Many Filipinos have turned to home-based selling to earn in these trying times. But like all opportunities, owning a business, especially in the time of pandemic, comes with its own set of challenges. Jorge and Jenny Wieneke, two of the most successful and prominent entrepreneurs in the country, share their thoughts, expertise, and know-how on “home-preneurship” in the new normal.
From passion into profit, thanks to technology
The Wieneke couple have been food retail honchos having founded the successful and well-loved food chain, Tokyo Tempura. Jorge himself has been dubbed as the “master of entrepreneurship,” being one of the founders of the popular brand Potato Corner. The couple continued to thrive and survive even in today’s difficult circumstances. They have turned their passion into profit, and make sure to always use technology to their own advantage.
“An entrepreneur must first develop a sense of innovative mindset because technology represents innovation. One must cultivate this mindset to adapt to technology,” said Jorge. Jenny supports this, by adding technology is the entrepreneur’s best friend.
Thanks to the power of technology, they were able to successfully sell and market themselves even beyond their physical stores. Jenny continues, “When the doors of our physical stores closed, the window of digital opportunities opened up, widened, and helped us succeed.”
Having the entrepreneur’s digital tools is essential
According to Jorge, Facebook is an important app to use for home-based entrepreneurs. He said, “Imagine, out of the 73 million Filipinos online, 90% are on Facebook — that’s your captured market right there!”
Viber and Messenger, on the other hand, are essential apps to communicate with staff and customers efficiently, according to Jenny. Opting for cloud-based POS systems are likewise helpful in monitoring both inventory and sales.
Cashless transactions are now the norm, so having apps like PayMaya, and online banking are necessary and required. Jorge adds that delivery apps are also a must-haves for “homepreneurs.”
Overcoming challenges with PLDT Home Biz
Like many Filipino entrepreneurs, Jorge and Jenny had no choice but to shut down all their stores across the country when the enhanced community quarantine was implemented. They were left with only one person in their commissary, with their staff having to stay in the provinces until the quarantine guidelines were lifted.
The only choice they had was to sell their frozen Tokyo Tempura Home Kits online. Jorge recalls, “With just Jenny, my sons, myself, and the one person in the commissary, plus PLDT Home Biz, we were able to sustain our staff through the first few months of ECQ without having to lay-off anyone.”
As parents working from home, there was also the challenge of their kids hogging the internet bandwidth for the requirements of blended learning. Jenny shares, “All our neighbors were complaining how intermittent their signals were, while here we were, zooming left and right, selling online, lecturing online, and teaching online without any problem.” We no longer have kids who are in school as they are all adults. We however, have 2 kids who work from home as well and our Fiber connection helps a lot in making this possible as we all do compete for the bandwidth. I also teach Brand Activation and Advertising Management at the University of Asia and the Pacific and am in need of strong and stable connectivity for my classes
The connectivity in the Wieneke household stood the test of both bandwidth and connection. As the couple fondly share, “PLDT Home Biz proved to be our saving grace in ensuring that we were able to continue our business.”
Reminders for all entrepreneurs
There are do’s and don’ts in entrepreneurship. For Jorge, creating a product without research and development is the biggest no-no. He explains that the easiest way to study the product and the target market is to test the product among friends and relatives.
Jenny also points out two important things: products and services don’t sell themselves, and spending on advertising does go a long way. The couple also both agree that joining product trends is risky and does not have much sustainability.
For home-based MSMEs which are going pretty well, as well as those who want to, but are hesitant in taking the risk, the Wieneke couple shares this advice, “Have a strong entrepreneurial mindset. Remain curious, hungry for success, and always aim to innovate.”
The new normal has indeed given different challenges for “home-preneurs” like Jorge and Jenny, to navigate, survive, and even thrive in the world of home-based selling, now made possible with the help of PLDT Home Biz. Visit www.pldthome.com/biz today for more information.