Starting from a Scratch and Making a Dent in the Universe

by ChingFoo Lieu on 17/05/2013

When the phrase “Making a dent in the universe” is mentioned, the late Steve Jobs came into the mind. I mean, even if you are not using an iPhone, who don’t know what an iPhone is right? The book by Kanyin Chief Editor, Carol Lin – Global Malaysian Brands, is all about Malaysian businesses with humble beginnings and making an impact in the global scene over the years. This is Kanyin Publication first premium series – retailing for RM 49.90 in major bookstores, ranked top 10 bestseller in Popular bookstores and endorsed by some of the major Malaysian companies you know – Khind, Lingham’s Chilli Sauce and Top Glove, where their success stories are featured in this book.

As you would have guessed it, this is a long overdue giveaway post, courtesy of Kanyin Publications. There are 2 giveaway autographed copies to be given away. I am not going to do a conventional review of the entire book content, but I’d like to quote some of the philosophies of these founders, CEOs and MDs of these successful Malaysian companies. The same philosophies can be applied whether one is running a business or climbing the corporate ladder.

global malaysian brands kanyin publications

Through the years as business grew,  I realized one important fact – that was, innovating to stay ahead of the competition.

- if we are doing the same thing as our competitor, then there is no Unique Selling Point, making the products or services a commodity or indulge into price wars. 

The strategy of a win-win situation is through joint ventures.

-no one knows and can do everything. It is worth paying some money to outsource to more competent parties to achieve certain goals, and to complement our strengths/weaknesses. 

To conquer a market, we need to be precise.

-different market segment has different category of customers and price point

In business, never think you are too good, and never stop growing and learning; keep improving and keep moving. When you stop to nurture and introduce new ideas, it doesn’t mean your competition will do the same. Remember the moment you stop is also the moment your business ends.

-The only constant is change

In everything you do, either you get better or you get worse, but you never stay the same for very long

When you are new to a business, with no experience at all, the only thing you can do is to learn, and to learn FAST!

In this fast changing world where it is no longer the case of the big fish eating the small fish, speed is crucial because today, it is the fast fish that eats the slow fish

It is Top Glove’s principle not to hire smokers(!)

- I find this rather unique for a company HR policy but commendable indeed!

Which one the above sayings you could relate to and why? Post a short reply below and 2 winners will get the book posted to you. Winner will be announced 20 May

Winners for this round are – YH Ng & CT

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Lye May 18, 2013 at 8:39 pm

There’s an Wise old saying which goes like this, “The best to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today”. Funny, when it comes to retirement planning, most people would rather procrastinate than to do it today. So take heed in the words of wisdom. Planning for your future retirement now will pay off in spades later.

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ChingFoo Lieu May 27, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Ahhhh, Steve, I think sometimes I am also guilty for putting things off which should be done today instead of next week or next month. Retirement? Too far in the horizon. Most have urgent issues to attend to on daily basis. But I guess if we take a step back, it isn’t too far off to say that almost everything we do today, is for us to have comfortable life in the future. The concept is there, but I guess retirement is also sort of a less tangible thing we could visualize – not until like we are in our late 40′s.

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SG Yon May 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

“Innovating to stay ahead of the competition”: CONSTANT innovation is needed, not just once. Also, the change or invention or doing something different must bring VALUE, either to the business to give it a competitive advantage or to the end-customer; or else it will just be a “syiok sendiri” with no real benefits.

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ChingFoo Lieu May 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Absolutely. Solve a problem so painful that people are willing to pay for to get rid of it. Else, like you said, it is just SS.

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Lim May 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

“….never think you are too good, and never stop growing and learning; keep improving and keep moving…” is a quite a true in this fast changing world when our technology is consistently advancing. In MBA class, I meet alot of middle age group ppl and most of them are really motivated to keep improve and keep moving forward despite their current success in their careers. They told me that to be successful, never stop learning and improving is the key point.

“It is Top Glove’s principle not to hire smokers(!)” really give me a WAO impression… I always dream to have this policy when I have my own company. However, this principle might not work well in certain business.. One of my friend has a company where most of his employees are lowly educated and most are school drop-out due to the job requirement. In this segment of labor, most of them are smokers and non-smokers only give a small portion. Thus, to implement this principle will severely jeopardise the work force required for the daily operation of the company. Thus, what my friend does is to set up the smoke-free zone and smoking zone in the company as to make sure no one smokes in the area which he will mostly be…

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Stephanie Tan May 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

Wow, Thank you Lieu for summarizing my to-do list when i enter private dental practice next month! Haha, even after getting a Dr title, I find that the world is changing so fast that i only know so little and there is so much more to learn. I realize that it’s impossible to stay at the fore front of a sector without being innovative and coming up with new packages to sell, to work with competitors, have different strategies for different target groups and keep learning. And yeah, i should suggest to my boss to include the ‘No smokers’ in HR policy too, since we are a healthcare group. Thanks!

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Jerry May 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

The first saying will stand the test of time.

While I believe speed is essential, nothing beats consistent flow of innovative ideas To stay ahead of the competition. People mustn’t feel that they are not allowed to speak their thoughts. With the advent of technology and boom of generation-y, this is the best time to to launch new ventures and build on it.

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ChingFoo Lieu May 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Yea, the Kodak story is evidence that once the innovation takes a back seat, it is just a matter of time before things crumble down.

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John May 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

I think what is vital is essentially to transfer your personal believes into the organization. The people or leaders who managed to achieve this has brought great heights to their companies or even countries. My personal believe is we need to continuously thirst to improve and move forward. The challenge is to translate this into action and how to influence others to do so. I’m sure there are lots to learn from successful business leaders in this aspect.

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Caro Lin May 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

Thank you LCF for the great review!

I would like to wish the winners of the giveaway copies a happy reading, I hope you would enjoy reading the book!

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ChingFoo Lieu May 24, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Thanks, I did. Thanks for dropping by and for the giveaway copies

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Jane Tan Lian Hua May 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

I agree with the phrase In this fast changing world……….. In this era due to Internet and social media, many small organisation is making or becoming successful in a shorter time compared to when internet and social media wasn’t being used.

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ChingFoo Lieu May 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Yea, the Viral Factor…although long term sustainability is a different game altogether. Some companies just make it big overnight then fade into obscurity shortly after. Anyone doing Gangnam style anymore nowadays? :) Nah.

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YH Ng May 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

Innovation and Kaizen ( continuous improvement) are the two principles that I can definitely relate to ! For sales and marketing perspective, it’s only through innovation that we are able to create USP and key differentiation for our products, more importantly continue to provide more values to our customers . Kaizen is a culture that all successful companies must promote to ensure that the staff continue to learn and grow , so is the company !

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CT May 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

“The strategy of a win-win situation is through joint ventures.” .. This is indeed quite true. Nowadays, we hardly see any new comer to any industry and gain a considerate amount of market share in its own industry with AirAsia the exceptional case with came up with a new budget idea. Else where, what we observed throughout the past few years was joint ventures or acquisitions especially in the banking , insurance and oil & gas industries. Ihe joint venture is better than the company to invest and setup a new department in some un-exposed area for them

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ChingFoo Lieu May 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Oh yea, I’ve seen MNCs acquiring less known companies too when it is penetrating certain market segments and becoming from the unknowns to a market leader. It’s generally faster, although not necessarily cheaper compared if it were to set up/train the team or technology from a scratch. Plus, the acquired company is likely to have its own customer base already, so it’s just a matter of restructuring the management and perhaps a round of VSS (horror!).

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