Jose Magsaysay used to be an ordinary worker of a fastfood chain. His brother-in-law Ricky Montelibano encouraged him to join a startup opportunity.

The business idea was about flavored French fries. The group, along with Danny Bermejo and Jorge Wieneke, contributed P150,000 each to put their first branch.

Image by Jose Magsaysay

It was in 1992, when the first branch of Potato Corner in SM Megamall became such a big hit. To maximize the opportunity, the group opened Potato Corner for franchising.

It worked so well that they were able to open 70 branches in just two years.

How did a P150,000 food kiosk turn into a billion-peso business? Jose “Jomag” Magsaysay shared some of his business lessons with Esquire.

3 Business lessons from Potato Corner’s co-founder Jose Magsaysay:

1. Collaborate and work with a group efficiently

According to Magsaysay, they became successful because they worked together as a group. He said they each had roles and responsibilities based on where they were good at and in the end, they were able to achieve their goals.

The reason why Potato Corner is so successful today is because when we started this, all four partners worked hard and helped each other.

Image by Potato Corner via Facebook

“I was able to concentrate on logistics and business development because of my partners. Dan took care of the operations while Jorge took care of the marketing. Ricky was also helping in the process. At that time, if I was just doing everything on my own, we would not have survived the business, ”he explained.

2. Help and value your partners

According to Magsaysay, it’s important to give value to their partners or franchisees. You should be part of a family and you want to help be successful.

He explained that they made systems to help their partners manage franchise fees.

“What I always wanted to do is make sure our franchisees make money,” Magsaysay says.

“Our franchise fee is still the same. We could have asked for P1 million pesos 10 years ago, but we never did because I was always worried about the payback of our partners, ”he said.

3. Manage risks

Magsaysay explained that mistakes are part of risk-taking business. However, you also need to manage the risks so you won’t close down. He explained that managing risks meant learning and understanding every business decision first before venturing.

“Before going to business, you have to make sure you already have the mastery of the business you are going into. The biggest mistake you can make is to go into something just because somebody is making big profit and you want to follow it, ”he said.


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