by Alan Phua (Singapore)
First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Alan Phua and I’m 25 this year. I’ve had some small experiences in starting a business (Consulting) which by now have been closed because I didn’t have enough interest in it to follow through.
I am still an aspiring Entrepreneur (trying to form another start up), learning the ropes to financial freedom and achieving my dreams. In this article, I shall talk about my learning curves so far.
– One of my current obstacles towards launching a business is getting funding. Previously I did not have to worry about this as my required initial capital was very low. This time round, I need more cash for research. In my meetings with key personnel in the funding circle as well as competitions, my team and I got shot down on numerous occasions till the point some of us got so demoralized that the next few days became unproductive.
– I came from a home whereby my family members were corporate high flyers. Dad is a senior director in a listed company in Singapore and Sister is a government scholar excelling in MAS currently. They all went through the conventional route of School -> Work -> $. I think they are one of the smartest people around to accomplish what they have done but somehow this trend did not run in my blood. I want to start and have something of my own and I have to admit that my dad didn’t understand why I would want to do it. He has tried to talk me out of it at times or tried to convince me to start later in life as I may make better decisions when I’m more mature.
But my thinking is, the later I start, the later I mature. Just because I start later, doesn’t mean I make better decisions. Getting support from my family can be a challenge at times and I found that the lack of this will result in a lack of inner peace and it will be harder for one to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
– Having been put down on numerous occasions, I turned to watching videos and reading about my role models like Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, more locally..Adam Khoo and of course my mentor Prof Pamela Lim. I learnt that, many great entrepreneurs got looked down upon at the start. No one who has succeeded in anything did not have any skepticism thrown at them. Being persistence in my dreams also meant being thick skin.
– As suggested in my introduction, I now really realize that having passion for what you do is arguably the most important foundation you can have as an entrepreneur. Starting a business means dodging and handling all the rocks being thrown at you. If you don’t like what you’re doing, life and work will really be a chore.
– Sometimes, a person’s stated job can be to help you can started in your entrepreneurial path. But that image can quickly disappear when you start seeing the things they do and finding reasons why they’re behaving that way. Under guidance, I begin to see things from everyone’s perspectives and started to see the conflict of interest leading to the irony of things.
The irony of “sometimes, the person who is supposed to help you, is your greatest enemy”.
The term “its nothing personal, its just business” is utterly rubbish. Business is everything personal. You always do business or buy from the person you like (assuming offerings are similar). Even products these days are about personalization.
– The title this paragraph is arguably one of the truest phrase of wisdom. Many a times, the CEO or founder of a particular business is not the best technical person in the business. (If he is any technical at all). Nonetheless, the founder finds their way through to building the product that they so desire because of the people they know. In business, we always need help and no one can succeed alone. Knowing people is speeds things up and really make things happen. Rule I learnt from many entrepreneurs: “Always network! Be Humble.”
– Einstein once said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. I truly agree with this statement. An entrepreneur’s job is to create value for people in this world that no one has already created. That suggest that imagination is needed on a great scale. Knowing things does not result in the next revolutionary product. Imagination does. Great entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (Although they?re business enemies) , are great fundamentally because of their aptitude to dream and imagine. How different our lives would be now if not for them. But a word of cautious is that, imagination is not everything. Too many visionaries in a team can hamper the growth as well as slow down the process (too many people thinking. Too little doing). My take is that..Imagination + Networking = Potential for success.
– A person’s mentor will no doubt shape the way he/she thinks when it comes to business. Choosing a wrong mentor is equivalent to installing a virus into your system and damaging the potential that was born into this body. The number of people whom you choose to allow influence on you also matters a great deal. I know of a few friends who set up their business and have won funding and looked set on progressing in their business. But instead of spurring ahead, they were being held back several times and the team were at times lost simply because they had too many mentors and everyone had a different thing to say, confusing them and slowing their growth. My take on that is to really reduce the number of mentors. Choose the right mentor (someone who’s been there done that. Someone who really wants to see you succeed), and follow his/her lead all the way. Afterall, entrepreneurship is a journey and not a destination.
From here on, I will iron these beliefs into my system and really stick to it and drive forward ferociously. I hope the journey will not be too rough and may all my brothers and sisters out there who seek to succeed..accomplish your goals. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
I will leave with this video that has inspired me to forget about the sack backs I?ve had and ?connect the dots?.