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Freeman Cebu Business

Absentee businessman

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte - The Freeman

I so miss this space here in The Freeman. And I am getting so many emails where I was or if I was still alive! Hahahaha. Thank you very much for your concern but I have been moving from place to place chit-chatting with our kababayans in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia.

My visits have been specially warm and encouraging than ever as many of them are now more aggressive when I talk about how and why they get into business than to spend a big part of their life working abroad. I had the chance as well to talk to them on a personal basis about their bad experiences when they tried starting a business back home.

And I would like to share a few of their many stories why many OFWs ended up wasting their hard-earned money in businesses that did not fly. 

Multilevel Marketing ak.a “Networking.” One OFW in Dubai got herself to prison after having been wheedled to borrow money to try beauty and wellness products and bitcoins for a sideline business. 

First and foremost, 99 percent of those who do MLM will never make money in this kind of scheme says the Free Trade Organization. Meaning, you are guaranteed to lose money if you sign up to their “business” and forced to purchase a minimum amount of an already-overpriced products with the hope of making money from the people you recruit  who also buy the same products.

I wish I have the space to present the math as to why it is an “impossible scheme” but you can actually see the ratio as to the number of people who became “rich” and those who lose money. And if you really dig deeper, these rich people that they tell you about are not what they really seem to be. Many of them are heavily in debt.   

If you are an OFW and happen to bump into someone who shows you a chart that promises exponential growth of your money, think again. They could be another MLM or maybe another pyramiding scheme, er, scam. And, by the way, don’t fall for that feel-good video “The Secret: The Law of Attraction” it’s a repackaged junk about think positive.   

Poultry or Livestock Raising. When you entrust someone, mostly a family member, to do the business you can’t be too sure if he has the heart to grow it. Sure, you can trust your relative for their honesty. But can you really trust their time and commitment to run the business for you? Entrusting a business to a relative has its own pitfalls especially when the latter has no stake or investment in the business. They have this notion that even if they do not make it, that nurse from Saudi Arabia who sends them money to start the business will not end up poor because she still has a job anyway. 

Transport Franchising. Easy as it seems but to manage a taxi or a jeepney operation is no joke. The usual problem that arises is when your driver gets sick or your vehicle conks out and you have no idea what to do or how much you are going to spend for repairs. You actually face the most common problems in a transport business – human resource and maintenance.

Let’s just supposed again that you entrust the business to your mother or maybe your brother. Question is, does he have the people skills to manage people. Does he have the technical skills to maintain the vehicles? What if your driver got caught in a freak accident or maybe your taxi just hit someone on the road? How will they deal with it?

There’s just too many to count when you talk about businesses started by OFWs but failed. The issue is pretty much the same with what start-up entrepreneurs go through. But if you are an OFW who want to try your luck in business, the chances of failure is very high because, to begin with, you are an absentee entrepreneur. The ability to control the business you just started is not there. The ability to see objectively what’s going on is not within your range. In other words, you are already impaired to do what is ordinarily done to run a business.     Therefore, before you get into it, think of the possible scenarios. You may consider hiring a professional who can manage people with technical expertise to run the business for you, that is, if you can afford it.

Better yet, why not get into a business where you don’t have to think about so many things other than your earnings? Follow me in my next column.

Send emails to trade.forumph@gmail.com

trade.forumph@gmail.com.

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