Are there 'ghost month' practices in business?

Posted at 08/08/14 12:22 PM

Editor's note: The Business Mentor is a weekly business column by Armando "Butz" Bartolome, president of GMB Franchise Developers Inc. and chairman of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc.

MANILA, Philippines - As I write this column, the Ghost Month already started (July 27 to August 24, 2014).

What is Ghost Month?

According to Wikipedia, "In Chinese culture, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in spring) and Double Ninth Festival (in autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, during Ghost Festival, the deceased are believed to visit the living."

It is the time many Chinese pay respect to their deceased relatives, not only in the Philippines but also around the world. For Filipinos, this is similar to the observance of All Souls and All Saints Day.

What has the event got to do with business?

For the past decades of doing business, whenever the month of August is mentioned, there are entrepreneurs who scratch their head worrying. There is an apparent business slowdown. It is not only our Chinese brothers who observe but as well a number of Filipinos.

Here are some of the practices I observed and noted:

1. New business transactions and signing of contracts are postponed.
2. Transfer of offices are either done prior or after Ghost Month.
3. No new construction or renovation.
4. Movement of desk assignments is held in abeyance.
5. Some are not open for hiring staff.
6. There are no company outdoor activities.
7. No new store openings.

There are people who may not believe in the observance. For them it is a matter of having faith in the Creator.

However there are others who observe and follow as to give time to remember the departed loved ones. It does not mean though the business has to shut down.

In fact if ever there is a slowdown most entrepreneurs do the following practices:

1. Do begin planning.
2. Get ready for the "peak season" like September, October to December.
3. Do general inventory of assets.
4. Do general check up of personnel’s efficiency.
5. Review fast moving items and those non performing items.
6. Check customer service storefront staff.
7. Update social media and website.

The world of being an entrepreneur is fun and interesting. Everything must be considered and weighed.

In the end, results may be on how healthy and profitable the business will be. The beliefs and manner of doing business is dependent on how the person greatly feels about and degree of happiness and fulfillment. To follow practices will be the decision of the entrepreneur.

For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] His website is www.gmb.com.ph