Category Archives: Malaysia Business

Malaysia Business

CEOs of Malaysia’s Largest Banks Share Top 10 Changing Trends in Banking Industry for Business

CEO Roundtable: Leadership in a Changing Global and Regional Financial Landscape at the 18th Malaysian Banking SummitThoughts from a Gen Y in the Corporate World during the CEO Rountable, summarised in 10 key points.

Panelist:

–        Mr. Ashok Ramamurthy, Group Managing Director, AmBank Group

–        Mr. Goh Peng Ooi, Chairman, Silverlake Axis Ltd

–        Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, President, Malayan Banking Berhad

–        Mr. Osman Morad, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad

–        Mr. Sanjeev Nanavati, CEO Citibank Berhad

Moderated by: Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Director, ASLI & former CEO, Bank Buruh

CEOs of Top Banks Share 10 Changing Trends in Finance & Banking

1. 30 million in Malaysia is not enough; we need to grow beyond that. As an entrepreneur, look at scalability, can we go beyond our shores of 30 million to reach a potential of 600 million across the ASEAN region?

2. Productivity is the name of the game. Always measure and benchmark. Passion, drive and grit is key but ensuring that you and your employees are productive is essential via benchmarking and as Dory says it in finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming.. Just keep swimming..’

3. A banker has to be a good juggler, keep everything in balance. Margins are shrinking, there is a chase for liquidity and sticky deposits which is at odds with growth and shift of power with the rising middle class. Leaders need to balance this.

4. In a CEO’s role lining up priorities, there is a restorative role in credibility and reputation. We have to create a set of values to create a corporate identity, known to the community.

CEOs share Top Traits that they are Looking for in Talents
CEOs share Top Traits that they are Looking for in Talents

5. Bankers are not great innovators but we are not too bad at cloning things. Sometimes, a good idea there is a good idea here.

6. Banking used to be a lifetime job, Gen Y now believes in doing what you are passionate about. People now jump jobs for small amounts of increment, so do customers. How do we respond to this?

7. Banking is really a business of human interactions. In fact, majority of businesses consist of a series of human interactions. Knowing this, it is important to learn to delight, motivate and lead.. humans.

8. Leadership is contextual: what makes a good leader at one point in time and place doesn’t make him a good leader elsewhere.

9. Problems but opportunities: There is rising prosperity, pervasive technology; an acute shortness was of talent but greater opportunity for banks to separate themselves.

10. The story of the frog in boiling water – our business is being chipped away by technology, a slow erosion we need to address. Transaction is now instantaneous, instant gratification. It used to be via branches but now there are various touch points for customers.

In conclusion, banks need to understand how to unlock the value within the area in which they operate.

### Special Guest Post ###

Jason Lee is an International Graduate, Standard Chartered Bank graduate programme. As a Gen Y in corporate world, he believes that there is an abundance of opportunities to be entrepreneurial wherever we operate. Connect with him @jasonleecj on Twitter.

Young Entrepreneurs Inspiring Lives through Adversities

The general consensus amongst society is that being born disabled is an affliction often associated with unhappiness, failure, dependency on others and helplessness. These young entrepreneurs have proven otherwise, inspiring lives through adversities.

People often look at those with disabilities and think to themselves, what misery they must be in. But is that always true? Are those who are afflicted with physical disabilities really less capable than the rest of so-called “normal” society?

Measuring society’s attitude and opinion toward the disabled is no easy task as these opinions are based upon social norms, attitudes, as well as a complex mix of misconceptions and stereotypes.

A survey done by the UK government in 2009 shows that 38% of people who were surveyed see the disabled as less productive than non-disabled people while 35% of people felt that the disabled took more from the economy than they contributed.

Such opinions are largely derived from the belief that the disabled require extensive care and looking after. While there is some truth to this, disabled who need round the clock care are neither the exception nor the rule.

Fast Cars & Celebrated Automotive Trading Entrepreneur

Melvin Tong was one of the many 17 year old candidates about to take the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) examinations when he started experiencing a sharp pain originating from the back of his knee.

“It started off with minor pain, like a sprain, and I guess you don’t really worry about it,” said Melvin, “By the time I actually went for my checkup in the hospital, I could already see a small lump the size of a peanut.”

It was later confirmed that Melvin had Fibrosarcoma.

Fibrosarcoma is a cancerous tumor that originates from connective tissue found at the ends of the bones of the arms or legs.

In the course of the next five weeks, 3 biopsies and several opinions from different oncologists later, the tumor grew to the size of a tennis ball and the decision to amputate was made.

By the time he was confronted with the decision, Melvin had grown weary of bouncing from doctor to doctor, the countless referrals and undergoing test after test. He willingly went under the knife in hopes that it would conclude the endless biopsies and regular visits to oncologists.

Melvin, 29 this year, has from then on devoted his life to his love of cars as well as his love of people, taking part in many philanthropic activities in his time including raising awareness for victims of child abuse. In 2010, he entered the Malaysian book of records as the first amputee to climb Mount Kinabalu.

Succeeding in Challenges and Driving Fast Cars is part of the daily life of Melvin Tong
Succeeding in Challenges and Driving Fast Cars is part of the daily life of Melvin Tong

He now owns Extreme Supercars, a thriving business importing, refurbishing, renting and selling luxury vehicles.

“My car business started back when I was 13 years old, shortly after I got my first computer, I made a website for the Need For Speed game,” said Melvin.

It was then that Melvin knew that he would never be able to work for anyone other than himself and made the decision to go into the luxury car business. Melvin says that it had never occurred to him to look for a job.

It was only a few years after college when he was introduced into the car industry, beginning his business selling smaller cars such as the Volkswagen Polo for small commission, comparing himself to a low-pay salesperson.

His business began by brokering the sale of foreign cars to local people, Melvin says that he began the business with no capital, slowly working his way up, building his business into what it is today.

“My disability didn’t stop me from taking my SPM or going to college, everyone knew who I was, but somehow, none of them became really close to me.”

He spoke of the barrier that existed between him and everyone else and said that sometimes it is easier for people to simply alienate someone like him.

The World Health Organization estimated that 10% of any population is disabled in some way. Translating this into Malaysian context, the number would come to 2.7million disabled people currently living in Malaysia.

In 2009,  according to the social welfare department, the total number of disabled in Malaysia was 258, 918 with an average annual increase of 20,000 a year. These are only the ones who are registered.

Of that number, those who are capable of work amount to over 200,000, discounting those with cerebral palsy and those listed in the survey as “others”. A staggering amount of manpower.

Unfortunately, governments have not been able to take full advantage this and the disabled, along with their families, are often persecuted or looked upon as a burden to society.

A prime example of the contribution from disabled people is Zharif Affendi.

National Youth Icon and Beacon of Hope for Youths

Zharif is the proud owner of the Zharif initiative, a Malaysian creative communications company that specializes in corporate social relations consultancy. The company branches out into many fields including public relations and even having his own independent record label.

He also works for MTEM (Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Malaysia), an NGO which facilitates and assists in the empowerment of the Malaysian economy.

Even born without both arms, Mr Zharif Affendi Running His Business like any other entrepreneur who wants to be successful, hard-working, passionate
Even born without both arms, Mr Zharif Affendi Running His Business like any other entrepreneur who wants to be successful, hard-working, passionate

Zharif was born without arms, and when asked what the exactly the ailment was that caused his birth without upper limbs, he nonchalantly replied that he didn’t know.

“There’s probably a name for it but I never looked it up, I never bothered to know what the reason was.”

Zharif had never required any form of special care, attending run of the mill government schools growing up.

In fact, when he was young, his mother registered him in a primary school that had rejected his application because the headmaster felt that they did not possess the facilities to accommodate a person of his condition.

The day before registration, 6 year old Zharif waited outside the headmaster’s office, asked to meet with him, and when he did, he asked the headmaster’s name, he spelled it, writing on his notebook with only his feet.

Today, he holds a law degree, bachelors of Arts degree and a bachelor of psychology degree. Even being an avid sportsman, listing his hobbies as skateboarding, football, ultra thrill running, scuba diving and taking part in swimathons.

These are only two prime examples of what a disabled person can contribute to Malaysian society. Melvin Tong, owner of one of the most renowned luxury car distributors in Malaysia, and Zharif Affendi, who works toward the growth of Malaysian economy in MTEM.

They are the model of what the disabled community in Malaysia has the potential to be. Sadly most are underestimated and aren’t given the opportunity to contribute.

But things have been changing recently with newly introduced government policies.

The government hopes that providing vocational and academic training to the disabled will sufficiently encourage them to find jobs. Congruent to this, the government has allocated 1% of all public sector jobs to those who are disabled.

And in 2008, the Department Of Social Welfare gives an incentive to the disabled who earn a monthly income of less than RM1200, as well as grants that do not exceed RM2, 700 to aid the disabled in the launching of their own businesses.

Alas, some of these policies are poorly implemented or not properly enforced by government authorities and are altogether ignored or unbeknownst by most.

In the year 2000, it was estimated that the disabled contribute USD1.68 billion to the Malaysian Gross Domestic Import (GDP), while studies conducted to estimate the total global annual loss of excluding the disabled from the economy to be somewhere between USD1.37 to USD1.94trillion.

According to these statistics, it is not the lack of ability that holds back the capabilities of the disabled, but a vicious cycle of poverty, charity and excessive amounts of sympathy that result in their continued reliance on society.

The equalization of opportunities for the disabled to be on par with those who aren’t is crucial to the Malaysian economy and the overall quality of life of persons with disabilities.

Those who are disabled are not necessarily impeded, but it is the inaction of irresponsible parties that truly deprives them from the achievement of their true potential.

Gen-Y College Students Speak Out on Inspiration 

INTI College Subang Students Meet Inspiring Entrepreneurs
INTI College Subang Students Meet Inspiring Entrepreneurs

1. Melinna Loone

2. Nazreen Zainurin

3. Pang Yat Haw

4. Daniel Ibanez Lau

5. Justin Wong Zhe Xuan

6. Vigneshan Kumar

Thoughts from Student Interviewers: We are extremely grateful that we’re able to complete and execute this project on time and up to the standards of our lecturer and also our employer. The hardest part of this project is probably the video part, it was difficult to brainstorm any creative ideas to be put into our video as a documentary video is meant to be serious and if anything that goes against that vibe or would disrupt that atmosphere will need to be thrown out of the window.

It was an inspiring experience to listen to both such amazingly positive stories. Before this, we’ve always had this sympathetic or pitiful feeling towards physically disabled community but after this project, we’ve realized that they are even more positive about life than some of us are. Their determination and spirit to thrive in life has indeed made us reflect on ourselves.

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Credit Note: INTI College Subang students from the School of Mass Communication undertook a project by Founder Method to interview successful yet challenged individuals in Malaysia, who have had a lasting impact in society through their business and work. This was a collective effort done by the students, coupled with industry mentors from INTI College Subang and from Founder Method in the implementation of this project.

 

10 Leadership lessons by CEO of Bursa Malaysia

In collaboration with Bursa Malaysia, members of the Young Corporate Malaysians were specially invited to a Buka Puasa with Dato Tajuddin Atan, CEO of Bursa Malaysia, on Wednesday the 16th of July 2014. Below are 10 Leadership lessons at the Bursa Listing Gallery.
1. Acquire and develop knowledge and skills in your chosen skills. Understand how systems, structures and standard operating procedures of work.

Lesson: once you have chosen specific field, practice what Malcom Gladwell popularized as the 10,000-hour rule. Spending enough time on a specific skill will get you somewhere.

2. Be the expert. Mediocre doesn’t make the cut to success. Regardless of colour creed and gender, you need to be the best.

Lesson: Robert Greene is his book entitled Mastery shared about how there are universal ingredients and traits in the part to mastery. A major part of it is becoming an expert in something.

3. There is no shortcut to success. In one organisation, how may CEOs can there be? there can only be one. You have to work hard.

Lesson: Dato’ Tajuddin was clear that he had to work hard and at time even slept at office to get a piece of work done. There is no shortcut and he was CEO of 5 organisations because of his grit and determination.
4. Analyse your circumstances and environment. He made a career decision to stay when he bosses left. This opened up opportunities for him.

Lesson: There is power in understanding your environment. During the good times when the market was up, a lot of people in the treasury team decide to venture on their own but Dato’ Tajuddin decided to stay on and it was one of the best career decisions he has made.
photo 4
5. Continue to reinvent yourself. Make calculated move and size the moment. “Download” – read books, meet people and learn!

Lesson: The Lean Start Up movement shared about the idea of pivot. You can apply to yourself and work on improving by learning and to see how to develop a better you.

6. Perseverance and single-minded focus in meeting your objective. Plan, execute and follow through. Don’t leave things to chance.

Lesson: As former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill once said, ‘Never, Never, Never Give Up.’ Success comes once you have that laser focus and execute on it. You can control where you are heading.

7. Pressure is part and parcel of the game. Learn to manage and deal with it. Learn to pick yourself up.

Lesson: Pressure allows you to work at peak performance. Dato’ Tajuddin shared about how competition leads to efficiency, He encourages the young working adults to leverage of pressure to get better at what they do.

8. Brain Power “70:30” to “30:70” (from structured vs unstructured). You start to use more brainpower as you climb the career ladder. So you think you are smart? Think again because everybody is smart!

Lesson: As you climb the ranks in the corporate ladder, you move from a technical person (from structured thinking) to a management person (to less structured thinking), don’t forget to remember that a transition like that is crucial lest you don’t grow in your career.

9. Mentoring and networking. Do it personally and professionally. Believe you me, it is exceedingly important.

Lesson: Connect with people, in this borderless platform you can connect with literally anyone with internet access. Here are Top 12 Star Entrepreneurs that You should Connect with for Business Success.

10. It’s all about timing. Opportunity presents itself, and when it does, think and use the skill sets that you have acquired to make a good decision.

Lesson: Opportunities knock a few times in your life, Dato’ Tajuddin received an opportunity to work in New York at 27 years old and he landed just in time for Black Monday (when stock markets around the world crashed) in 1987. That was a milestone in his life experiencing the ups and downs but he was glad to have taken up opportunities, which presented itself.

Dato’ Tajuddin summed it with the quote, “Cogito Ergo Sum” ~ René Descartes (I think therefore I am). Everyone is capable of being who they are, the key to success is to know where you want to head and set sail!

Jason Lee is an International Graduate, Standard Chartered Bank graduate programme. As a Gen Y in corporate world, he believes that there is an abundance of opportunities to be entrepreneurial wherever we operate. Connect with him @jasonleecj on Twitter.

The JobStreet Way: What I learned from Mark Chang

I still remembered Mark Chang’s parting advice to me when I told him that I was leaving JobStreet to start my own company.

“Go (forth and) take risks.”

I liked that so much that I got a poster made and mounted on my wall here inside the HackerHub where I work.

mark-chang-poster

Hanson Toh (ex-Google, now running his own startup Service Clicks) came to visit HackerHub a few weeks ago. When he saw the poster, he laughed and remarked disbelievingly, “Mark said this? Really? Mark Chang?

True enough, ‘taking risks’ perhaps won’t be something that immediately comes to mind when Mark is mentioned in any casual conversation. Indeed, the people who know Mark would usually describe him as “practical“, “conservative“, “thrifty“, “humble” and “grounded“. “Taking risks“? Nah… not that much.

But I know otherwise.

For someone the Focus newspaper called “the most successful techno-entrepreneur ever to surface in Malaysia”, Mark Chang is a low-profiled man. This was by design; he never enjoyed basking in the limelight that much.

I had lunch with a couple of startup entrepreneurs last Saturday, and we talked about the JobStreet billion ringgit deal.

To quote someone at the meeting verbatim, “I’ve heard (Mark) speak at a JobStreet fair once. A typical Chinaman.  You won’t imagine him to be the kind who makes billion dollar exits. And I heard he’s a real penny pincher, too!” I didn’t bother with a response.

I know that he may not fit into the swashbuckling entrepreneur-hustler archetype which we commonly associate with billion dollar exits. But to call Mark Chang a pussy-footed country bumpkin who penny-pinched his way to a billion bucks is a travesty.

And there’s this other side of him that’s not immediately obvious to many people (especially those outside JobStreet) – and that is his enormous benevolence.

I know this because Mark (and one of his other partners in JobStreet, Suresh Thiru) have been the people most generous to my career.

After leaving JobStreet, I asked Mark to mentor me, and he agreed. Additionally, I took a side consulting gig which required me to go back to JobStreet one day a week. I also had a weekly one hour slots with him where I would update him and get his advice on things that mattered.

And through Mark, I have had many doors opened, numerous pitfalls sidestepped and some hard questions answered.

I have connected with people who probably wouldn’t take my calls if not for Mark’s referral. I stopped short making a deadly blunder that could have left my budding business dead in a pool of blood if not for his advice (more on this later). I learned from him how to deal with unlimited requests with limited resources – especially relevant to a startup where time and money are scarce.

I kept in contact with Mark for about two years after I left JobStreet. However, for most of last year I had been working around the clock on building GoodPlace.my (a startup in the online property vertical), and in the midst of the hustle and bustle I have somewhat let my mentor-mentee relationship with Mark lapse.

Foolish, I know.

Then in February the news broke about the JobStreet deal with Seek. When I heard it, I had little butterflies in my stomach. The deal was enormous at MYR1,730,000,000 (spelled out for effect) for a complete buyout, representing the biggest ever exit for a Malaysian dotcom startup.

During a gathering with tech entrepreneurs at the HackerHub, we discussed about what the deal means for local startups, and how we could emulate JobStreet’s success in our own businesses. The following is a summary of what I shared during the meeting.

Work Hard And Wait For The Rain.

Mark used to quip, “I know only of the ‘kerbau’ (buffalo) way, that is, to work hard and wait for the rain.”

Truth be told, for a long time I have disagreed with him (albeit quietly). Indeed, for much of the early part of my entrepreneurial career, I was rather opportunistic in my focus and and short-term in my thinking. Instead of working hard on one thing and then wait for the proverbial ‘rain’, I would instead “look for places where rain is plenty, and then get a buffalo to do the work” (an antithesis to Mark’s approach).

My approach was scatter-gun by design, and it worked well. I made money in the online lead generation business; in simple terms, I provide a steady stream of potential customers to businesses online for a fee. At one point I had some 150 websites spitting out dollar bills in all the “hot” consumer niches – weight loss, self improvement, dating, meditation – you name it. There was absolutely zero focus; I had fingers in every pie where there was money to be had.

In short, Mark’s “work hard on one thing and wait for the rain” concept absolutely played no part in my business plan. In full hustler mode, I had simply gone to places where money was being made by the minute, hand over fist.

Churn-and-burn was the name of the game, and as such, the business model was deliberately mercenarial. You see, I didn’t care how the sites looked as long as they did what they were supposed to do: to capture, warm up and then redirect traffic to my clients’ websites. The lead generations sites could look as hideous as a Geocities site in 1998; as long as they made me money, I didn’t give a hoot.

And then things changed.

The KLCC Condominiums Database (a precursor to GoodPlace.my) was a hobby project which got started when I was interning at a property agency (more on this later).

And as I have never expected it to be a instant moneymaker, I decided to follow Mark’s approach for a change. Just as an experiment, I had thought.

The KLCC Condominiums Database was a collection of reviews of upmarket apartments located in the KLCC enclave. Different from the usual cookie cutter stuff that one would find at the developer website or a property portal, I wanted to provide impartial reviews of the condominiums, exposing the properties for what they truly were – the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

The proverbial ‘kerbau‘ then went to work. I had meticulously researched each property (mostly online, and also by talking to tenants, agents and building managers), collating and cramming as much original information as possible into each review.

I spent a good few Saturday afternoons wandering in the KLCC area taking pictures of the condominiums (and getting chased by the overzealous security guards in the process). I laboured over the website’s user interface with my limited Photoshop skills, ensuring that every pixel was in its rightful place. Exploiting my meager PHP skills, I manage to code a simple aggregator which pulled listings from external classifieds sites.

Sticking to the ‘wait for the rain‘ philosophy, promotion was deliberately kept at a minimum. Traction was painfully slow but I waited patiently.

And as I waited, I wrote more reviews, took more pictures and wrote some posts at the property section at the Low Yat forums. I also reached out to other property bloggers, local and international.

Eventually, the ‘rain’ did come, and when it did, it poured.

Traffic was initially trickling in from Low Yat and the other blogs, but then the search engines decided to place my site on top of the search results page for the majority of the property names (even beating some of the more established property sites). As a result, I was receiving hundreds of targeted search traffic per day which would have cost me a bomb if I were to buy them by the click.

For the last few years demand had been lagging supply in the KLCC property market, and with my website driving the majority of buyer leads online, it was easy for me to pitch property agencies. I didn’t do much shopping around although in the end I did close a nice six figure deal with an agency which I liked.

I am following the same blueprint for GoodPlace.my, and I am happy to report that it’s working well so far. At the time of writing, the GoodPlace network (which includes all our sister websites) is already servicing some 32,000 home buyers and agents a month despite near zero effort in promotion and marketing. All the on-site metrics look good – engagement is high, feedback is consistently good and email open and click thru rates are reportedly above industry average.

Make a superior product, get the word out and then wait for opportunities to knock; it worked for JobStreet, and there’s no reason it won’t work for your startup.

Build A Kickass Team.

Suresh Thiru is the Chief Operating Officer of JobStreet, and I have known him as one of the hardest taskmasters in my entire career.

suresh-hackerhub

Suresh ran JobStreet’s engine room. With a team of handpicked people with strong operational background, getting things done efficiently was the order of the day. Indeed, the guiding mantra was “serve fast, fill all” (the “fill all” part referred to job vacancies).

The competitive spirit was feisty. Eric Sito, one of Suresh’s ablest managers told me during my on-boarding at JobStreet, “Mark decides which war to win. My job is to fight that war.” I had never told him this, but I had greatly admired his work ethic and fighting spirit.

Suresh’s “get the work done” focus was the perfect complement to Mark’s strategic vision and moral compass. And together with Albert Wong (engineering), and Greg Poarch (finance) the foursome made a formidable team.

Mark’s ability to assemble a strong team reflected on my current struggle to recruit A-players into my own business.

Admittedly, I have been doing a reluctant job at reaching out to people, and as a result, I could have grown more quickly with a good team in place but I didn’t. Suresh knew that this was my biggest bottleneck, and he gave me a good dose of arse-walloping over my piss-poor effort at recruitment. Upon further reflection, I have decided to put in more effort to build up a team for the rest of the year – in particular, good hackers and people with strong operational background.

I still routinely go back to JobStreet to meet Suresh because I know that he gives me the straight talk that I need to hear (and yes, I am a sucker for pain). This brings me to my next point.

Listen To Your Elders.

In any industry, there are inevitably people who have already done the things that you want to do. Get them to help you. Ask them what the typical mistakes are. They can save you from months or even years of chasing rabbits.

Before I started GoodPlace.my, I had thought of joining a company which is already running a property classifieds website to learn more about the business.

Mark asked me not to do it. “Things might get complicated later,” he said.

Suresh was absolutely livid about the idea. I had defended myself, “I need to learn more. I know nothing about this business. I have no idea what I want to do exactly, and I might not end up competing with them anyway. And besides, I think it’ll be really fun.

But Suresh wouldn’t have any of that. “Yes, I know, STEALING can be FUN. Don’t do it.

He then offered, “If you want to learn about the property business, why don’t you work for my friend instead?” He then asked Previndran Singhe to take me in as an intern, who eventually gave me my first break in this business after I have launched GoodPlace.my.

Later I had found out that the property classifieds company that I had wanted to join had a rather chequered history – they seemed to take a leaf out of the Cut Throat Corporate Playbook with a history of attacking  competitors through frivolous lawsuits and mass poaching of employees.

What if I had indeed joined that company and then quit in six months to start a property site? I might have gotten sued into oblivion, putting a premature end to my budding entrepreneurial career with a single knock-out knee in the groin.

Truth be told, heeding the advice from the elders in the game have saved my hide, many, many times.

In most situations startup entrepreneurs will never have the benefit of hindsight, and as such, the advice of the those who have been-there-and-done-that is worth the weight in gold. Seek out the elders in your industry and ask for guidance; they will save you from a lot of unnecessary grief.

The JobStreet Way At Startups

At the end of my presentation at HackerHub I was asked, “JobStreet was founded some 16 years ago. Will this still work today?”

I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that it would.

For me, the JobStreet Way is a disciplined, level headed approach to building startups into profitable (and ultimately defensible) businesses.

Note the emphasis on the phrase “level headed”. Conservative management of growth is key. As such, for startups going down the “grow-quick-and-then-sell-for-a-million-bucks” route this may not be relevant at all. But for a long-term business delivering solid value to the user then this is a good blueprint to follow.

Indeed, these are the principles that GoodPlace.my get stitched into its founding DNA.

Eight figure exits are awesome, but that won’t be GoodPlace.my’s raison d’etre. It wasn’t JobStreet’s. It’s hard for me to imagine Mark thinking some 16 years ago, “I’m starting this job site, and I’m gonna sell it for a billion bucks.” That would be rather out of character for him.

Knowing Mark, he would probably have thought, “We’ll deliver a good service that fulfills a need or solves a problem, and the society will then reward us.“

And that’s exactly what I am going to do with GoodPlace.my.

With The Right Shoes, Christy Ng Can Conquer the World

Yes she can. Christy Ng is a successful businesswoman turned from a successful shoe designer in Malaysia. Her online shoe store ChristyNg.com with its slogan “Welcome to Shoe heaven” is growing very well and selling globally since she started it in July 2010. Recently, she also won the inaugural Alliance Bank BizSmart Award.  Here are some of my conversation, I had with her about being a designer and e-commerce entrepreneur.

 

Q. Normally great designers are not good at doing business or management and via versa. What’s your thought on this?

A good fashion designer might not be a good businessperson and similarly, a good businessperson may be a lousy designer. The idea is to focus on your key strengths and get people with complementing talents and skills to help grow your business.

 

Q. Selling shoes online is even more difficult than selling clothes online as if customer can’t be comfortable with shoes and her feet can feel painful. Things are much touchier when you’re selling custom-made shoes coz customers are very stylish and likely have more demands to touch and try real shoes. How can you deal with it?

Contrary to what you say, we find that buying shoes on the Internet is easier then buying cloths. As long as the customer knows her shoe size, the process is pretty straightforward. As for comfort, our high heel shoes come with an elevated platform front with thick insoles. Our products come with genuine leather back counter and are handmade from top quality materials. As for custom made shoes, our sales numbers are growing consistently from quarter to quarter because there is high demand for custom made shoes around the globe. We try our best to provide detailed and elaborate descriptions on our products on our web store. We also put extra effort to produce high quality studio images of the actual product, which we sell so that consumers can have a very good idea of our products before purchasing them.

Q. What are your top three customers’ countries in Southeast Asia besides Malaysia? Are their styles different?

1. Singapore
2. Indonesia
3. Philippines

Yes, their styles and tastes are very different. However, we obtain better sales from first world countries like America, Canada and Australia. Malaysians tend to prefer neutral or earth colors like nude, black and beige when they shop for high heel shoes whereas Filipinos and Indonesians love funky, edgy and colorful designs.

 

Q. What is the most difficult thing to sell products online over many countries?

It is definitely easier to target first world countries where Internet penetration and credit card usage is at its maturity.  The difficult part of selling products to different countries would be anticipating the different international customs rules and regulations of different countries. Some countries impose heavy import taxes and fees making it very difficult for online sellers to sell into such countries.

 

Q. Which factors involving in starting a new shoes design?

Understanding the customer’s needs and demands will be the most crucial step before we start designing a new product. We need to ensure the design WILL SELL before making it.

 

Q. Your FB page has an impressive number with nearly 200.000 fans. But I’m much more impressed with 100% 5 star rating from your shop on Etsy with more than 90 reviews. What is your secret to make them satisfied with such a high level? 

Our goal is to create the perfect pair of shoes for all women across the globe. We live by this mantra everyday. As the saying goes, “With the right pair of shoes, she can conquer the world.” Customer satisfaction will be the key to every success! It’s that simple.

 

Q. What are your priority next year: increase no of designs, quality of design, sales volume or?

Quality will always be our key priority. We believe that as long as we provide good value to all our customers, the sales will come automatically. The more happier customers you have, the higher your sales volumes will be.

 

Q. Finally, how about the role of Malaysia as a starting point market for your business? 

Being a Malaysian and starting my business here in Malaysia has been great. Malaysia is indeed the Shoe Capital of the world. We have many talented shoe designers and manufacturers here who have generations of skills in crafting handmade shoes. Malaysian made shoes are a class of its own. Apart from that fact, Malaysia’s booming economy and vibrant business opportunities makes my home country a stimulating marketplace for start-ups and SMEs. Also, the government has implemented several initiatives to help digital businesses propagate in Malaysia. The reduction of company tax by 1% in the recent budget 2014 is also another positive move in helping young businesses like myself thrive.

Examples of government initiatives include the Digital Malaysia initiative, which is aimed to drive the nation’s wealth creation and improve standards of living within the country in efforts to create a developed digital economy by 2020.

 

 

MOLPay introduces Secure 1-Click Payment to boost mobile payment experience

KUALA LUMPUR, 16 October 2013: MOLPay, a leading online payment solution provider in Southeast Asia, announced today a breakthrough in mobile payment user experience via its Secure 1-Click Payment where customers are now able to complete mobile transactions in a single click. In compliance with the central bank regulations, One Time Password (OTP) authentication will follow-through if a credit card is 3D- enabled.

With the new Secure 1-Click Payment, any return customers will be identified through their user profile with token, a secret key to store and retrieve customer’s credit card information from a secured vault. Therefore, no entry of credit card information is needed to authenticate the transaction.

MOLPay

“User experience is very important especially when it comes to mobile payments. We are excited to be able to offer our merchants a simple and yet secure payment experience.” says Eng Sheng Guan, CEO of MOLPay. MOLPay’s statistics with merchants during a pilot run of this service shows that merchants which utilise the MOLPay’s Secure 1-Click payment can see a 15% increase in successful transaction rates and a reduction in abandoned cart rate up of an estimated 25 per cent. MOLPay has continuously placed research and development efforts to improve its user experience especially for mobile users and introduced a newly enhanced payment page with responsive web design (RWD) technology which is optimised for both desktop and mobile device” screen resolution.

Maps Secure 1-Click Payment solution adheres to the highest security standard including global security standards such as Payment Card Industry: Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

 

About MOLPay
MOLPay is the leading payment gateway in Southeast Asia that provides global credit card processing and localized alternative payments including online banking, physical cash payment at convenience stores, over the counter, kiosk, etc.

MOLPay is also a Payment Service Provider at multiple banks in the region and non-bank acquirer for Malaysia Financial Process Exchange (FPX) which connects most of the online banking in Malaysia.

MOLPay is part of the MOL Global Group, one of the largest Internet companies in Southeast Asia with offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Australia/New Zealand. For more information about MOLPay, please visit us at www.molpay.com.

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