“The most rewarding thing about entrepreneurship was earning my definition of freedom. Freedom for me is being able to control my time, how I wanted my day to go. Freedom is being able to hone my skills and earn an additional degree. And most importantly, freedom is being able to spend time with my family and friends,” said 26-year-old Tristan Licudan, SEAOIL’s youngest franchisee who was recently awarded Franchisee of the Year by the company.
A consistent dean’s lister, Tristan graduated from the Ateneo de Davao University with a degree in business administration. Shortly after graduation, he decided to take the entrepreneurship route through SEAOIL before pursuing further studies, eventually finishing his MBA with honors.
Tristan attributes his business success to certain millennial traits.
“I am goal-oriented. It doesn’t matter how I do it as long as I see the results. I draw my success from this as well as being practical and competitive. Being a business owner can sometimes be very demanding especially when it comes to hitting targets but I always see to it that the business is growing,” said Tristan.
Tristan was working as a management trainee at another company when he answered the call of entrepreneurship. “The lifestyle of an entrepreneur is appealing to me; I want to live life the fullest way possible and I did not find it in the confines of an office working 8 hours a day, 6 days a week,” he shared.
“The decision to franchise came after my parents were introduced to a SEAOIL dealer in Cotabato who then referred us to SEAOIL. After reviewing the franchise materials, we were convinced that SEAOIL was the right choice. From there, it did not take long for construction to begin,” said Tristan.
Tristan’s business acumen was recognized by SEAOIL when he was awarded 2015 Franchisee of the Year in the Dealer-Owned, Dealer-Operated Station Category.
“To effectively compete with other players in the area, I initiated localized promos for customers. We also offered services unconventional to a gasoline station such as 3D computerized wheel alignment and computerized wheel balancing, among the usual oil change and under-chassis repairs. Surprisingly, word-of-mouth worked to our advantage and it proved to be very effective,” Tristan said.
Encouraged by the success of his first SEAOIL station, Tristan shares that he plans on opening two more dealership stations in the next five years. He intends to integrate the service center business in the stations to complement the sale of fuel and lubes with car services, which proved to be a good source of income.
Tristan believes that a successful business is not only profit-oriented but also socially-inclined to help alleviate poverty. “I hope, one day, I will be able to generate more sustainable jobs and livelihood in the communities,” he said.
For those interested in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams, Tristan has a few tips.
“Start early; it doesn’t need to be big. There is no better or perfect time to start a business than now. Business should be viewed as a long-term investment. There are many sources of funds; be resourceful and do not be afraid to borrow money, but be a responsible borrower; never miss or negotiate extension of due dates. Remember, the lifeline of most businesses is the lender. Take advantage of time. As investors, we generate earnings through time. When everything is in place, don’t splurge just yet but reinvest the initial earnings to earn even more. Finally, learn from failures and never get easily discouraged. Commit your time in knowing and perfecting the business and don’t forget to pray,” he said.
“When I started the business, I made a commitment to myself that I would succeed. Failure was never an option but it was inevitable. While I made mistakes, I recovered and learned from it, for failure was the best teacher that helped me succeed,” he added.
Tristan shared that given the chance to turn back time, he will still choose to be an entrepreneur.
“Choosing the entrepreneurial route was the best decision I ever made. I live on a perfect work-life balance. At age 26, I feel accomplished, happy, and content and I cannot trade this career for anything else,” he said.
SEAOIL has long been recognized by the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), as well as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), and Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI) for having one of the country’s most outstanding franchise programs based on growth and financial performance.