No company is successful without its own fair share of challenges. Even our very own Mr. Luke Roxas encountered a number of difficult challenges before making it big in the world of entrepreneurship. So whether you’re working for one or plan to start a business yourself, go ahead and inspire yourself with brief stories of five companies who withstood their own bunch of hardships and are even better now than they were before. And to make these stories closer to the heart, let’s stay local.
Formerly called Aluminum Containers, Inc., Lamoiyan used to be the main supplier of aluminum toothpaste tubes to leading multinational companies in the Philippines such as Colgate-Palmolive Co., Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.
They were doing well until 1985 when these companies decided to shift to plastic tubes. Not wanting to dispose of all the excess aluminum tubes, President and CEO Cecilio Pedro decided to make his own brand of toothpaste despite knowing that the market leaders could easily blow him off.
He successfully penetrated the Filipino market by making a toothpaste that is cheaper and caters to the taste preferences of Filipino customers. He called this toothpaste Hapee. Right now Lamoiyan has expanded to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Papua New Guinea, and Russia.
CEO Lance Gokongwei wanted to make flying more accessible to Filipinos, thus the birth of the Philippines’ first low-cost carrier—Cebu Pacific Air. In February 1998, a most untoward incident happened as Flight 387 crashed on its way to Cagayan. This resulted in the suspension of operations for 60 days.
During that time, the employees really got together, offering support and assistance to the families affected by the crash. Some even volunteered to get deployed to Cagayan to help out. Their main concern was easing the burden of those who suffered, and as a result, their ties turned out to be even stronger than before.
They turned this crisis into an opportunity. Right now, Cebu Pacific not only has the lowest fares, but is also one of the most innovative airlines in the Philippines! They introduced e-ticketing, prepaid excess baggage, and seat selection. They are also the first to host in-flight games and publish an airline magazine called Smile.
Andok’s Litson Manok
It all started in West Avenue, Quezon City where Sandy Javier set up a small stall and roasted 12 chickens. He always dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur and was dead set on doing whatever it takes to be one. He was only able to sell two that day, but that didn’t stop him from improving his chicken mix.
Despite discouragement and the fact that his batch mates from the Ateneo have already been making big bucks at large corporations, it didn’t take too long until he came up with the perfect chicken mix, and it clicked very well with the customers. He ended up renting out the stall next to his to take up more space (which also happened to be a roasted chicken stall) and eventually expanded to Visayas and Mindanao.
He was also able to expand his product line to include dine-in meals. Right now Andok’s is to litson manok as Colgate is to toothpaste and as Cutex is to nail polish.
National Book Store
Owner Socorro Ramos started out as a saleslady in her brother’s bookstore. When she married her husband Jose Ramos, the two opened their own bookstore where Socorro worked all-around, unable to afford extra manpower.
During World War II, certain policies forced them to sell other merchandise for the meantime. After the Japanese occupation, they gradually made the transition back to being a bookstore. It was that time in 1948 when Typhoon Gene struck, soaking all their inventories. Despite that, the couple stayed strong and persisted in their business. Eventually, they were able to build a building—the Albecer building—where they set up shop for many years. And the rest, as they say, is history.
It started when Tony Tancaktiong franchised two Magnolia ice cream parlors with his brother, Ernesto. Upon observing that customers were looking for food as well, they decided to incorporate hamburgers into their menu. They were surprised as more people were buying hamburgers than ice cream. That was when they decided to focus on hamburgers and other food choices instead.
In 1978, Tony already had a chain of hamburger outlets. This was the time that the outlets were named Jollibee, and the mascot was decided upon to be a bee. When McDonald’s came into the Philippines, Tony decided to compete against it. To this day, what sets Jollibee apart from McDonald’s is its ability to suit the Filipino taste. Now, Tony has also acquired other fastfood chains like Mang Inasal, Greenwich, Chowking, and Red Ribbon among others.