Can you establish your own business during your second year in college? Anthony Laborte did just that! Learn more about him in this podcast!
Do you know the most important factor when it comes to hiring? It’s not what most people think it is. Find out what we think it is in this podcast!
One of the things that is most difficult for startups is getting the right people for your team. How do you get the right people?
First of all, Anthony believes that you have to pray for the right people to come into the business. Without prayer, you won’t know who’s coming into your business. They might just be there to steal your ideas, your contacts, and your time.
Second, he concentrates on the character of the person even before the technical skills of the individual. Anthony believes that when a person’s character is good, everything else will follow. He would go over lunch or have a drink with some of his most trusted employees and those who are eyeing a higher position. In most cases, he finds out the character of these individuals through this.
For people on the lower end of the corporate ladder, the process was sped up a few.
How do you develop leadership in your company?
Anthony believes in leading by example. His methods on how he leads his immediate team will be mirrored onto the people that they lead and so on. Anthony puts his people first. He exemplifies paternal leadership. Anthony thinks of the situations of his people and takes appropriate actions from there.
SEO Hacker is full of millennials. I’m 31 and all my team members are younger than me. Imagine the chaos that happens in the office. You can’t take out the fun because of everyone that’s there.
I’ve read the book Developing Leaders by John Maxwell recently. There’s this one quote that particularly stuck with me. It went: “Hiring is like skydiving. Once you jump out, you’re committed.”
Before you hire, you have unlimited options. You have many applicants to choose from. But when you make the hire, you’re stuck with that person. This is why you have to take your time in hiring that person.
For Anthony, it’s largely about his gut feel. Out of all the people that he hired, he can only think of less than three people that he truly believes was a mistake to hire. The rest was easy enough to ease into the company.
When did you know that it was time to have an office?
Anthony started at the conference table within his dad’s office. After a few projects, around two or three years later, he was able to get his own office right beside his dad’s office. His dad once told him that if they rented an office, it’s just going to be another expense, he would rather invest right away so that they won’t have any more expenses in the long run. It was only a small office because most of Anthony’s employees work out in the field.
How far into the business were you when you purchased the office?
Anthony was able to purchase their first office just four years after starting operations.
How did this second year college student find the identity of his business?
Do you know how hard it is to find your own identity in the market? Find out how Anthony Laborte found his niche in this podcast!
What was the business doing while you were still in college?
At that time, the business, and Anthony himself, were looking for their own identity. They started by selling different types of equipment. They tried selling CCTV, the things that his dad had him sell, as well as other services and maintenance. They were like a convenience store that didn’t have a single product that they were known for.
The opportunity that turned it all around was one that required flooring systems for a building. With the power of Google, Anthony found a supplier and headed straight to them. He asked for a partnership with a flooring systems partner in Thailand, and that’s where all of it started.
Did you have to loan money to bring the flooring systems business from Thailand to the Philippines?
Anthony had to get a loan to finance the purchasing and the shipment of the products. He had to risk that capital for the future of this business. Fortunately, instead of financial institutions, he was able to loan money from his father. Aside from that, there was already a demand for the products.
He was at a very interesting spot because unlike other entrepreneurs that first finalized their product before they started a business, Anthony did the opposite. He established business first, playing around with some products and services, before eventually focusing on flooring systems.
What made you decide that that is what you want your business to be?
At first, it was because of the volume that was coming in. Anthony’s first client was Nestle Philippines– a huge opportunity. They did about 8,000 square meters of polished concrete flooring. Afterward, they handled Pepsi Cola. they required polyurethane flooring. That went on and on until he just realized that they’ve been doing it for three years.
How did you get your first big clients?
Since Anthony’s family business concentrated on the food and beverage industry, he would usually go with his dad when he meets with their clients. There he will look for what they require, once he pinpoints something, he’ll present a proposed solution and present one of their products.
Anthony learned almost everything that he had to from his father. It was the very definition of mentorship. Because he was near his father all the time, he began to be inspired and think of ideas of his own.
His father’s presence, ideals, and aura rub off on Anthony much like how Jesus was to his disciples.
How much can your parents influence your business ideals and mindset?
Did you know that some entrepreneurs owe it all to their parents? Anthony learned most of what made him successful from his father. Learn more here!
Have you ever worked for your dad? How was that experience?
Anthony used to work for the family business when his own business began to show signs of good stability. He started with business development and helping out with the operations.
Back then, Anthony had a pretty good idea on how to manage his time between working for his dad and working on his own business.
Unfortunately, after his father’s passing, the workload became quite difficult, especially since he had to deal with all that was happening.
Are you the next in line to take over the company? How does it feel?
Anthony is the one who will inherit the company and it’s a big responsibility for him. He feels a lot of pressure especially since he will be the person with whom hundreds of employees will rely on. He has inherited the obligation of making sure that the company thrives and grows.
He believes that even with these hardships and him becoming the new president of his family business, there is still one true CEO that will guide him along the way, God.
How were you groomed to take on this role?
Most second-generation family business owners would say that they are not yet ready, that they’re not yet prepared when in reality, you will never find the best possible time to enter it. The perfect time is now. They should start doing it now and learn most of what you need along the way. These people only need to gather up confidence and have a bit more faith in God.
With the passing of your father, how shocking was the transition for you?
Anthony and his father were very close to one another. With things suddenly changing, he felt like he was lost. He said that for the time being, he hasn’t thought of the business too much, instead, he thought of how he’s going to live his life without him.
Anthony’s father has been there ever since he could remember. He was his mentor and boss. He was there to answer any questions with a nice quote of advice.
They used to wake up early and chat during the morning. That was their main bonding moment. Until now, Anthony still wakes up early in the morning. What was once the time for him and his father to talk with each other became his quiet time when he could pray to God. He uses this time to reflect and plan for his week.
How did your transition into your father’s business go?
At first, Anthony didn’t know what to do, especially how to continue the business after his father’s time. Luckily, the people within the business were blessed enough to guide him along the way. And with their teamwork, they were able to move things forward.
Right now, somebody else has taken over the family business, someone from outside the family. He is someone that Anthony’s family trusts wholeheartedly and he has done a great job in keeping the business going.
Anthony and his family have always treated their employees as part of their own. The family vibe helps in reinforcing loyalty in the business.
How different was it when your dad led without knowing God and when he started to incorporate him into his ways?
The blessings were abundant. It was like it poured out just as they started to put a bit more focus to God. it was also paramount in the way his father handled the business. Anthony thinks that he and the majority of their employees felt it a lot. It could be felt in the whole organization. Their employees then passed it on to their family members and friends.
Even if this happened 10 years after they started their business, which was quite some time, it brought great positive change to them?
What is the best piece of advice that this entrepreneur has to people who had to take over their family business?
What does Anthony Laborte have to say about taking over a family business, becoming a better leader and developing his employees? Find out in this podcast!
What’s your main role in the business today?
Anthony thinks of his main role as a so-called janitor– someone that cleans up problems when they arise. Aside from that, he’s also the one who keeps track of what they’re doing and encourage them from time to time.
He is also a very hands-on person. People will see him on-site or talking with clients.
In one working day, how long are you in the office and how long are you at the site?
He would usually be in the office for around 5 hours, then spend the rest of his time checking up on the field.
How do you find growth?
Normally, Anthony looks for and sends himself and his team to training workshops. On a recent excursion, he sent his team to Malaysia and had them be trained under their principal supplier. Even their partners when it comes to process engineering invite them from time to time for seminars and other workshops.
How do you grow your leadership skills?
Anthony bases leadership on the Bible. He thinks that’s the number one point. Secondly, he remembers all of his dad’s teachings. He looks at all the good things from those pieces of wisdom and tries to become a good leader from there.
Is there anything new that you’re working on right now?
Anthony is starting up a construction chemical system business. Aside from that, they’re also planning to expand by putting up an office in Cebu and somewhere in Mindanao in the first and second quarters respectively.
This was all because we’ve been having so many inquiries all over the Philippines!
What is your advice to our audience who are experiencing a passing of the baton from the first generation to the next one, or who is only starting out?
Anthony believes that the only thing you need is commitment because you will be inheriting a business that has already been established. Not everybody is blessed to have this opportunity. If you want to put up your own company, then know that it will start with an idea. And is supported by prayer.
How can people get in touch with you?
Anthony’s business focuses more on resin flooring systems, polyurethane, epoxies, MMA, and polished flooring.
Our website is www.flooringsolutions.ph
Email: email@example.com; and