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7 Habits of Business Success

The elusive dream of business success captures the imagination of aspiring and existing business owners everywhere. A vision of flowing profits, industry respect, thrilled customers, and a balanced life. This vision is only possible by developing habits that drive business success. Take the time to learn the 7 habits of business success.

The 7 Habits of Business Success

Habit 1. Cultivate Inner Networks: Entrepreneurs practicing the art of business success know the power of networks. They take the time to identify and build relationships with key peers, mentors, and advisors. This inner network provides support, direction, and an increased number of people to assist. Having an inner network of five people who have a network of five more, grows the network exponentially.

Habit 2. Customer Centric: Business success requires an unwavering commitment to the customer. This commitment encompasses a mindset of understanding the customers’ world. Understanding the customers wants and needs provides the business with a greater opportunity to earn a loyal customer base. Focus away from business and profits, and toward what you can do to improve the life of your customers.

Habit 3. Humble Honesty: Business success requires the ability to know your strengths and weaknesses. Being open and honest about yourself and your business creates growth as an individual and as a company. Don’t spend time developing weaknesses. Find help for weak areas, enabling you to focus on strengths. In the book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, Gallup Organization reveals that building our strengths instead of fixing our weakness is the path to mastery and success. Take the time to know yourself and business.

Habit 4. Adaptability: Business success requires the ability to adapt to changing situations. Nothing ever goes as planned. The world of business is full of surprises and unforeseen events. Using the habit of adaptability allows business owners to respond to circumstances with the ability to change course and act without complete information. Being flexible allows us to respond to changes without being paralyzed with fear and uncertainty.

Habit 5. Opportunity Focused: Problems are a regular part of business life. Staff issues, customer misunderstandings, cash crunches- the list is endless. To achieve business success, look at both sides of the coin. Every problem has an opportunity. Being opportunity focused makes the game of business fun and energizing.

Habit 6. Finding A Better Way: Productivity is the cornerstone of business success. Formulate the habit of finding a better way to make your business more productive. This will create more time to focus on the critical issues that drive sales and profit. Productivity can be enhanced by technology, automation, outsourcing, and improving business processes.

Habit 7. Balanced Lifestyle Management: A business can consume an owner’s time and energy. It’s easy to allow the business to take control of your life. Business success requires the habit of balancing all aspects of your life. Separating time for daily business tasks, profit driven tasks, and free time is a habit that will make your business and life more enjoyable. Take the time to plan each week.

Learning and instilling new habits in your daily business life can have a dramatic effect on your level of success. Review each of the 7 habits. Choose one habit to focus on for a month or until you achieve mastery. Gradually incorporate each of the 7 habits of business success into your life and attain your business dreams.

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Filed under: Business, Entrepreneurs, Financial Literacy,

Essential Tips for the First-Time Entrepreneur

To a certain extent, becoming an entrepreneur requires you to be a multi-talented individual. First and foremost, however, you need to be driven and have a firm desire to be your own boss. You should be very tenacious and not be willing to take the word “no” for an answer easily. If you understand that you will be faced with a long, seemingly never-ending, list of problems, yet see your glass as being always half-full, then you are off to the races!

Do not underestimate the amount of time and effort and raw energy that it requires to be a successful entrepreneur. You will need a good list of people skills, with the ability to be persuasive and to motivate. Be prepared to be the driving force at all times and understand that you are probably your organization’s most valuable asset. You should be able to do everything that you expect from others (should you employ them within your organization) at a push.

To help you stock up on some key information and to prepare yourself for all eventualities that you will undoubtedly face, here are some great resources.

First of all, you need to structure yourself accordingly. Some people choose to set up as a sole proprietorship, while others choose an S. corporation or a limited liability company. Each one has its own legal repercussions. Once you’ve decided on your setup, you will need to establish a record-keeping system and keep up with this every week. The proper process of accounting is essential in the early days as you will need to be right on top of critical cash flow and performance levels.

Secondly, know when to hire and what to look for. It goes without saying that you do not need to burden yourself with labor costs if not necessary, but equally as important you must know when to delegate and whether or not you should outsource instead.

Thirdly, you must have your web presence. For many entrepreneurs this will be the shop window to the world and it’s also your first point of contact. It goes without saying therefore that you must put a lot of thought and planning into web design and hosting. If you are doing it yourself, make sure you have a sound knowledge of building a website, or use an online tool such as WordPress. Once you have it up and running, you need to be tracking to see whether visitors like what they see, how long they spend on the site, what they read and there is no better tool than the free one provided by Google. If you like graphics and cool tools, this analytics supplement is  for you – Crazy Egg.

Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help at any time. Those who have been there before you may have made the very mistakes that you could avoid. Here are ten common mistakes that we have outlined, which could end up costing you more than your shirt!

Been there and done that? We would love to hear your tips for first-time entrepreneurs.

By Matthew Toren

via : http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/blog/entrepreneur-university/essential-tips-for-the-first-time-entrepreneur/

Filed under: Encouragement, Entrepreneurs, Financial Literacy

TOP TEN MISTAKES MADE IN STARTING A BUSINESS

People fail in business because they make avoidable mistakes. Start-up entrepreneurs are possessed with enthusiasm and confidence but too often are unaware of potentially fatal business potholes that lie before them. All it takes is a single mistake, one false step, and a business can be history. Here are the top most commonly made mistakes:

  1. Not picking the right business to begin with.
  2. Inadequate prior experience in the business.
  3. Quitting job security too soon, before adequate plans are laid
  4. Not having a progressively updated written business plan.
  5. Inadequate cash flow management (running out of money.)
  6. Opening a business in the wrong location.
  7. Inadequate protection in business documents including leases.
  8. Failed partnerships.
  9. Lack of selling and marketing know-how.
  10. Expanding too rapidly before adequate testing.

Via: http://www.myownbusiness.org/business_mistakes.html

Filed under: Business, Financial Literacy,

My Dad is a Broke OFW (An open letter to all OFW’s)

Kumusta na kabayan!

First, I would like to thank you for being an OFW. My dad used to be an OFW and I know the many sacrifices you are enduring right now just so that you can provide the best for your family. I admire you, I appreciate you and in my book, you are a true Pinoy hero.

Second, I would like to help you. I would like to help you in the same way I helped Bobet, a former OFW. Under my coaching, from being broke and in debt, in just 12 months Bobet became a millionaire. Bobet is in fact back in the Philippines. He no longer needed to work as a nurse here in the U.S. He no longer misses his wife and kids. He can now kiss and hug them everyday. He has achieved in 1 year what most OFWs will never achieve in their lifetime. How did he do it?

I taught Bobet the Secrets of Wealth. And if you want to be like Bobet, read on because I want to teach you the Secrets of Wealth as well. But there’s a catch. You will only understand the Secrets of Wealth by understanding how my dad, an OFW like you became broke.

I’ve experienced as a child what I call a roller coaster of wealth. In Tagalog, we call this “Gulong ng Palad” (Wheel of Fortune) because there are times we’re on top of the world and there are times we’re at the bottom. When my dad comes back from abroad it is like a fiesta. The alcohol is overflowing. The whole town seems to be at our door step and my dad’s pasalubongs never seem to run out. Packets of cigarette. Bottles of whisky. Chocolates for the kids. Jewelry for my mom. It is like we’re millionaires every time my dad goes home.

But we’re millionaires only for a short time.

Two weeks later, the money’s gone. My mom and dad start to argue. And my dad seriously considers going back to the ship. He borrows money from his mom – my grandmother (we call “Nanay”). One time, my mom and dad even asked me to borrow money from Nanay because both of them were already turned down. I guess that tactic worked because Nanay couldn’t say NO to his apo and we ate dinner that night.

Then things turn for the worse. The many friends who cheerfully greeted my dad’s homecoming are no longer around. Instead, creditors start hounding us, pounding at our door. At 8 years old, I am taught to lie and tell the creditor my mom is not around even though she is just there beside me kneeling and praying the creditor goes away.

From feeling like millionaires for a few days to being dead broke 2 weeks later – describing it as a roller coaster or a wheel of fortune is an understatement. My mom and dad managed to squander all their savings and more.

So 2 months later, my dad is back at the airport again. We have tears in our eyes once again as we bid him goodbye. My dad would have to work hard on a ship 10 months in a year mostly to pay off our greedy lenders and creditors.

My dad tried to invest – buying a tricycle but the business became bankrupt as fast as it was started. My dad recalled that tricycle with pride in his voice “It was the first stainless steel tricycle in our town”. He was proud of the product but he did not take the time to understand the business.

There were many days our home is literally dark because we couldn’t pay for the electric bill. Once, as a 9-year old boy, I was devastated when I saw my books have been sold so that we will have food on the table that day. Then the worst happened: we lost our home to foreclosure because there was no money left to pay for the mortgage.

Is the story above familiar to you? I bet most OFWs have the same lifestyle cycle as my dad. Rich one day then broke another.

Have you discovered the Secrets to Wealth in my dad’s story?

At its core, it really is very simple. You will be wealthy if you do the exact opposite of what my dad did.

Don’t waste your money by throwing a lavish home coming party for the whole town – SAVE your money instead. Have a small gathering with your family and loved ones. Your children will appreciate it more because they want your presence more than your presents. Get into the habit of saving at least 10-20% of everything you earn. The earlier you get that habit the wealthier you will become or the faster you will become a millionaire.

Bobet saves 50% of what he earns. No wonder he has become a millionaire in only 12 months.

But you cannot save your way to millions. You have to learn how to invest your savings. My aunt who used to work as a bank clerk, who earned 1/10th of what my dad earned as a seaman is now a multi-millionaire because she learned to invest her money. Your savings must go to “work” for you. They must produce good returns or profit. But you cannot stop there. You have to reinvest your profits so that your wealth can grow exponentially.

My aunt started a business butchering chickens in the wet market (palengke). She saved half of her profits and lived off the other half. She then put her savings to buy a store. The profits from the store and the chicken business were then invested into a farm. The profits from the farm, the store and the chicken business were then invested into a resort. The profits from the resort, the farm, the store and the chicken business were then invested into apartment buildings.

As a result of saving, investing, and reinvesting her profits, my aunt becomes richer and richer even as she works less and less while my dad because of spending, borrowing, then spending becomes poorer and poorer even as he works harder.

The choice is yours. Bobet chose to become rich and he put in the time to learn and apply the Secrets of Wealth. Bobet is now in the Philippines employing 30 people because of the businesses he started. 30 families now rely on Bobet because he applied the Secrets of Wealth and Bobet is proving you can become wealthy even back home.

I like you to be wealthy my friend. But the choice is up to you.

Dedicated to your success,

Trace

P.S. Please forward this to every OFW you know – in fact, forward it to everyone you know for that matter. Everyone needs to learn and apply the Secrets of Wealth.

Trace Trajano is a real estate investor, author of the best selling book “Think Rich – Quick” and a wealthcoach to students around the world. His vision is to create directly or indirectly 1 Million Pinoy Millionaires worldwide by the year 2020. Trace himself is an OFW living in the Mason Ohio with his wife and 2 kids. For more information go to http://BuyFirstDeal.com

—–

To our financial freedom!

Jay Castillo
Real Estate Investor
Real Estate Broker License #: 20056
Blog: http://www.foreclosurephilippines.com
Social Network: http://foreclosurephilippines.ning.com
Mobile: +639178843882
E-mail: ph.investor [at] gmail [dot] com

Filed under: Business, Business Ideas for OFW Families, Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, Motivation, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training, ,

Investment, entrepreneurship seminar for Pinoys in KSA

JEDDAH – Filipino expatriates in Jeddah and nearby places who want to become successful entrepreneurs will now have a chance to learn how.

The OFW Cooperative Council (OFWCC) is set to hold an Investment & Entrepreneurship Seminar on June 18, Friday, at the Philippine Consulate Social Hall from 1 to 6 p.m.

As part of the 112th Philippine Independence Day celebrations, OFWCC said the one-day seminar would be attended by different resource speakers who would share their expertise about real estate investment and realty salesmanship techniques.

Atoy Esguerra, one of OFWCC’s Board of Directors, said Consulate Trade Attaché Paisal D. Abdullah would also give insights on Philippine trade and investment.

Expected to attend to share their ideas are the sales manager of CDC Realty and the sales consultants of Century Properties.

Esguerra added that Albert Osorio from the Cebuano Speaking Organization in Saudi Arabia would also share his knowledge regarding networking and direct selling, while a representative from the banking sector would talk about the importance of personal savings and investment.

Ronald Mangua, one of the successful Filipino businessmen in Saudi Arabia, would likewise share his experiences in business ventures in trading Filipino products.

Esguerra said one of the interesting topics included in the seminar will deal with OFWs becoming active in the new marketing phenomena.

Ruben Galamay, the newly appointed representative of PAG-IBIG in Jeddah, will share information on PAG-IBIG’s housing loan program.

He will also discuss the implementation of the mandatory membership of all OFWS.

Social Security System (SSS) Representative Erna Hermoso Magsombol will also be available for inquiries related to SSS pension and investment plan.

Jimmy Leonida, co-founder of OFWCC and the organization’s education chairman, will focus on savings and increasing cash flow, and cooperatives as an option in forming a business.

Philippine Consul General Ezeddin Tago will also grace the affair.

OFWCC current Chairman Bernie Gojo said some of OFWCC’s successful cooperatives are the Iloilo Migrant Workers Cooperative and the Biag Ti Ilocano Cooperative.

Meanwhile, the Boholano Com Jeddah Ventures is now on its second year of operating the 24/7 Convenient Store, a 24-hr grocery-store in Tagbilaran City, with future plans of acquiring lands to be developed into hotels and restaurants as part of the Bohol Tourism Industry.

Wenfred Castolome, the inter-coop & entrepreneur committee chair of OFWCC, said the FilExpat Coop was also able to negotiate through a private establishment to bring back the frozen banana brand Golden Saba to Jeddah.

Castolome encouraged other coop groups to be part of the distribution team in marketing the product throughout the Kingdom, just like what the Riyadh-based coop Global Bisaya Cooperative did last year.

He also advised other cooperatives which are just starting that the seminar will enhance their knowledge on better business prospects.

Since it was established in 1996, the OFWCC has been actively helping fellow OFWs in providing seminars and other livelihood programs.

OFWCC is an non-government organization which has been conducting seminars and other activities on establishing cooperatives.

Those interested to attend the entrepreneurship seminar may contact OFWCC chair Bernie Gojo (0508377208), vice chair Jim Leonida (0502784630) or secretary Miles Lacson (0532768851).

The seminar is free and snacks will be served along with hand-outs to be distributed to all participants from Pag-IBIG and SSS. – RJAB Jr/KBK, GMANews.TV

By RONALDO Z. CONCHA, GMANews.TV

via: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/193769/investment-entrepreneurship-seminar-to-be-held-for-pinoys-in-ksa

Filed under: Business, Business Ideas for OFW Families, Financial Literacy, ,

7 Key Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur is about more than just starting a business or two, it is about having attitude and the drive to succeed in business. All successful Entrepreneurs have a similar way of thinking and posses several key personal qualities that make them so successful in business. Successful entrepreneurs like the ambitious Richard Branson have an inner drive to succeed and grow their business, rather than having a Harvard Business degree or technical knowledge in a particular field.

All successful entrepreneurs have the following qualities:

  • Inner Drive to Succeed
Entrepreneurs are driven to succeed and expand their business. They see the bigger picture and are often very ambitious. Entrepreneurs set massive goals for themselves and stay committed to achieving them regardless of the obstacles that get in the way.
  • Strong Belief in themselves
Successful entrepreneurs have a healthy opinion of themselves and often have a strong and assertive personality. They are focused and determined to achieve their goals and believe completely in their ability to achieve them. Their self optimism can often been seen by others as flamboyance or arrogance but entrepreneurs are just too focused to spend too much time thinking about un-constructive criticism.
  • Search for New Ideas and Innovation
All entrepreneurs have a passionate desire to do things better and to improve their products or service. They are constantly looking for ways to improve. They’re creative, innovative and resourceful.
  • Openness to Change
If something is not working for them they simply change. Entrepreneurs know the importance of keeping on top of their industry and the only way to being number one is to evolve and change with the times. They’re up to date with the latest technology or service techniques and are always ready to change if they see a new opportunity arise.
  • Competitive by Nature
Successful entrepreneurs thrive on competition. The only way to reach their goals and live up to their self imposed high standards is to compete with other successful businesses.
  • Highly Motivated and Energetic
Entrepreneurs are always on the move, full of energy and highly motivated. They are driven to succeed and have an abundance of self motivation. The high standards and ambition of many entrepreneurs demand that they have to be motivated!
  • Accepting of Constructive Criticism and Rejection
Innovative entrepreneurs are often at the forefront of their industry so they hear the words “it can’t be done” quite a bit. They readjust their path if the criticism is constructive and useful to their overall plan, otherwise they will simply disregard the comments as pessimism. Also, the best entrepreneurs know that rejection and obstacles are a part of any leading business and they deal with them appropriately.
True entrepreneurs are resourceful, passionate and driven to succeed and improve. They’re pioneers and are comfortable fighting on the frontline The great ones are ready to be laughed at and criticized in the beginning because they can see their path ahead and are too busy working towards their dream.


Author: Kristine Geimure Young Entrepreneur

She is a driven young entrepreneur and has started several successful businesses online.

Filed under: Business, Business Ideas for OFW Families, Encouragement, Entrepreneurs, Financial Literacy,

OFW remittances, reserves to help insulate RP — S&P

THE ONGOING euro zone crisis is not likely to affect the Philippines substantially given the country’s robust remittances and foreign exchange reserves, global credit watchdog Standard & Poor’s said.

Elena Okorotchenko, Standard & Poor’s managing director and analytical manager of Asia’s sovereign and public finance ratings, said in a May 28 commentary that the country’s external liquidity, supported by $15 billion in annual remittance inflows and foreign exchange reserves of about $46 billion, would serve as buffers to renewed global turbulence.

“This makes the Philippines somewhat less vulnerable to shifts in external sentiment,” the S&P report states.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that remittances from Europe amounted to $777 million in the first quarter, about 18% of the $4.3-billion total.

Monetary authorities expect the amount of money sent home by migrant workers to grow by 8% this year from 2009’s $17.348 billion.

The debt watcher also noted that domestic investors hold a large share of foreign currency-denominated government bonds, adding a further cushion to external shocks.

“Moreover, many investors view emerging Asia (including Indonesia and the Philippines) as attractive investment destinations relative to many developed markets,” it said.

“This is due to their stronger growth prospects, better demo-graphics, lower government debt burdens, and adequate external liquidity.

“We believe the combination of these factors is likely to maintain capital inflows into Asia,” S&P said. — J. B. F. Santos


Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=12387

Filed under: Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs

RISKS OF GOING INTO BUSINESS OR ENTREPRENEURSHIP



Possibility of failure

There is always the possibility of failure – a single wrong business decision can bring a business to bankruptcy.

Unpredictable business conditions

A small business is vulnerable to sudden changes in the business environment. In a fast-paced industry, a small firm may not have the financial capability or the organizational capacity to respond adequately to new opportunities and their concomitant problems.

Long hours of work

A prospective entrepreneur must be ready to spend most if not all his waking hours in the business. Also, family time and personal affairs may be sacrificed.

Unwanted or unexpected responsibilities

The entrepreneur may eventually find himself saddled with management responsibilities he did not bargain for.


LOOKING WITHIN (SELF-ANALYSIS)


Do you have what it takes to go into business?

A successful entrepreneur possesses personal qualities that will help him grow and thrive his business. Extensive research by the Management Systems International  reveals ten Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies (PECs) that lead to success. These are grouped into what are known as the Achievement Cluster, the Planning Cluster, and the Power Cluster.

Take a look at these competencies. Try to see if you have some of them and to what extent.

ACHIEVEMENT CLUSTER

1. Opportunity-seeking

• Perceives and acts on new business opportunities

• Seizes unusual opportunities to obtain financing, equipment,       land, workspace or assistance.

2. Persistence

• Takes repeated or different actions to overcome obstacles

• Makes sacrifices or expends extraordinary effort to complete a task

• Sticks to own judgment in the face of opposition or disappointments

3. Commitment to work contract

• Accepts full responsibility for problems encountered

• Helps own employees to get the job done

• Seeks to satisfy the customer

4. Risk-taking

• Takes calculated or studied risks

• Prefers situations involving moderate risks

5. Demand for quality and efficiency

• Always strives to raise standards

• Aims for excellence

• Strives to do things better, faster, cheaper.

PLANNING CLUSTER

6. Goal-setting

• Sets clear and specific short-term objectives

• Sets clear long-term goals

7. Information-seeking

• Personally seeks information on clients, suppliers, and competitors

• Seeks experts for business or technical advice

• Uses contacts or networks to obtain information

8. Systematic planning and monitoring

• Develops logical, step-by-step plans to reach goals

• Looks into alternatives and weighs them

• Monitors progress and shifts to alternative strategies when necessary

to achieve goals.

POWER CLUSTER

9. Persuasion and networking

• Employs deliberate strategies to influence or persuade others

• Uses business and personal contacts to accomplish objectives

10. Self-confidence

• Believes in self

• Expresses confidence in own ability to complete a difficult task or meet

a challenge.



LOOKING OUTSIDE

After looking into yourself – your personal qualities, your interests, skills,

experiences and hobbies and how these would orient you towards a

business of your own, you may now look around. See if the environment

is a conducive one for entrepreneurship.



Here are some questions to ask about the “outside world.”
1. How adequate is the infrastructure for business in your community,
province or city? Are there enough provisions for basic requisites like
roads and bridges, power and water, telephone, postal and internet
facilities, as well as banking services?

2. Is the environment peaceful, safe and orderly? Investing hard-earned
money is already a big risk. Operating in an unsafe environment makes
it even more risky.

3. What are the incentives, assistance programs and other support that the
national and local governments make available to business, especially
to small, start-up businesses? Ask about tax exemptions and discounts,
low-interest financing, technical assistance, marketing and promotional
services, training, etc.

4. How prepared is the government bureaucracy to serve the needs of
businessmen? Are civil servants courteous and service-oriented? Are
procedures and requirements for business registration, for example, clear
and simple?

5. Study national and local market trends, business growth and market
share, purchasing power of the public, confidence in the economy.

6. Study imports. What goods does the country import from abroad? What
goods and services does your particular community or town “import” from
Manila and other big cities? Think whether you can provide these goods
and services locally. This is known as “import substitution”.

7. Think of other possibilities: subcontracting, a promising way by which
small firms can start supplying parts or services for bigger companies;
public sector purchasing, which small businesses might explore because
government offices are required by law to purchase supplies from local
producers; and franchising, dubbed as the “business with the least fears”.
Source: Department of Trade & Industry

Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Entrepreneurs, Financial Literacy, Invest in Sorsogon, Negosyo Tips,

9 Tips and Guides to Succeed as Overseas Filipino Worker

By: Pinoy-OFW.com

When you leave the Philippines to work overseas, you probably have set your objectives already. Earn bigger wages, save most of them and return home may be one of them. But in reality, working overseas is more likely to be complicated than what we initially imagined. There are many distractions that dissuade us from pursuing our goals.

Many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) spent many years working abroad yet they found themselves almost empty handed and unable to figure out why they were unable to save by the time they decided to go back to the Philippines. Remember that a high paying job does not guarantee savings, if you are not diligent in doing so. Or if unfortunate things happen (you figure in an accident or get sick, you get duped, you get laid off from work, etc).

hk-filipinas
Filipina domestic helpers spend their day off at a Hong Kong street. Photo credit: Ian Riley

Successful Overseas Filipino Worker sounds very subjective. But for the sake of this article, let’s say successful OFW is one who is able to provide the needs of his/her family along with sustainable source of livelihood long after he/she decides to go back home for good.

Therefore, if you don’t want to take the same route as these ill-fated OFWs and instead be successful, the following tips may be helpful to you.

1. Apply the job without spending a fortune. It is not practical to spend a fortune to land an overseas job, no matter how high-paying it promises. Many Filipinos take the radical route of selling farming lands, houses and other family properties to pay for placement fee for a job that pays only a fraction of that amount. While you successfully get the job, your family’s livelihood or convenience is compromised, putting you in a bind to contribute a significant amount of your earnings on a regular basis. This becomes the main reason why OFWs are unable to save for themselves.

2. Save before you spend. The fact that you are receiving much higher salary abroad than what you did back in the Philippines is a big temptation to spend more. After all, you have the money to spend, right? You might say you deserve a new car or a fine piece of luxury jewelry after all the hard work. That’s not a problem only if you already managed to save a reasonable amount on a regular basis. That amount may be from 5% to 15% of your monthly income. Many Filipinos want a taste of luxury even for a short while, only to regret what they did. You can be like them, but make sure you put money into the piggy bank first.

3. Become a property investor. Investing in farmland, house for rent or lots is a wise investment with guaranteed yields better than passenger jeepneys or sari sari store because they require a bit less maintenance and whose value doesn’t depreciate as much as others.

4. Invest in retirement savings plan, educational plan or life insurance. Even when you’re working abroad, be diligent in contributions to SSS, Pag-Ibig Fund and educational fund for children or future children as well as health and life insurance to safeguard financial security during challenging times.

5. Educate your family members on spending your remittance. Don’t make your beneficiaries think making money abroad is an easy task. Instill in them the value of saving and less reliance on your money remittance (or balikbayan boxes). By doing so, family members are motivated to help stretch the budget and save whatever you send instead of immediately seeking help from you for financial assistance.

6. Don’t pretend to be a millionaire when you’re not. Sometimes, neighbors have this mentality that if you are on vacation, you are poised to give away stashes of money or bags of chocolates. And many OFWs oblige to avoid being maligned as too prudent and don’t know how to share. Sharing what you have is a good gesture but it does not need to be too extravagant that it’s like starting from scratch when you return to work abroad. What about if your company suddenly shut down or have to let go of people (you included) due to financial difficulties? Or you got sick and unable to go back to work?

7. Think of a good investment while you’re abroad. If you are business-minded you can think of ways to establish business in your home town. Internet cafe for computer-literate family members, eatery for cooking mothers and siblings or a business center offering photocopying, typing, and book binding near a school. Don’t invest on a business you have no idea how it’s run. You better save your money in a bank than get involved in a highly risky business venture.

8. Think of acquiring new skills. Acquiring new skill can be accomplished through short-term courses such as dressmaking or cooking courses. Or maybe enroll in a distance learning institute. Other skills are not necessarily for livelihood but are good to have, such as guitar or karate lessons. Being an OFW should not limit you to be part of working class only.

9. Set short-term, middle-term and long-term plans. By planning on a short- (within the year), medium- (2-4 years) and long-term (5 years or more) plans, we are more focused on what we can accomplish on a daily basis. Do I want to own a new house within two years? Do I want to go back home in five years? Can I establish my own business before I reach the age of 40? Draft your own plans first and you’ll be able to steer towards a clearer direction.

These are practical tips that are not hard to do. Even the lowest paid Filipino abroad can still be a candidate to succeed in life overseas. It just begins with forward thinking, a little self sacrifice and focus on achieving dreams.

Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Encouragement, Entrepreneurs, Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

Groundwork for OFWs computer and financial literacy kicks off

Did you know that among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), there are so-called 45-day millionaires?

From what I understand, these are those guys who earn really big money and truly once their US dollar, for example, paychecks are converted to Philippine peso, the bills amount to millions.

Why 45-days?

I have not found the answer to this yet, but if we go by the stories of some folks “throwing parties for two weeks”, plus the additional days of shopping, and gift giving, and what have you, one month and a half month could be it.

Another explanation could be that after 45-days, the OFW has to return overseas and resume earning dollars again.

Had it not been due to their basic computer literacy training, many of them might still be trapped in this 45-day millionaire syndrome.

Alas, there is a way out.

Against this backdrop, graduates of the “Tulay”, the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program Community Technology Skills Program for Overseas Filipino Workers, have began to organize themselves into either alumni groups or cooperatives with business and livelihood projects for members.

An example is the OWWA Microsoft Tulay Alumni Organization of graduates from the Cordilleras and Baguio. Headed by Ediltrudis Irma Person of Tulay Batch 1, her members engage in livelihood activities such a detergent products, Internet café operations, transient homes management, restaurants and meat processing.

In the process of being formalized is the Tulay OFW Cooperative based in Butuan City and spearheaded by former OFW Elisa Capon-Moran. A start up venture being contemplated is smoked fish production.

“OFWs who are trained with basic IT skills have the advantage to explore other business opportunities. With their new found skills, the window of possibilities is endless,” said Susan Ople, president, Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

This month, the BOPC received from Microsoft Philippines more than $200,000 in cash and software grants for the expansion of the “Tulay” for OFWs program.

In the Philippines, “Tulay” was launched by Microsoft in 2004 in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment, specifically its attached agency Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. Its objective is to provide technology tools and skills training to OFWs and their families.

In 2008, Microsoft started working with the Ople Center, a private non-profit organization that has partnered with OWWA, to put up more learning centers.

“Over the years, “Tulay” has been successful in boosting opportunities for Filipino migrant workers and their beneficiaries. We are happy with the development of “Tulay”. Through the expansion of new training centers, more and more OFWs and their families can take advantage of these opportunities,” said Carmelita Dimzon, Administrator, OWWA, in a press release.

In her progress report and new directions announcement, Ople underscored, “Once empowered…now that they are computer literate, their horizon suddenly expands.”

Thus the challenge of bringing them up to the next level from computer literacy to financial literacy. Combining computer literacy with financial literacy, as she put it.

“We are looking also into possible tie-ups with local government units to pilot test a more OFW-friendly business environment,” she said. “We would like to increase the number of OFWs and their dependents who are able to obtain new sources of income, better jobs, and or put up small businesses after graduating from the Tulay program.”

She underscored, “Given options and when pointed to the right direction, a “Tulay” graduate is empowered enough to consider pursuing other computer courses or opening a small business.”

Since 2004, over 20,000 people have been trained under the “Tulay” program. With the expansion of the program and opening of new centers, “Tulay” is expecting 258,000 individuals to benefit from the program in the next three years.

By EDISON ONG

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/245500/groundwork-ofws-computer-and-financial-literacy-kicks

Filed under: Education, Encouragement, Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, Livelihood, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training,

10 things Juan dela Cruz needs to know about economy in ’10

A new year always gives us that feeling that better days are up ahead.
But the most practiced soothsayer will struggle to make any detailed predictions for 2010, especially about the markets.

Thus, what I’m offering here are not jaw-dropping revelations, but a list of some facets of the economy that Filipinos may want to think about this year.

1. Why should I be personally concerned about the widening budget gap? How will that affect me and my family if I were a salaried employee, a businessman or an OFW?

A widening budget gap means less government spending on social services, infrastructure and other services.

The government may opt to borrow more to fund its shortfall to maintain the delivery of its services. However, this could push interest rates or cost of doing business higher. Higher costs of doing business would mean less income for companies.

For Juan dela Cruz, this could mean some adjustments in costs of living and a salary increase may be hard to get.

2. Will the peso-dollar rate go up or down this year?

The general trend will still be favorable for the peso.

The Balance of Payments (BOP) is expected to post a higher surplus, fundamentally supported by OFW remittances, increased capital inflows, and revived exports.

Our Gross International Reserves (GIR) should remain at record levels, adequately covering import requirements.

Other factors that would contribute to the strong peso is the weak dollar in the medium term. We are looking at 46 by the end of the year.

3. Will food prices go up or down apart from seasonal fluctuations?
The calamities during the last quarter of 2009 resulted in an increase in food prices and this may last until the end of the first half if the El Niño phenomenon strikes.

However, food prices are expected to normalize toward the end of the year.

We are looking at a 3.5-percent inflation for 2010.

4. Will the rest of the world recover economically, so much so that they will need more OFWs? Which countries will recover faster?
Yes. The global economic recovery has begun. Strong indicators of rising economic activity have supported the rise in the global financial markets.

However, the United States and the rest of the world are still far away from full recovery, as unemployment remains high and demand has not returned to pre-crisis levels.

Indeed the economies in the region are still quite fragile, but financial stability is slowly being regained.

Asia is leading the economic recovery. Despite the slow recovery, demand for OFW remains resilient.

5. For those wanting to relocate from Manila, where in the Philippines is it good to go to in terms of job opportunities, lower food prices, housing, etc., and still have Internet access, movies etc?

The key cities in the south, mainly Cebu, Davao and Cagayan De Oro, as these are now being eyed as hubs for business process outsourcing offices.

These cities have infrastructure comparative to Manila.

6. By how much can this year’s elections lift the GDP? Which industries in particular will benefit from the polls?

Roughly by 0.5 percent, 2 percent for full year 2010. The services sector, transport and communications, trade and manufacturing are the main beneficiaries of this election exercise.

7. Will the next president be forced to raise taxes to increase revenues?

Without giving much thought, No! There is no need to immediately raise taxes. He only has to plug the tax leakages on the e-vat and enhance revenue collection activities.

These actions could offset the equivalent amount of revenues raised from an increase in the e-vat. However, this would take time and would not get immediate results.

So, personally, I think the next president should raise taxes. This could come in the form of increasing the E-VAT from 12 to 15 percent.
This should allow the new administration to implement its program for the country. How can one implement when there are no funds in the government coffers? I view the country as a patient that is recovering from an illness but still needs medication. Otherwise, the patient could have a relapse. Although, enhancing the revenue collecting measures could do the trick, but increasing the e-vat is the fastest route to progress.

8. Will President Arroyo leave the country better off in June, when she steps down from office, compared to January 2001 when she replaced Estrada?

One may conclude that she will leave the office in a better position than when she started.

But wait a minute. Under her administration, the national debt grew by 107 percent. This is the price for an average economic growth of 4.7 percent under her term compared to Estrada’s 2.3 percent.
Definitely, the growth rate is far better.

However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Friends, ask yourselves, do you feel richer today than in 2001?

9. What economic problems will the next president of the Philippines have to face by July this year?

The new administration will be faced by a fiscal crisis as government revenues wane. The need to cure it is almost immediate. He needs the necessary funding to be able to provide the social services, infrastructure and job creation to help alleviate poverty.

Thus, the next president should have bold measures to enhance government coffers, determination to get the job done and the oratory skills to be able to communicate to every Filipino that to be able to alleviate poverty, it involves a lot of pain and suffering, which includes raising the taxes.

10. If I had a little money to invest, where should I place it? In T-bills, bonds or UITFs?

Treasury Bills or T-bills will be on the top of the list, since they are deemed safe and secure. For those who have excess cash and can risk more, there are other investments that one can go for such as longer-dated government issued bonds, stocks and Unit Investment Trust Funds or simply UITFs.

(The author is a financial analyst of Banco de Oro. Opinions expressed in this article are of the author’s and do not reflect the views of his affiliated institution.)


By Jonathan L. Ravelas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:22:00 02/07/2010

Filed under: Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner,

OFWs’ financial future

While it is well known that the reason the Philippines escaped a recession is due in part to the huge remittances from the country’s overseas Filipino workers, there is a lingering fear that these OFWs, save for those with financial savvy or with the benefit of financial education, face an uncertain future when they reach retirement age.

Many of our OFWs, it must be noted, do not have access to a financial-literacy program that should come from the government or any advocacy group. Without that, the OFWs are bound to continue with their wasteful spending ways that do not take into consideration their future well-being.

Stories abound about OFW families facing bleak prospects once their principal end the workers’ stint abroad. Having failed to save for their future because of their wasteful ways, these OFW families become mendicants in their own neighborhood. And with nary an income, they are reduced to dwelling on “what ifs.” Which is a pity considering that they once were branded as modern-day heroes and saviors of the economy. What kind of life awaits them when they have not learned the rudiments of saving for their future, or simply of saving part of their income? This is a challenge the administration should seriously consider—to show its gratitude, to say the least, to those who saved the country from economic ruin.

OFW remittances, now averaging $1.5 billion a month, boost the country’s flagging dollar reserves on account of its mounting trade deficit. Without this hefty contribution from the overseas workers, the government could have come under the same money woes that characterized the last years of the Marcos government. At the time, the country, having lost its financial credibility, had to buy the dollars from the informal market and had these flown to Hong Kong where the letter of credits for the imports were then sourced. Thus was born the so-called Binondo Central Bank manned by then-trade minister Roberto Ongpin who has, of late, reinvented himself as a heavy hitter in the stock market.

It is incumbent upon the government to ensure that the OFWs get to know about the investment instruments they can invest their money in, while the going is still good. It is equally important for the government to see to it that these OFWs get the kind of investment advice that should serve them in their twilight years, when the need for a nest egg becomes much more pronounced. While there are financial-literacy programs that some government agencies come up with or breast-beat about, the fact is the investment bug has not caught on as can be evidenced by the increasing number of OFW families at their wits’ end trying to make ends meet.

This lack of concern from the government on the need to provide financial literacy for the 10 million-plus OFWs could be traced to the number of failed finances of many OFW families. How come there has been no visible effort from the government to make sure these OFWs distinguish, for instance, the difference between “need” and “want?” It is simply mind-boggling for the government not to reach out to the OFWs on this score. OFW families should have basic financial-literacy programs in place, such that they get to know that sometimes what they “want” (which could be a higher-priced car) could actually be taken care of by knowing what they “need,” which is that they need just a vehicle, no matter how lowly or cheap it may look.

Sad to say, the government appears to have failed in this because its concerns were only focused on the dollars that these workers remit. It is time, therefore, for the government to stop the lip service and address in earnest our OFWs concerns, foremost of which is to help them to have a grasp of financial instruments. This should no longer be a difficult task, considering that many overseas workers’ families have now become all too familiar with the subprime meltdown, the trillions in dollars and euros that the United States and the European zone pumped into their respective banking institutions and prospects of another Big Depression.

Perhaps, it is time, too, for the government to save the OFWs from the likes of the Legacy scam where high-interest rates proffered on hapless victims made them form a beeline to the bank, not knowing that the banking group has failed the test on solvency, liquidity and capital ratios. It is sad to note here that many of the victims who fell prey to the scam were overseas workers. A friend told me that an OFW from Canada was hysterical after the news of the Legacy group’s closure brought her P2.5-million savings to just the maximum limit of bank insurance, plus the frayed nerves that went with the hassle of talking to government regulators.

Written by Lito U. Gagni / Market Files

Filed under: Business Ideas for OFW Families, Encouragement, Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, Livelihood, OFW Corner,

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