Canva Philippines held a get-together at its Makati headquarters featuring successful entrepreneurs Marvin Agustin, president and owner of Secret Kitchen, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, president and founding partner of Rags2Riches, Nian Ellao, CEO and founder of Vyous Digital, and Andrea Sumida, CEO and founder of Kohi Social. Canva Philippines’s design experts also treated the participants to a free brand consultation to help them with their branding needs.
Prior to the onsite gathering, Canva Philippines also held a series of online talks on designing for e-commerce, social media advertising, leveling up your online sales strategy, and creating and scaling your business through video content with speakers from the Department of Trade and Industry, TikTok Shop, Lazada, and WhenInManila.com.
Here are some of the lessons shared by industry experts and partners throughout the Negosyantrends: MSME Summit 2022 that inspired Filipino entrepreneurs to dream big and scale their business.
Embrace technology to make your business more efficient
Agustin, who is known for his food ventures SumoSam, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, John and Yoko, Tai Koo Hong Kong Roast, Kondwi, and Secret Kitchen among others, admitted that he loves to challenge himself. For him, it is an opportunity to learn something new and find out what works best for his business. Like many other entrepreneurs whose businesses were challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Agustin found himself embracing technology more. He began to use and trust it more and used it to his business’ advantages by engaging with his customers online and embracing food delivery apps as their new partner.
For Ellao who provides digital consultancy services to mostly brick and mortar businesses, the challenge wasn’t so much on adapting to technology but on encouraging her clients to also understand it and transition to it.
Having been operating an online store for more than a decade, Fernandez-Ruiz shared that while they didn’t have to adjust their online operations as much, it was coordinating their logistics that became a challenge during the pandemic. She stressed the role that technology played to sustain their production and manage collaboration and communication. “Be the kind of leader and business person who will coordinate and orchestrate this kasi kung hindi, tools lang ‘yan, hindi sya magiging useful if you don’t use them,” she said.
Connect with your audience and be true to your brand
Powerful branding is also an important tool for businesses. Branding is more than just a business’ logo, it’s also the promise that brands deliver to their customers. In her virtual session, Clo Palamos, art director at Canva Philippines, highlighted the importance of branding especially for new businesses which may be competing with many other brands for their customers’ attention. The key is to treat your brand as a person and make that person relatable to others, according to her.
Some branding tools that businesses can have are their logo, brand colors, fonts and typography, and images among others. With tools like Canva Philippines, businesses can create their own style guide and streamline their branding through Brand Kit, a feature that allows businesses to build a brand from scratch or add their existing brand assets so everyone in their team can stay on brand.
In her video message, Janice Villanueva, CEO and founder of MommyMundo, encouraged the participants to always go back to the people they serve. “We ask ourselves, as a brand, how do we stay useful as a community and how do we keep exciting them? Always, always go back to the market you serve. Beyond serving their needs and wants, how can you delight them?” she said. Recognizing the many players available in the market now, Villanueva also emphasized the importance of being creative and thinking out of the box.
Participated by over 5,000 business owners, the Negosyantrends: MSME Summit 2022 is Canva Philippines’ first-ever business summit of this scale and is part of the company’s 8th anniversary celebration in the country. The event was held in partnership with CNN Philippines, The Philippine Star, WhenInManila.com, adobo Magazine, Spot.ph, and Esquire Philippines.