Released in November 2003 issue of eNegosyo Newspaper, this is one of my favorite stories because to this date I’m deeply inspired on how Genevieve Lim gained so much success at a young age.
I love her determination to succeed and her passion on what she is doing. Sharing with you one inspiring business success story of a young lady I met 9 years ago, during my early years as a writer of a business newspaper …
When Genevieve Lim went back home from Canada, all she has in mind is to get a stable job in a multinational firm in the country. Earning a degree in Good Science from British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Genevieve never expected that she would find better opportunities in the country other than being successfully employed.
Despite the ailing economy, her passion for good food and milk tea guided her towards the realization of an opportunity that only few entrepreneurial people like her would recognize. With enough encouraging words from her father and great ideas in mind, Genevieve gave birth to Zagu – an innovation of the Filipinos’ favorite drink especially during the hot season.
Good Quality Remains Intact
In April 1999, Zagu initially offered Taro and Honeydew flavors at its roadside outlet in A. Mabini, San Juan. Promoting the product in the beginning has been difficult for Genevieve, since Filipinos are not used to pearl shakes. However, luck seems to be on her sided that interviews for print, radio and television came pouring in giving her the opportunity to promote Zagu without spending a single centavo.
When Zagu outlets opened, Genevieve sets an allocation for free taste to sample the product to their target customers, which indeed, helped them introduce the product effectively.
Zagu’s aggressive growth is very evident with their continuous nationwide and innovation in terms of packaging and formulation of new flavors. “In any business, you have to keep innovating to be competitive,” Genevieve said. But besides continuous growth and innovation, maintaining good quality of products is very important that’s why until now Zagu never changed the recipe or increased price of their products.”
Years of Struggle and Success
Being in the business for almost five years, Zagu has gone through a lot – from economic slowdown to black propaganda to the existence of direct competition. Genevieve faced all the challenges with confidence, “If ever we’ll go down, we’ll go down fighting.” Genevieve studied the behavior and the buying pattern of her target market. From there, she developed the Baby Z size, which provided Zagu at a cheaper price but with the same taste and quality.
Today, Zagu has 150 outlets nationwide, where 50% of which are franchised outlets. Genevieve started franchising on October 1999 through an outlet in Festival Mall, Alabang. She said that one of the reasons that keep her high-spirited is the fulfillment that she feels whenever she sees how regular people become successful entrepreneurs through the business opportunities she provides them with.
Genevieve’s dream of making Zagu a regular item in the market keeps her strong amidst all the hurdles she has to win over. That’s why instead of focusing in the local market alone, Zagu goes international with its outlets in Australia and Indonesia, through its appointed distributors and dealers. Part of making Zagu a regular item in the market, Genevieve and her management team also offers business opportunity to canteen and restaurant owners, without the need of paying a franchise fee. However, the suppliers should be purchased solely from Zagu to maintain quality and uniformity.
Dream Big and Pursue It
“If you believe in something, pursue it. You have to be persistent and believe in yourself. Don’t underestimate an idea. Pursue even the smallest idea,” Genevieve shares to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Genevieve’s story simply proves that even the slightest and humblest idea is capable of bringing great success and fame. As a famous saying goes, “Great things start from small beginnings.”