Last July 23, I was invited by Mommy Mundo to share how I manage my business finances for Serioso Chili Garlic through BPI BizKo. You can still watch the whole summit through Mommy Mundo’s Facebook page.
Tell us about your business and how it started.
If you like chili garlic, you can probably relate to our disappointment whenever we buy a jar from the supermarket. Something seems to be always amiss. Chili and garlic are very aromatic ingredients, so it felt like most who make them aren’t maximizing the potential.
So we made our own. In 2018, we tried cooking a batch for ourselves, which turned out great! We involved my dad, who had ideas to improve it. After a series of trial and error, we landed on a crispy, spicy, and aromatic recipe. We gave out samples, and our friends affirmed that it had potential. At first, our customers came from our circle of friends, colleagues, and family. But later, I added it to a shopping platform, and it gained new customers.
It slowed down by the end of 2020, and since I also had a full-time role back then, I almost thought of discontinuing after the inventory was finished. But we suddenly had a renewed demand since the pandemic started, and it has grown since!
Today, we added other variations. Our customers asked for a “not so serioso” version, so we made Medyo Serioso, a milder chili garlic. We also played with other ingredients and came up with Mushroom Serioso, chili garlic with shiitake mushrooms, and Serioso Honey, our chili infused honey.
How were you able to balance life as a mom and entrepreneur?
It can be too much to handle when you’re wearing so many hats: managing the home, taking care of my boys, and growing a business.
I involved my family in the business now since we moved abroad. I’m in charge of the operations, sales, marketing, and other responsibilities like complying with taxes and business permits. While I delegated a few roles to my parents and sister (who are in the Philippines), so they’re the hands and feet of Serioso Chili Garlic as I manage the rest remotely here in Thailand.
What worked for me was creating blocks of time. I take care of my son and husband and try to finish all the chores in the morning, so I can focus on my deliverables in the afternoon. I schedule exercise, breaks, and self-care throughout the day for my sanity and make sure I have dedicated time for meals with my family. The latter is non-negotiable as family meals are important for me. As much as possible, I take my time, even if I’m eating on my own (when my husband and son are at work and school).
As much as possible, my day is “closed” when Mark and Tikoy are home. This way, I can spend time with them and wind down for bedtime. Ideally, that’s how it goes. But I also allow myself some flexibilities if need be. (Read more about our 7 tips for working from home with a toddler here.)
Any challenges you encountered at first when you were starting your business?
In a sea of chili garlic sauces in the Philippines, it was a struggle to stand out. So we went back to our essential question, “If there is a chili garlic that I would buy, how should it taste like?” So we were faithful to sourcing fresh ingredients, not using extenders, no salt. Just pure chili garlic goodness. Later, people started noticing it. We found our niche.
Next was the packaging. Our chili garlic comes in glass jars, and we had to find creative and effective ways to pack them for nationwide shipment. It’s really out of our control once we hand them over to the courier, but of course, we want them to arrive at our customer’s doorstep without leak and damage. Thankfully, we were able to develop a system, and now, our secure packaging is one of the top comments in our shop.
What have been your challenges in operating your business? Pain points in tracking finances, collecting payments, paying suppliers, etc.
Order management! Sometimes, everything could happen at once. It can get crazy, especially during peak seasons like double-digit sales and Christmas. I have to ensure that all orders are accommodated and served.
I didn’t realize how time-consuming payment collection is. When my customers order directly through Instagram or Facebook, we go through a series of steps, from taking orders to confirming their payments.
I also lose some customers because they feel iffy about paying an account with a personal name–and I get it! We want to buy from legit businesses and an efficient way to do it. I would think twice too if having to buy one item requires a hundred steps.
Finally, the financial reports are super important for filing taxes and managing the cash flow. It’s tedious, and it’s not something you can put off!
How was BizKo able to help you manage your business and time with your family?
I just love that Bizko can do almost everything. I dislike having to keep many apps and sheets just to manage something. It triggers the maximizer in me.
BizKo eliminates the extra steps my customers need to go through to place and pay for their orders. I can quickly generate a payment link or a QR code that they can scan and seamlessly transfer their payments. As for me, I don’t have to trouble myself with double-checking the transactions because it will notify me if the bill is paid. It’s linked to my BPI account, so it goes there directly. No more need for transfers.
Your forms and payment links are customizable. When I create one, it also serves as an order form and a packing list, and it can auto-calculate for me! Once I send it to my customers, it directs them to their BPI account so all they have to do is to sign in and authorize the payment. BPI BizKo also builds credibility for my business as it displays my business details. This way, I can keep my personal information to myself.
BizKo is the perfect app for mompreneurs like me who practically does everything all by themselves. It’s a convenient way to oversee my transactions, manage payments, and create invoices. If you have a couple of employees, BizKo helps you pay them on time with payslips and even government dues like SSS and Pag-Ibig.
Other tips in using BizKo that may help other mompreneurs.
BizKo is an intuitively designed app that increases your efficiency. Download it now, and explore every nook and cranny. Use the reports to guide you in planning for your business.
Other tips you can give to fellow mompreneurs about business? To those who have businesses of their own, what words of encouragement/affirmation can you share? To those who want to start building their business, why is it the right time now to pursue their plans?
Start now! I know it’s never too late to start a business, but there’s work to do, so it’s much better to build it right now. When it gets too overwhelming, break it down into manageable pieces and take them one at a time.
Second, explore solutions that can do most of the work for you. I’m no stranger to boot strapping and doing everything by myself. Resourcefulness is handy when managing a business. But if it comes at the expense of not having enough rest, or worse, letting our important roles as wives and mothers take a back seat, we need to step back. And this is where investing a little on a subscription or a service comes in to take the heavy workload from us. It’s like having another set of hands, so you can focus on growing your business and not neglecting your family.
Third, support other local businesses as well. Try to source some of your materials from small businesses. It’s as much help as putting food on their tables. This allowed us to directly source our ingredients from a local farm. Our dream has always been to support our farmers in little ways we can. We hope that our effort will not be just a tiny droplet in the ocean one day.
Supporting other businesses also connects you to other mompreneurs. Just like in motherhood, it helps to have a community. Build relationships and partnerships!
Get a free 3-month trial!
BPI BizKo is specifically created to help mompreneurs (or anyone with a small business) manage their finances and create efficient payment systems. Download it now and get a free 3-month trial using my code, ABIBIZKO on the promo code bar (not on the referral code) after reviewing your subscription features.