Friday, November 29, 2013


By: Fred Granillo
Business Counselor
(Guam SBDC)

Like many kids growing up in Guam, Derrick Muna Quinata has fond memories of his Dad taking him to baseball practice or golf lessons or teaching him to ride a bike. Derrick rode the bus after school to his grandparents Bill and Ana Muna’s house in Mangilao where he would do his homework and play. Derrick had fun with friends and got in trouble just like other children. He was a normal kid. Some of his early memories are of accompanying his mother to work. Derrick’s mother Donna is a successful auto sales person for many years and still works today.

Derrick remembers running around SLC Motors (the old Ford/Mazda Auto Dealership) as a kid. He would sweep floors, clean cars and other tasks that afforded him the opportunity to learn the auto business. He remembers walking around the auto showroom listening to the different sales people entertain customers. He truly enjoyed the different vehicles, sales process, and dealership environment thinking “this is a great business.” The auto dealership was his second home, the environment was dynamic and he felt comfortable there.

Later, he went on to college and earned his bachelor degree in business from the University of Guam. Then, he worked in the technology field for a few years, and although he enjoyed and excelled in the work he was doing, something was missing in his professional life. Derrick is not sure why, but one day he decided to try his hand at selling cars and after rejection from some dealerships, Triple J Motors hired him as an auto salesman. He then spent several years with both Triple J Motors and Atkins Kroll, Inc. (Toyota dealership) proving to be a successful salesman by surpassing stated goals and earning high commissions. He has been in the industry ever since.

In early 2009 Monster Auto Corp. started operations with three employees that included the two shareholders at the time. The company does business as Guam Auto Spot. The business started with just 5 cars on consignment. They started out with a small loan to establish the initial office and hire employees. Derrick noted the start-up process and first year of operations was a rough learning experience. The biggest challenge was mustering enough capital to purchase some inventory and generate enough cash flow to keep operations open. This early struggle taught Derrick to rely on his ability to come up with creative financing to keep the business in operation while also selling cars and managing the overall operations.

Guam Auto Spot established a solid customer base with the military community and local working-class families who needed reliable, safe transportation at a reasonable price. These groups are the business’ core clientele and have proven to be repeat customers that provide additional customers through word of mouth. The business then moved into a new location at Anigua in 2010 and started a small auto repair service that also reconditioned some of the vehicles for sale, which allowed for faster turn-around times to sell the used cars.

The Small Business Development Center was there to offer advice on how to prepare a business plan with financial projections for the purpose of requesting for financing from the bank. Further, they provided advice on the financing process and how to determine the line of credit financing request. Given their goal of expanding the business, they needed to run their business more business-like through financial analysis if they wanted to achieve such goals. As a result, the business secured a line of credit with Bank of Guam and a Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) guarantee that enabled them to purchase increased inventory and sell a higher number of used vehicles to realize their goal of operational expansion. Thanks to the guidance they received from SBDC, Guam Auto Spot’s operations were able to jump to the next level.

In a few short years the company went from exclusively selling pre-owned vehicles, to offering detailing services, opening a repair shop to service vehicles, and offering after market products. In less than five years Guam Auto Spot became a full-service used car retail business. In 2013, the business moved into the new car market when they became the authorized Mitsubishi Dealership on Guam. The company moved into a familiar location, a former dealership location in East Hagatna to house this new car dealership. The new car operations started in September and the company is already seeing demand for the vehicles. Derrick noted the road to get where he has arrived so far has sometimes been bumpy and there were days when he wondered what he got himself into, but it seems that this is the path that he was meant to be on because of his passion for the auto business.

The company’s short term goal is to reintroduce the Mitsubishi brand back into Guam and achieve a respectable market share that was known for this brand when it was sold in past years. Another short term goal is the expansion of the service repair and maintenance segment for both new and used vehicles. The long term goal for the business is the expansion into additional brand name vehicles not currently offered on Guam.

The success of this business would not be possible without the support and guidance of the company’s other shareholder and officer, Annmarie Muna. She is an accomplished and successful businesswoman that is playing a key part in the company’s growth and development. Derrick describes the support he receives from his wife Kelly and children is amazing as they are the reason that he remains focused on the business and its growth. Derrick acknowledges his parents, John and Donna Muna Quinata, made him who he is today and he will always be grateful for the wisdom, patience, and unwavering support they have always provided.

The advice Derrick offers to others who want to start a business is have a solid business plan, plan for adequate capitalization, and keep the operational expenses under control. Plus take the time to educate oneself on the effective management of people and assets as this provides the best opportunity to achieve more. Further, he advises on having a vision, patience and perseverance as many times tasks may not be completed as expected and goals will take time to be accomplished. As he noted, businesses are not built overnight so don’t give up and success will come.

For more information on how the Guam SBDC can help you, give us a call at (671)735-2590/8 or visit our website at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Risha Aguon, MA, IMFT Opens Private Practice

By: Denise Mendiola-Hertslet
Senior Business Counselor/BOG WIB Program Coordinator
(Guam SBDC)

You could say she had it all…beauty, brains, and brawn. But the one thing Risha Aguon dreamt about the most was to have her own business. After much determination and hard work, she was handed the keys to
her very first office space. When I asked her to be interviewed for this article, she began by telling me about the loves of her life. Risha has a beautiful eighteen-month old son, Sabian Aguon-Calvo. Her parents are Ronald and Elaine Aguon and her grandparents are Edward and Katherine Aguon and James and Maria Marques. Risha is a licensed individual marriage and family therapist and has been licensed for 2 years now. She received her graduate degree and training from Argosy University in San Diego and completed her post-graduate internship at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the Superior Court of Guam.

Why did you decide to start your own business?
RA: Opening a private practice has always been a dream since going into this field but it was not until I gave birth to my son and become a single parent that I was compelled to make my dream a reality.

What experience do you have in this type of business?
RA: As a Therapist, I have extensive experience. As a businesswoman, I had zero experience coming into it.
How did the Small Business Development Center and other resources help you?
RA: As I was contemplating starting my own practice, I called Guam SBDC to find out information. When I called and explained my situation, they set me up with an appointment right away and provided me with unconditional support and direction from there. When I think about my experience with SBDC I think about the tremendous amount of encouragement I received. I walked in having an immense fear of starting something alone with no experience and was pretty much told, “you can do this and we can help you.” I was given answers to all my questions or information on where I can get those answers.

What was the start-up process like?
RA: The start-up process was tough it involved a great deal of questions, research, paperwork, networking, applications, certifications, driving, running around, money and maybe some other things I can’t think of right now. Organization was crucial in the process.
How did you fund your business?
RA: Luckily I had a savings and family support. Funding was especially necessary in starting a business. From my experience, there was a good amount of costs that went into the start-up and thereafter. Although I have made some income, I still have more expenses.

What were some of the biggest challenges you experienced in the start-up process?
RA: One of the biggest challenges for me was getting through the fear of “what if it doesn’t work out?” But the support I received from my family, friends, the community, Guam SBDC, and other professionals helped me get through that challenge.
The financial aspect in starting a business was another challenge. It is tough not having a stable income and finding ways to bring in income as a service provider. Thankfully there were other people and businesses in the community like Calvo’s Select Care and Take Care that have given me the chance to work with them. Also, learning to budget wisely and cut back on certain lifestyles has helped with this particular challenge.
And lastly, balancing the different priorities in my life. Being a new single mom is hard work and so is opening up a business, but thankfully I really had the support that I needed. And I had to continue to prioritize and work at my own pace.
What is your most memorable triumph in your start-up process?
RA: There was definitely a sense of pride after my first session took place. I looked around my office and said to myself, “wow I did it.” Then when I got my first dollar I knew for sure I made something work. Not only has opening a private practice given me the flexibility to put in time and effort into each client it has given me the liberty to spend quality time with my child that can never be taken away.

What are your short-term and long-term plans for your business?
RA: My short-term goals are to hopefully gain more clients, continue to grow and learn as a professional and as a businesswoman, and to become a service provider for all insurance companies on island. My long-term goals are to be the best therapist/professional I can be and to continue to use my business to provide quality service to the community.

What advice would you give to others who want to start a business at this time?
RA: I encourage anyone who has the same dream to go for it. It takes passion and determination but once you see a chance and all the elements are in place take it and run! There are so many resources available and so many people willing to help. The opportunity for local businesses to open and prosper is out there to grasp!