In the 1990s, Romy Sia’s son developed food allergies, and the doctor advised the family to avoid food with preservatives. However, the father found out that there is hardly anyone in the country selling organic products.
He found out that in the U.S., the organic food industry is a big one. Romy soon realized that just like him, many people in the Philippines also import organic food. That’s when he got the idea of opening up a small store to cater to this market.
With the help of his high school best friend, Christian Tan, they were able to put up the first store that they called Healthy Options at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City.
The store was a success, and soon after, they put up two more branches in Makati and Alabang.
At present, there are 29 Healthy Options stores nationwide, and the store enjoys being the largest and most trusted all-natural retail store in the country.
With the success of Healthy Options, Romy Sia shares five business lessons to other aspiring entrepreneurs;
1. Be authentic
As a brand, you should know what you want to be, and you have to stay true to that. Have the courage to follow your heart and learn how not to be affected by other people’s thinking or opinion.
2. Listen to your customers.
You will be able to improve your business if you know how to listen to your customers. Use their insights and understand what they think about your products and services so you can create a better experience for them that will later convert into higher customer retention.
3. Hire the right people.
Your frontline should not only know how to treat customers properly, but they should also understand what your market needs. ‘Hire good people, pay them well, and train them,” Romy Sia said. He added that all his store staff are either pharmacists, nutritionists, or have a science background. ‘When you go talk to them, they know what they are talking about,” he said.
4. Inspire and reward your people.
Romy Sia said that while anybody can copy everything about the store, what cannot be imitated is the way they treat and train their employees. He added that he lets his employees see that what they are doing have an impact on society and to the world.
5. Align market positioning with purpose.
When you already know what you are and what you stand for, your customers will know and feel that they can rely on you. Through the years, Healthy Options have become the store people visit when they want to change their lifestyle. Taking this by heart, Healthy Options makes sure that their credibility does not get diluted by also making sure that their people also look healthy all the time.
Featured Image: Facebook/Healthy Options