THEY say the starting point of all achievement is desire. But it is in taking the next few steps on a road not yet taken, that often spells the difference between failure and success. For Germaine Reyes, life as a career executive for a multinational company is the stuff most young people normally dream of. It was a job she was happy to be in because she loved market research, along with everything it entails. But it was when she reached a crossroads—balancing family and work—that she chose another path, while holding on to what she loved doing most.
Reyes is the president and founder of Synergy Business Consultancy Inc., a company that offers full market research solutions for businesses across all major industries. She started the consulting firm in 1999, after she stepped down as a market research executive for Coca-Cola Philippines to give more time to her young and growing family. “I was pregnant with my third child at that time, and the work schedules were beginning to take their toll on me.” She still wanted to pursue research, she says, but wanted it on her own terms. So the first thing Reyes did was to put up her own consultancy. “I wanted to really organize myself and not just do freelance, and my vision was to serve big companies.” She also considered her business name serendipitous, as the word “synergy” was often used back when she was working as research head.
One year later, business picked up really fast, Reyes says, that she had to eventually recruit her husband, who was also then an executive working for Petron Corporation, to help her run the growing business. Today, the consultancy has expanded to cover the whole spectrum of market research, including advertising, media and promotions research, product research, strategic research, segmentation studies, shopper and retail, and data analysis, among others. More importantly, Synergy Business Consultancy has made a mark in the field of Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), as they have provided market research outsourcing work in several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. Reyes explains the work that they do for KPO encompasses consulting, project management, and analysis and or design work.
Reyes admits she enjoys dealing with statistics, interpreting data and doing research. But she wonders why other people cannot share this particular passion. Perhaps it is because of misconceptions and misplaced fear of numbers and data that people have. Or it could also be the tremendous amount of dedication needed to do the kind of work and output that only a consulting company like hers could provide.
But when asked why she wanted to pursue this type of business, Reyes replies, “I actually realize during the time I was in Coca-Cola, that there’s a gap in the market in terms of the kinds of output that we would be needing. What I do is look at the various research output from different perspectives, dialogue with the client in terms of their business needs, and find the solutions they are looking for.”
Looking at major trends in today’s evolving business environments, Reyes emphasizes that “analytics is going to be the major player in the field of KPO. In fact, big data analytics and predictive analytics are going to be the next big thing.” It’s not actually a new concept, she points out. It was then called data mining, and that was what their company has been doing since it started.
Reyes says she is excited about their company’s growth prospects as more businesses now understand the importance of interpreting the right data and using it to further their potentials. Even Synergy’s role, she says, is evolving. “The way we are positioned here in the Philippines is that we straddle between a consulting firm and a research agency, and this is our big advantage.” She adds that the consulting type of research is what clients look for, and up to now it’s still a small and niche sector in the country.
Looking back, she says she is thankful she had made the right decision in putting up her own business. While doing so actually took up much more of her and her husband’s time compared to when they were both career professionals, the feeling of accomplishing something for their family is priceless. But she acknowledges there are really different paths for different people. What is important, she says, is that one must know what they’re passionate about. At the end of the day, she says she always finds inspiration in what Steve Jobs once: “Find passion in what you’re doing. Because when the going gets tough, it is your passion that will carry you through.”