Fly high with momentum

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bunny Pages
Business Is A Team Sport

LAST Dec. 8, we opened our third Lantaw Native Restaurant in SRP (South Road Properties). Despite super typhoon Yolanda delaying its opening for a month, the response was overwhelming. The whole place was packed with customers. It was unbelievable. Yet, we hardly spent on advertising.

My family is incredibly blessed. But I believe that ours is also a case of maximizing what best-selling author Jim Collins calls in his latest book, “Great by Choice,” our “return on luck” or ROL.

Collins found in his research that successful companies didn’t have more good luck than the less successful ones. What the successful companies did was to maximize their good luck and convert their bad luck into good.

We’ve strived to do that and in my experience, the key to maximizing ROL is to build momentum.

That’s why everything we do now as a company is to build and sustain it. From the moment we conceptualize something, until it opens and after it opens, we do continuous improvements (remember Kaizen?) as part of building and sustaining momentum.

Think of it this way: an airplane needs a hundred percent power to take off from the runway. But once it’s on the air, it needs only 70 percent power to stay up. What’s the difference? Momentum. It’s no different in a business enterprise.

It took us time to get where we are with Lantaw today. The road wasn’t easy. When we opened our first branch in Cordova in June 2012 it was a long shot and a big risk. It was really slow in the beginning. I mean, who would be crazy enough to put up a restaurant there? Travel time is more than an hour away from Cebu City and the roads are quite narrow. But once you get to the place, the view and ambiance are like no other in Cebu.

And then things started to pick up. By word of mouth and via social networks, Lantaw became extremely popular. But this didn’t happen by accident nor overnight. Charlie, my whiz of a son and head of our restaurant division was relentless and creative in building momentum from day one. He definitely takes much of the credit on where the Lantaw brand is today.

When the place started doing well, we then asked ourselves, “what’s next?” We said, “up in the mountains of Busay.” Luckily, we were blessed to find the ideal spot with the best view of Metro Cebu. We then simply duplicated what worked in Cordova at this second branch.

When Lantaw Busay started to do well, we again asked ourselves, “what’s next?” We said, “where else but SRP.” And, by a convergence of lucky events we were able to open Lantaw in SRP ahead of everyone else.

Every day we continue to look into how to keep on improving it and sustaining its momentum. The response has been so that we’ve had to add more personnel and the branch alone now employs over a hundred people.

Clearly, the overwhelming response to Lantaw in the SRP is momentum carried over from the two branches.

When Thirsty was new, I promptly knew how each outlet performed after the malls closed. With those that slowed down, I’d be there the next day to talk to the crew and look into their problems and then fixed them right way. One builds and sustains momentum by: solving your problems, capitalizing on your opportunities and practicing innovation every step of the way.

Once you have momentum you can’t relax, because if you lose it, it’s hard to get it back.

When I was new selling life insurance for Manulife, I did everything myself. I would talk to prospects, close the sale, contact a doctor to schedule an exam, bring my client to the clinic, process the exam results, send the papers to Manila and then go to the bank to deposit the payment. Someone then told me, “Bunny you’ll never grow big that way. You have to learn how to delegate. And the only thing you can’t delegate in this business is being in front of a prospect closing sales. Everything else can be done by someone else at a cheaper cost.”

I decided to hire a secretary and delegated everything else including making appointments. This allowed me to triple my number of contacts and presentations. After that, my insurance business really took off and soared high.

Momentum is the key to success in business, in relationships or with anything we do in life. When you have momentum, everything is easy and the future looks bright. Without it, even the simplest of chores are hard and tedious. That’s the reason why I spend most of my waking hours thinking, building and sustaining momentum into our business and every facet of my life.

With momentum, you can fly high.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 19, 2013.


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