Our SupaBoss, Mark Koh, was recently invited to Malaysia Business Student Summit 2017 (MBSS), organised by Universiti Malaya, to be part of the panel for its symposium – Create Opportunities: The Inner Dimensions of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business. Other speakers involved were Tan Ban Eu, co-founder of Offpeak and Boat Noodle’s founder & CEO, Tony Lim.
Moderated by Feixiang Lim, CEO of Major Drop, we found the panel discussion very informative and engaging. Here’s a handy roundup of what we’ve learnt from it. Some of which also act as a reminder for those among us who are going on the path to be entrepreneurs.
#1 When you have an idea, make it happen.
Of course this applies if the idea has proof that it is good and workable. You can do this by researching and understanding the market that you’re about to enter. Always make sure that within your research, this business idea can also be scalable and sustainable. Even if someone is already doing the things that you wanted to do, it’s okay. Your challenge now is to find a way to make it even more better and remarkable.
#2 If it’s not working out, pivot.
Just because you hit a road block, it doesn’t spell the end of your journey. Sometimes all you need to do is make some changes on your strategy or refocus your direction. If you need some inspiration, check out this article about 8 companies that are now successful by changing its direction.
#3 Risk is needed to grow further.
All the panelists agree that risk is needed for growth. Nothing great will ever happen if you’re going play safe all the time. With the right strategy and research, taking risks can deliver positive results, stability and long-term success. Nevertheless, if things are not working out – it’s alright and you can at least say that you’ve tried. Before you jump into a decision, maybe reading about the mistakes done by others will help you be sure that you’re not just repeating what others have tried and failed at.
#4 Hire people who are more skillful than you.
You have to be honest with your capabilities and be willing to put your ego aside. As you drive your business forward, hiring people who are better than you in areas outside of your expertise will naturally improve your own skill set, as well as arm your company with the right set of weapons. This will give u a competitive edge and also improve performance of the overall business.
#5 Friends – may or may not be an ideal business partner.
In business, things often get complicated. Difficult, impersonal decisions constantly need to be made in the name of creating the best future for the company. So, if you want to venture into a business with your friend, a strong foundation on how to manage your newly complicated relationship is needed. Even more importantly, you need to establish ground rules and always make sure to put matters like shareholder agreement or profit sharing in writing before you even get started.
#6 Take it slow.
Everyone dreams of being an overnight success. So they start to fast-forward and rush through every single decision. However, it’s important to realise that there will need to be times when you should be taking it slow because reckless decisions will only bring a negative impact to your company. Understand that bringing a business from zero to profit can take a lot longer than most people think; or are willing to endure. You need to see this as a marathon and learn as you go.
#7 Data-driven decision is important.
With the numerous and diverse methods of data analysis, you can get data to speak to you and help you answer key questions for your business. It is your asset. By collecting the right data, you can use it in marketing, develop a new product, formulate new business strategies or even manage your company’s finances better. Data makes results much more measurable than just decisions based on gut feelings. Here’s an article on Forbes about steps to take towards data-driven decision making, if you wish to know more.
#8 Don’t worry about the competition.
We’re not saying that you should completely ignore your competition, but don’t focus on competing with them too much. It is merely a distraction from what you should be focusing on – building a better business for your ideal market. Learn about what others think of competition and how to thrive in our previous article.