Playing table tennis with Viaje

By Chiu Kei Yu Catherine

Last week I mainly spoke about my experience with the Gacita’s family and time has gone fast that I am leaving Guimaras in a few days from now, meaning that I would also say farewell to my business owner called Jed who was the founder of Viaje. (I think he is planning to get us drunk with his bottle of Jack Daniels!?)

For the past two weeks Eric and I have made some decisions on our business recommendations and I have my eyes set on finishing the final report by today! I feel that it’s time to reflect on how I have done from the first day of walking into the main office with an empty mind to leaving the office with more discussions and questions with Eric.

By chatting with my classmates who are working for a company that is not as willing to listen to them or to cooperate with comparing to Viaje, I got to see the different problems that we encounter depending on the business structure (in Guimaras). For an enterprise we could get in touch with the owner more easily and to discuss in a less formal manner, whereas for a well established company there might be more policies and less willing to change the way they do things. I see how challenging it is for them to understand the insights of their organization and to try and improve on the business performance as a consultant/student. In general things might be more complicated than it looks.

In terms of Viaje, after meeting with Jed’s partner who owns a grocery store we could see areas that could be improved on immediately such as as simple as getting the wifi fixed so that the employee could start purchasing tickets for consumers on the computer. I even left the store with frustrations because I couldn’t see how they could have done nothing about a problem that could have stopped them from having any potential sales! It’s even a threat to their business!! -That’s the moment when I decided to focus on Viaje’s partnership as there are more opportunities for improvement based on the time we have.

From there onward, time was ticking already as two weeks wasn’t enough for me to come up with a concrete report I thought. We started coming up with ideas that could develop into our recommendations potentially and all of a sudden we had lots of little suggestions to Jed. On the contrary I started having more doubts and questions as to whether x solution is applicable to Viaje or y is more manageable for us to implement.

Now that we’ve gone through this phrase I come to value this particular dilemma out of our whole consulting experience the most because it was a skill that I just learned and wasn’t aware of before coming onto this trip. For example when we wasn’t sure about an innovative idea (for the industry in Guimaras) like having a lucky draw for consumers, we came up with the details and then showed it to Jed, he then gave us feedback and his thoughts. After that we would change our lucky draw accordingly and ask him again, gradually we have shaped our Lucky draw into a exciting marketing strategy which works well for Viaje (we shall we see the result if anyone is assigned to Viaje next summer ;). To sum it up I would say it’s like being a table tennis player, throwing the idea back and forth in order to develop it into something good. I also thought that using the mentality of a sportsmanship is a key to keep me going until I reach the end of the final project.

Lastly, thanks to Eric honestly when I asked him for his opinion on my performance; perhaps I could practice more on remembering the small details and to be more patience with listening during discussions. At the same time asking questions that steered towards our predictions and ways in which it made the owner think about his business has helped us in general.

Moment of truth!

Last day with our owner at Viaje.

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