Working Long Hours And Cutting Corners To Stay Ahead

Except for some businesses like hotels and hospitals, why would an establishment operate for 24 hours in a day? If you own and manage a business that earns enough according to your plan, would you operate it beyond the usual 8 to 16 hours that most establishments do? Why not? Go on if there is unmet demand for your products and services because, in doing so, you could recover your investment in a much shorter time.

However, in the case of single-owned and self-operated i-cafés, it is not the strong demand that makes them operate for long hours but rather due to lack of it. Most i-cafés, despite the physical stress to their owners-operators, need to operate for 24 hours in order to earn enough to cover expenses plus earn a little profit. Normally, it is not in the initial plan to stay open for long hours but the less than enough bottomline forces an i-café owner to stretch his limits and resort to 24-hour operation.

Due to oversupply that results to cutthroat competition and unreasonable rates, the long working hours are sometime not enough for i-café owners to sustain their business operations. There will be bills like those of the power companies and the telcos that they cannot avoid to pay on time so some of them resort to cutting corners to stay ahead and keep their shops operating.

It is not unusual to hear some i-cafés with ‘jumpers’ to avoid paying their correct power consumption. Shop attendants are paid much less than the minimum wage required by existing labor law. Overtime pay and wage premiums for services rendered by their employees during graveyard hours are often ignored. Add the fact that most i-cafés use pirated software and you know that cutting corners to stay ahead seems to be the rule and not the exemption.

This is the third in a series of articles about the failures that i-café start-ups face. As new entrants to a very competitive business, it is best for those planning to open an i-café to plan and plan well. Attrition rate in i-café business is higher than normal so it may be better to look at other ventures where the risks are lesser. To be a copycat is not enough to succeed in a business. It takes a lot more than that.

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