Focus on potential growth

Entrepreneurs share their thoughts on shaping a successful business

A FEW years ago, diversification was quite a buzzword among businesses. Companies were looking at ways to diversify into different business segments to spread their risk and vary their revenue sources.

But successful entrepreneurs have advised SMEs to know their market and where possible, concentrate on their core busines.

To grow and be successful, companies need to know their market and customers before jumping into anything, said ExcelVite Sdn Bdn chief executive officer WH Leong.

Many companies tend to invest in other ventures without researching and studying the market, he noted.

“Do not jump in just because you want to join the bandwagon. Don’t just dive into something you are not familiar with. Many companies fall into this trap and lament their plight.

“Personally, I read a lot and understand the market nature before making any decisions. If they are able to nurture their core and attributes, they will be on the right track when it comes to growth,” he told participants at the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2017 Learning Series workshop in Ipoh.

However, entrepreneurs should not be afraid to venture into uncommon fields if they do see a potential for growth, said MK Curtain Group managing director Datuk Calvin Khiu Fu Siang.

Khiu, who spoke at the workshop in Johor, shared his background story as an example of someone who took the plunge because he was confident about the potential of his business. Khiu went from selling kuih at night markets to running a thriving textile business.

“If you are born into a rich family, you would find a diamond among the gold. But if you are not born with a silver spoon, then you’ll need to find gold among trash,” he said.

The speakers at the Learning Series workshops also shared their thoughts with the participants on what contributes to a successful business.

Leong reminded business owners that their employees are the company’s best asset and are vital in helping the company grow.

“If you get at least 70% of your employees to believe in what you do, they would do anything for you. They would not mind taking the bullet for you because they feel the company is like their baby too. That is what I always tell the staff at ExcelVite,” he added.

Khiu agreed, adding that there was also a need to provide a sense of security as well as a sense of direction, belonging and accomplishment for your employees.

“You have to explain to your workers on where your company is heading. Treat them as family and they will do the same in return, and share your successes with them so they feel included,” he said.

Khiu also attributes his success to three core values: gratefulness, respect and positivity.

“We have to be grateful and have mutual respect for our employees and customers, as they are the backbone of our business, without which a company cannot grow.

“Keeping a positive vibe is also important, there is no point in complaining because while we may not be able to change the world, we can change ourselves first,” said Khiu.

Meanwhile, Feruni Ceramiche Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk CC Ngei noted that there were four methods to achieving a sustainable business, which are cultivating talent, giving back to the community, keeping the industry interesting and running a value-based organisation.

Ngei said the ultimate goal for a business should be to bring happiness to its employees and stakeholders.

“Thus, the methods will surround the goal,” said Ngei, who also spoke at the workshop in Johor.

Ngei also advised SMEs not to limit their business potential and to create more value-added services to keep their clients happy.

The final Learning Series workshop for the year will be held in Petaling Jaya on July 27 at Menara Star. The workshop will feature 3R Quest Sdn Bhd director Jerome Heah who will share about the company’s success in running a successful and green business.

Entry for the SOBA Learning Series is free of charge but seats are limited. Interested participants are encouraged to register at to secure a seat on a first-come-first-served basis.

SOBA is open to all local enterprises that are not part of a multinational group or listed group and are incorporated in Malaysia with foreign equity not exceeding 50%. Those who wish to participate may obtain the Awards submission pack from The Star or download the forms from the website.

Deadline for entries is Oct 13, 2017.

SOBA 2017 is organised by Star Media Group with AmBank, DiGi and HRDF as main sponsors, CGC as co-sponsor, Matrade as official trade promotion partner and Connexion Conference & Event Centre as official venue sponsor.

It is endorsed by the Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME), Prime Minister’s Department, and the Finance and International Trade and Industry ministries.

It is supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO, with 988, SuriaFM and dimsum as official media partners.

For enquiries, call The Star events business unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1432 (Jasmine)/ 1657 (Victor) or visit