Have a better business with DOST (Last of two parts)


By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“We can actually go on and on but everything should start with your desire, initiative, energy and stamina to make it in business.”

Since you are reading this, you might still be an upstart in business.
When we were students, our group, in order to finance our extracurricular activities were into peanut butter making. Our methods were typical of home-based or backyard businesses. They were rudimentary and inefficient to say the least. There was not much science employed, much less, technology.
Another product I was involved in was the manufacture of granola. It is like a cereal you eat with milk in the morning. What we were making were made of nuts, oats, wheat germ, raisins, fried grated coconuts and sweetened with brown sugar. We packed it in bottles and sold in supermarkets in Metro Manila. In the US where the product was copied, they used honey or maple syrup as sweeteners. And it was traditionally sold in corner stores where the storekeeper would scoop some with a cup, put it in a plastic or paper bag or whatever container and hand it to you for a few pennies. Now I see imported granola in all sorts of packaging. There are even granola bars wrapped in aluminum foils like chocolate bars with nice printed paper bearing its brand. Its being packed with nutrients make it popular to trekkers or mountaineers.
The main problem we had in these products was shelf life. We did not use artificial preservatives so they lasted only for a short time.
There was no label on the peanut butter we made. The granola was well packaged and had a nice label as a member of our group was in the printing business so he had a good knowledge and an intuitive grasp on what made good packaging.
All our production faults back then could have been easily solved by harnessing the experts and contacts of DOST. We could have pestered them for practical and affordable solutions. They in turn could have researched the experiences of other regions regarding such problems. In short, if we were persistent enough, we could have gained everything needed for us to be nationally competitive. And had we kept on improving, we should by now have at least captured a niche in the market, big enough to make the business profitable. We could not have reached a point where we could be competitive with international brands like Skippy Peanut Butter of the USA. But perhaps we could have reached a point where we can brag of being able to bite a respectable chunk from Lady’s Choice’s peanut butter market.
To repeat for emphasis, those just starting to be on their own there is the DOST whose expertise you can tap. If its experts in this region cannot come up with the solution you are looking for, perhaps they can refer you to somebody who can.
If you already have a good product and you want its image in supermarket shelves to improve, they can help you with that. They know packaging experts who can give you suggestions as to designs that can attract customers.
We can actually go on and on but everything should start with your desire, initiative, energy and stamina to make it in business.
Many people who are OK in life feel good to help those who are determined to succeed. But if you consider that to be beyond your wildest dreams, then you might as well find a good employment and find a way to be comfortable with having a boss. If you cannot see yourself in that situation, then hang on as we try in coming issues to give you more information on what other matters the DOST can assist you with. We might also be able to give you some info on other agencies mandated to help small businesses (read UPSTARTS) succeed.
There are also private organizations you can tap and we will try to write on these in the coming weeks and months. **


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