How Willing Are You?

Rats. Cockroaches. Spiders. Fungal.

These are probably the few things janitors have to deal with when they do their cleaning. These are also the things I had to deal with when I first took over an “ancient” business where the store and inventory were never thoroughly cleaned for 10 years.

storage

Some wonder why, as the owner, I have to deal with it all when I could just get my staff to do it. I’m a firm believer in not asking people to do what I’m unwilling to do it myself and also not stopping people from doing what I’m not willing to do. I also believe in leading by example.

Now that I’ve done all these, my people can’t say things like, “Easy for you to say. You’ve never done it.” or “Why don’t you do it yourself and let me know how it turns out?”

While most people think that company owners and CEOs have the luxury of barking instructions from their comfortable office, this is not the case with start-ups. Most of us have to do everything on our own and start from the bottom. It’s not easy at all but it’s fulfilling because at the end of the day, you know you’re working for yourself. The joy of building a legacy and creating something you’re passionate about is something money can’t buy.

That’s why when people ask me, “How difficult is it to run a business?” I’ll ask them back, “Depends on how willing you are.”

Books Can Be A Good Source of Inspiration

I’ve  stopped reading motivational books for almost 2 years now. My business, although getting more challenging, has been progressing pretty well although stress has become an issue I need to face everyday. I remember when I used to be so positive and I hardly complain at all. I tried to remember what went wrong that I’ve become this person who seems to worry about almost everything. 

 
That’s when I realize that I haven’t been looking for any source of inspirations for a long time. My source of inspiration has always been my books. Reading stories of successful people and how they overcome challenges motivates me to do the same. 
 
So, I went to my laptop and randomly picked up some of the articles on success and wealth. I felt really good being reminded of all the possibilities I could achieve in life if I believe I could and not let doubts get in a way. I also went to my bookshelf and started picking some books on motivation and leadership that I’ll start reading again.
reading book 
I feel such a relief that I’ve found my source of inspiration again. I urge you to do the same, if you ever feel that your life is like tearing you apart with all kinds of problems. That’s probably because you’re focusing on the negative side of things. Pull yourself together and think of that one reason that will give you that burning desire to achieve what you want in your life.

Being Multilingual Makes You More Desirable in the Job Market

In a multiracial nation like Malaysia, we were taught at least two languages in school; Malay, which is our national language and English. Mandarin and Tamil can also be learned as an option although it’s more widely spoken as mother-tongue just like other Chinese dialects such as Hokkien and Cantonese. Sadly, not all of us are willing to master these languages well enough for us to communicate with one another. As a Malaysian, I personally feel that we need to be fluent in Malay and English.

multilingual

Being multilingual has become a necessity in the job market. I have turned down a number of job candidates within seconds not just because they cannot speak English but they don’t even try to speak and prefer to stick to the one language they’re most comfortable in. Thank goodness I consider English my first language or just imagine, stubborn as they are, I go blabbing away in my mother-tongue, Hokkien, each time I go for a job interview.

I’m not in the HR industry so I’m not going to talk about all the benefits of being a multilingual in the job industry but I do know one thing; it makes you more desirable to be multilingual and what’s more desirable is your willingness to learn. The one and only language I’m fluent in, both written and oral, is English. But the other two languages and three dialects I can speak, I learn well enough to be able to converse confidently with others. How do I learn them?

I speak!

And yes, I do get laughed at when I mispronounced certain words but that’s how we all learn. The problem with most people who can’t seem to master more than one language is their unwillingness to speak the language. They’ll tell you they can’t speak the language but they understand it. How can they understand it and can’t speak it? They need to just open their mouth and mimic what they hear!

When it come to business, being multilingual is even more important unless you’re willing to spend some money to hire a translator and that can be quite inconvenient as well. I usually accommodate my customers and I will speak to them in the language they’re most comfortable in unless I have not a single clue about the language.

When I’m the client, I expect them to speak the language I’m most competent in because I need to understand every single information these salespeople are providing me in order to make business decisions. While I’m reasonable enough to sometimes speak the language they understand, I think they should at least make an effort. I’ve came across some salespeople who never really gotten much of a business deal from me because they insist that I speak their language. Sorry, folks, I’m the client and if I can’t understand you, I’m not buying from you.

Branding and Marketing Are Not Necessarily the Right Words

stevejobsmeeting

I’ve been learning, talking and doing branding and marketing for years. But I just read an article on Business Insider, saying that the two most dreaded words in Apple are “branding” and “marketing.”

Dang! Have I been doing it wrong all these while?

I’m sure branding and marketing works but maybe there are better ways especially in this Google era, consumers are more educated about the products and services available to them. If Steve Jobs didn’t think branding and marketing are effective, then I must rethink the way I build and manage my business. He was, after all, a legendary business genius and entrepreneur who built the brand, I mean, company that changes the world.

According to the article, it seemed that Steve Jobs thought that building relationship with the consumers and educating them about the products are more vital than just merely branding and marketing them. Of course these activities are part of branding and marketing but I believe getting into details and focusing all the effort into something that works will generate better results.

To read the full article and listen to the interview with the former Apple VP of Worldwide Marketing Communication Allison Johnson, please click here.

Image source: http://allaboutstevejobs.com

Zest for Learning

I applied to pursue my DBA last Friday and yesterday I received an offer letter from the university. I can’t wait to begin my studies in May. My major concerns are subjects like Advanced Economic Analysis, Advanced Accounting and Finance, and not to miss out Advanced Statistics, which still terrifies me since I was an undergraduate. I was never really good at crunching numbers and trying to make sense of out of it. Surprise surprise I’m running a couple of businesses hey? But I have help, amazing help from my business partner. That’s precisely why we should always get a business partner(s) who can complement our weaknesses.

fb-badmath

My Facebook status about how horrible I am in Math.

Learn as much as you want, but not everything!

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