3 Timeless Lessons We Can Learn From John Gokongwei Jr

Years since he passed away in 2019, John Gokongwei Jr. continues to be a driving force as an inspiring entrepreneur and philanthropist.

3 Timeless Lessons We Can Learn From John Gokongwei Jr
Image by JG Summit Holdings

John Gokongwei Jr. was the founder of JG Summit Holdings Inc., one of the country’s biggest conglomerates. From being a young boy selling garlic peanuts to his classmates, Sir John rose to build an empire with big names such as Cebu Pacific Air, Universal Robina Corp., Robinsons Bank, and more.

Sir John passed away at the age of 93, but he left behind several lessons that we can use in life and in business. Here, we listed the three timeless lessons we can learn from the great tycoon.

1. Understand your business

When his business URC became successful, they decided to go on an Age of Expansion. They were already doing well in the food industry, so they decided to explore other opportunities. He said that remaining in their comfort zone would only stunt their growth.

They ventured into textiles, retail, real estate, telecommunications, aviation, banking, and petrochemicals. According to Sir John, before considering a new business venture, it should be able to answer four critical questions.

He outlined them in his speech during the launch of the Ateneo de Manila University John Gokongwei School of Management.

First: Is there a market?
Second: Could we compete against both local and foreign players?
Third: Could we find the right people for the job, and did we have enough capital to pursue the business?
Last and most important: Did we have the stomach for it? That is, could we take the sleepless nights, the cutthroat competition?

2. Find opportunities

He said, “Remember the story of David and Goliath? Every industry has its Goliath. But every David knows that all giants have their weaknesses. Every weakness is an opportunity.”

Sir John said he chose to live his life unafraid to discover new opportunities. May it be in your competitors’ weakness or the economic situation, face these challenges head-on and take them as opportunities.

“I discovered that opportunities don’t find you; you find your opportunities,” he said.

3. Entrepreneurship is more than earning money

3 Timeless Lessons We Can Learn From John Gokongwei Jr
Image by JG Summit Holdings

According to Sir John, success in entrepreneurship is driven by passion, hard work, integrity, adaptability to change, and “boldness to dream.”

He reminded every aspiring entrepreneur to create something valuable and understand the mission of the profession: to help and provide.

He said, “Choose to be an entrepreneur because then you create value. Choose to be an entrepreneur because the products, services, and jobs you create become the lifeblood of our nation. But most of all, choose to be an entrepreneur because then you desire a life of adventure, endless challenge, and the opportunity to be your best self.”

If you’re an entrepreneur, you can learn a lot from the business advice of tycoons and billionaires. From the tips of the self-made billionaire Manny Villar to the life lessons of Lucio Tan, these can inspire you to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

Sally Mae

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