The ABC’s of starting a business

Ramona L. Jones, CEO of Jones & Guerrero Inc., center, with some of the women in her team. "My team inspires me. Every person in our corporation counts." (Contributed Photo)

Ramona L. Jones, CEO of Jones & Guerrero Inc., center, with some of the women in her team. “My team inspires me. Every person in our corporation counts.” (Contributed Photo)

As a child, Ramona L. Jones’ first love was science.

Her interest in understanding “what makes us who we are” made her want to be a genetic engineer or a neurosurgeon.

Today, she is not that. Instead, she runs a corporation as CEO of Jones & Guerrero Corp., which is based in Guam but also runs several businesses on Saipan, including KFC and Taco Bell. However, her early interest in science helps her run the company successfully by enabling her to apply the same pattern: “understanding what works in business.”

“To anyone who would like to start their own business, my advice is to approach it in a clinical and scientific sense.

“First off, you are going into business because maybe you like the creative aspect of it, but the bottom line is, you want to make money. Study the money part of it. You are not getting a new hobby but a business that has a potential of giving you financial freedom.

“Secondly, figure out your price point. You have to be able to explain to your customers why your product is expensive or less expensive.

“Third, look at your competitors because when you do, it will give you a clearer picture of your customers, cost of operations, and the amount of capital that you want to put out. It also gives you a chance to study their strengths and witnesses.

“Lastly, hire an attorney and get a bookkeeper because handling business within the bounds of law and knowing the right numbers saves you money in the long run.”

That clear vision guides Jones when she makes corporate decisions every single day.

She acknowledges, though, that this is not for everyone. It takes a different kind of mindset to get comfortable being in a high-stress environment, and in being in high-pressure situations.

“When a situation is presented to me, I just don’t make a business decision. I act on it. I make it a point to understand every aspect of the opportunity. Then I study the data and numbers and have the confidence that it is on point and accurate. After studying and gathering data, intuition and vision sets in. I believe in gut instincts and having a vision of what can be built with the decision. When all is aligned, I go out there and reach for it.”

As in all businesses, careful planning sometimes does not produce the intended result. Some decisions go as planned and some decisions go otherwise.

“You have to be ready for failures too. Such a situation should not faze you. Go back. Try to understand, study, envision and reach for it again. To be successful in business and also in life, you have to not only to learn from your failures but also from your successes. People forget the latter and knowing this will help you go a long way.”

Jones & Guerrero Corp. has recently ventured into real estate and rental property on island, producing work opportunities for many people and helping with the changing development landscape on the island.


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