Legacy building: the Hapee Toothpaste story (part 2)

FROM being a household name in the Philippines, Hapee toothpaste is now being exported to the Middle East, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and other Asian countries. His company, which he named after his grandmother, has also expanded to provide dishwashing liquid, anti-lice shampoo, fabric enhancer, detergent, feminine wash and Gumtech, a special gum-formula toothpaste, among others.

Not giving up

Pedro is slowly winning the battle and gaining market share, but the toothpaste war is far from over.

He said Colgate and Close Up usually occupy the best grocery shelves in supermarkets, making their products more visible to customers.

Hapee, on the other hand, has to make do with a small spot in the supermarket.

Despite this, Pedro said he is not giving up, especially now that he has gone this far.

“And besides, I now have millions of customers because of my toothpaste. That’s something to be happy about,” he added.

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is a very important part of Lamoiyan’s way of doing business. Mr. Pedro says, “In Lamoiyan Corporation, we believe that we can make our presence a blessing to society. These activities are focused on dental missions, helping the deaf community and taking care of the environment.”

Lamoiyan’s corporate motto is “to make a difference for the glory of God”. Hence, in thanksgiving to the Lord and in keeping with his faith as well, Mr. Pedro gives opportunities for the hearing impaired by employing and providing them with free housing. Sign language is the only means of communication between the hearing-impaired and hearing personnel, so he has also required his managers to learn it. To continuously extend his gratitude, as the chairman of the Deaf Evangelistic Alliance Foundation, Inc. (Deaf), he grants scholarships to at least 200 hearing-impaired students through the said foundation.

In 1991, Cecilio Pedro was the TOYM awardee for Business Leadership. The following year, he bagged the Agora Award for Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship.

Building a lasting legacy

Time is a variable for any kind of business. The test of the viability or feasibility of an enterprise depends on generational creativity. Business survival or leaving a legacy from generation to generation requires hard work and commitment. It means believing and living the vision of the founder by his successors.

In Cecilio Pedro’s story, his actions and decisions as a founder/visionary were very apparent. He wanted to leave a lasting legacy for the next generation to emulate. Values that go beyond profit. Values that also embrace people and planet.

Creating a family business legacy is a challenge for owners of family businesses. The past and the present stature of a family business will determine its future existence or demise. Much of course depends on business and talent management and stable or liquid cash flow.

A recent Harvard Business Review article identified traps that can hamper generational success and compromise the legacy building efforts of the founder generation. These traps include: the mind-set that there is always a place for a family member in the business; that the business can’t grow fast enough to support everyone; and that family members stay in silos according to bloodline.

Proper training and skills are vital to generational success. It means that the visionary or the senior family business owner can have wrong expectations as far as business succession planning is concerned. It also does not follow that belonging to a family business entitles the children to continue running the family business.

“Research shows that a family business beats the odds if they last for more than three generations.”

There is even an Italian saying, “Dalle stalle alle stelle alle stalle,” which means, “From the stables to the stars and back to the stables.” It is an indication that the challenge facing family businesses is universal across our world and a never-ending process of governance, succession and the family business mindset that the world is your oyster.

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