On a recent trip to the shopping mall, I noticed a food kiosk flocked by both shoppers and employees. I was so curious but the crowd of people hinders me to check what was selling like hotcakes in a weekend afternoon. As I moved to the upper floor, I looked down to check what is this newest craze in town. I was surprised with what I saw. It was only green (unripe) mangoes and bagoong (Filipino condiment made of fermented, fish and shrimp).

The food kiosk is called Mango-ong. The name I believe was a combination of Mango and bagoong.

Inside this box

Mangoes are one of the best products of my country. I can proudly bet that the best mangoes in the world are produced in the Philippines. If you crave for mangoes, especially the green ones, visit the mall or even the streets and I'm sure you'll find one if you are staying in the Philippines.

Green mangoes in the Philippines are eaten with bagoong. The bagoong serves as the dip of the sweet and sour taste of the green mangoes. However, since the bagoong is made of sea foods, expect a fishy or stench taste.

Going back to the concept of the Mango-ong made me recall the days I used to handle Business Plan Writing and Implementation subjects. In our school, a student enrolled under Business Plan Writing is tasked to prepare and successfully defend a Business Plan. Once the student passes the defense, he can proceed with Business Plan Implementation. The students implement whatever they have indicated in their Business Plan. Our students are required to operate real and legitimate business using their Business Plan as reference. 

As a subject professor, my task is to screen the business ideas of the students. I suddenly remember a colleague who almost lost the last strand of his sanity (I admit, I am exaggerating) when he handled Business Plan subjects. I overheard him once telling a group of students that "Tapsihan lang ang gusto niyong maging business? I-b-business plan pa ba natin yan" (You only wanted to pursue an eatery that sells dried cured beef. Do you think such product is still worth pursuing a business plan?)

If another group of students told my colleague that they wanted to sell green mangoes in department stores, my colleague could have fainted. Yes, I'm, exaggerating again, hahahaha. I will not contradict his belief. But if I were in his situation, I would have reacted differently. As much as possible, I don't discard business ideas. I'd rather ask my students to establish and create a point of uniqueness for their proposed product. I would ask them, what makes your product different from those that are existing in the market? What is the selling point of your product? How would customers be appealed with your product?

After seeing the concept of Mang-ong I realized that successful businesses do not necessarily emerged from new, innovative and unique business ideas. Sometimes, our focus is limited to the attributes of the product. We focus much on what the product can offer while disregarding the acceptability of the customers.

Successful products would still depend on the presence of customers. No matter how novel and innovative is a business idea, if it does not appeal to the customers then it remains as a poor and useless idea. Better yet, I could say that a novel business idea is one that should sell in the first place.