Carmen’s Best Founder Shares Tips On How To Stay Resilient In Business
Francisco “Paco” Magsaysay, the man behind Carmen’s Best ice cream, said entrepreneurs must be willing to put in the hours, and go the extra mile for their business to succeed.
If you are fixated on having a work-life balance, or thinking about traveling a lot, then it is better for you to stay employed in a company than head towards the entrepreneurial route, according to Francisco “Paco” Magsaysay, founder of Filipino gourmet ice cream brand Carmen’s Best.
Magsaysay believes that not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship, but those who dared to take the risks must be willing to put in the hours, and go the extra mile for one’s business to succeed. “You have to get used to getting turned down. You have to get used to getting back up,” he said.
The long-time businessman shared these thoughts in the Thursday evening (Nov. 16) livestream of “Breakthrough with Boris Joaquin” on the Facebook pages of The Philippine Star and Career Guide. The episode centered on leadership and innovation in times of accelerated growth.
“Kasi talagang (Because really) running your own business is gonna take up a lot of your time, especially the first few years when you first start. So, better to look in the mirror and understand what you’re looking for, what you’re looking to achieve,” Magsaysay advised.
The ice cream manufacturer considered it a “blessing in disguise” when he named his company after his youngest daughter. He said that decision enabled him to strive even harder during the early struggles of marketing their products.
“When things were getting difficult, when there were times when I was thinking of stopping or quitting, I would dig deep and just say ‘I can’t let Carmen down. I have to continue this. I have to make this thing work out,’” Magsaysay, a cancer survivor, told Joaquin.
Carmen’s Best was established in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2011 that it started to find its footing in the market with ice creams that are made out of 100-percent fresh milk. Magsaysay said he developed the product because he did not want to keep throwing away milk produced by the cows from their farm.
Magsaysay is the son of former politician and businessman Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay, Jr., who is regarded as the “Father of Cable Television” in the Philippines. The younger Magsaysay said he initially did not want to get involved in the dairy business, but he changed his mind because he did not want to waste milk.
“If you noticed, the word ‘ice cream’ is not in it (articles of incorporation) because I never imagined we would make ice cream. So, it is Carmen’s Best dairy products that was incorporated with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” he told Joaquin.
“It was only about a year and a half after incorporating that I started playing with (the idea of) developing ice cream or making ice cream. And I just learned by watching YouTube… When the business started to grow na (already), that’s when I studied intensely [how to make ice cream properly],” Magsaysay revealed.
With this innovation, the Carmen’s Best founder went into large scale production, targeting consumers from higher socioeconomic income status because it made the most sense for him from a business perspective.
“The big ice cream companies in the Philippines were concentrating on the mass market. So, I felt like I had a better chance of succeeding if I were to market to the (Class) A and B market,” Magsaysay said. He was also working with limited ingredients at the time.
“I was committed to using the fresh milk to make the ice cream. So, meaning, limited din ‘yung magagawa ko na ice cream (my ability to make ice cream was also limited) because we only had, at the time, 100 cows… I was working with what we had,” he noted.
Carmen’s Best would eventually find its way in many stores and restaurant menus, turning it into a reputable premium ice brand. This earned Magsaysay recognition in the Philippine food industry, leading to invitations for speaking engagements aimed at inspiring future entrepreneurs.
Recently, Magsaysay was named as one of the Top 30 Leaders to Follow on LinkedIn presented by Ian Santos, Anda del Rosario, and Virginia Bautista. They took the initiative to recognize Filipino business leaders that are actively sharing their insights on the social media platform.
“We wanted to highlight five key qualities of Filipino leaders that we are really proud of... Inspiration, integrity, courage, resilience and, of course, malasakit (compassion),” said Santos, founder and managing consultant of IMS Learning and Consulting.
Magsaysay was also cited as the Top Business Leader for Innovation in the LinkedIn Leadership Catalyst Awards by the same group of people. He joined seven other business leaders in that list. The initiative is now in its second year and aims to expand its community moving forward.
"To win it this year was quite amazing… It was truly a surprise, a pleasant surprise at that... I think learning from the other people who also won, and also [from people who won it] last year is important, because I think each one has a unique way of doing business,” Magsaysay said of the awards.
Incidentally, Joaquin was among the recipients of such distinction in 2022 for leading the Breakthrough Leadership Management and Consultancy, Inc., which is the organization behind the “Breakthrough with Boris Joaquin” online program.
Magsaysay is currently the president and chief executive officer of Asian Vision Cable Holdings, Inc., the cable company founded by his father, which is now transitioning into broadband internet service due to the rise of various streaming platforms.
Meanwhile, another crucial piece of advice that the Carmen’s Best founder wanted to leave aspiring entrepreneurs, who wanted to put up their own businesses someday, is to work on something that they would definitely enjoy.
“If you’re gonna do something just because you’re chasing a peso amount or you’re chasing material things, you might run out of gas because it’s so difficult, and the journey is so difficult and so long,” Magsaysay said.
Before he got started on his ice cream business, Magsaysay was already into baking pastries for his children. But like any other successful entrepreneurs, the most important thing for him was the quality of his products. It was imperative for him to only use the best ingredients.
“The best salesperson I could find was our customers telling their friends and families to try our ice cream. So, I made the product so good it actually sold itself... I didn’t have to keep on selling it, I didn’t have to keep upselling it… That’s what happened,” Magsaysay noted.
The Carmen’s Best founder expressed gratitude to every customer who loved and supported their ice cream brand. He said he always feels great when people would approach him and tell their stories of when they first had a taste of it.
“It really warms my heart and it makes me feel that all the hard work was really worth it,” Magsaysay said.
Carmen’s Best is currently located at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna. Its products can be found in all leading supermarkets in their classic, premium and super premium flavors.
Watch the full episode of “Breakthrough with Boris Joaquin” here: