Rhonadale Florentino – To Succeed in Startups, Don’t Just Do it


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By Andrew Stotz. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Rhonadale Florentino has been an HR practitioner for around 19 years. She is the CEO and President of UpRush Social Geekers, an HR solutions and services provider located in the Philippines. She has held various director-level positions and has worked on the Gamification Framework to gamify human resources and the Digital 201, which helped her company digitize its human resources operations.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and has been quite active in improving the standards of HR in the Philippines through programs like UpRush’s HR Boot Camp, which provides the necessary competencies for up-and-coming HR practitioners who would like to become professionals someday.

“Don’t just start a small business blindly. Do your due diligence first.”

Rhonadale Florentino

Worst investment ever

Rhonadale got into an accident and was bedridden for about two months. She’s not the type of person who can just sit down and not do anything. So during those two months, she was thinking of how she could earn money as she recuperated.

Doing online jobs

Rhonadale decided to look for online platforms where she could get a job, and then she came across oDesk (currently Upwork). She applied for jobs and got hired. But it was not for HR work but a writing job. Rhonadale wrote articles and blogs, and in the process, she got to understand what SEO is.

Starting a small business

Rhonadale enjoyed working online, and by the time she was going back to work, she was toying with the idea of doing a consultancy in internet marketing, which at that point, she thought was something that she could manage.

Let’s start doing business

Rhonadale wasted no time trying to analyze the business idea. Instead, she registered the business, came up with a catchy business name, and just started.

Rhonadale felt very proud of herself. She was in her late 20s at the time, enjoying being the president of her own company.

Off to a good start

Rhonadale started tapping into her previous internet marketing clients and subscribed them to her business instead of going through oDesk. She looked for connections from her last bosses and got some excellent referrals. The first few months were the best for her. Money was coming in, and she was getting a lot of clients.

Building a team

Rhonadale’s clients were too many for her to handle them alone. She decided to hire a team. Rhonadale started looking for people that she had an emotional connection with even though this goes against all of the things she’d learned as an HR professional. Instead of looking into competencies and skills, she was looking at the emotional connection. Rhonadale got people that were part of her life.

Not up to the task

Since the team she built didn’t share the same vision as her, nor the skills needed to do the job, she started getting many complaints because the quality of the services that they were putting out was not the same as before.

Trying to run the business while training her team put so much strain on Rhonadale. So she reduced the number of clients she was taking in, and so the income decreased.

Losing sight of the finances

Rhonadale did not have anyone monitoring her finances. Her idea of finances at the time was that money coming in was more than what she was spending. But because no one was watching her expenses, Rhonadale spent so much on things that were not important to the business. She was also spending so much of her personal finances as part of the company’s finances.

Rhonadale got someone to help her with the finances, and that’s when she figured out that she was losing so much money and had to cut down on costs and let go of some people.

So, where was the problem?

While going through her finances and trying to get her business back on track, Rhonadale realized that how she started that business was wrong right from the start. Rhonadale didn’t do any research, and she hired the wrong people.

Lessons learned

Do your due diligence

Don’t just start a business because you’ve got a good business idea. You have to research first. First, understand how to start the business and understand your own strengths and weaknesses.

Pay particular attention to your finances

Whatever your background, you must understand basic accounting principles for you to understand what’s happening in your business. Understand what’s credit, debit, assets, liabilities, etc.

Andrew’s takeaways

Small businesses are a trap

People get into small businesses, but they don’t realize they will get trapped in it. Sometimes it’s hard even to bring it forward, and you find yourself stuck.

Think of a startup as a whole entity

Most of the people who get into startups focus on the one area that they’re good at. Running a business requires you to be good at everything that pertains to the business. You’ve got to be good in finance, bookkeeping, marketing, administration, management, etc. It’s not about taking one technical skill that you have and building a business around it.

Business is an emotional journey

People get all excited about starting a business, but they don’t realize that it involves a tremendous amount of emotions that will shake you to the core. It is an emotional roller coaster.

Finance adds no value

Value comes from your products and services and your interactions with your customers. Finance is a support function, just like other support functions that give you the tools to assess your decisions’ outcomes.

Actionable advice

Do your due diligence. This includes researching everything the business is all about. Ensure that you understand the different types of setups you should have in place before you do your business.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Rhonadale’s goal for the next 12 months is to grow the services she’s currently offering. Right now, she’s focusing on providing training services and webinars. She’s also looking at adding one more service, the managed payroll service, hopefully by quarter two of next year.

Parting words

“Know your numbers. The numbers will help you realize where you are at your business, and it will also guide you on what should be the next step.”

Rhonadale Florentino


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