Business Startup Blueprint: A Behind The Scenes Interview With Bobit Ebarle
Starting a business is easy. You make a product, sell it, and then all of a sudden, you're now a million richer. You attract lots of customers eager to buy your product and you're able to sell it like hot cakes.
If you think that starting a business and becoming a full-time entrepreneur is as easy as this, sorry to burst your bubble, but it's a bit more complicated than that.
To tell you honestly, being an entrepreneur is more like a journey.
If you can understand this journey, you'll be able to start and manage a sustainable business that can produce long-term profits to help you achieve financial freedom.
To be able to understand the entrepreneur's journey, you'll need guidance from someone who had experienced all kinds of failures before becoming a truly successful entrepreneur.
In this blog post, I got the chance to pick the brains of one of the most successful young entrepreneurs today, Mr. Bobit Ebarle. He's the founder of Business Startup Blueprint, an online business mentorship program that aims to teach aspiring individuals on how to become a successful entrepreneur.
With the help of J3 Patino of Pinoy Money Academy, I got the opportunity to ask him what the Business Startup Blueprint is all about and how it can help someone become successful like him too.
Some of the tips and advice in this interview will most certainly surprise you and even change how you look at entrepreneurship altogether!
So without further adieu, fire away!
Behind The Scenes Interview With Bobit Ebarle, Founder Of Business Startup Blueprint
First off, thank you Bobit for granting this interview. We all know that there are a lot of people out there that are curious about entrepreneurship in general and how the Business Startup Blueprint program can help them start their own profitable businesses.
The BSB program launched last August 2016 and is proven to be a success with enrollees already starting their own businesses. What ignited the spark in you to start the Business Start-up Blueprint mentorship program? How did the idea of a business mentorship course come about?
What ignited me to start the Business Startup Blueprint is my own experience of first failing in business and then discovering the formula to succeed!
You see, I've had tons of experience already when it comes to business. I've spent several years -- practically my whole professional life -- dealing with business, working with and learning from entrepreneurs, and starting my own businesses.
I've even experienced MASSIVE business failure firsthand! I lost as much as P11 million in investor money in my biggest business failure.
But at the same time, I've also experienced big business successes, having put up a 7-figure business with very little capital!
All these pieces of experience led me to discover why I failed, why I succeeded, and more importantly, the formula for successfully starting a business. This formula is very unique in that it encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to AVOID risks, instead of taking on risks, when starting a business. Kakaiba, diba? 🙂 While everyone would tell you that business is high-risk, high-reward and that you need to have the guts to risk it all to succeed, this formula tells you the exact opposite. It tells you to avoid risks so you can succeed! LOW-RISK, high-reward!
Because this formula has worked for a number of times for me already, I believed in it so much that I wanted to share it to aspiring entrepreneurs. I wanted to show them a different, less risky route, one that would NOT ask them to put their savings on the line or to quit their job. Because let's face it, if we don't have to put all our savings on the line, if we don't have to quit our jobs, and if we don't have to risk so much to be able to start a business, that would be better for all of us, right? 🙂
Thus, the Business Startup Blueprint was born. Ultimately, it was my way of showing people a unique formula for starting a business, one that they've never heard of before, and more importantly, one that would encourage them to avoid risks so that they could even increase their chances of business success!
And I'm happy that it worked not just for me, but for other people, too! We have enrollees from our August 2016 batch who have started profitable businesses already and I could not be any happier with these results. To see people who have no knowledge in business or who have once failed in starting a business become successful entrepreneurs after using the Business Startup Blueprint's formula is the most fulfilling and heartwarming experience for me!
Starting the BSB program must have presented some challenges. What do you think is the biggest challenge you’ve come across and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge in starting Business Startup Blueprint is the process of condensing everything I've learned and experienced that led to business success -- and also discarding everything that does not contribute to success -- into a simple, 5-step formula that people can easily learn, follow, and implement for themselves.
Having worked on businesses for practically all of my professional life, I've been blessed to accumulate a wealth of information from years of studying in business school, doing business, and working on businesses with multi-millionaires and even billionaires.
And I tell you, it is NOT easy to condense all of that knowledge into 5 simple steps! 🙂
There was a lot of technical knowledge that had to be simplified and more importantly, a lot of outdated knowledge about taking on risks that had to be unlearned and REMOVED.
Despite all of those difficulties, I believe we've successfully overcome them! We've made the Business Startup Blueprint's 5-step formula simple, easy-to-understand, and actionable even by people who have no prior knowledge and experience in business. And it shows with our OFW / engineer / housewife enrollees who have started their own businesses already.
If there are challenges, there are also achievements. What do you think is the biggest achievement so far that you have done in the BSB program?
Though we've received a lot of positive comments and testimonials from happy enrollees, I still would not consider this our biggest achievement. Don't get me wrong, these are awesome and fulfilling! But for me, the biggest and best achievement for me will always be seeing enrollees start their own successful businesses.
For example, one of our past enrollees is Vero Gines, an OFW in Qatar. Before enrolling in the Business Startup Blueprint, he was already trying his hand on starting his own business because he knew that this was the only way to achieve financial freedom and at the same time, he wanted to end his OFW career already and come home to the Philippines.
Unfortunately for him, his previous attempts at starting a business didn't work out well. In fact, he lost a whopping P7 million over the past 8 years trying to put up a piggery business and a real estate business!
After enrolling in the Business Startup Blueprint, we discovered that the reason why he failed in his previous attempts at business is because he had taken on so many risks! He had spent so much money even before performing due diligence, getting customers, and validating his business ideas.
More importantly, after enrolling in the Business Startup Blueprint, he experienced a complete turnaround from what he had experienced before. That's because in just 2-3 months, he was able to put up a successful farm business that already earns P50,000 per month! And he was able to do this despite being an OFW based in Qatar!
Because of this successful business, he plans to come home to the Philippines for good within the next year.
All this, he was able to achieve, because he avoided risks (instead of taking them on) as he started his new business. He avoided risks by discovering (and starting) the business idea that was best suited for him, by getting customers even before spending a lot of money, by validating his business before going all-in, and many more.
Seeing an enrollee go through all this, from failure to success, and for him to now have his own business that would enable him to stop being an OFW and come home for good -- that's priceless. Our enrollees' success will always and forever be the biggest and best achievement that we in the Business Startup Blueprint could ever experience.
What is your biggest motivation and inspiration in running the Business Startup Blueprint program? How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired at challenging times?
Believe it or not, keeping myself motivated and inspired is NOT a problem when running the Business Startup Blueprint!
Honestly, even I was surprised by this. It was easier than I thought to keep myself motivated. That's probably because, as I mentioned in the previous question, I get a tremendous amount of fulfillment whenever I see enrollees progress and succeed in business.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have realized that it would be INFINITELY FULFILLING to see people succeed because of your help. I knew it was going to be fulfilling but not infinitely fulfilling!
Business has always been my passion and I am delighted to use my passion to help other people succeed.
And I've always believed that passion is a key ingredient to business success. Coincidentally, it is also one of the key lessons we teach in the Business Startup Blueprint! One of the four (4) vital considerations for choosing the business idea that's best suited for you is that you have to love or you have to be passionate about that business. It's easy to be motivated when business is good and money is flowing but when times get rough (and trust me, they will), it is your love and passion for your business and its customers that will keep you going.
Passion towards your business makes a world of a difference and seeing as how I have no issue whatsoever when it comes to keeping myself motivated to work on my business, I'm living proof of that!
Based on your experience, what do you think are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
In reality, the bare minimum number of skills that you'll need to start a successful business is two (2). These 2 skills are: creating your product and selling your product.
It's that simple. There's no need to complicate it and make it difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to understand because at the heart of it all, business is about creating a product that solves people's problems and being able to sell it to them for a sustainable profit.
You don't have to learn much about accounting, finance, human resources, or even business incorporation and registration in the early stage of starting a business. You can learn about those in the future or better yet, pay someone to do those things for you after you've created and sold your product for a sustainable profit. You'll have the money for those activities by then anyway!
What matters the most is that you know how to create your product and how to sell it. Everything else is secondary. If everything else breaks down but you can still create and sell your product, you still have a business. But if you can no longer create your product or sell it, then you no longer have a business. It's as simple as that.
Now if I were to include a third skill that can certainly increase your chances of business of success, that skill would be knowing how to avoid risks when starting a business. This takes not only creativity and resourcefulness but also a mindset change, as you would first have to get over the belief/cliché that business is "high risk, high reward." It's not, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you'll achieve success in business!
An example of knowing how to avoid risks is to validate a business before spending a lot of time, money, and effort on it. Here are concrete examples of how to validate a business:
If you want to start a restaurant, don't spend a fortune putting one up immediately. Validate first if your business and products will work by, say, selling lunch meals to office mates or to people at night markets. It won't cost as much compared to putting up a restaurant, you can easily test how good your food is (based on sales and repeat purchases), and you'll have loyal fans of your business when you decide to grow it to become a restaurant!
If you want to start a retail business, don't spend a fortune putting one up immediately in a mall. Validate first if your business and products will work by, say, putting up an Instagram and/or Facebook store first. It won't cost as much compared to leasing a space in a mall, you can easily test it online first, and you'll have loyal online followers of your business when you decide to grow it to become a physical store!
I hope that with these examples, you can see how valuable the skill of avoiding risks through validation really is. Together with the 2 other skills of creating and selling a product, these 3 skills will surely set you up for success as you start your own business!
Failures are common especially on startup businesses. What are some of your past failures and what have you learned from them?
My biggest ever business failure was when I started a coconut sugar exporting business several years ago. It was a costly, 11-million-peso failure!
And the worst part in this failure is that when my co-founders and I are starting out in this business, we believed that we were in the best position to succeed! Why? We were able to raise P11 million in startup capital from an investor. We resigned from our jobs to work full-time on the business. We worked extremely hard as we flew regularly from our office in Ortigas to our suppliers in Gen San and back.
And yet, despite all these, we failed, lost P11 million, and shut down the business within 2 years.
This is when I first learned the dangerous pitfall of taking on too much risks when starting a business. And ironically, it was the benefit of having P11 million in capital that led us to take a lot of risks!
We bought millions of pesos worth of products right from the start. We spent millions to lease a warehouse and refurbish it. We hired to fill our sales team in Ortigas and our operations team in Gen San. We did all these, before doing the 5 most vital steps in starting a business, because with all the capital we had, we thought we were going to be okay and that we could take the risk.
Obviously, we couldn't. This led me to the most important of all in my business career: When starting a business, you have to AVOID risks, and not take them on!
This learning served as the foundation of my successful businesses and eventually, the foundation of other people's successful businesses, too, via the Business Startup Blueprint.
What three pieces of advice you can give to young people who want to become an entrepreneur? And what advice can you give to other entrepreneurs that are looking to develop a successful business?
I can give 3 pieces of advice, each of which depends on where you are now in your entrepreneurial journey.
If you haven't started your business yet: Learn. Read a lot. Talk to entrepreneurs. Learn their stories of failures and success. Gain knowledge and advice from veteran entrepreneurs who have solid experience and have not only succeeded, but also failed. After all, failure is the best teacher. Get an experienced mentor who can teach you and guide you to do what's right (and to avoid pitfalls).
When you're about to start your business: Do not follow the conventional route of taking risks to start a business. Instead, think of ways to avoid or minimize your risks. Less risks means less chances of failing!
When you've already started your business: We've talked a lot about following a low-risk approach when starting a business. Well, there's also a LOW-RISK approach to growing your business! One of the ways to follow a low-risk approach when growing your business is to keep testing and validating your innovations before going all-out and launching them to your customers. Test and validate your new product innovations on a small-scale first because the worst that could happen is that you spend lots of time, money, and effort on a new product that your existing customers will not want to buy!
If you’ll be given a chance to start your business all over again, what would you do differently?
If I were given a chance to start my old business again, say, my coconut sugar exporting business, I would practice what I preach. This means that I'll AVOID risks (instead of taking them on) when starting that business.
How will I do that?
First, instead of taking on the whole coconut sugar value chain of production, storage, sales, distribution, and exportation just to gain the most profits, I will choose to simplify the start of that business by doing sales, distribution, and exportation only. Sales, distribution, and exportation are hard enough! Production is a different animal altogether and it just overwhelmed us as we were starting that business. Clearly, taking on too many things when starting a business is a huge risk because it spreads you out too thinly. It's best for entrepreneurs to simplify and focus on the core of your business first.
Second, I will aim to get customers before even spending a huge sum of money on buying our product. That's because reaching out customers will enable us to get a better idea of what they're really looking for and at what price they would be willing to buy. In hindsight, had we done this back then, it would have made us realize that our biggest and deadliest competition were not Filipino exporters of coconut sugar. Rather, Indonesian exporters were our deadliest competitors because they were selling the same product for just HALF our price! Learning this early on (instead of the later stages -- a huge risk that experienced firsthand) would have drastically changed our strategy right from the very beginning, when we hadn't spent a fortune yet!
And lastly, I would make it a point to grow our business one step at a time. There was no point in taking on the production and storage portion of the value chain early on. We would've easily expanded to that once we had a steady stream of profits coming in from sales and exporting. The money we earned from sales and exporting would've been the funds we needed to take on production and storage, instead of getting so much investor money that further diluted our ownership of the company.
Overall, the alternative ways I mentioned would revolve around reducing the risks of starting this business. We took on too much risks back then and I'm sure that reducing those risks, via the steps I mentioned above, would've resulted in a drastically more positive outcome for us.
Now that the BSB is re-opening again to the public, can you tell us more about it? What can we expect from it and how it can help someone to become a successful entrepreneur?
The Business Startup Blueprint is back and it's better than ever! We only open the Business Startup Blueprint for enrollment twice a year so we hope you can check it out now.
When you do, you'll get FREE business training in the process! You'll see for yourself the Business Startup Blueprint's 5-step formula for starting your own LOW-RISK, high-reward business. We'll also share with you for FREE a lot of case studies and success stories about regular, everyday people who have implemented the 5-step formula for themselves.
You can expect that this latest version of the Business Startup Blueprint will focus most strongly on reducing business and personal risks so that people won't end up wasting lots of money, time, and effort starting a business. So if you want to learn a LOW-RISK approach to starting a business, one that you can implement without leaving your job or spending a ton of money on it, the Business Startup Blueprint is a must-see resource for you!
Well that wraps it up! Any last advice for the readers out there who want to start their own businesses but don’t know where to begin?
When starting your business, don't just jump in, head first, and hope that your hard work will take care of the rest. That's a very risky move that pays off only in the movies. 🙂
Instead, keep asking yourself: How do I avoid or minimize risks in this business? How can I validate in a fast, easy, and cheap way if this business will really make money for me?
Force yourself to think of easy and cheap ways to validate your business before spending a lot of time and money on it. Validating a business greatly lowers your risks of wasting money, time, and effort!
And as with what I mentioned in a question earlier: If you haven't started your business yet, learn and read as much as you can about business. It might be self-serving but I can sincerely recommend that you take advantage of the free business training and online videos we share at the Business Startup Blueprint.
I promise you, with the training videos we share, you will learn a lot about how to start your own LOW-RISK, high-reward business. And again, it's for FREE, so it's essentially a NO RISK proposition for you!
Thank you Bobit for taking the time to answer a few questions about entrepreneurship and the Business Startup Blueprint program. The tips you gave in this interview will surely give a head start for those who want to start a profitable business of their own.
You're such a wonderful guy!
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