Entrepreneur of the Year: Robinsons Land Corporation CEO Frederick Go on Calculated Risks and Customer Obsession
Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) president and CEO Frederick Go was recently named Enterprise Asia’s Entrepreneur of the Year during the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) 2019. He’s one of the two Filipino CEOs to be awarded the prestigious prize by Enterprise Asia, the region’s leading non-government organization in the business field.
Twenty entrepreneurs and companies were honored at the event for their innovation, performance, and sustainability over the year, and Go was lucky enough to go home with the top prize.
His company, one of the country’s leading property development firms, was also recognized in the Corporate Excellence category.
Go entered RLC in 1992 when it only had five properties in its roster. Since then, he has been an integral part of building RLC’s diverse portfolio one project at a time for almost 30 years. Today, RLC has built 52 malls, 21 office developments, 76 residential buildings, 38 housing subdivisions, 20 hotels, and 19 mixed-use developments.
He’s a man who knows how to take calculated risks, launching Go Hotels at the height of the 2007 global financial crisis. Always conscious of his company’s mission to make people’s lives better, Go also pioneered the Lingkod Pinoy Center, which placed several government services within easy access of ordinary Filipinos.
RLC’s 2019 third-quarter performance registered a consolidated net income of P7.31 billion, up 12 percent from its performance during the same period in 2018. And a large part of the company’s booming performance can be attributed to Go’s leadership.
Just before he went on stage to receive his APEA award, Esquire Philippines asked the CEO a few questions about the secret of his corporation’s success.
ESQUIRE PHILIPPINES: What has been your philosophy when faced with a crisis?
FREDERICK GO: I guess, the normal cliché: There is opportunity in crisis.
ESQ: With every risk comes opportunity, as you mentioned. What are your guiding principles that help you determine if a risk is worth it?
FG: Well, my answer is, you look at the upside and you look at the downside, also known as the risk to reward ratio. Another way of looking at this is, assuming you’re confident about the success of a project, you look at the downside and, if you can handle that, then you should go for it.
ESQ: With the demand to innovate nowadays, how would you advise budding entrepreneurs who are trying to be the next big thing?
FG: Look at how you can create value, look at how marketable your innovation is, and take a calculated risk.
ESQ: Can you elaborate on your principle of customer-obsession?
FG: Simply put, always put the customer first. If he’s not happy, he can take his money elsewhere.
ESQ: With your decades of experience, what sound business advice do you wish you’d been given when you were starting in the company?
FG: Well, an advice that would have changed something is build more commercial space on the ground floor of your residential building and never sell them.
ESQ: What factors do you think have made Robinsons Land Corporation worthy of receiving the Corporate Excellence Award?
FG: The company is doing very well—we’ve been the center of innovation for a few decades. We have built malls where entrepreneurs thrive and offices that house a workforce of over 100,000. We build hotels that provide over a million room nights a year and we have sold tens of thousands of homes. So, I think we’re deserving.