When I moved up to Roosevelt in Bataan, I found myself getting to know the people who lived around me, whereas when I lived in Olongapo City, I really didn’t have the opportunity, because I was still shipping out, and only home for two months at a time between ships.
Well owing to the fact that I’m quick to enjoy a beer, I started to get to know quite a few neighbors here on the Mountain, and one of the things I noticed, was they all thought they didn’t have a chance to ever get ahead.
One guy, named Pauli, was married with kids, and had a small metal working shop on the National Highway. His complaint was a lack of business. I pointed out that his shop was one of five medal shops within a mile. At that time the Toll Road was not built yet from San Fernando to Subic, and everyone had to come through the Lahar section on the National Highway, and by the time they got to Olongapo and the Subic Freeport their car was filthy. I suggested that he hire a few kids, put up a sign, and wash cars for the people going to town to conduct business. He made good money for six years until the Toll Road opened, and the traffic slowed down. But during that time he made enough to build a nice house for his family.
Another guy in the area went to town early every day, and brought back newspapers to sell. Every morning I’d have to walk around until I found him to get my paper. I made a deal with him to automatically bring my paper to my house and I’d pay for a week in advance. He liked the idea, then he had a light bulb moment, and a month later he had twenty five steady customers and adding more every week.
The reason those two succeeded while others wait for the mango to fall, I call it, the “Sari-sari Theory”, the guy next-door is making money at his store, to wit, he should open one and get rich too, which would put a Sari-sari store every 50 feet. Or the vulcanizer has a good idea, so he and seven others sit and wait, until no one makes any money, as there can only be so many flat tires in one day at one location.
No original thoughts, just copy what the other guy is doing, and success is yours, or so you’d think. A corporate example of my “Sari-sari theory” are the big three here in telecommunications, Smart, Globe, and Sun, Cell Phone service providers. They don’t innovate; they just copy what the other guy is doing.
My brother-in-law complained that his Sari-sari was not doing well, I asked what was he doing different from everybody else? He said, “Nothing”. Well that was his problem, I told him to sell items no one else sold. He started selling little cheap toys and odds and ends, and was doing well, until he decided that selling BBQ was the way to go. He sells nothing now.
The guy who started Jollibee, walked around for a while selling ice cream out of a taped up Styrofoam box. He later opened a fast food stall in the market and noticed that all the other stalls sold exactly the same thing, He mixed ground beef and pork together, and he sold hamburgers that satisfied a Filipino’s taste buds. Then his stall caught the eye of all the school kids, and the rest is history.
Find the need and satisfy it, don’t be a lemming and just follow the flock in to the sea. We Kanos, who for the most part have found our way to earn, could take that wisdom we process and pass it around to our families or friends. I’d advise not to lecture, just drop a suggestion in passing, plant the seed and see if it grows.
There is always the funny side to everything; Mr. X who lives down the street, received some money from his family in the states, who were trying to plant that seed. He went out and got a second hand Jeepney and put it out on boundary (Rented it to a driver). He lost money every month, due to repairs on the Jeepney that he foolishly hired the driver to perform.
While the driver was not really doing any repairs, he was out making money with the Jeepney, and collecting from both ends and not paying Mr. X for the rent.
Mr. X by the end of the year put the Jeepney up for sale as it was running at a loss. You’re gonna’ love this part. His former driver bought the Jeepney! A few months later Mr. X purchased a Trike. We were talking, and he was now planning to rent it out also, since his track record was so stellar in the Transportation Field it was just the natural way to go.
When he asked what I thought of his new plan, I said, “Don’t rent it, just sell it now at a loss and save yourself all that grief.” I then pointed out that since he didn’t have a job, why not drive it himself and eliminate the thief? His wife jumped on that idea. He’s doing okay now!
It is far better to teach them to fish, than support them for life. It’s an old idea, but it still works.