How do you think an SME can outdo a bigger corporation in delivering the same services?
I will say, don’t be like the big boys. Play up on your uniqueness. The big boys have big branding, many employees, good addresses just to name a few. You will kill yourself just to be the same. Instead of a bus, you can be a bicycle and be happy. There are some alleys that a bus cannot get in. You can take on more risks and explore.
When you’re small, your communication can be tighter. There are big roads and there are alleys, and you must go in and run faster. So a bus can travel a longer distance at a certain speed, but it can’t see certain things. A bike can see clearly and enjoy the ride. As a SME, my cost structure is low. If a client knocks on my door, I look at their dreams. If you are with them at the start-up, they will come back for you.
What do you do when your client says “no” to your recommendations?
When customers say no, the first thing I do is seek to understand. Did I miss out something during the briefing? I put myself in their shoes and seek to understand their objections. If client is right, then I will rework. If clients do not understand, then I will seek clarification through showing more examples.
My main focus is their growth. Even if clients may not agree due to resource constraints, I would’ve walked away happy because my calling in life is betterment. I have expanded the client’s mind. Growth comes in many stages. First you must see it in your mind. Then next in the area you’re talking about. I also feel that when my client disagrees with me, it’s a learning opportunity for me too.
If you could describe your leadership style in just one word, what would it be?
Empowerment. I have the assumption that people are smart and capable of decision making. All I need to do is ignite that. If it’s not coming out then maybe I’m not enabling that. I’m a bottle opener. I shake the can for an effervescent and catalytic reaction. I believe it starts from quality conversations.
If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in business, what would you like it to be?
I would like to draw and express myself visually. In this information loaded world, there’s so much to read and there may not be clarity. When you draw, you need to have clarity in what you draw, so it connects to people in non verbal ways. You can draw emotions apart from just using text.
If you had to choose the title of your autobiography, what would it be?
A learning person.
If you could be featured in The Business Times, what would you want the headlines to say?
“Create and innovate”. There are times when we tune in to limiting beliefs and I say—be authentic to yourself. Look deep within and work on what is good. We are often looking out and wishing. Why not dig deep and play up on your uniqueness? Capitalise on that talent and become something. If you have it and don’t want to look at it, then why would others want to look at you? It’s your responsibility to look at it first.
You must be still and know what you like to do. Because when you know what you like, the best comes out. Don’t let conventional pressure put you on the wrong path. Look for the right job that can utilise your talent. You make magic slowly, one at a time. Be confident, be a growing person, go with your heart, never settle. One day you will meet the ultimate client and your mind has been trained for this client. If you’re not learning and stretching, then when the real client comes, you’re not prepared.
If you could appear on the cover of any magazine, what would the magazine and caption be?
I would say it’s a magazine about business insights, strategy and upcoming trends for senior executives. The caption is, “Growing Communities.” I want to impress on everyone that no man is an island. You can’t do things alone.
In order to grow the community, you must be a growing person. I would love to join a growing community, I’m excited about it and I want to be part of it. If you look at a property such as the mall as a community, you’d think about how to bring people here. If you look at your phone as a way of growing that community, then you would use it to take photos, post pictures and connect with others. It’s all about communicating.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Success is when I set a goal and I achieve that, or even more than what I set out to do. What’s the critical number that I’m looking at? What does success look like? It’s setting a goal and reaching that goal. Once I set the goal, I’m very focused on it and pursue it relentlessly.
If Bootstrap were a superhero, which one would it be?
I would say Yoda. Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try”. He is a very intelligent being and has the foresight. He’s also quiet. When he says something, it’s very impactful and he brings out the best in you. He’s like the master but a very low profile one.
What’s next for Bootstrap?
I hope to attract like-minded consultants and specialists to serve and promote betterment for companies and individuals, one at a time. People who want to make a difference and express themselves in the name of betterment. Every job we get, we do it to the best of our ability. Instead of chasing after numbers, I want to do well one at a time.
In our team we have the ideation process. I beg to differ that designers and writers do only design and writing. They must understand the crux of the matter. Our team is multidisciplinary—it is good when your wordsmith is also a business strategist. We all look at the problem before giving a total solution.