By Dora, Goh Xin Ying
After a long day of rest after hours of plane to Cebu, ferry to Tagbilaran and van to Tubod Mar, where my host family is located, Kumar and I are finally being introduced to our client, Larry Ganas Unajan, but prefers to be called Cyrus, the owner of Eyeball’s Tailoring and here starts our long awaited and exciting business consulting journey.
Eyeball’s Tailoring is basically located opposite a church named St. Michael The Archangel which is not far away from the Jagna Business Center – Jagna Market and the frequent visited Garden Café in the barangay called Poblacion (Pondol). Locating next to a clinic, the shop is part of his wife’s 2 storey house where they stay next to and above the shop.
Stepping into the shop, Cyrus was still in discussion with his customer, Edvie who comes to the shop every day to either ‘monitor’ or visit Cyrus from my observation of after staying at the shop for a week. They were basically discussing the design of the customer’s basketball team’s uniform. While waiting for their discussion to finish, naturally you will be putting your eyes on the surrounding. You can see the poster of NBA players on the wall and the NBA match was played on the television. Above the ceiling, school uniforms and basketball jerseys are displayed. Hence, it was not difficult to find out what are the main uniforms being produced by the business.
After a while when their discussion finally ended, then we introduced ourselves to each other. So, we came out with different questions on the business operation, the service offerings, the operating assets, the human resource, the financial conditions and the bookkeeping status etc. Generally, the business has three main revenue segments which comprises of school and basketball team uniforms, ready available sports attire, and clothes altering and stitching services.
Surprisingly, the business has kept decent records of its sales, purchases and expenses starting from April this year as they were only registered their business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”) at the end of March. The business was formed in September 2016, but they only registered their business permit in January of the following year. This also explains why they have only obtained registration permit with BIR in March. Cyrus’s wife, Louella who was the one who manages the financials explained, if they were to register in September 2016, they would have to incur the expenses again by end of December 2016 as the renewal of the business permit occurs every calendar year end.
Despite the recording of the financials, Cyrus and his wife have no idea of the profit they made and cash available from the tailoring business. Their sewing machines and computer set are bought by loan and collateral. They explained that they literally use the cash received from sales to pay for their daily living expenses. Therefore, it is pointless and tedious for them to keep track of their cash available on hand.
However, the lack of knowledge in the business’s financial condition is not the core issue. As Cyrus is the only tailor in the shop, working on his own all the time pose challenges for him to receive more orders. It is certain that the business needs additional tailor if they were to receive more orders. Despite the need of tailor, Cyrus encounters difficulties in hiring tailor as there is no tailors available around the area. Not only Eyeballs, but the other tailors are also eagerly searching for tailors as well.
Besides that, we also went around the Jagna Centre to research on the other 5 tailoring shops. Throughout the process, the communication process was not as easy as they were busy on tailoring work due to peak season of the school uniforms tailoring. Also, the limited English proficiency level has prevented us to obtain certain information. Eventually, we managed to gather information such as time for order to be delivered, number of tailors, and service offerings.
I had to admit that the conversation was not easy at times as Cyrus could not explain himself in English due to his fair English proficiency level although he understands us. However, during my several visits to the business, I had the opportunity to meet his friends and relatives who also helped to clarify Cyrus’s situation. We also realized new questions to be asked on every and after each visit. Thus, understanding of the business requires our frequent visits to the business by observing his daily routine of work and interactions with customers. For instance, we had the opportunity to watch the process of clothes tailoring and design printing.
Overall, Cyrus, Louella, his friends and relatives are very friendly people. Aside from discussion related to the business, we also talked about casual matters, the country’s economy and political situation, teaching each other’s their own language and carefreely joking around. As I am a Malaysian, who is known to be proficient in multi-languages, I taught them their names in my language and few others in turn they also taught me basic greetings and questions in Bisaya – the dialect in Cebuano. We added each other on Facebook, and Cyrus would text us ‘Good Morning’ and even treat us snacks during the day. On the Friday night of the week, he invited us to join their family for dinner and kindly offered us transportation back to our host families knowing the difficulties of returning in dark night.
On the coming weeks, Kumar and I will be focusing on looking for ways to search for additional tailor on a long-term approach as we realized there is no point for us to help on its marketing strategies if there is no sufficient human resource to work on additional orders received. Hopefully everything goes well and some changes could be made to Eyeballs.