23 Nov 2018, 07:30 — 6 min read
Founder: Froilan Aloro
Year it was founded: 2018
Industry: Business Services & Consultancy/ IT Technology
Location: Taguig, Philippines
Attesting to the old saying: everything happens for a reason, is Froilan Aloro’s business journey. If not for his painful experience of job hunting, he would not have founded Collarmaker, an online platform that provides professionals, employees, and job seekers a reference to guide them in making a professional decision.
Despite facing multiple challenges, Froilan remains positive and eager for his business to be the leading online platform that provides company reviews. He believes that being laser focused helps him to keep doing what he has started.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Froilan Aloro (Froilan) shares his business journey.
GL: Tell us about your business and how it came into being?
Froilan: I had a model for a HR efficiency project which I constructed as my initial business plan. However, in 2017, I was working in Dumaguete and had a work conflict. I was forced to go back to Manila to save my career and my business as well. During the process of application in different companies, I did my due diligence of looking up for feedback about the companies I applied for. To my dismay, there’s only little to none information available. That’s why, I was motivated to help other hopefuls and professionals as well, so that they can make empowered, informed, and calculated professional decisions.
I took a risk. I tested posting online about my need for a web developer. The selection process was hard since I am a nurse by profession and IT and web development languages are foreign to me, so I really had to familiarize myself with the basic terminologies. After that, I started identifying my goal: where I’d like to be, and what problem can my website solve. I checked if there are others in the market with a business model like mine. I believe in the blue ocean/red ocean concept. I think Collarmaker, if not the first, is one of the few that has this unique concept (aside of course from Glassdoor). Locally, I think I have no competitor so far.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
Froilan: First, it was about finding the right footing. I had to spend countless hours and sleepless nights to come up with a specific concept to work around with. Next, it was finding a niche market. I had to go back and ask myself: what would an employee, a job applicant, an unhappy professional, etc. want and need? Once the entire concept was structured, the next challenge was finding the right people to work with me. I had to talk to a lot of experts, industry leaders, curious advisers, etc. and pitch it to them one by one. Most of them expressed interest and eagerness to join me; however, the next challenge was sustaining their curiosity and interest. I intentionally did not follow up, just for me to test if their intent was true but rather that they really see a future in this business and reach out to me themselves. It was also my process of elimination.
After finding the right people, the next challenge was putting it out in public and gathering reviews. I am a one-man team and everything was done by myself. So, from the advice of experts and industry leaders, I covered both digital marketing and traditional marketing. I challenged myself to build my personal brand first. While I was at it, I utilized Facebook to create awareness.
Lastly, the financing for Collarmaker was a challenge. Since I built it from a portion of my salary, it has been hard for me to balance my expenses, support my family, and the business. As they say, you really have to sacrifice when you are laser sharp with your goal. As a sacrifice, I had to change my lifestyle and really look into my spending habits.
GL: What is the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your business?
Froilan: My unique selling point is that I am the only platform that provides a specific service as my primary function - trusted, credible and relevant employee feedback
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
Froilan: The last time I checked, there are already four companies that registered on Collarmaker. They created an employer profile. One actually did not just load their company profile, they even added instructions on how to professionally submit a review/feedback. We were also able to get a client that will subscribe to the employee survey service of Collarmaker under its subdomain.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting and assisting SMEs?
Froilan: UnionBank GlobalLinker is a free platform that has a lot of information for different aspects of business, employment, etc. And it is also a great venue to improve your network. Great network is a very powerful resource in making and running a business.
GL: What is your big business dream?
Froilan: My big business dream is to put up a conglomerate - holdings or group of companies.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneur?
Froilan: Find a niche market, and it should be something that is needed. Have guts, because everything is a risk. Make a lot of mistakes fast now, rather than later. There will be days that you will question yourself, why you are doing what you are doing, but you also have to remember why you did it in the first place. Having laser focus will help you to keep going.
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