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5 simple tips about opening your own business from Chris Tiu

Chris Tiu doesn’t like to call attention to himself, even when the Ateneo Blue Eagle went up the ranks to join Gilas Pilipinas and the PBA. Part of the business-minded Tiu clan, Chris loves the game, but he couldn’t ignore his entrepreneurial spirit for long.

One of his ventures with fellow partners, Happy Lemon, was brought in abroad almost a decade ago, and it’s still doing well. Chris and his business partner have recently brought in Eric Kayser, a French Boulangerie that creates and bakes bread and pastries on the same day. It’s due to Chris’ frequent travels wherein he found Eric Kayser and saw a need for it in the Philippines.

We spoke with the Cathay Pacific ambassador recently, who gave us a few business tips for those interested to put one up in the coming year.

Apart from Happy Lemon, basketball star Chris Tiu also brought in Eric Keyser to the Philippine market
Apart from Happy Lemon, basketball star Chris Tiu also brought in Eric Keyser to the Philippine market

1. Listen to your gut.
While any neighborhood in the Philippines has its own bakery around the corner, Chris saw there was still a gap to be filled in the market.  

Chris says, “I met Eric [Keyser] in one of my trips abroad, and we got to talking and realized that it would be great to bring his creations into the Philippines. It was much like how we had that gut feel about bringing in Happy Lemon, and other businesses.”

2. Don’t let go of the possibilities.
On another one of his business trips, Chris came across fields filled with solar panels, and it astounded him. “It made me think about what we can do with clean energy, and how it can help the Philippines. We have so much land in the provinces, and there’s a real need to find a way to lessen the dependency on energy from fossil fuel."

It's a big business to mount and Chris acknowledges it. "We’re taking the steps to bring in more environmental-friendly forms of energy, the Philippines still has a long way to go. But we’ll keep going and take those small steps.”

3. Don't wait for the "right moment". Create it.
While opening a business and taking the leap may seem scary, there are other ways on taking the risk without going broke. Chris says, “There’s a lot in business to consider: if it’s different, if the concept is strong, if the market is ready for it, how the market will accept it, and other things.

"But even if it all seems to be yeses, there’s still that chance that the business won’t be successful. But there’s also that chance that it will. So rather than waiting for the right moment, you just take the risk and go for it.”

4. Small steps still count as moving forward. 
Not quite ready to go big yet? Start small: research on bank loans, look into business ventures that can earn you enough for business capital, look for partners, make an inquiry. There’s always a way.

5. Take it lightly.
Chris has never been known to be hotheaded, both in basketball and in business, and his calm and relaxed nature must have a positive effect on his businesses. He says, “It takes a lot of hard work to get into business, but you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself if it fails. It’s all part of it, and it’s all a learning experience. Rather than staying down, just keep on at it. No guts, no glory, right?” — LA, GMA News