Sound management skills crucial
Have a good business plan that has been validated by experienced business professionals. You also need to know how to get funding. Funding is available. You just need to know how and when to get it. By networking with government agencies, NGOs and attending the right networking sessions, you should be able to meet your potential partners and investors for your business.
Get some working experience before embarking on your own business. You need to learn how to handle people, manage projects and be a team leader. Without good sound management skills, you are setting yourself up for failure before you even start your business. Patience, perseverance, persistence and empathy are some of the finer traits that will help you in your endeavour.
How do you maintain work-life balance? Playing golf is my favourite hobby besides singing. I have been playing golf since the 1990s. So Saturdays are devoted to this passion of mine. Sundays I spend time with my family catching up on what I have missed. It is non-stop eating out for us on Sundays, from breakfast to dinner.
I also watch TV, especially the news channels. After hours during the week, I also spend time with customers and clients.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal lives? During my career I had a chance to work with a group of colleagues who were ex-IBM employees who taught me an important principle – show respect for an individual. This principle has guided me throughout my career and in my interaction with my colleagues, clients, customers and staff.
I also admire my Japanese business partner who, at the ripe old age of 77, is so healthy that he walks faster than me. He is also willing to share the knowledge he has gained from his vast global experience. This I find has really helped me as 80% of my business is outside of Malaysia. If a particular economy is down, it is best to move on to another emerging market where the opportunities are abundant.
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Personally I would like to see all my four children be successful in life. I would also like to help Pikom reach new heights and to accomplish the six thrusts which are: globalise the Malaysian ICT industry; increase the competitiveness of the ICT industry; develop human capital resources; lead the digital trend; enhance value to members; and accelerate growth of Malaysian ICT demand.
Best piece of advice you ever received in your career? Be healthy as it keeps your mind clear.
Who is your most-admired business leader? Why? Jack Ma. What he has achieved is remarkable and very admirable, not forgetting inspiring. It shows just what you can achieve if there is vision and passion.
How do you stay abreast of issues affecting your industry? Pikom has given me the opportunity to network with technopreneurs and, through this network, I have learnt or continue to stay abreast not just on the latest hot trends but also of what’s coming next, that is, the next big thing.
What was your biggest failure and how did you learn from it? If you want to start a business, make sure you have enough support – finance, infrastructure and skilled people. This is crucial to sustain the business and take it to the next level.
What man-made innovation confounds you? Why? I would prefer to say amazed rather than confounded.
This would be the internet. It has connected people globally, making the world smaller. It has brought tremendous changes in both our personal and business lives in such a profound way. It has paved the way for more technology breakthroughs. I don’t think social networking sites would have existed without it. We have to thank the inventors of internet for changing the world.
What do you think is Malaysia’s greatest brand? AirAsia. It’s a Malaysian brand that has gone on to great heights. It espouses vision, dynamism, innovation, courage and is truly a company we can get behind as Malaysians.
Blue or Red Ocean Strategy? Or neither? Why? Go both. Understand both strategies before implementing.
A must-read for every business owner/ manager is ... Stephen Covey: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s life-changing and will open your mind and spirit to the wonderful possibilities out there as well as your own personal potential.