A Filipino couple found a way to build a successful business on Filipinos’ love for pizza Eduard and Teresa Ngan Tian are the couple behind Lots’A Pizza The couple started a business in 1987 renting out small stalls selling snacks near San Beda College. Eduard managed the business while Teresita worked in San Beda as a finance and administrative director When they lost tenants in some of the stalls, Teresita came up with the idea of making pizza It was a hit When business boomed, Teresita gave up her career to learn more about pizza making. Soon, she developed the signature sauce of Lots’A Pizza They started the pizza business in 1996 Since then, their business just kept on growing until they decided to have Lots'A Pizza franchised Today, they have 145 franchised outlets all over the Philippines and 26 company-owned stores Here is a short interview with Ms Teresita Ngan Tian: Business Mentor: When did you know that you have reached your goal? Ms Ngan Tian: When I was able to pass on the skills that created more businesses, employment, and opportunities down the line That was through franchising I believe we have been able to pass on a profitable and sustainable brand/business. This is confirmed by the many multi-unit owners we have in our franchise group-- ownership of 5, 10, 25 and 30 branches by a single franchisee In fact, our expansion in outlets is being generated internally, by existing franchisees We are dedicated to our franchisees’ growth that go beyond sales We continue to maintain trust and good relationship with them We become role models on values of integrity, commitment, and credibility Business Mentor: How do you balance your work and family? Ms Ngan Tian: The most important role that I will never exchange with my position is my favorite workplace – our home My husband, children and grandchildren will always be my priority The business can continue operating because we have subordinates to manage but there can never be a substitute for my husband, children, and grandchildren. That is why I still manage the home – doing marketing in the wet market, performing grocery work, supervising household help, paying bills, checking on our resources, money, utilities, etc I continuously check on our home even when I am out for work or other activities I make sure that things are always in order and my family safe and healthy Business Mentor: Has it always been your dream to become an entrepreneur? Ms Ngan Tian: My first dream was to be successful in my career Being a CPA I dreamt of being a partner in a very prestigious firm like SGV But Ed convinced me to quit my day job and help in our fledgling pizza business There I began to realize that I wanted to be one’s own boss (BOOB principle) where I can have full control of my time and resources. Business Mentor: How do you keep up with everyday challenges? Ms Ngan Tian: Keeping up with everyday challenges – everything becomes positive and easy when we start the day with a prayer, after all, God is the true source of knowledge, wisdom, and physical strength This I do without fail even when I am abroad I organize and prioritize things that I need to accomplish for the day I make sure that schedules do not overlap so I can give proper time and attention on the task at hand I find time to update knowledge through reading, discussions with Ed, who is more abreast of developments, call people I can ask for advice and of course have a short nap after lunch before I go back to work. At the end of the day when I feel stressed, I make a short stroll around the mall window shopping (usually ATC) then take a light dinner at my favorite resto Or I go out with friends For myself alone I go to the spa to relax and have necessary treatments In all these I need to be optimistic and positive, so that problems can be easily solved or anticipated Business Mentor: How has life been while you were starting? Ms Ngan Tian: Starting our business was challenging, risky, but fulfilling We had to learn the beginning, midpoint and end of the business operations on our own initiative and resourcefulness Our employment background as GM and finance executives helped us a lot though. I believe our hands-on commitment and style allowed us to witness the usual business cycle. More than this, we as couple run the business with shared responsibility From here we continue to build not only businesses but also values -- integrity, trustworthiness, generosity, willingness to admit failures and start all over again We have to maintain openness to learn new things and if necessary, hire/consult experts who can do things we cannot do or can do better than us Business Mentor: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Ms Ngan Tian: In the next 5 years, I would like to see the company a globally competitive brand being at par with other brands in our category I would like to see LAP opening stores abroad I would like to see the brand value of LAP to be a multi-million brand belonging to the top pizza brands in the country And of course, I would like to see the growth in career and livelihood of our employees and our existing franchisees becoming franchisors hopefully I buying a franchise from them too It is so amazing how their business has grown this much and it is expected to grow even more With patience and perseverance, everything is possible They are not only focused on expanding their business for their own interest, but are also providing jobs to people This makes them even happier- to be able to share their blessings to others .
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