He was employed as a gasoline pump boy and studied in his tree time. After four years, he finished a degree in Business Administration with major in marketing at the University of San Carlos in 1980. He was promoted and became a manager of the gasoline station after his graduation.
In 1985, Philip N. Tan decided he no longer wanted to become an employee and quit his job a general manager of Tanchan Goodyear Servitek and ventured into a business. He decided to venture into the machine shop business, and the risk paid off.
His company, Wellmade Motors Development Corp. is now regarded as one of the best in the industry.
With the P60,000 initial investment he loaned from his father, Tan constructed his shop on a 200-square-meter-lot in barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City, which is now known as Plant 1.
â€œI started Wellmade as a single proprietorship company which is more into trading, selling general merchandise and servicing,â€ he said. He had three employees then: wife Judith, a warehouse manager and himself. â€œI did the marketing while my wife managed the finances. All of my mechanics were on an on-call basis arrangement because I couldn’t afford to get them on board yet,â€ he said.
He was lucky though that his first clients were big firms like San Miguel Corp. and Pepsi Cola. He was able to pay his loan to his father six months â€“ including interest.
Tan attributed his success to knowing the operations from the ground up.Â He pointed out that one common mistake entrepreneurs make is that they think money can buy everything. He said itâ€™s not true because you canâ€™t buy a personâ€™s intellectual property, his talents and his skills.
â€œSome businessmen just hire people and when these people leave them and become their competitor, they lose and end up closing the company,â€ he said.
Tan was also successful to integrate honesty as part of his companyâ€™s culture. â€œI donâ€™t even have security guards and bundy clocks because I trust my people and my people also respect that. So I never have problems with tardiness and theft in my company,â€ he said.
He gives competitive compensation package to motivate his employees to work. He also believes in giving back his blessings to society through the companyâ€™s corporate social responsibility programs, which include volunteer work the Philippine Business for Social Progress and hiring physically-impaired people.
Since 1998, Tan has opened four more machine shops and now employs at least 120 workers.