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Trailblazer

Gaining success, giving back

/ 05:11 AM December 11, 2017

Today we are featuring Robert Reyes, an entrepreneur and lately, philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of Promo Exchange Inc., which specializes in events and promotions and other “below-the-line” marketing activations.

What’s noteworthy is even though his company is only 15 years old, he has decided to donate a big chunk of his earnings to fund scholarships. We thought we’d talk to him and find out his motivation for doing so, as well as get some entrepreneurial tips—as a prelude to Inquirer Academy’s forthcoming entrepreneur-focused courses.

Q: How did you start your company?

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I was a late starter in business. I already had 15 years of corporate work experience prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. But I ventured into this business when I had difficulty searching for agencies who could do below-the-line activities. So I decided to put up my own. Since I knew what I wanted in such an agency, I already had a clear vision of how I would do things. This included what type of services I would offer, who I’d offer them to and at what price points. I also formed a team who shared my vision and who were willing to work hard for it.

I made sure I was ready to go into business, having analyzed the market and the competition. But being prepared was just the start. I and my core team, needed both time and energy to make things happen. We all understood that we needed small victories (small projects from small accounts) before we could graduate to bigger things. With those small victories came learnings and experiences which would be invaluable in our future endeavors.

Q: What tips would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

1. Choose a business that involves something that you love to do and that you’re good at doing.

2. Learn how to monetize that special skill or talent.

3. Devote time and energy to make the business grow.

4. Learn how to manage your finances well, from sourcing of funds to managing the cash flow and setting aside funds for future expansion.

5. Have a clear vision of what you want and how to get there.

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6. Start young. If you’ve been working for a long time, you would want to immediately match your corporate salary. That won’t happen right away and you have to be ready for it. If you start young, the fear of potentially losing a high-paying job will not be present yet.

Q: You have decided to fund a perpetual Ateneo Management Engineering (M.E.) scholarship, even after your batch has already set up one. Why?

I considered two things.

First, I had to put a cap on what material things I wanted and this includes the usual list that all of us have (which I had adjusted upwards a few times). Second, my Ateneo education taught me to be a man for others, to be generous. Generosity doesn’t always have to be monetary. It also comes with sharing time and knowledge. The scholarship is my own small way of helping out.

Why M.E.? Probably because I think that an M.E. grad has the potential to make a bigger impact in society. And if the potential scholar becomes grateful for his or her situation, generosity would be a logical by-product. The returns to society could be exponential.

Inquirer Academy offers courses that would be beneficial even to small and medium businesses. A course on “Project Management Skills for Everyday Tasks” on Jan. 23-24, 2018 and “Marketing 101: How Marketing is at the core of every growth strategy” on Jan. 24, 2018 are few of the courses to be offered next month.

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshops or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may email ask@inquireracademy.com, call (632) 834-1557 or 800-8110 and look for Jerald Miguel or Judy Bondoc, or visit the website at www.inquireracademy.com.

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