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What Business to Choose and Closing The Communication Gap

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Question
I recently retired and am planning to start a business. Which business should I venture into that would provide better returns?

Answer
I have often been asked that question at the Department of Trade and Industry. There are two parts of your question that need to be tackled separately.

Starting a business
I have noted that many retirees feel that engaging in business is the next step for them. But my concern this. Being a retiree means that you worked with a company as an employee for several years.

You are used to working within a structure, with policies and office norms and, probably, taking directions from a boss. Then you will move into starting a business, which is more challenging as well as risky.

Now, I’m not discouraging you from this venture. But many retirees ought to think more and analyze better before jumping into unchartered areas for which they have neither been trained for nor prepared.

Of course, there are some companies that would invest in training to encourage future ex- employees to become entrepreneurs way before they retire. If yours was such a company, then cheers to you!

What business to pick
With franchising, having local and international business models, your choices have multiplied tenfold in the past decade. I believe that the issue is not what business model is better since all businesses, if properly managed and focused on, will give you returns you can be happy with.

The question is: What business model interests you?

There are businesses that require more of a service focus, while others would need more inventory management. Then there are those that need more selling.

So which interests you the most?

Question
There seems to be a gap that exists in a corporate environment where the management is expatriate while the subordinates are locals or Filipinos. What can be done to manage this kind of situation?

Answer
Cultural diversity can be challenging and volatile if not handled well. Each individual carries with them not just their personality or leadership style, but also their cultural uniqueness and peculiarities.

This is normal and should be accepted as such.

But there are many cases when the expatriate acts differently or has a set of norms that causes discord with others.

The conclusion of the Filipino would be that the action was peculiar and out of the ordinary.

Then the tendency would be to think that the expatriate is pushing his weight around or has an aura of superiority.

This leads to some Filipinos distancing themselves from management and, sadly, talking behind their backs—which further widens the gap between locals and expats.

The mindset, in the first place, should have been to understand and accept that everyone is important. And that each person has a different point of view that should be respected.

Comparison should also be avoided as this would just heighten differences and open up gaps. Instead, focus on work and the targets that need to be accomplished.

Learn to work with the leadership style of the expatriate management team.

Clarify if unsure about the directions given. Finally, avoid assumptions as this is one common waterloo of communication.

Print ed: 02/13

 

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