Monday, November 8, 2010

My First True Shot As An Entrepreneur

The year was 1974 when my two buddies and I decided to go into the retail business. We were 13 years old and in grade 6 at an exclusive school for boys run by the Jesuits.

Our target market – teenage and pubescent classmates who like us had raging hormones to quite down. We had a captured market that had daily allowances to spend. So, just as Facebook’s origin may have been due to a rush of testosterone, we decided to get into the adult magazine retailing business.

Wikipedia defines a target market as a “group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its merchandise. A well-defined target market is the first element to a marketing strategy.”

It furthers adds that “the target market and the marketing mix variables of product, distribution, promotion and price are the two elements a marketing mix strategy that determine the success of a product in the marketplace.”

Without really knowing it then, we had the perfect marketing mix strategy:
  1. we had a target market.
  2. a product that met a basic need.
  3. a distribution channel that did not require middle men nor expensive locations.
  4. marketing promotion  that went viral without the luxury of today’s social network.
  5. a relatively affordable price considering some rich classmates' daily allowance.

In effect, we identified a need within a readily available market.  We had a product that went viral within the day and profit margins most entrepreneurs can only dream of. 

Our costs:
  1. The bus ride to Avenida Rizal where are suppliers were located.
  2. The cost of the magazines.
  3. The limitless excuses we gave our parents as to why we got home a little late.
It was a short lived business venture that lasted for a month. Like all illegal and immoral business ventures, it was bound to end suddenly with calamitous repercussions. Luckily for us, we were busted by a veteran teacher who talked to us and brought us to our senses instead of throwing the book on us.

I have since then stuck to businesses that are moral and legal.

About 5 years ago, my company (Sysgen) was approached to staff a project to develop an adult website for an American firm. It meant revenues in dollars and hourly rates that were above the norm. The project would have earned us a hefty amount but without giving it much thought, we politely said no to the project.

I have found that integrity and honesty are the cornerstones of a good business. 

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