LIST: Celebrity entrepreneurs share tips for starting business during pandemic 
Clockwise: Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, Bea Soriano Dee, Nico Bolzico and David Licauco.
Nespresso, David Licauco/Released

LIST: Celebrity entrepreneurs share tips for starting business during pandemic 

Seph Asong (Philstar.com) - September 3, 2020 - 8:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — Managing a business in the midst of a pandemic is never easy. But brewing the right strategy can help entrepreneurs boost not only their mood, but their business success, too. 

Whether you are someone who wants to start a business because it is your passion or you lost a job due to the pandemic, the following stars share some pieces of advice on how they keep their businesses thriving during these tough times. 

Nico Bolzico: Work space, structured schedule

Nespresso recently launched its “Be Your Own Barista” campaign at its first-ever At-Home Virtual Cafe, where entrepreneurs and now at-home baristas, Nico Bolzico, Bea Soriano Dee and Happy Ongpauco-Tiu shared their love for café-style coffee and business advice.

Apart from starting Nico’s day with his frothy cappuccino, the founder and president of agri-tech firm LM10 and co-owner of Argentinian steak restaurant Chingolo, shared that creating his workspace helps him stay focused.

“I have to pick a spot to work — that is where I focus. I need structure like that; I cannot work everywhere and all over the place. I need to schedule the day too, timewise.” 

Nico shared that scheduling and managing projects and 500 employees are now easier with the help of technology. He had always believed that employees should meet in the office, but realized that, “Working remotely is possible. We use different software for each company. Eighty percent of what you do before can be done remotely and more efficiently.”

Related: Aspiring 'plantito,' 'plantita'? Farmer Nico Bolzico gives 'plantips'

Bea Soriano Dee: Communication, perspective 

“Over-communicate with your teams because that’s when you get to solve problems. Make sure that everybody still feels that they’re part of the company. We keep on having town halls just to make them feel that, 'Hey, you’re still part of the Sunnies fam and we got you'," she said.

At a time where almost everything is done virtually, Bea, co-founder of the Sunnies group, stressed the importance of maintaining solidarity even if they are not together.

It is important for every business leader to have a fresh perspective and take advantage of a problem by making it work for you.

“It has kind of slowed down our way of living. I get to really enjoy the morning. I get to sit down in a quiet place, really focus, and set a mindset to what my day would be like. I like that I can prepare for my day,” Bea shared her new routine, which she enjoys with a macchiato made with Nespresso Lattissima Touch. 

Happy Ongpauco-Tiu: Creativity, resilience

As the Chief Executive Officer of Happy Concept Group, a private dining chef, restaurateur, mother and wife all at the same time, where does Happy get her much-needed energy to take care of her family and multiple businesses?

She shared, “I am busier now. I have four boys and I am home-schooling them too. It is so exhausting. I need coffee to really wake up; I have three to four cups a day. I manage my household and my businesses at home, so it is a big work-load that’s much more hectic.” 

Happy’s favourite americano made with her Pixie surely helps, but she also highlights the value of creativity for productivity. She shared, “It’s important for me to be productive. I have to find ways to keep my businesses going and sustain my employees. I really have to be creative in my own little ways just to provide for them.”

While it is easy for businesses to give up these days, Happy advised them to be resilient and not look back. Look forward and always innovate.

David Licauco: problem solving, market study, passion


"Kailangan lang talaga maging mindful sa surroundings. Look at the pain points that you have. Look at the pain points that your family and your friends would have. And then, be a solution to those pain points," actor and owner of five businesses David Licauco advised.

According to the 25-year-old, it is important to study the feasibility of a business idea first before pursuing it.

"Kasi lahat ng mga tao they have so much ideas. But they do not have the 'balls' to do it. Just do it and also feed the passion," enthused the model in an exclusive interview with Philstar.com.

It could be tempting to binge-watch all day especially during the lockdown, but instead, David chooses to spend his time studying more to make his businesses sustainable especially during trying times like the ongoing pandemic.

"I-train mo lang ang self mo to be inspired and to feed the passion. Like ako, I always make sure to watch a business-related video on YouTube."

The “Chinito Heartthrob” recently launched his own brand, As Nature Intended (asnatureintended.ph), an online one-stop shop for everything you need to sustain a holistic lifestyle. The online shop offers a diverse selection of various brands of guilt-free food, skincare products, nutraceuticals/sports supplements, workout/athletic gear and even wine.

Related: Kapuso star David Licauco, 25, opens fifth business amid COVID-19 pandemic

Finally, the entrepreneurs capped off their business advice by reminding business owners that they can be productive as they manage their business’ survival, but they also have to be kind to themselves.

As Bea pointed out, “I really value productivity but at the same time, regardless of the pandemic, do whatever makes you happy. Don’t get pressured by social media to do things just because everybody else is doing it.”

Sharing his desire to keep his people employed, Nico shared, “We need to be productive. Our objective is to keep everyone in the company. But being productive is one thing and being stressed is a different thing. Find that balance.”

To support this, Happy emphasized the value of time for self and family by having her coffee me time and playtime with family. “At the end of the day, just seeing your kids laugh, it makes you happy.”  — Reports from Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

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