo kung ang pangyayari ay nangyari ngayong araw pero next month mo pa ina-address. This only means na you are just trying to find ways to get rid of your employee at hindi maganda yan.  Siguradong pagdududahan ka rin kapag nagsampa ng illegal dismissal ang empleyado mo.

5. Be accurate; validate your information. – Before you even relay the message, gather facts and investigate.  Mahirap ang magkamali.

Can you imagine breaking a news that would possibly change someone else’s life tapos mali mali pala ang facts mo?  There might be legal implications so better get your facts straight before you present it to the person being terminated.

6. Offer Continuing support – Most of my termination meetings, thankfully, end in a good note and I enjoy the fact that we all remain friends.  To maintain relationship, assure them that you care for them and that everything happens for a reason. 🙂

Siyempre, the tips above won’t suffice if you don’t follow the legal process. May sinasabi tayong 2 notice rule sa Labor Law but that will be covered in another topic.

In order to be guided in legally terminating erring employees, it will be best to consult your lawyer.

Photo Credit: http://www.pistonandfusion.org/blog/warning-signs-fired/

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About the Author:

Dexter D. Diwas is the co-founder of Bright Hope Room for Growth Inc., a premiere Kindergarten School in the City of Baguio, Philippines.  He is a lawyer who is passionate about Business, Human Resource Development, and Career Advising. He is currently taking up Master of Management at the Institute of Management, University of the Philippines – Baguio.