8 Tips on How You Can Build Your Own Empire of Businesses According To This Young Entrepreneur

Shabu-Shabu Ichiban. Sandaya Yakiniku. Macao Imperial Tea.

For the past few years, these foreign brands have been taking the food scene by storm, serving up great food, welcoming atmospheres, and amazing service all at once.

If you look at their many branches in Metro Manila alone, you’d think it took decades to get them all up and running. What if we told you it only took a total of three years for the Fredley Group of Companies to make it happen? Would you believe us?

As crazy as it may seem, kindergarteners are older than this multi-million-peso company, and the man behind it all is just in his 20s!

Avin Ong, the CEO of the Fredley Group of Companies, was kind enough to share with us how he made his and many others’ dreams come true, and how you can do the same thing.

These are what you need to build your own empire of businesses, according to a man who has done just that in a record-breaking amount of time:

8 Tips on How You Can Build Your Own Empire of Businesses According To Avin Ong

8. Goals

Before you can go anywhere, you have to first set a destination. It’s one thing to have a goal. However, getting there and keeping yourself going once there is a whole other thing in itself. In the face of that kind of dilemma, Avin advises two things: look back, and look forward.

“You have to have a vision.” Avin says, “By having a vision, you will know that what you are currently going through will be worth it someday.”

Look back at what motivated you and the factors that set you on this journey, and then turn towards the bigger plans and all you want to accomplish in the future, he tells us. “Never forget why you started this journey in the very first place.”

7. Failure

As do so many CEO’s, Avin has quite the impressive résumé under his belt. He graduated from the De La Salle University with honors, has multiple MBA’s from here and abroad, and made his rounds as an employee in lucrative corporations before making it on his own with Fredley. And so, imagine our surprise when he told us he didn’t pass the DLSUCET.

“De La Salle University was my dream school, and I failed the first entrance exam.” he told us, “That’s something very surprising to my friends because they all expected me to pass the entrance exam. But then, surprisingly, I failed.”

Shabu-shabu Ichiban

Failure after failure. It was just his starting point. Now, Fredley is welcoming 23 restaurants this year alone. 

Unbroken, Avin spent his first year of college at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde, and then applied again to his dream school.

“That taught me a lesson.” Avin opened up, “From time to time, you should not be so confident with [your] plans, and you should always have [a] Plan B, or even [a] Plan C.” Things may not have worked out the way Avin planned, but that did not bring him down. “Yeah, I failed.” he says proudly, “And that’s how you learn. By failing.”

“Fail for as long as you can afford to,” says Avin to all the young and hopeful just like him.

6. Innovation

Despite all the bumps along the way, if there’s something that fueled the rapid growth of Fredley, it’s innovation. “Innovation is something I give importance to on a daily basis here in my work.” Avin gestures to everything around him.

“In the food service industry, I feel like innovation is something very, very important.” he says, “If you don’t innovate, you’re not going to grow.”

This is something that Avin has obviously taken to heart, and boy did Fredley grow because of it. He surely has consumers – those of his competitors, and those of his own restaurants – to thank for that.

In the line of business, Avin is involved in, it’s inevitable to receive feedback. Avin, for one, has learned to absorb all that has been given to him and look at them as points for improvement, for innovation. Whether the feedback he receives is positive or negative, this is all that Avin has to say; “At the end of the day, I think we have to be thankful for all these feedback because that’s why we grow.”

5. Sustainability

Having been consumed by his work, Avin had to miss out on a lot of things. Road trips, food trips, holidays. This was all so that he could focus his energy on his baby, Fredley.

Like the parent he is, Fredley has become Avin’s life. It is his flesh and blood, one that he has reared since infancy in the hope that it would one day stand on its own.

If you ask Avin about his greatest achievements, among them is the turning point when his business could effectively run on its own even without his presence. “It’s actually very fulfilling for me,” he said like the proud father he is.

In that regard, sustainability is something that is very important. “I want Fredley to run on its own with or without my presence.” Avin maintains, “I want to give this stage eventually to the managers that I’m currently handling because I want to let them run the show someday.”

4. Compassion

The 3 C’s of being a good leader: charismatic, competence, and compassion. Although it felt like a one-man show in the very beginning, Rome was not built overnight, and no empire can be made by one man alone. Avin had quite the team behind him. “I’m grateful for the people who trusted me since day one, and are continuing to trust me until now.” Avin says, “These are the people I’m most grateful for, and these are the people that will always have a special place in my heart.”

Avin subscribes to the philosophy that “everyone has a very special role in the success of the company.” It’s what he always tells his employees. Before he could proudly hold the title of CEO, he had to work his way there. “I actually started as a dishwasher because I wanted to make sure that I know very well what they are going through everyday.” Avin shares. “To be a better employer, I started working as a dishwasher, and then as a cashier, and then, later on, I started handling the business as the owner.”

“Compassion.” Avin cites is the reason why he submitted himself to that process. “For me, to be able to become a good leader or an employer, you have to understand first better what they are doing on a daily basis, what are the difficulties or possible challenges they might face in their job. From that, you will be able to make better decisions for them as well, and for the company.”

3. Transparency

In the few minutes we got to spend him, Avin has been nothing but honest with us. That’s how he has always been throughout his life, and especially so on this journey. He is honest with himself, his family, his friends, and all the people he encounters and deals with his line of business. “Being transparent is very important.” he also shared. “You need to tell what you want to achieve, what resources you have, and what are your limitations.”

Read our full review of the Shabu-Shabu Ichiban here.

Transparency is what got all the beloved foreign brands under the Fredley Group of Companies to set up shop on the Philippine soil. “Principals would appreciate that a lot [more] instead of branding your company and yourself without telling them all your constraints and limitations.”

The Fredley Group of Companies got itself to work like a well-oiled machine because it lets itself out there, and manages everyone’s expectations in line with what they already have on their plate.

2. Perseverance

If there’s a will, there’s a way. Avin once packed and assembled hangers to help his family to make a living. He got himself into tutoring at a young age, and even dabbled in the food and beverage industry as early as high school, selling fruit shakes at the nearby wet market. Now, he can not only buy all the fruit shakes he wants, he can also buy his own wet market. Maybe even dozens of them.

Perseverance is number two on Avin’s list of essentials to success. Never give up. “By not giving up, you’ll eventually find new opportunities, new ways in solving a problem.”

Avin is not the type of person to give up and look how it has rewarded him. He knows how scary the mere thought of going on and pushing forward without even the faintest sense of certainty can be. A lot of people has asked him, “What if we fail?” Well, to that, Avin says, “What if we don’t?”

“Take risks. Challenge yourselves.” says Avin, “Challenge yourselves while you are still young.”

In short, building an empire is not for the faint-hearted.

1. Self-discipline

We’ve seen and heard about this advice many times. However, we always lack this trait. When you get to your destination, there’s no going back. There’s only moving forward. It’s not always going to be easy, it’s not always going to be fun, but you have to keep going, and only one thing will help you keep afloat.

“Self-discipline is a tough love.” Avin says of his number one essential for success. “It will push you to do things you don’t like but you know you need to accomplish.”

There is no real pattern or formula for becoming a success. If there is, Avin doesn’t believe in that. For him, there’s only one thing you truly need, and that’s self-discipline. If you really want to be successful, it’s going to take a lot of it. “[It is] the attitude and the right mindset of handling a business and at the same time making it grow.”

Self-discipline is what Avin attributes the most to his success. Now that you’ve learned his secret, it could be what leads you to yours.

“I believe that there are many more Avin Ongs out there. I want to be someone who will change their lives by helping them.”

Avin is truly an inspiration to anyone who has ever had a dream. With all his secrets and techniques now in your arsenal, you too can be like him, but better.

“How to be you, po?” Avin has been asked a thousand of times. “Don’t be like me,” Avin advocates, “Because you guys can do a lot better than me.”

Make something out of yourself just as Avin did. Take these notes and go for it. “There are really no perfect or right moments in life, especially in entrepreneurship,” Avin says. “The perfect or right moments are actually created by you by starting it right now. Start taking action as early as possible.”

Over To You

Building a business is not a walk in the park. You must have the right mindset and motivation. Just like what Avin told us, studying is not important. While it could help you with the basics, you have the whole world as your classroom. Failures, values, friendships, relationships, experiences, these are the best teachers one could ever have. Through failed relationships, we would be able to re-evaluate what had happened and continue searching for the right one. The values instilled in us by our parents and experiences we gathered are definitely the essentials of life.

Ultimately, you must have a steadfast faith. Believe and be a visionary.

Do you have anything to add to these tips? Let us hear your thoughts by commenting below.

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