Armando O. Bartolome
My life as an entrepreneur is fun and every minute is a joy. In fact, working with my wife, Lyndah, is already a fulfillment. We never even realized that the company we started in 1993, GMB Franchise Developers Inc., is already 21 years old. GMB stands for Golden Morning Blessings.
Let me tell you why it is fun. First, when we began this company, this was not our primary dream. Initially, we wanted to have a food retail business, as my experience during my overseas stint was with a multi-national food chain. The years of training in different aspects of operations, training, marketing, and franchising gave me sufficient background on this pursuit.
However, life is full of twists and surprises. Upon returning to the Philippines, my dream was shattered, when I began to face challenges in setting up my business. It dawned on me that I was way ahead of my time in the country.
Our plan was placed under hold to avoid losing our limited funds. Reflecting on what happened, I realized that an opportunity was always lingering within my horizon. Most businesses need fine tuning like training store front personnel on customer service, consistency of quality products, etc.
Expansion was confined to the ability of the owner to build another branch. Franchising was rarely heard of, except for foreign based companies, which were few at the time.
It did not take long before my wife and I were able to focus and get a business going.
We weren’t able to have a food store, but instead, we chose to be mentors to small and medium entrepreneurs. There was also our commitment to send articles on Franchising to various periodicals and magazines like Entrepreneur, a Philippine licensed edition from the US.
Our company grew by word-of-mouth. We started with a few clients, but soon, the!numbers began to grow. There were common denominators that we saw in the clients, we were privileged to serve:
- Dream with Passion: starting a business was brought about by an intense dream of making something out of nothing.
- Financial Incapability is not a hindrance: Having a few thousands of pesos is already sufficient to fuel their dream and make it a reality. Creative capital (i.e. resourcefulness, etc.) played a more crucial role.
- Open-Minds and a Willingness to Learn: Despite the fact that there was a clear picture of what business they wanted, all were willing to listen, weigh the options, and follow suggestions in order to make the best move.
- Team Oriented: Most entrepreneurs often say and use the pronoun “WE” rather than “I.” Indeed, collaboration is the engine of success.
- Desire to Share and Give Back to the Community: Success is not complete without social responsibility. All your hardwork is meaningless if it does not improve the quality of life and/or take into account the welfare of people, the environment, and the common good.
Applying the above factors, it is no wonder then, that blessings kept on pouring on the people we mentored. The steady growth of their businesses and the constant arrival of right franchisees were a joy to behold as they not only provided steady income for their families, but also gave jobs and livelihood to a multitude of people – significantly changing the landscape of their destinies and that of the country.
Armando “Butz” Bartolome
President, GMB Franchise Developers Inc.
Chairman, Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc.
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