8 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Entrepreneurship Experience in Malaysia
All the toughness we’ve been through, the resilient stays.
It’s always the most existing time when it comes to count down to the next year. After years of interesting journey, what we’ve gain not only the profit, the most valuable assets we’ve are the experiences from our internal learning process and of course from our partners (clients & other stakeholders) as well.
We’ve a culture here, we don’t call our client as client or customer, we them as partners. Our superiors don’t call their subordinates as staffs, we call them as team members. From one person company to a small and growing team, I realised that it’s very important to shift things from individualist to collectivist. Of course the path is not easy as what you heard from the “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, what keep us firm today is the resilience and patience.
This is what i’ve realised being an entrepreneur in Malaysia without any background.
Luck and Patience
I believe most of us’ve heard tons of motivation talks, sharing, and quotes by the successfully business persons, entrepreneurs, artiste, influencers, motivation speaker, etc. “I work more than 12 hours per day”, “I slept only 2 hours per day”,”Be daring”, “I’m not interested with money, by Jack Ma“. What you have heard may not be wrong, it’s the part of the journey in your entrepreneurship. “Luck” is the important ingredient for you to make your first million. To be precise, timing. Most successfully businesses have their profit growth 10x or more just within 1 or 2 years, they entered in the right timing. Why good ideas failed? Because of bad timing. Of course, timing isn’t the only factor in luck, generally luck included the people you’ve met that gave you a hand in your business. This person, may not be a person you work with, but can be a person who introduced the person you soon will be working with. In Chinese, we call it as “贵人”.
We can’t guess when luck (right timing and right person) will come. But we keep our patience. We can’t control when to meet the right timing and the right person, but we can sharpen our knife. This is the preparation for every thing before the right timing hit us. That’s why it’s very important to be persistence and patience on what you are doing.
Be an Easy Going Person
Don’t get me wrong on leaving your own principle aside when dealing with businesses. Having principle is indirectly firming your business direction, which is a positive treats, whether is a goal or a mission. But holding a principle that making yourself being calculative is only adding barriers to others to continue dealing with you. I’ve personally work with people with this kind of attitude, and i’ve stop to work with them anymore. Your clients or you yourself will not want to work with an unpleasant person if there are so much options out there. Logic?
Is always ok to suffer some losses as long as you know it’s a gain of trust from the other party. If you can’t bear the little losses you have, you will not pass the exam of entrepreneurship on your current level. You have to understand, the bigger you grow, the larger challenges you will be facing.
Be Social Active
Fun fact on doing business in Malaysia, we pronounce our business partners as “bro”. Let me tell you the harsh truth, if you are going to tender a project in a company where you don’t have any “bro” you know in the company, you are most likely to failed. Question time, will you deal with a stranger than a person you know in business? Of course, this is not a good justification on why tender should always award to your “bro”. The more people you know, the easier for you to sell yourself. If you have studied the fundamental marketing, it all start with product oriented to customer oriented. Good products can sell itself, but there are so many good products in the market, why should people choose you? Here comes in the services (the human interaction) part to make the differences. I’ve met entrepreneur that are very proud with their in-house products until the extend of ego strike the business, well, if they are in monopoly business, congrats, but in reality, copy and paste a product is so easy. Stay humble all the time, you will eventually realised that people are willing to help you when you are humble.
Build A Team
In the journey of entrepreneurship more or less you will met people to be your partner (not client) in the business. I’ve heard the old folks discourage the young ones to venture the business with partners, the reason from them, they saw or experienced the failure of partnerships in the business. Well, they may not be wrong, neither be right. One person run faster, one team run longer. Wisdom from the story of “愚公移山 Yu Gong Moves Away the Mountains” is a good lesson to learn. If your plan is to raise a company, don’t be an artist, be a leader. Artist looks for perfection, that’s why they only trust the work that came from their hand. Artist is selfish, that’s why passing knowledge and guiding is a big no no for them. Each of us has 24 hours, even a genius can only focus on a single domain, a team is to make sure that each of us play an important character in the mission.
The Importance of Background
Probably you’ve heard of most of the successful entrepreneurs never mentioned anything on their background when they’ve been asked on the reason of their success. What you’ve heard most is how to flowered their success with their own bare hand. The world has never fair, if you believe in buddhism, those that born with a good background probably has inherent good karma from their past life.
Everything start with your family background. When you are born and raise in a family with all the richest and elites surrounding, basically you have most of the resources you need when you are going into entrepreneurship. Of course, in Malaysia i’ve also heard of successful entrepreneur without a good background. But one thing for sure is that most of the success doesn’t came from the product or marketing strategies like they’ve claimed in helps them to reach their first million, often, it’s one single key person that they’ve met who was the turning point.
Action & Attitude
If you are an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard or attended classes that provides business strategies training or life coaching. Most of the time you will heard these speakers to advise (sometimes threaten) that you should have a portion of income to be invest into education. Im not against into after school education, in fact i do agreed that we should all learn regardless any ages. Our buying decisions influence by the salesperson’s persuasion. It’s easier to take out our credit card and wipe for some courses that cost few thousand dollar that taking real actual action to steer the wheel of their own boat.
Your attitude doesn’t change with just the quote or a talk you’ve just heard, your attitude change slowly throughout the entrepreneurship journey. To simplify this, don’t believe that attending a course or getting yourself a mentor will change your course of life. Taking real action to commit and be flexible with all the things happen surrounding you will only change your course of life towards success. Your action and the right attitude doesn’t guarantee you a success, it’s part of the preparation for yourself before the right timing come.
Don’t be Shy to Sell
Keep selling. Prior to that, make sure you are selling what you believe can bring value to your buyer. Sell, seem to be easy for everyone, but not all of us can make it. You’ve build a super mobile application, but you don’t sell, it’s just a piece of useless software when nobody used it. Stop thinking to build something perfect instead start selling when its not perfect.
Money is still very Important
Regardless you are a one man company or a team of any sizes company, cash flow is the main ingredient to decide if you can continue to be in the game. Dream selling is a myth, if you can’t even feed yourself don’t expect your team of people to stay and fight with you to make things work. As a former programmer, i’ve heard of tons of proposal from my friends or friend of friends or strangers to start a start up with just compensating a very “attractive” share profit from the new start up. With all the enthusiastic within me, naively i accepted all the “opportunities” that came to me. I’ve learned my lesson, never accept an offer without at least compensating you a minimal monthly fee for your survival fee. Your cost is from the time that you’ve spent in the projects. From my experience, these projects most likely will failed. I used to sell dream, but i stop to do so, because i realised that how irresponsible it is to have someone provide their professional services to you for free and the worse part, it cost you nothing when the project failed.
The ingredient to success comes with multiple factors, it doesn’t happen with just a moment of euphoria from motivation pill. Below are some of points i’ve sum up,
- Be persistent but not stubborn.
- Always understand the theory of impermanence.
- Don’t compare. You will make yourself suffered.
- Devil is inside the details. Have the big picture and be cautious when it comes into action.
- Commit to change when there is a problem.
- Exercise good time management.
- Always have the habit of task recording and tracking.
- Be very principle.
- Be responsible and build trust.