Faustino (Tino) Calimon is living proof that there is life after 50, and a financially fruitful and spiritually-fulfilling one at that. After 32 years of working as an employee, he resigned from his corporate executive job at a multinational company in 2009.
Today, Tino is one of the outstanding franchisees of independent oil player SEAOIL Philippines, having been awarded "SEAOIL Franchisee of the Year" in 2012 as well as being a finalist for the same category in 2013 and 2014. Aside from his role as a successful businessman, he is also a volunteer lay worker at their parish, and a loving and devoted head of the family.
From corporate executive to family driver
"I have had enough of the corporate life and was considering becoming an entrepreneur, so when the opportunity for an early retirement presented itself, I saw it as an answered prayer," said Tino.
"When I turned 50, I realized I didn't want to remain as an employee any longer. I got tired of doing things to please my boss and trying to second-guess how my boss thinks so my work output will be approved and I will eventually merit a salary increase now and then. I don’t want to end my working years this way."
After his resignation, he devoted his free time bonding with his family and working out in the gym 4-5 times a week.
"I enjoyed being the personal driver of my two daughters. I would drive my eldest daughter to and from her summer internship. I realized the quality of time spent depended on doing the things that you are passionate about and being with the ones you love," he shared.
Propelled by his newfound realizations, Tino spent the next 4 months after retirement planning his financial future to supplement his new lifestyle.
"I read guide books on how to start businesses and after an intense personal assessment of my own strengths and capabilities, I made the decision to realize my dream of becoming an entrepreneur," he said.
A new adventure through franchising
The next big question on his mind was: "What kind of business would be most suitable for me?"
"I considered running a fuel station because it means that I can put up a convenience store or a food chain alongside it. I have been in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business for so long that I have developed an expertise in this particular niche. Of course, the huge investment involved in such a business venture and my neophyte status in franchising meant I have to be realistic if I wanted to be successful," said the former business executive.
Together with his wife, Tino explored business ideas by visiting shopping malls and food courts. He kept himself updated with business trends through books and magazines. One day, they chanced upon a franchise expo in a mall. He was attracted by the contemporary structural design of the fuel station in the SEAOIL booth and so began making inquiries about franchise investments.
"The SEAOIL franchise proposition is reasonable and therefore attractive enough to get the attention of a newbie entrepreneur like me. I also like the idea of SEAOIL providing free pre-operating and post-opening training for dealers and crew. Their marketing and sales programs also appealed to me."
Tino stresses the importance of aligning one's personal beliefs and principles with life-changing decisions.
"My wife and I went into a decision process wherein we have to match our personal vision for the business and company we are incorporating against what the SEAOIL corporate advocacy is all about. We wanted to put up a socially responsible business that is environment-friendly as well. I researched about SEAOIL online and talked to friends who are familiar with the company. The reviews were favorable and so the decision was made to open a fuel station."
Advice for future entrepreneurs
Tino's success in franchising comes with a lot of hard work and dedication to his business and taking care of relationships.
"To improve and maintain client relations, one must establish trust, confidence and loyalty, just as you would with any human relationship," he said.
Tino shares that his management style is a combination of teaching and empowerment, which enables his staff to operate the station efficiently and allows him to focus on planning and steering the business toward greater success.
When considering a business venture, he advises future entrepreneurs to undergo a self-assessment process - what and where you are right now, your vision, where, what and why you want to be, and steps on how to get there.
He also underscores the importance of research through studying the product and target market, and assessing the opportunities and risks involved.
"You can supplement your research efforts by attending franchise trade shows and seeking expert counseling from an experienced franchisor or business partner," he added.
"And last but not the least, pray and discern where the Lord would want you to be," said the parish lay volunteer cum entrepreneur.