The Power of MELTS: How Lennard Jan Ponce Transformed His Failures into Opportunities
After falling victim to investment fraud in 2019, Lennard Jan Ponce was left with only P3,500 and no clear solution. He held himself accountable for the unfortunate outcome and sought any possible way to overcome it.
“It’s my fault. I looked for ways to get out of that situation,” he admitted.
Ponce was a nurse at Howard Hubbard Memorial Hospital before he became an Emergency Medical Technician in Saudi Arabia. He thought of selling cassava cakes to his former co-workers at the hospital. It became his beginning point for recovering from his investment failure.
“During that time, my aunt and I made the first 50 cassava cakes, and it was immediately sold out. Most of the customers told me that our cassava cake melts in the mouth,” he said.
That description from his customers inspired Ponce to name his business Melts Premium Cassava Cake. It became an instant success and more people got interested to become a reseller of the product.
The first MELTS branch is in Barangay Pagalungan, Polomolok in a small shop made of scrap metal. The site is advantageous because it is beside the highway, where many cars would stop to purchase the product. It became an online sensation, drawing crowds of curious customers who wanted a taste of it. The area was often jammed with traffic because of the MELTS craze.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in 2020, Ponce feared for his food business. He watched as many establishments shut down and people stayed indoors except for emergencies. He was relieved that his business was deemed "essential" and could still operate in a limited way.
“That time, the frontliners were a big help in promoting and reselling the product. They were the ones who can conduct house-to-house visits,” he said.
At that time, MELTS and a fast food company were the only options on a popular food delivery app. Customers were curious about the cassava cake and decided to give it a try. It was a hit and word spread quickly about MELTS. But as the demand soared, the supply plummeted. Ponce faced the challenge of finding enough ingredients in the region to meet the orders.
“I did not stop to look for solutions to cope with the demand. I went to different places in the country just to get the necessary ingredients for the cassava cake,” he explained.
MELTS defied the pandemic and grew its business. He also reached out to various government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry, to get support and guidance for his venture.
Ponce and his team also showed their gratitude and generosity to the front line workers who bravely fought the pandemic. They donated their delicious products to various hospitals in Polomolok and nearby towns, as well as to the personnel in checkpoints and some government agencies.
MELTS stands out from other similar businesses because Ponce is generous. He wants to give the best of his product to the customers.
"I don't skimp on the ingredients. If you want to be known, give your best. There is no reservation like there is no reservation in the ingredients."
Ponce is also careful about maintaining the quality of his product. They follow quality assurance procedures and use a checklist to check the condition of the ingredients.
He did not rely on his farm for the cassava. He also sourced it from other local farmers in the region. He saw it as a way of supporting them and their livelihoods.
Ponce has forged strong partnerships with his big suppliers, who have boosted his business growth with their support. He sees them as his "big brothers", who guide him through business road shows and help him innovate his products. He earned this privilege by becoming their top-selling client.
“It’s important to seek help from others. Rejection is OK. Along the way, someone will help you with your problems. You always make your first step and the rest will follow,” he said.
Ponce’s business is a way of keeping their family recipe of cassava cake alive. His family also joins him in running the business operations. He is happy that they can share their delicious treat with the public, and everyone enjoys it.
Ponce never gives up on his goals and dreams, no matter what obstacles he faces. He has learned to bounce back from failures and adapt to changing situations. He trusts his abilities and learns from his mistakes. He stays focused on his vision and works hard to make it a reality.
“You can always accept failures but not defeat.”
His friend noticed his relentless drive and told him to "take it easy" and enjoy life. "I realized that I was too hard on myself by setting timeframes for my goals. I took his advice and learned to relax, one step at a time."
Ponce envisions to expand nationwide. So far, MELTS has branches in Polomolok, Koronadal, GenSan, Kidapawan, Kabacan, Davao, Digos, Bukidnon, and soon in Zamboanga. He is certain that "if you believe in your product and yourself, you will both grow."
Despite his achievements, he does not consider himself as successful because he has not yet reached his other goal(s).
"We have many failures, which is why it’s important to plan first. When you have a business, you should be confident about your product. You will not sustain yourself if your attitude towards business is mediocre. Business execution matters, and it is a process."
Post a Comment
The author encourages readers to post sensible comments in order to have meaningful discussions. Posting malicious, senseless and spam comments are highly discouraged.
Thank you for reading Yadu Karu's Blog.