Header MBV Logo
Columns Banner MB2 v3

Entrepreneurial Block

In writing, there is a phenomenon called the writer’s block, a condition where a person is unable to start the writing process for a significant amount of time. Some describe it as a condition of paralysis, unable to write down even the first word. There is also such a thing in the business world. The entrepreneurial block is real and it has caused many individuals to become “perpetual planners” — always talking about going into business but never actually doing it.


There are many forms of entrepreneurial block — one might lack the confidence to start, fear of failing, or, doubts in the viability of one’s ideas. But a common stumbling block is the lack of capital. Many in fact abandon their plans to put up a business because they could not get past this obstacle. Where do I get the money? How do I proceed with my plan if I cannot get capital?


That was also one of the challenges I faced when I decided to give up my job and start building my own business in 1975. It was a daunting challenge. But I was determined and I was not about to allow this fear to paralyze me from accomplishing what I wanted to do. So I took out a ₱10,000 loan — today, that is probably worth about ₱300,000 — bought two refurbished trucks and started out by delivering sand and gravel to property developers. I used that as the stepping stone to learn the ins and outs of the industry and eventually started my own real property company.


Can you imagine if I just gave up? This brings me to an important point — there will be plenty of discouraging factors when you are starting out as an entrepreneur but you need to power through and get over them. Remember, all entrepreneurs encounter obstacles and the successful ones are the ones that overcome them. This then brings us to an important practical question, where do I get the capital?

There are many sources of money that you can tap. The most common, of course, is to take out a loan from financial institution similar to what I did. Here you need to do your research, come up with a solid business plan (hopefully, you won’t encounter writer’s block), and make sure that your credit standing is very good. You can also use your own money if you have substantial savings. This is what some Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) do with their savings after their tour of duty abroad.


It is also possible to tap what is known as “love loans” which are loans from loved ones — parents, in-laws, siblings, etc. There are, however, a lot of caveats here because many would say that mixing money matters in the family is a recipe for disaster. So approach this with extreme caution.


With the advent of social media, crowd funding is another useful tool to raise money. It usually “entails a private enterprise asking large numbers of people for small contributions.” I am not so familiar with this but I think what is critical here is your ability to present your ideas in a convincing fashion.


It is this issue of capital where government can actually contribute to encouraging the development of an entrepreneurial culture in the country. Providing would-be entrepreneurs with easy access to loan facilities would certainly encourage more Filipinos to try and build their own enterprises.


At the end of the day, the most important thing to have is perseverance. No matter how seemingly the situation is you need to stand your ground and be resourceful in getting your funding. If you really believe in what you are about to embark on then this should not be a big problem. It is a real problem but one that should not deter you. The point is that entrepreneurial block is something we all encounter but a problem that someone who is really serious about building something important from the ground up would have no problem overcoming.




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar