In business, obsession can be a good thing
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, don’t just be passionate—be obsessed.
Take it from Joseph Calata, who recently shared these words of advice; he is, after all, the youngest head of a publicly listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange, a feat he says he achieved through sheer focus and determination.
“You can’t just be passionate; you have to be obsessed about your business,” said the 36-year-old president and CEO of agricultural products distributor Calata Corp.
Calata shared this nugget of wisdom, among others, at the recent launch of reality TV show “The Final Pitch,” which will link entrepreneurs in need of funding for their big business idea to seasoned investors who can mentor them and help them achieve their goals.
The show, inspired by “Shark Tank” and “The Apprentice,” is set to air on History Channel this month.
As investors, Calata is joined by Jose Magsaysay, founder of Potato Corner; Mica Tan, CEO of MFT Group of Companies, a financial holdings and angel investing firm; and Henry Lim Bon Liong, chair and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech.
Like Calata, Tan’s exceptional quality is her youth, particularly her genuine interest in entrepreneurship which started at an age when most girls aren’t even sure yet what they want to be in life.
“My dad’s a doctor, and when I was a little girl I would ask him how much he made every day,” says the 25-year-old “millennial CEO.” “One day, he jokingly said, zero. I froze. That’s when I said to myself, I want to learn from people who make an income every day.”
And now that she’s learned the ropes, Tan, as well as the show’s other investors, want to give back by helping more entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
“If more people become entrepreneurs, employment also rises, which will ultimately benefit the whole country,” said Calata. “I also want people to know that they shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for financial help. You can take out loans, don’t be shy—just pay them back.”
Tan added: “Surround yourself with giants and you’ll be in the company of giants. Age isn’t really a factor, as long as you’re humble enough to listen and learn from people who can teach you.”
Asked what’s the best lesson they can impart not just to the show’s contestants but also to its audience, all four investors answered similarly that when it comes to putting up a business, nothing beats good old-fashioned hard work.
“When starting and growing your business, put everything you have into it: Your time, your sweat, everything, really. That’s the essence of true business. Then later on, when you retire, that’s when you play hard,” said Magsaysay.
Tan, specifically addressing her co-millennials, added: “It’s okay to have fun, because right now, millennials are all about fun—travel, accessibility. However, we cannot forget sweat capital. I think some millennials think, oh, intellectual capital, that’s all I need. If I’m smart, I’m updated and in the know, I’m okay. But in reality, you need three: Intellectual capital, sweat capital, and flexible capital.”
Ultimately, success in entrepreneurship, will only happen to a person who is tough enough to see all the challenges through, Tan said.
“If you have an idea, go fight for it. Don’t wait for it to be the next big thing right away, because it might not,” she said.
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