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In an industry where success can be very elusive, it's definitely a huge accomplishment to be on top, or at least near it. While everyone is struggling to battle the downward spiral of the market and the many calamities and political issues that has hounded the country, there are those entrepreneurs who rose above the challenges and worked their way to success.

Let these two inspiring entrepreneurial stories of dark horses turned superstars inspire you to take the same path to the top of the business ladder:

The Story of Tony Tan-Caktiong

Tony Tan Caktiong giving a speech
The owner of Jollibee – Image from Forbes
You can never talk about Filipino food without bringing Jollibee to mind. The iconic fast food chain  has been a part of the lives of Filipinos for so many years and it continues to satisfy the hearts and palates of people both here and abroad. But while Jollibee is known for its happy atmosphere and delicious food, not a lot of people know about the man behind its success, Tony Tan-Caktiong.

Before Tony became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Philippines, he was a simple man who migrated from China with his family to seek a better life in the country. Tony, who was the third in a brood of seven worked together with his family when they moved to Davao where his father started a restaurant business. Later on, Tony decided to open two ice cream houses, one in Quiapo and the other in Cubao. After two years, they started to offer hamburgers and chicken due to the demands of customers and before they knew it, the ice cream house already became a hamburger house. What started as a humble hamburger store in Manila now has thousands of branches around the world, and it continues to expand its horizons in more cities.

A Business Lesson from Jollibee:  Tony Tan-Caktiong's rags to riches story is proof that if you're passionate about your business and continue to improve your products, you'll last long in the industry. You should also learn how to listen to your customers so you can cater to their needs. Moreover, you don't really need to start huge right away. You can rent an office space for your start-up, hire the right people and find ways to satisfy your customers.

The Story of Nanay Coring
Maria Socorro Cancio Ramos
The owner of National Bookstore – Image from People Asia
Like most businesses, National Bookstore was built from scratch. In fact, it has gone through so many challenges during its early years that its owner Maria Socorro Cancio or Nanay Coring had to build the business three times from scratch.

Nanay Coring worked as a salesgirl at Goodwill Book Store right after she graduated high school and that's where she met her husband Jose Ramos. After her brother married one of the Ramos children, Nanay Coring together with Jose took over the bookstore and later renamed it National Book Store. The couple went through so many challenges both in their relationship and their business but they succeeded. Today, National Book Store is still considered the largest bookstore chain in the Philippines.

A Business Lesson from National Book Store: Resilience is very important in business, especially during such a tough economic time. Just like how Nanay Coring and her husband tried to build their business from scratch three times, you can also find ways to do the same for your own business, whether building a great working environment or using the right marketing methods.

Did these success stories inspire you to be a better entrepreneur?

About the Author
Therese is a writer working on a freelance basis for Regus, a global company with branches in the Philippines, specifically Cebu, Pasay, Makati, and Manila. They strive to provide for the needs of clients looking for quality virtual services or flexible workspaces.


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