Category Archives for Blog

Does Your Life Matter?

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell

As an individual, I had to make a decision. Because if I have chosen to move alone, I’ll move faster. But if I’ve chosen to move as a team, I’ll move further.
Making the transformation from “ME” to “WE” is not an easy task. It not only requires a mental rethinking of your leadership, but it also necessitates changes in behaviour to focus on others rather than yourself.

Few years back, I started asking;

  • “Does my life really matter? To whom?”
  • “What’s the purpose of my life and my leadership?”
  • “Will I leave a legacy behind?”

It was then when I started to commit to follow my heart and doing what I most love and what is most meaningful to me.

And today, I encourage you do ask the same questions and explore doing the same.

Because at the end of the day, its a miraculous life to be serving others and a mission greater than ourselves – a worthy cause, an organization important to you, your family, or a friend in need.

That’s the best way to know that your life truly matters.

Building Business With Your Face

Did you know that an average person spends 2 hours a day on social media?
Did you know that Facebook is 350 times more addictive than cigarettes?
Did you know that small and medium business owners have an added advantage over big corporations in social media?

I’m truly grateful to have 2 of my very good friends, Timothy Tiah and Bryan Loo, coming together to create a entrepreneurs education workshop titled ‘Kings of Social Media’ to educate entrepreneurs on how they can grow their business by attracting customers, talents and investors without investing heavy marketing budgets.

Who is Timothy Tiah and Bryan Loo?

Timothy is a successful entrepreneur who founded Nuffnang (the world’s leading blog advertising community) and Colony (the most beautiful co-working space in KL). He is also the husband to famous blogger fourfeetnine.com, father to two beautiful children.

Bryan is the CEO of LOOB Holding and Founder of Tealive Asia. He owns 9 F&B brands with close to 200 outlets across the country serving over 3 million customers a month.

Both Timothy Bryan were awarded the Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year (2015 & 2013 Respectively)

Timothy Tiah And Bryan Loo have been truly generous to share their hidden secrets on how they have grew their business exponentially through the science and art of social media influencing.

The 2 key diamonds I’ve taken away from this sessions are:

  1. Be Authentic

You got to know who you are and demonstrate that true persona of yours in social media. Know the mission that you’re standing up for. Have absolute clarity of your core values. Demonstrate them in your business and life and allow social media to amplify your persona.

Take Note: Don’t be a fake!

You may be able to fake it till you make it. But the problem is you can’t be a faker for a long time. It’s just a matter that you’ll be caught being a faker.

And the biggest warning is, don’t get caught being a fake. Because that’s what’s gonna make you popular for the wrong reason!

2. The Face Behind the Brand 

Consumers today wants to know the face behind a brand. As a small medium business owner, you may not have the big marketing budget to advertise your brand but you have the unfair advantage to put your face as the founder behind your business. People wants to connect with you and they want to know how did they do what you did with your business.

As a business founder, you can use your Facebook and Instagram to create “THE MAKING” of your products so that audiences can connect with your brand. They want to be a part of your growth process. Through sharing of your progress on social media platforms, you’ll be able to create anticipation to create explosive demands for your products even before it’s being launched in the market.

Startups today have the ability to level the playing field to compete with the big boys. Thanks to social media!


Thanks to all participants who have invested your time and resources to be with us that day. And for you readers, I hope you’ve learnt something from the diamonds that I’ve got from this workshop.

Thanks to my team members and organizing team for working hard to create an amazing experience to all participants. You guys are the best!

The Monk Effect

What do successful ENTREPRENEURS and MONKS have in common?

I met Andrew Law, founder of Sweet Hut Desserts, through the introduction of Alan Lim. We hang out several times and we really got closer when we started discussing about the ‘Monk Effect’ that great entrepreneurs go through. Interestingly, both of us went through the ‘Monk Effect’ at almost the same periods of our lives.

So, what’s the ‘Monk Effect’ all about?

Monks create a situation intentionally when they give up all money and possessions. Some entrepreneurs end up in the same situation unintentionally.

The inconvenient truth is…. The strong characters of great entrepreneurs are made during the ‘Monk Moments’ when they seem to lose everything. And it’s during such moments where the ‘Monk Effect’ takes place. It’s a place of pure power. When you seem to have nothing to lose, you’re empowered with infinite potential.

Elon Musk lost $180 million was in debt in 2008. His proceed from Paypal were $180 million. He put $100 million in SpaceX, $70 million in Tesla and $10 million in Solar City. He had to borrow money for rent. Seven years later, he is worth $13 billion but he seems to be ready to risk it all again.

Steve Jobs lost his entire Apple fortune at 1994. He was totally depressed, went to India, discovered a new meaning to life. Built NeXT and Pixar. Sold NeXT to Apple, Pixar to Disney and passed away an icon and legend of the industry.

Walt Disney went against everyone’s advice, mortgaged away his entire fortune in the 1950s to build Disneyland. He once said, “I don’t make movies to make money. I make money to make movies.”

The Brand New You

It’s the moment when you don’t focus on what you’ve lost, but on everything you have to gain. That’s when everything turns around. And a new ‘You’ is born!

For all entrepreneurs who have experienced the ‘Monk Effect’, cheers to the new ‘You’!

‘Winter’ in August

“Finally… Winter is over!”

Those were my exact words on 30th August as I was heading for my first break in the month of August.

August (for me) has been filled with storms and turbulence. It’s probably the toughest month of the entire year!

Nevertheless, I’ve learnt lots of important lessons about leadership during this month itself.

As I’m having my solo travel here in Koh Samui, I took time to reflect and review on my learnings during my ‘winter’ month of August:
1. Drop all Ego and Be Truthful

Forget ego. It’s what got you into trouble in the first place. Be truthful and face the fact that you’re in ‘winter’.

Once you’re able to accept that you’re going through a downturn, embrace challenges. Go through them even if they hurt. Tell yourself, what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. There is always something to be learned from this experience. You may not fully understand it now, but you’ll later. It’s all part of life, and life is a process of learning.

You’ll only be able to learn when you drop all ego and embrace challenges. Every challenging experience develops the core of inner strength, which gets you through those storms and turbulences.

Much like iron is forged by heat, your most significant challenges and your most painful experiences present the greatest opportunities for your personal growth.

 

2. Take Charge and Grow!

Nobody wants to be around somebody going through a low period. But people wants to be in the underdog team that turnaround failures.

In times like that you’ve got to be able to draw from within. Everyone have gotta take charge. You, as the leader has gotta take control!

When it’s seems like everything is lost, it also means an opportunity to creatively explore how to develop a new generation of leaders.

If everyone in the team embraces such an experience to deal with the greatest adversities, that will shape the character of your team far more than any leadership training programs out there.

 

3. Focus on Your Purpose and Passion

Find something you’re passionate about, and inspire others to join the cause as you share why you started this journey in the first place. The like will always attract the like.

No one is born with a purpose given by God. It’s through difficult times and tragic moments that opens our heart to deeper meaning of life and get you thinking more profoundly about what you can contribute to others during your lifetime. Yes! It’s in times of winter when you discover your purpose.

Just as you conclude one portion of your journey, another opportunity emerges, so you can take what you learned from previous experiences and apply it to new situations. That’s how businesses evolve, isn’t it?

If you embrace your life story and learn it’s lessons, your leadership journey will always be energized with purpose and passion.

Final Note

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to thank all my friends and team members who provided the love and support I so desperately need. You know who you are. I’m forever grateful!

Smart Investors Understand The Language of Business

When you’re buying a stock, you’re buying a fraction of a business. You’re a co-owner of the business. So, make sure you understand the language of business.

It has been a privilege to be invited by Kenanga Investment Bank to have me ‘Keep Investment Simple & Stupid’ to share my thoughts on analyzing businesses.

What’s most amazing was being interviewed by my good friend, Malaysia’s national youth icon Michael Teoh Su Lim.

Click on the image below to watch the video.

Future of Business with Marshall Thurber

It’s truly inspiring to be able to spend 8 days with Marshall Thurber, the man who have mentored successful individuals like Tony Robbins, Harv Eker, Robert Kiyosaki, Blair Singer, Ben Cohen (co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), Spencer Johnson (Author of Who Moved My Cheese). Marshall was also the creator of the world-famous Money & You class which has transformed the lives of more than 100,000 entrepreneurs worldwide for the last 37 years.

7 of my biggest diamond taken away from Marshall Thurber at #FutureOfBusiness:

1) Theories, methods and tools

Marshall studied for a decade with Buckminster Fuller. Fuller, the futurist, was commonly known as “Bucky”. During his lifetime Bucky was awarded 28 patents and over 30 honorary doctorates.

Marshall said, “Truth believed is still a belief; a truth experienced is much closer to truth.” Powerful theories, methods and tools starts as intellectual concepts; the learning experience will take your intellectual concepts to the level of internalized insights. Once applied in the real world, these insights become wisdom. These insights once internalized become generalized principles that will guide your success.

2) Taking Risk vs Being Risky

The road to success is always filled with inconvenience. You can never go to the land of abundance without taking risk. However, there is a huge difference between taking risk and being risky. Risk depends in where you are and what you know.

Hope and luck is not a strategy. With the right theories, you’ll know how to use your time and focus to reduce risk. With the right collaboration, you’ll be able to accelerate your success.

3) The Age of Bypass

Now that social media is in play, things are getting more transparent. For the first time, almost everyone can be an “unfiltered journalist”.
Now, accurate and inaccurate information quickly spreads unrestrained through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn.

There is no going back. It makes the task of communicating easier, it also allows everyone to be a “citizen journalist”. The “Age of the Bypass” is here!

4) The Support from the Universe

When you live in love and hope, there’s no fear. Even if you screw up, the past doesn’t matter. The Universe will support you if you’re passionate and committed to serve it’s people.

When you feel depressed, do something good for someone else. It’s the best anti-depressant. So, if you feel down, don’t stay home. Go out there and do something good for someone else.

5) Leadership

Learn to be a Master who is COMPREHENSIVE, not a Jack of all trades. A leader is one who looks at big picture, focus on synthesis and build synergy.

Build a Values Driven Organization. Not a Policy Driven Organization. Look at what happened to United Airlines! The bigger your perspective, the more accurate your prediction. At the end of the day, are you a winner or a learner?

6) Integrity

When you say “No” to something, you’re saying “Yes” to something of higher priority. Integrity is your No.1 asset. Protect and guard it!

7) Teamwork

If your business is a sport, are you playing an individual game or a team sport?

Chances are, you’ll answer that you’re playing a team sport.

So, if your business is a team sport, do you have colleagues/staffs or team members?

Thank You Note

I’m truly grateful over the past 8 days at Future Of Business with this bunch of buddies who attended the program together. It’s my first time attending a business program with so many buddies. You guys were definitely the highlight of the entire program!

What Do The Most Valuable Football Clubs In the World Have in Common?

According to the 2016 report from Forbes, the world’s most valuable football clubs are Real Madrid (current value of USD36.5 bil with revenue of USD694 mil) and Barcelona (current value of USD3.56 bil with revenue of USD675 mil). Manchester United comes in third, followed by Bayern Munich and other Premier League clubs rounding up the Top Ten.

Although recent lists have Man United climbing back to the top, for instance a KPMG study that takes “enterprise value” into account (which includes broadcasting, merchandising, and commercial operations), the two Spanish clubs still stand out very strongly from the rest. In terms of indebtedness, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have very low debt as percentage of its value (around 2-3% only), compared to Man United which is highly geared at 24%. In fact, it carries the highest debt in the Top Ten according to Forbes.

 

 

So what do the two Spanish giants have in common?

Unlike most football clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona are completely owned and run by their loyal fans! These fans, known as “socios” are club supporters. They form an assembly of members that govern the club and elect its president. This is just like what you expect from a fan club. These “socios” literally number in the dozens of thousands. They pay an annual membership fee that provides them with perks such as discounted season tickets and merchandise, free access to stadium tours, meet-and-greets, and open training passes.

Despite the ownership structure, it may be surprising to some that both these clubs are extremely well-run, very profitable, and richly capitalized. In fact, they stand on par if not better than their well-heeled English cousins. They are often known for poaching star players with ridiculous amounts of money. Unlike a public company which has to give out dividends to shareholders on regular basis and meet market expectations, all profits stay within the club which makes it a more stable, driven, long-term focused, and productive business entity.

It is even more impressive if you look at their credentials. Real Madrid has won 11 European Cups, 32 La Liga Trophies, and 19 Copa Del Rey; while Barcelona holds 5 European Cups, 24 La Liga Trophies and 28 Copa Del Rey. Combined, they have conquered 56 out of 85 available La Liga titles. They take up almost 50% of all TV money available to Spanish clubs!

Note: Man United is owned by the public, by virtue of it being listed on the NYSE. It is not owned exclusively by fans. Five years on after listing, its share price performance has been underwhelming. It even lost USD1 bil in value at one point this year due to its failures on the pitch.

 

What can we learn from this ownership model?

The success of a football club is not just a function of the manager, calibre of players, and right factors of field and weather. The fans who become co-owners of the club are the fourth dimension to this success story. They feel involved, are passionate, and have a sense of ownership. This creates a “social value” for the club. The club as a whole coalesces together and becomes a community with a higher purpose than just individual investor interests.

There are intrinsic challenges of being privately owned by fans. They are not able to raise capital from shares, and have to rely solely on incomes generated from the club. Supporters argue that this makes them even more prudent and accountable. Also, less prone to financial excesses and massive debt burdens like the public listed clubs do.

It is worth noting that the German Bundesliga has a hybrid model of the Spanish La Liga. It adopts a 50+1 rule, giving the majority of club shares to fans. The rest is to be purchased by investors. This gives fans a direct involvement in how the club is run and financially managed while still being open to outside investments as well.

 

Influence investing – the new breed of entrepreneurship

This “socio” ownership of football clubs represent a new breed of venture building for entrepreneurs. It is what I call “influence investing”. Founders and investors with common influence come together and enlarge their circle of influence collectively. They all share the same business vision and purpose. They ally their influences to grow the investments through their passionate support, expansive networks, and positive word-of-mouth. Rather than a typical annual general meeting (AGM) for shareholders, it could be a communion of fan club members.

This will be an Owners Circle, just like our namesake.

Do visit www.OwnersCircle.asia to explore opportunities to join our community of business owners who shares and manages businesses together.

Training with Cuscapi Berhad

A month ago, Candice called me one night to request for me to conduct training for our dearest friend, Chor Siong, who happens to be the Group CEO of Cuscapi Bhd, Asia’s leading F&B business management solutions provider.

I agreed without knowing what I got myself into. The inconvenient truth is… I’ve never trained in a multi national corporation in the IT solutions industry!
I must admit that the beginning of this training was extremely challenging as I had 20 leaders from 5 different nations who barely knows each other sitting in my room.

To cut the long story short… What truly touches my organizing team and I was seeing what started with a hard cold, awkward room ended with everyone from different nations hugging and giving each other high fives!

As we ended the session, I felt truly blessed that the years invested by Candice and myself to build a culture of personal excellence has surprised us with the gift to empower other organizations to build similar culture as well.

Malaysian Entrepreneur Convention 2017

Few months back, I received a phone call from Dato KK Chua to invite me to moderate a forum at the Malaysian Entrepreneur Convention 2017.

For those who have not heard of this program, this is the entrepreneurs convention that made it into The Malaysia Book of Records as Malaysia’s Largest Entrepreneur Convention in 2016 with over 2,500 entrepreneurs under one roof!

Dato KK and I agreed to create a forum on bringing entrepreneurs to share their journey of hyper-growth and exit through merger and acquisition. I thought that this would be an interested topic that would add tremendous value to the crowd.

So, I called 3 of my very good friends who agreed immediately to be featured in this forum.

Who are they?

First, I had George Ang, founder of Revenue Valley who owns Manhattan Fish Market, New York Steak Shack, master franchise of Tony Roma’s, Fire Grill and Popeyes Lousiana Kitchen. In 2012, Ekuinas, the government-linked private equity fund paid RM64.7 million for a 85.76% stake in Revenue Valley Group.

Second the on the list?

Alan Lim, the man who founded MediaBanc and went into a merger with Media Monitors which later on went listed on the Australian stock exchange in 2014 at market capitalization of AUD440 million (RM1.2 billion)

And third?

Tham Lih Chung, co-founder of Rhombus Connexion Group, a F&B ecosystem company. Within a short span of 2 years, Rhombus Connexion now owns 19 home-grown brands which include, among others, Wondermama, Rama V, Dancing Fish, The Morning After, The Beer Factory, and Suzie Wong. The group currently has 49 outlets across 4 countries, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Myanmar.

I was learning so much being a moderator. What I’ve learnt through this forum is entrepreneurs must have the skill to sell a grand vision and most importantly, the capability to manage expectations of all stakeholders and investors!

After the forum, I also invited all 3 panelist to be featured in Owners Circle’s upcoming education programs where I’ll continue to interact with them to share their strategies, tools and tactics that they have applied as entrepreneurs to build and scale their business with the most up-to-date case studies!

We ended our evening at Malaysian Entrepreneurs Convention 2017 with a bang!

That evening, our team Owners Circle rushed to get our costume as we made our way to The Barn’s 2nd year anniversary party at 1Mont Kiara.

As we were celebrating The Barn’s amazing feat to grow into 3 outlets in less than 2 years, we were also celebrating the fact that exactly a year ago, Owners Circle registered itself as a company.

Thanks to my team for walking through thick and thin together. You guys are amazing!