Eileen Juan – Takeaways in Operating a Business in the Philippines
Last updated August 21, 2019
Today Derek is joined once again by Eileen Juan of TPC. Eileen shares her insights about what it’s like doing business in the Philippines compared to setting up shop outside the country
- Eileen gave her very rounded perspective about what it’s like doing business in the Philippines and managing staffing.
- Doing business in Kuala Lumpur is very different from doing business in the Philippines. People in the Philippines have a huge heart and are always eager to help.
- According to Eileen, most smart people are being exported to other countries that’s why it’s difficult to find people with good skills.
- Filipinos are more relaxed unlike in Switzerland where working 13-hour shifts are common.
- Eileen told her HR Manager that her dream is to create a Picture Company Culture like what she did in Malaysia wherein people saw the difference in the culture of My TPC and made the Filipino culture shine in Malaysia.
- Eileen also shared her dream to her HR manager which is for HR values to change the Philippines. Also, to write a book on how to run a company that changes people.
- There has been an increase in the middle-class over the past 10-15 years.
- Eileen and her team discussed the increase in the upper B’s purchasing power and how they can use that to their advantage.
- BPO companies planning to outsource to the Philippines should infuse the Filipino culture in their companies.
- There has been an increase in the middle-class and middle-class consumption over the past 10-15 years.
Derek: Hi and welcome to another episode of Outsource Accelerator. My name is Derek Gallimore and today we have Eileen Juan back with us. We’re chatting to Eileen and I’m super excited about this. Again, Eileen is just the most bubbly character and she is super cool. Beyond that, though, she runs and founded The Picture Company TPC for short. These guys have among so many things over 380k followers on Facebook and they’re a household name in terms of portraits and family portraits in Manila and the Philippines. So, Eileen is also a very worldly lady. So, I talked to her, she’s a Filipina. She was born and raised here but schooled in Europe. So, I talked to Eileen about different perspectives in terms of what it’s like doing business in the Philippines and I think there’s a lot of takeaways, there’s a lot of insight in here in just a day in the life of a Philippine business owner and life. So, enjoy this. If you want any notes from this, if you wanna get in touch with Eileen or TPC at all just go to the show notes. And you can find the show notes at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode23.
Derek: Okay, so we’re back with Eileen Juan from TPC.
Eileen: Hi Derek
Derek: Which is the Picture Company. Hi Eileen. Today we’re gonna talk about what it’s like doing business in the Philippines. So, most of our audience is not in the Philippines and considering using outsourcing services. And, you, Eileen, you are an immensely worldly person, highly experienced in all aspects of business. So, it’s interesting to get your very rounded perspective on exactly what it’s like doing business in the Philippines. And both in terms of managing staffing in the Philippines. And really is it any different than anywhere else in the world? And, yeah, I wanna sort of see your main takeaways on that, really.
Eileen: The only comparison I have of doing business elsewhere is when I opened offices in Kuala Lumpur and of course it was more difficult because then you don’t have all the benefits you have in the Philippines like; it’s so easy to hire a driver, to get a messenger, to do things. You know, everything’s easier in the Philippines, I feel. When I was working in KL everything have to be done by us. So, there’s less flexibility. Also, the culture, I think Filipinos are very full of heart, like they have a big heart, they always wanna serve, they always wanna help. When I was in Kuala Lumpur I felt it was always about what’s in it for me. The culture like Malaysians are so different from the Chinese and it’s just I really enjoy working in the Philippines in a sense that people wanna work. But of course.
Derek: Yeah, there’s huge heart in it, actually isn’t it? And people wanna create unity of their environment it’s quite an enjoyable place.
Derek: And, how is it? I mean you do have a vast experience. You haven’t necessarily worked in many other countries but you have a big business network across the globe. You were schooled in Europe and do you. What is it like? Have you seen a lot changes over the years because Philippines is experiencing phenomenal growth? Are things really being pushed in to the 21st or 22nd century a lot quicker.
Eileen: I don’t know. I don’t feel it in my business. As you know my business is a service business, it’s very simple. Sometimes I feel like we’re just playing, so I don’t think I can answer that question with the kind of experience I have but I do get frustrated and wish that we were more advanced. That we have a smarter workforce if I’m allowed to say that.
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Eileen: I think all the smart people are being exported to other countries and so it’s hard to find people with really good skill.
Eileen: I also think the values of Filipinos are more relaxed and so the kind of work I did when I was doing in Switzerland when I was working like a horse. I didn’t complain about 13-hour shifts and here it’s almost like they’re babies. I feel like I have to apologise if they have to work hard. It’s different, it’s very Filipino, it’s almost like I need a siesta at 2 pm because I need it. It’s different.
Derek: Yeah, that’s interesting, is it? I often look at that and even within different sectors of society you got a Wall Street and the Wall Street anchors, well, there’s just an expectation when you graduate and you work 20 hours a day for the next 3 years. Yeah, other parts of New York city will be very much more relaxed if you’re maybe in a creative environment. So, they can be bubbles but I think generally more in the Philippines people. And maybe it’s good thing, maybe it’s a little bit more balance towards a family environment and not working too hard.
Eileen: Yeah, in fact when I interviewed my HR manager, I told her that my dream was to have a Picture Company Culture cause I, this is what we did in Malaysia, we called it My TPC, My The Picture Company, MY being Malaysia. So, anyway, My TPC, it’s like you’re owning the TPC like it doesn’t matter what the culture or the HR culture is in Malaysia but we would have our own culture. So, within the walls Picture Company in Malaysia it’s a different culture.
Eileen: So, it doesn’t matter what Malaysian culture you have, when you step in to Picture Company it’s totally different.
Eileen: And people noticed it, like we had customers saying, “what’s happening here? why is it different? why are you guys so nice?”. And it was like the Philippine culture was shining in Malaysia.
Eileen: And the clients felt it and in here in the Philippines when I interviewed my HR manager I said my dream is that our HR values will change the Philippines. So, our dream is to write a book in the future on how to run a company that changes people and so they bring it back to their communities. So, if people are gonna be bringing their BPOs here I wish that they would infuse the Philippines in their little community, in their little office with values that stick with the people and bring it to their own communities and I feel, the Philippines can change and advance if we all did our share in our little offices.
Derek: Right, right. Teaching good habits and good disciplines.
Eileen: Yes, that they will take home with them.
Derek: And finally, just quickly, I mean, you’ve been in business for nearly 15 years now and obviously you’ve been in the Philippines a lot longer obviously but have you noticed there’s been a huge amount of growth, economic growth and I think sort of a huge boom in the middle-class? Which brings a lot of extra consumption into countries. Have you personally noticed through business over the last 10 or 15 years, an increase in middle class, an increase in the middle-class but also middle-class consumption?
Eileen: Yes, we just had a discussion on that earlier and we noticed that we have more upper B in Picture Company now which you would have never seen before and the reason why that came up is because the elite A is not coming to us anymore because they don’t wanna be where the upper B, isn’t that funny?
Derek: Right. Wow
Eileen: So, we are now wondering how do we increase the business if we are now attracting the upper B market and they’re probably in places where we never even considered putting a location there or store in that location but now it actually might make money. There’s, it’s definitely, more people are spending. I’m seeing birthday parties, they’re spending hundreds of thousands of Pesos and I would have never seen that before in that certain area or in this.
Derek: Yeah, so there is more of a divider, maybe there’s just many upper B’s as it was upper A’s back in the day.
Eileen: They’re just definitely spending more now. Maybe before portrait is a luxury now you see more of the upper B coming to.
Derek: Fantastic. That’s great, great insight. thank you, Eileen.
Eileen: Thanks, Derek
Derek: Okay, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Eileen Juan of TPC. If you want any show notes, if you want any contact information do check out our show notes that is at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode23.