It is always inspiring to hear personal business stories of entrepreneurs who overcame all odds and doubts in venturing into business and make it big. Last Sunday, I just read about how a 35 years old Thai Express Founder Ivan Lee, who started his F & B business with $300K and eventually sold his controlling stake for a sizeable $114 million in the process netting himself $80 million.
What was even more impressive was Ivan had no background or experience in F & B business before he first ventured into his first F & B business. Despite all his doubters, including his family members, about the viability of his business when he first started, he persevered and carried on. Apparently, his father-in-law was also a successful entrepreneur who founded the contract manufacturing firm JIT Holdings and sold it to Fortune 500 company Flextronics for $1 billion in 2000. This deal netted the senior Mr Goh some
$300 million. When starting out, he had benefitted from the financial and advisory support given by his father-in-law, but, subsequently, he went against his father-in-law advise by venturing into other restaurant businesses which were highly successful and are now contributing about two thirds of the business turnovers. An element of luck also play an important part in his business success as he had opened close to 100 stores but about 10 to 20 percent of the stores were not profitable. So he was lucky that his first 10 ventures were successful which provided the cash flow for his subsequent business expansion.
He is now venturing into the internet market in China despite not being in the IT industry. When The Sunday Times journalist contacted him, it found the entrepreneur in Shenzhen, experiencing growing pains all over again. He says that his friends and family are again doubting his new venture. His remark was: “I am a rooke now playing in a much bigger league and I feel like I am nine years back, starting all over again.” This young millionaire is setting his eye on his next big venture where he wants to build the next Baidu (China’s equivalent of Google) or even the next Facebook.
Lesson learnt: To make it big in business you need to be bold, have perseverance and be unique and certainly having financial support from family helps and also an element of luck. He is certainly one hack of a brave entrepreneur!
My advise is learn about internet and social media marketing before plunging into the business and be better prepared for your business venture into the internet marketing world. I am making use of my internet skills to help develop and launch community websites Henley Brunel MBA Alumni (Singapore) and other commercial websites for corporate businesses.
Good luck to all of you out there running your start-up businesses!