Every individual has the potential to make it big and make a difference if given the opportunity. This is the belief of Hosfelito “Jhopet” O. Fines, President and CEO of tech-enabled sales and marketing company TOPYUGO Digital, Inc. (TDI).
Thus, the 32-year-old self-made businessman finds fulfillment in helping his employees emerge as entrepreneurs, partners, or executives of the company. Since its establishment, TDI has set as its mission to make its staff grow personally and professionally along with the business, a unique differentiator that makes it stand out from other businesses.
“I don’t want them to stay with the company as an employee forever,” Fines said. As such, TDI came up with the OTG program, with the main objective to make its people “graduate” as entrepreneurs, senior managers, or executives of the business or its external brands.
Upon completion of the three-year program, an employee has to cascade what he has learned to another participant, who then does the same to another. The cyclical process paves the way for many other successful entrepreneurs or professionals, who could eventually establish their own businesses.
“What the program guarantees is long-term success. However, OTG is not compulsory,” he added. “We qualify people based on excellence and on how much they are willing to sacrifice for greater gains. Most employees sign up upon seeing the progress of those who get into the program—some of them are able to buy cars or earn six-figure commissions in a short time. We attract people who think long term.”
Developing people’s potential
Fines, a successful sales and marketing expert, has the knack for matching skills and capacity of individuals. OTG guides the participants in honing their potentials and using various platforms to meet their goals. One success story is a company driver who was able to get into his own sideline. In March this year, his initiative, with the guidance of the company, was able to close ₱30,000 in gross sales from selling an in-house perfume brand. And that is just the beginning.
“We take care of them, produce for them, give them opportunities, and expose them to our business network. I personally look into an individual’s capacity and create a business model for him. That’s my talent—to create unique business models. Many times, even I am surprised at each person’s potential,” Fines revealed.
To further guide the new entrepreneur, Fines volunteers to become a shareholder in the new business. “From small projects with contracts, when those succeed, we then decide to pursue or register the new business. He can become the president of his own venture and I can be a minority shareholder. I invest in them in the early stage when no one believes in them.”
Fines only aims for the success of his people. He takes the risks in investing (training and capital-wise) and commits to continuously help and fix problems until success is ensured. He values long-term relationships especially with the people he helps. That’s where he gets the fulfillment in his personal mission to help others.
A company of opportunities
“TDI is a summary of what I’ve been through in the past decades of my life,” Fines confided. As a self-made businessman, he knows how to start from scratch. In college, he started earning from buying old textbooks and renting those out to other students. After completing his degree, he started selling porridge (lugaw) in the town plaza. From there, his entrepreneurial journey pushed forth until he rose to become a manager, an executive, an operator, and a consultant for sales and marketing.
TDI was born in the latter part of 2019—an interesting time as it was just a few months before the onset of the still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. But that external and inevitable setback was never a detriment to the company’s growth. From a venture with just three employees, TDI grew exponentially to become a sales and marketing powerhouse with over 400 staff to date.
“I wanted to make an impact on my employees. How can I do that? I can achieve my financial goals, but at the same time, I want a majority of my people or at least those who invest time, energy, and belief in our mission to grow with us as well. That’s why TDI diversified. We had to meet the different angles of doing operations. Risks are inevitable so we have been strategic,” Fines said.
An effective discipline
Aside from his sales and marketing expertise paired with his personal mission to help other people, which aligns with his religion (The Church of Latter Day Saints), Fines is also a master in stringent financial discipline.
“I don’t handle money. I take an allowance from my wife, who also takes care of the company’s finances. She is my treasure and my treasurer as well,” he quipped. “If I want to buy something for myself, I don’t ask for cash to buy it. I create a small business model to generate the amount. I make business models for every need or want.”
This discipline extends to how he manages TDI. The unique business models have paved the way for the company to “think and perform out of the box.” Consequently, TDI’s products and brands are “bigger than the box” and come with value-added offers. For one, most of those are bundled with marketing promotions that are mostly anchored on NFT. The unique image codes redirect resellers and customers to attractive raffle promos or to exclusive content (relevant to the brands) from the company’s partner influencers. This strategy makes all 15 brands more attractive to consumers.
From its home base in Nasugbu, Batangas, TDI markets its products nationwide through various selling platforms—Lazada, Shopee, and even social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. The company is also set to explore opportunities across the region. They aim to tap the market in Thailand beginning June and other ASEAN countries within the year) and as far as Canada by August this year.
Pieces of advice for entrepreneurs
With TDI’s continuous growth and success, Fines’ mission to help others is unwavering. To also guide and inspire more people, he shares three pieces of advice.
“First, make yourself the measurement of success. Nobody holds your success but yourself. Be the measurement of standard. If you want high-quality people, you should be of high-quality yourself. Your company or business is just a multiplier of who you are,” he said.
Second, Fines advises other people to develop an idea. “Most successful entrepreneurs did not start liquid. People who are pushed back by the lack of capital usually don’t have a compelling business idea to begin with. If you believe in your idea, make it serve as your motivation to find ways to make it happen.”
Lastly, Fines calls on every entrepreneur to observe work-life balance. “It is a must to spend time with people who matter most—your family,” he emphasized. Fines reveals another discipline he observes—he makes sure he is home by 7 p.m. every working day to play or do fun activities with his three kids. Sunday is Church Day. If he gets the opportunity for a “me-time,” he gets to enjoy his hobby, sniper shooting, which for him is meditative. Fines also advocates in healthy living and getting enough sleep each night.
Indeed, TDI and Fines prove that entrepreneurship is not just about financial fulfillment. Their mission to help others become their own success story comes to the forefront. Nothing beats a good purpose.