Monday, November 30, 2020

Would you marry me?

Thinking about an exit plan even before you have entered into the business is crazy. It tells us that you aren’t committed. We do our best to stay away from people who peddle thoughts such as, “What’s your exit plan?”

For your own sake, set up the company, run it like your life depends on it, make a profit. Then perhaps, just perhaps you can think of an exit plan. 

Try a commitment plan. Works much better.

Are you a con man?

Friday, November 27, 2020

Does anyone have the answer?


There are principles. There are guides. There are people sharing their experiences. There are best practices. There are no rule books.

But if you are original, you bring your magic, stand out, fight mediocrity, do the work, take the blows; you know you will earn fans.

No one can do it for you but you. And that is good news.

Is anyone coming?

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Are you committing?

Commitment gets you started. If you are committing to start, the next decision you need to make is, are you going to continue or give up? If you are going to start, then go all the way. Starting, they say, is the most difficult. Learning curves, resistance, nay-sayers, disappointments, frustrations are just some of the simpler stuff you need to go through. But once you go through them, they get easier. After each valley and trough is the pathway to another peak. 

Commitment keeps you going. Every day of an entrepreneur’s life is filled with a series of conflicts between the better way and the easy way. Pick enough better ways, and you earned yourself another day to see excellence. You earned another year to see your dream come through. 

Are you consistent?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Did you put up a good fight?

Pick a fight with mediocrity. It’s going to be a tough fight. Excellence doesn’t just appear. Defeat mediocre with sweat and blood, and perhaps you'll have a glimpse at excellence. Put up a good fight because the mediocre tier is already packed. You won’t be able to stand out

Too many people want to stand out but they refuse to put up a fight with mediocrity. You want to stand out? You want to be talked about? Put up a good fight.

Who did you pick a fight with?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

When is it happening?

The journey is so long, sometimes the end is not in sight. What is in sight are the stuff that are by-products of your experience and efforts. In there are nuggets of wisdom; pick them up. There will be nasties as well, sweep these away. 

There is no overnight success to expect. It’s a myth. What is not a myth is the 10-year over night success; the 20-year over night success. 

Take solace in the fact that those before you have taken their time to get where they want to be. Be patient even as you are running out of patience. 

It takes time to succeed. Take your time.

What’s your hurry?

Monday, November 23, 2020

Why don’t you…?

Friends, family, and business associates will come to you with good intentions to help you when you are running your business. Each with their own world view and each with how they would handle your business, IF they were to be running it. But they aren’t. 

You need to add you into whatever solutions and suggestions they gave you.

The goal is to do what you set out to do. You are the benchmark. If what they suggest is worth a look, then adapt it for your own use but remember, YOU are important. You have to be you and you are the magic potion in this concoction. No one can replace you and neither should they. 

Be yourself and run the company the way you want it. Be yourself and no one else. 

What do you want to be?

Friday, November 20, 2020

Did you create the problem?

You may not have created the problem. But if it affects you, you suddenly have a responsibility to fix it. Otherwise, you have to live with it.

Your client has a staff that doesn’t lead his team well. It affects your work. He is not your responsibility, but now he is your problem.

Fix it or live with it. Only you know which choice is an easier one.

Is it your responsibility?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Do you like your alphabet soup?

4Cs, 4Es, 6Ps, 7Ps, and whatever not. It is your choice of whatever marketing models you want to use, tickle your fancy or suit your taste. Perhaps you like what some experts suggest marketing is 4.0 now. Or whatever in your opinion marketing may be. 3.141592653589 and not quite 4.0 yet. 

It’s your choice. If it works for you, great. 

Here is what I suggest if nothing seems to work for you.

  1. Get the basics right. I would suggest the classic 4Ps. 
  2. Get in-depth knowledge about it. Don’t just read from the first page of a Google search. No, really. Please. Re-read your marketing textbook if you have one. Yes, really. Please. 
  3. Write a marketing plan based on that. If you can’t write a proper marketing plan based on that, perhaps you don’t know the 4Ps in-depth yet? See point 1.
  4. Put your plan to work. 

Don’t choke yourself on too many alphabets. It’s bad for you. Start right. If you can’t write a proper marketing plan on a classical model, perhaps you shouldn’t care too much about others.

Are you satiated yet?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

What other criteria do you have?

We are sure you have a set of criteria when choosing your clients. If you don’t, you need to start doing this. Recently, we added a new criterium. 

Sanity over money. 

If you and your team don’t have the intellect to comprehend what we will be talking about, we are not of the same wavelength. If you aren’t humble enough to admit your organization’s shortcomings, then we will be mad handling your business.

What can’t your money buy?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Do you have the intellect?

Some questions are so basic they sound dumb. Most people are too afraid to ask them assuming the other party probably knows the answer. Or has answered that before. It takes a lot of courage to ask a seemingly dumb question because you will be judged for it. 

We like asking our prospects their total distribution universe. Then we like to ask them what percentage they are in. Then we ask if this matches their distribution strategy and if they have one. Totally basic questions that need to be asked. They sound totally dumb if you made huge assumptions. But more often than not, you will be surprised by the answers.

If you are being asked dumb questions, you need to be brave. Brave enough to admit that you don’t have the answer and brave enough to find them.

Do you have the courage?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Is your inbox full?

Your inbox is NOT your to-do list. Make sure you decide what goes into your to-do list. This list has to have the most impact on your business. Otherwise, you are wasting precious time. When you take your inbox as your to-do list or allow it to dictate your to-do list, you surrender your destiny to others. 

Take charge of your to-do list. Watch over it like an Anatolian. 

Is your to-do list impactful?

Friday, November 13, 2020

What can I learn?

One way to get better is to constantly ask, what can I learn from this? Asking enough times and truly applying what you have learned paves the way to daily successes. If you are getting better every day and with every experience, then you are successful every day.

No need to think too far into the future.

How successful are you?

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Do you want to win?

Play the long game. In this world of instantaneous everything, where stamina is short in supply, where distance squashes ambitions and commitment is for the courageous; you can win by doing everything that no one has the guts to do. 

Play the long game. Have the patience to wait for the results. Build the stamina you may not have now. Take in small wins and savour them. The big win isn’t illusive. Not here yet, doesn’t mean won’t be here. Commit to going the distance so that the force of your ambition squeezes the fear in you into smithereens. 

How can you lose?

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Is it time to learn?

Of course, everything is crumbling under your feet. But you are capable of multitasking. Of everything that you do, park time aside to learn. This is to ensure that the next time a crisis happens or the system fails, you have enough tools to deal with it. Or at the very least, know how to think through and not panic. 

Think back; you feel everything is crumbling because you don’t know what and how to think. A solution seems to escape you.

It’s never too late to learn. If you believe it, even during a crisis you should commit to learning and you must invest in learning. Time, money, and energy. Mix them into your want to learn, and you will find the will to learn.

You will be able to deal with this better now and you will be equipped to deal with it better the next time it comes.

When is it ever a perfect time?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Can you commit?

Commitment gets you started. If you can commit, then you have won half the game. The other half? The other half is where more than half the people lose.

To win the other half, you need consistency.

Consistency keeps you going. If you are consistent, then you are playing the long game. This long game, maybe only 2% of your peers will play because it is hard. It hurts. The price is hefty. That’s why the prize at the end is priceless.

Are you consistent?

Monday, November 9, 2020

What are you buying?

Sometimes what you are buying from a skilled consultant is the avoidance of costly mistakes on your end. Costly mistakes cost you not only dollars and cents, but time and energy as well. Money, you can make. Energy, you can take time and recover. Time? How do you take back time? 

Get the right consultant and ask, "Can you afford not to pay?" 

What is it going to cost you?

Friday, November 6, 2020

What are your responsibilities?

Remember your obligations.

We don’t know why people say most partnerships fail. We can only guess. Values, directions, whatever. We have never asked nor researched. 

When we decided to work together as business partners, we had already worked as colleagues in DDB for six years or so. Perhaps that helped in forging the teamwork and understanding. 

Importantly, we think two things made our partnership work well so far.

One, the feeling of obligation and responsibility to the other. Not wanting to let your partner down should be something that you are conscious of daily. Otherwise, it is easy to take things for granted.

Two, believing that it is difficult to measure qualitative things. Don’t compare who is doing more or less. For example, Long would do most of the presentations and Wan Hoon would do most of the financial paperwork. One is standing for two hours at most, the other is two days of excel sheets. 

Treat your business partner how you would like to be treated.

Have you done your work today?

Thursday, November 5, 2020

When do you start?

Get in on time.

We must admit we probably do this wrong, or someone is not telling us the truth about how the other bosses do it. 

We often joke about bosses having coffee at 10.30am and they have not even started work for the day. We covet a day like that. But we can’t seem to be able to do it. For the past 11 years, Wan Hoon being the more disciplined one between us, has always made it a point to get in by 9.30ish or so. Our official work hours are 9.30am to 6.30pm. She is rarely in after 10am unless there is a meeting or a family obligation. 

Giving yourself a routine and a strict time for getting into the office is a reminder that building a business is tough. We need that to remind ourselves daily. And nothing beats the morning alarm that says, “Let’s get it done” when it rings to tell you to get in on time.

We like it because we feel this habit contributed to us getting this far. What did they say? The early bird gets the worm first? We suppose, the early ones get more done.

When is coffee break?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Is Santa Claus coming to town?

Be nice.

Be nice to people. Suppliers, clients, staff, business associates, even telemarketers. Just be nice to people in general. It is a human behind that business card, that voice, that face you meet in any business dealings – solicited or otherwise. They are someone’s son, daughter, father, sister, mother, brother. Just like you. They go home to their families with the words and actions of what you said to them and how you have treated them.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s what you have been taught since kindergarten. Just because people tell you or you have experienced the business world to be a cold, hard, shrewd place; it doesn’t mean you have to be part of it. Even if, even if it is true. We all have an opportunity to change that

Being sincerely nice to people makes any tough day a lot easier. You should try it sometime. When it works, just rinse and repeat.

Who’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

What’s in your petri dish?

Culture takes time.

As a business owner, you set the tone and manner and you let the team at hand develop what would be the culture of the company. We stress, the team at hand. Your team changes and this affects the trajectory of the culture you are trying to develop. You can’t do it alone, much less dictate how fast and how well it grows. Don’t fret too much about the culture, for now. All these sexy romantic terms about how a great culture propels a company; they take time. Great culture takes time to nurture and grow. Like everything that you need to nurture and grow, it’s back-breaking work no one tells you about. That is the smelly, muddy part of company culture building.

Go ahead and build that great company culture of yours, make it a great place to work, and attract like-minded folks. But understand that it takes time, and it is dynamic. Which means there are all sorts of adjustments and tinkering you will need to make. All these companies that help you build a company culture seem to give you the impression that culture can be bought off the shelf. But you know, culture is going to be dictated by who you employ and who manages them. Remember too, that people come and go. That people interpret things in their own world view. Give it time. 

Even the culture in a tiny petri dish takes time. What more in a company like yours. 

What’s your growth factor?

Monday, November 2, 2020

What have you written today?

Read a lot. Then write.

Somewhere in your business building journey, you will need to take time to reflect and inject good ideas. The ideas themselves may not be new, but new to your business. These you can get quite easily by reading and reading a lot. 

Get into the habit of reading if you don’t already have this habit. Park time aside for it. It need not be long. An hour or so on alternate days is good. More is better. But some people can’t. If you can’t, then start slow and add time progressively. Sacrifice some TV time, YouTube time, and social media time. Nothing on those media will help you grow your business better than a good book. There is something about a good book. Maybe it is how the words and ideas are etched into the deep recesses of your brain and how they reveal themselves days and weeks later. 

Reading is alone time. You and your book mentor. Take notes. When you are done, do your best in writing them down. Somewhere, somehow. You are writing for yourself. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling. No one’s going to read it. There is something about writing. Maybe it is how the words and sentences are etched into the deep recesses of your brain and how they reveal themselves as plans months and years later. 

Writing crystalizes thoughts. You “think” you know. Unless you have written it, it’s all a muddle in your head. When you write things down, it becomes clearer. If it is not clear, keep writing.

What have you read today?