by Lim Kok Yeow Daniel
My entrepreneurship journey started once I entered university in earnest. After dabbling into distribution of toys, setting up a tuition agency and also selling T shirts online, I decided to get serious and I really wanted to run a business even after graduation. That really got me thinking…. what business should I start?
I believed in 1 very important thing when choosing what business to start: WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT? If there is no fire in your belly, there is no point starting that business, that was my starting point. Personally, I always loved retail and shopping…so I begin thinking, could I use the web to simplify shopping here in Singapore? Why not – Zuunbo.com was born!
Zuunbo.com was a simple concept : 1 product sold on a website a day at a great discount. That’s it. Our aim was to simplify shopping. We did not want boring websites that did not update their product catalogs or did not give people a reason to shop online.
We applied for funding via SMU BIG and they loved our concept! Together with 2 other partners, we managed to get the funding and started the business. Response from customers and publications a like was very positive! Everyone loved the idea and we believe we really freshened up the online retail scene.
However, due to our inexperience, we did not watch our CASH FLOW. This is something that all start ups have to watch very very carefully. This is the bloodline of any start up. We also realised that focusing on the Singapore market was not something that was sufficient especially as a web start up. In our defence, I felt that it is very difficult for bigger companies and Singapore to want to work with a small local start up especially in an online channel. This posed a problem for us as many companies we approached were still stuck with a traditional mind set. This was another invaluable lesson.
Despite all the hype and good response, Zuunbo.com closed down after a year. It was a painful lesson but one I believe will put me in good stead in my future undertakings!