In 2011, Go Negosyo featured Injap Sia in its annual publication entitled 50 Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs, where he shared his story of taking the fast food industry by storm with Mang Inasal. Since then, Injap has sold shares of Mang Inasal to The Jollibee Group for $3 billion, became the youngest Filipino billionaire, and is currently at the helm of rapidly expanding Double Dragon Properties.
In the December 2016 issue of the local Forbes magazine, Injap was hailed as Businessman of the Year, a title usually awarded to industry leaders, who are, on average, almost double his age. In his feature, his central message was for entrepreneurs to look for “windows of opportunity” – inciting that the gaps or shifts in industries are where big and sustainable business ideas can come from.
With Mang Inasal, Injap addressed the gap in the fast food industry that no one saw: grilled chicken which is a Filipino comfort food staple. Today, his latest venture into land banking & properties addresses the shift in provinces from traditional to modern retail through City Mall. Looking forward, Injap is seizing even more windows of opportunity, already setting his sights and investing in what he sees as an eventual spike in our country’s tourism industry.
Injap’s rapid rise to success has led him to be hailed as a rockstar entrepreneur. With his distinct vision and brand of confidence, we can only see Injap’s foothold amongst the richest and most powerful in the country to become solidified. Here are 5 key lessons you can take away from the the Philippines’ Youngest Billionaire to bring your business to the next level this 2017:
1) Take calculated risks
What has largely contributed to Injap’s success is his ability to take calculated risks when it comes to business. Most people know that Injap dropped out of college to pursue business. However, this decision wasn’t on an impulse – it was a calculated risk which led to him pursuing a business venture full-time. That venture is what we know today as the unstoppable fast food chain Mang Inasal.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Assess what risks you can take to jumpstart your business this year. For aspiring entrepreneurs, start putting that business idea into motion. For established entrepreneurs, think of what you can do differently this year to distinguish yourself from competition (e.g. expanding, investing, marketing, etc.).
2) Confidence in your vision
Injap’s ability to communicate his vision to others largely contributes to the success of his ventures. In the beginning, he was considered as relatively young to be a successful business owner. However, he was able to change this perception due to his brimming and unfaltering confidence in his vision and what he has to offer. Today, he is able to rub elbows with business leaders and even establish partnerships with them, having earned their trust and confidence.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Establish a vision for your business. Ask yourselves (include your team if you have one) where do you want your business to be in five years? From there, map out steps for your business to reach that vision. When you can imagine how you can reach your vision through planning, you plant the seeds for confidence in it.
3) Stay humble and persistent
Although he is already amongst the country’s richest, Injap continues to be as hardworking as ever. He believes that money and success can only make you happy until a certain point and that in business, there is always room for improvement.
Banking on the second lesson, confidence is one thing, but remaining humble and persistent is also integral for your vision. At the onset of Mang Inasal, Injap encountered difficulties securing deals with suppliers due to his young age and lack of experience. However, this didn’t faze him and he pursued suppliers from local markets and cooperatives. This proved to be a winning move because it not only secured the operations of an expanding Mang Inasal but also helped generate business for smaller and local enterprises.
If Injap let initial rejections bruise his ego, Mang Inasal and Double Dragon probably wouldn’t be what they are today.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: When encountering different people in your business, have an open mind and heart. Business will always bring difficulties, so having the right mindset can make all the difference. Try being solution-oriented; think of problems as a challenge to become better and they will cease to be as scary.
4) Think big, think long-term, think original
Injap is a firm believer of only pursuing businesses which can be scaled up nationwide. He says that pursuing trendy concepts is never sustainable. When you’re thinking big and long-term, you should think original or innovative as well.
Injap has entered two industries which have been dominated by key groups for decades now. The reason why Injap has been able to penetrate and even dominate these markets is he was always thinking big (can this be scaled up?), long-term (is this business sustainable?), and original (is this market already saturated? can I still compete with established leaders in the industry?)
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Assess! Assess! Assess! Are you thinking big enough? Are you thinking long-term? Are you exploring novel concepts? Are you innovating?
5) Surround yourself with the best
Lastly, Injap’s success can largely be attributed to the people he chooses to surround himself with. When he was starting Mang Inasal, Injap had the wisdom to seek the advice and help of people who were more knowledgeable to the nuances of business. In the case of Double Dragon, he partnered with Jollibee Group’s Tony Tan Caktiong because he knew that his venture into properties has more chance of succeeding with Caktiong’s clout and experience in the business world. He has also gained the trust of business tycoon Carlos Chan of Liwayway Marketing Corp., becoming partners in establishing Jinjiang Inn in the country.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Actively look for people who are more experienced and are better than you. Mentorship is an invaluable resource in the world of business. If you’re looking for a program which can connect you to mentors, sign-up for the Mentor Me program in a Negosyo Center in your area. (Check this link for the complete list of Negosyo Centers nationwide: (www.bamaquino.com/gonegosyoact/negosyocenters/)