The First Real Step in Starting a Business



Starting a business is one of the best things you can do in your life. It’s a challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience. And like a lot of difficult things, doing the first step is often the hardest part, especially when you don’t know where to begin.

Like probably most of you, I was raised to become an employee—both at home and in school. There are no entrepreneurs in my family. And I never had the chance to take any business subjects in high school and in college.

So when that moment came for me that I wanted to start a business, I knew that I had to learn everything by myself. Realizing this fact often made me jealous of my college friends who studied a business course; and some others, who were fortunate to be born with entrepreneurial parents.

I’d imagine how lucky they were to formally learn about business. More so for those who have entrepreneur parents who can teach them how to start and manage a business. But then I noticed and asked myself this question.

Despite having those advantages, why do most of business graduates, and those born in entrepreneurial families that I knew, still choose to become employees?

In my search for an answer, I eventually concluded two things.

First, acquiring academic knowledge and being exposed to a business-minded family will not necessarily lead an individual to become an entrepreneur. And second, the entrepreneurial spirit, or a person’s motivation to become an entrepreneur, must come from somewhere else.

And that “somewhere else” is within a person’s character.

The story of Steve Tamayo
Do you know Steve Tamayo? He is a former overseas Filipino worker in the Middle East who became a business millionaire in the restaurant business.

And I’d say that his life’s biggest turning point was when war broke out in Kuwait and he was forced to come back to the Philippines.

He had to leave behind all his savings and possessions when that happened.

With nothing but experience at work, as his primary resource, he was able to start a small venture. This was the beginning of what would eventually become one of the most successful catering businesses in
the country.

His story is inspiring. But more than that, it’s also one of the best examples of how an entrepreneur is actually made. Steve worked in Saudi as a waiter, and then as a hotel manager in Kuwait. His combined eight years of experience working in these jobs taught him what he needed to start a food business. And it’s also the same lessons and opportunities that you have, regardless of your job.

Engagement is the first real step to entrepreneurship
A restaurant waiter can simply choose to do his job well, and he will be rewarded for his hard work with a job promotion. But if he wants to be an entrepreneur, he must learn to engage himself beyond what is required of him to do.

To not just provide good service to diners, but to learn the concept and importance of excellent customer service to a business. He can choose to not just take orders efficiently and memorize the menu. But he can also learn its nutritional merits and how it serves the dietary needs of different customers.

To not just follow his manager and the rules of the company, but to learn how the restaurant is managed; and likewise understand why those rules are important for the business.

Regardless of the work you do, there are lessons and opportunities, which are always available when you choose to stretch your vision beyond what you see.

Do you want to start your own business? Then awaken your entrepreneurial spirit by engaging first with the world around you. Your curiosity and hunger for new knowledge will give you the proper skills. It will nurture within you the right mindset to start a business someday, or perhaps sooner than you can imagine.

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fitzFitz Gerard Villafuerte is a Filipino entrepreneur, investor and a Registered Financial Planner.


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