Category Archives: Business and Entrepreneurship

Everything I learned about managing a business, business development strategies and marketing tips

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.”

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

My Business is Business

After I left employment in 2011, I was like an overly excited cockatoo and I wanted to do all the things I’ve ever thought of. I ventured briefly in the health and wellness industry, then continued with my passion in business consultancy and training before I started doing content development, copywriting, social media marketing as well as event management. Recently, I started a T-shirt business and also venturing into graphic design. The list doesn’t stop here. I’m sure there’ll be more in the future.

So, if you ask me, “What business are you in?” I could only reply what my mentor suggested to me, “I’m in a business of business.”

I was advised by some people to stay focus in one business. But there’s a real dilemma here because I don’t want to be that kind of entrepreneur. I want to be a serial entrepreneur where I get to turn as many ideas as possible into reality before I’m too old to do anything. I want to be like Richard Branson, not Mark Zuckerberg although I love that guy!

I prefer to put my eggs in different baskets, hoping one  might hatch and give me a golden goose….Oh wait, not a golden goose…I got it all wrong. I meant a goose that will lay me some golden eggs. Okay, never mind, I’m never good at metaphors. If I have to explain it further, you’ll get all confused.

I’m not saying by being a serial entrepreneur, my chances of becoming a billionaire is higher than if I were to focus on one. I’m saying that I’ll go to bed happier and more satisfied knowing that I just do it anyway. But we never know until we do it hey? Let’s take a quick look at these serial entrepreneurs who made it big. Real inspiring!

serial-entrepreneurs-how-to-pursue-multiple-opportunities-infographic

 

Corporate Lessons Learned from Amusing Stories

Corporate Lesson 1

towelA man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbour.

Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 dollars and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?” “It was Bob the next door neighbour,” she replies. “Great!” the husband says, “Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.


Corporate Lesson 2

lamp

A sales representative, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.

The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.” “Me first! Me first!” says the administration clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Poof! She’s gone. “Me next! Me next!” says the sales representative. “I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.” Poof! He’s gone.

“OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.


Corporate Lesson 3

gettingnunA priest offered a lift to a nun. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest removed his hand.

But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest apologized “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.”

Arriving at the convent, the nun went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, “Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.”

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.


Corporate Lesson 4

boss

When the body was first made, all the parts wanted to be Boss.

The brain said, “I should be Boss because I control the whole body’s responses and functions.”

The feet said, ” We should be Boss as we carry the brain about and get him to where he wants to go.”

The hands said, “We should be the Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money.”

And so it went on and on with the heart, the lungs and the eyes until finally the asshole spoke up. All the parts laughed at the idea of the asshole being the Boss.

So the asshole went on strike, blocked itself up and refused to work. Within a short time the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the feet twitched, the heart and lungs began to panic and the brain fevered.

Eventually they all decided that the asshole should be the Boss, so the motion was passed. All the other parts did all the work while the Boss just sat and passed out the shit!

Moral of the story: You don’t need brains to be a Boss – any asshole will do.


Corporate Lesson 5

balls

Usually the staff of the company play football.

The middle level managers are more interested in tennis.

The top management usually has a preference for golf.

Moral of the story: As you go up the corporate ladder, the balls reduce in size.


Corporate Lesson 6

There was once a washer man who had a donkey and a dog.

One night when the whole world was sleeping, a thief broke into the house, the washer man was fast asleep but the donkey and the dog were awake. The dog decided not to bark since the master did not take good care of him and wanted to teach him a lesson.

The donkey got worried and said to the dog that if he doesn’t bark, the donkey will have to do something himself. The dog did not change his mind and the donkey started braying loudly. Hearing the donkey bray, the thief ran away, the master woke up and started beating the donkey for braying in the middle of the night for no reason.

Moral of the story: One must not engage in duties other than his own.


Corporate Lesson 7

rabbit

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day.

A rabbit asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”

The crow answered, “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.

A fox jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story : To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.


Corporate Lesson 8

turkey

A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, but I haven’t got the energy.” “Well, why don’t you nibble on my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.”

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.


Corporate Lesson 9

bird

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

Moral of the story:
1. Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
2. Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
3. And when you’re in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!