By Vincent Mariel P. Galang
IT takes years before a business is established, but it also takes an eternity to maintain it.
At the recent Taipan Business Summit, several businessmen shared how they built their companies and how they addressed various challenges to maintain their success.
William Tiu Lim, chief executive officer of Mega Global Corp. — the manufacturer and distributor of sardines brand Mega Sardines, said keeping one’s focus is important.
He started as a small fishing company in 1975. He was a major supplier of Manila-based canneries during those times, until he decided to go into canning operations as well. In 1999, the Mega Sardines brand was born.
“If you keep changing your focus, you have less time to succeed. I have had many opportunities to divest, but I stayed focused on fishing. You have to put your heart and mind to your vision and never give up, no matter the odds,” Mr. Lim said.
“Curiosity turns into challenges. Once you have known the fact, how can I do better? It’s a really mindset change,” he added.
Mr. Lim said an idea should not be discarded when it can’t be used now.
“It’s not always a failure. It’s a learning that you keep to yourself that if circumstances changes, you could easily adapt,” he said.
At present, one of his sons, Marvin Tiu Lim, works at Mega as the vice-president for sales and marketing.
“We are empowering people for them to come across and to take charge. The old generations, if your still holding on to power, I would say that you have to open up because your kids are brighter than you, have more ideas. You just have to be the controlling factor at the back. Work together,” Mr. Lim said.
Myrna Tang Yao, president and chief executive officer of Richprime Global Inc., said challenges can bring opportunities for personal growth. Richprime is the distributor of toys such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price in the Philippines.
Ms. Yao recalled how she once backed a company official, who later proved to have betrayed her. She said this was her biggest mistake, but this did not stop her from growing the company.
“You will find out that these are really opportunities to grow, to step, to develop into someone or something better,” she said.
Businessmen should not be afraid to take on new experiences, Ms. Yao said, since this will teach them to become more creative in managing the company.
“Don’t be afraid to create and try new ideas. Will we make mistakes? Of course, but we should march forward despite the challenges you will encounter,,” she said.
In addition, Ms. Yao said companies should not be afraid to adapt to technology as this will be an essential part of future businesses.
CHANGING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
Amid changes in the business environment, Enrico U. Dee, chief executive officer of FooDee Global Concepts, said companies should be able to adapt to the changing needs of consumers. As consumers become more diverse, companies should be able to address their needs.
“We really have to focus on customer experience… Different segments have different needs and tastes that we have to focus on. To stay in business, we have to reshape, re-image, re-invent, and re-engineer what we have today. Never be complacent,” he said.
Mr. Dee’s company is behind food brands such as Mesa, Sunnies Café, FoodLink, TimHoWan, The Foodhall, The HawkerChan, and Mangan.
He noted that the company recently set up a division that will solely address customer experience to ensure their satisfaction.
ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
David Leechiu, chief executive officer of Leechiu Property Consultants, said that it is important for entrepreneurs to stay grounded and to keep a balance in life and work.
“Life is war, life is struggle, but we have to struggle for balance, and this I think from what I’ve learned, man is not just money, looks, or spirit. It’s all of these things combined, and we have to struggle to live as balance and complete person,” he said.
He also reminded young people to not underestimate themselves.
“Many opportunities, but also many challenges and when you are facing that opportunity or challenge, you have to think very clearly because if you are not, and you are facing these opportunities and challenges, you will make very big, long lasting mistakes,” he noted.
Bernie Liu, chief executive officer of Golden ABC, Inc. which includes Penshoppe, reminded young entrepreneurs that success does not come instantly.
“I think that perspective is lost in a lot of young people. A lot of young people want to grow fast, and it’s good, but you also have to be grounded, know who you are, know what you are capable of and you build it one at a time,” he explained.
“It’s a good reminder for everyone that every business has more failures than successes. Be patient,” Mr. Liu added.