Doing business abroad is not easy, but neither is it impossible: Filipino entrepreneur Dennis Lunar
Basel, Switzerland Mye Mulingtapang You have finally made up your mind, you want to leave, and move abroad to seek your fortune. So what better solution than starting your own business, turning yourself into an entrepreneur? Filipinos have been recognized for their desire for entrepreneurship and there are many success stories of those who have found their way outside the Philippine borders. Undoubtedly, doing business abroad represents a huge market to explore for the development of your product or service. However, there is no reason to rush. Thanks to the following tips from Dennis Lunar, you can plan your business abroad! The fundamentals Dennis left the Philippines more than two decades ago too work as a chef on a cruise ship. Since 2000, he has been to many places wherein he met people different people, developed his skills, and expanded his culinary culture. Dennis shares the stages that led to his success as a chef and entrepreneur. An entrepreneurial mindset together with a great desire to study, experiment, and grow is what Lunar gambled with when he was in the first years of his business. He opened his first sushi restaurant in 2011. The time he had at the beginning in cooking and preparing dishes when his family moved to Switzerland was just his way to pass the time which then became a real job and business. Before starting a business, before letting oneself be attracted by the fascinating dream of success, it must first be built according to Dennis. The pandemic also led him to venture out in the processed meat business. It all started on his kitchen table with commitment and persistence to give his fellow Filipinos a taste of home, his Pinoy Pride Hotdog is now distributed in more than ten countries up and down Europe. “Once built, evaluated, planned and discussed, then you can start the ball rolling,” says Dennis. Always plan The preparatory phase is crucial, and it is essential not to underestimate the importance of investing time and resources in planning. A well thought out strategy will allow you to identify the right solution to establish yourself in the market. Dennis believes that entering the food business is, in fact, one of the ways to be successful abroad. He created meat products and frozen goods that are different from the usual hotdog and ham in Europe. “Because Filipinos miss breakfast staples like tocino, longganisa and hotdog and I thought of just making the products myself,” says Dennis. Evaluate the right market Investing in foreign countries can be a risk. The country where you want to start your company, sell your products or services is of great importance. Competition is also a factor to consider when you want to start a business. Abroad, the parameters to be evaluated are numerous: size of the market for your products, prices, and consumer purchasing power. “We are well aware that opening a successful company or shop is never an easy thing and all aspects must be evaluated before using our money in a reality of which little or nothing is known,” shares Dennis. Know your market It is necessary to inquire about the place, the mentality of the people, the interests of those who may be potential customers. You need to know where to invest, how much money you need, which business to open and the taxation of investments abroad. If well considered, however, this choice can lead to excellent results. “My best business card is the loyalty of my existing customers,” exclaims Dennis. Invest on skills To defeat international competition, product excellence, in which Filipino products have rivals, is no longer enough today. Digital skills, in fact, are increasingly useful in helping your business grow. In communicating on social media, it is not enough to say that the products exist, entrepreneurs have to let people know that what they are offering is good, that they create quality products and that they are creative ; in other words, they must be able to devise initiatives and write news! “Digital marketing & communication, branding, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the reference markets and new geographies with high potential for Filipino products are skills that will help a merchant who aspires to penetrate an international market,” explains Dennis. Invent what is not there Find a new product and you will find a market. Taking advantage of the advantages of the place where you live means finding a business idea. To set up on your own there is also the path of innovation of a traditional product. Dennis is looking into the future of producing and promoting quality Filipino meat products in a wider international market. “Offer a single product or a category of products that is truly better than the competition,” adds Dennis. Doing business abroad may seem like an uphill road, especially if you don't know the right steps to follow and build a solid business strategy. For serial chef and entrepreneur Dennis Lunar, starting a business takes more time, awareness and organization. The desire to grow and succeed in another country was so great that there were no excuses or obstacles that prevented him from realizing his dreams. For him, long term hard work is still the path to thriving in any endeavour.