Thursday, January 2, 2014

More business lessons I picked up over 2013, first hand

As I plod on, I realised there are few more business lessons I have learned and personally experienced. Thought I should be writing on them to help consolidate my thoughts as well as share on the public domain, although these are pretty cliche.

A team of different skills is needed
While most of the time, there are many things I can do alone, I realised the time and effort that are spent may not be worth it. The the speed of execution is important.

In additional, I recognize that I lack a number of skills to make a business succeed.

This is where a team comes in. Not a team of people, but a team of skills. Lots of people I see form teams just for the sake of forming teams. Or from what they learned from schools, formed teams because the teacher says so and so will make a team.

I remember the time I was in NUS, where we had to do this project called EE2001 at the second year. Right from the first year as a uni student, I was already opening my eyes and judging fellow students as potential team mates for this project. Needless to say, I chose the best I know, and they know too I will contribute the best I can. Eventually our project clinched A. Sounds great! Until I know another team that clinched A+. That team was not as good as us individually I believe, but as a team they worked great! Each of them has different skillsets that were crucial to the success of the project, and together, they did it better than us!

The true meaning of teamwork lies in forming a team where people with different skillsets can come to work in synergy.

A great team helps to bring a project forward. While deep pockets can pay for teams, small pockets like mine could also go into partnerships with people who have these skills to bring things forward. But the ultimate goal is the same, to bring projects one step further ahead.

Think and live and breathe the business
A business cannot be handled as a "by the way" thing, even though it may be a sideline. No one ever starts a business by chance. No one wakes up one day and says "Hey I have a business!". No one.

By thinking about the business, living and breathing it, I mean to say that one must think as a business owner, to constant think and improve and innovate to first match, then reach above competition.
==> Sometimes, I really wonder about small retail investors who claimed that they buy the business are hence a business owner, when they aren't even involved in the process of thinking, improving and innovating for it.

There is no point having a business that is the exact duplicate of the one next door. What makes a bubble tea shop better than the other one down the road? What makes this tuition centre better than the other one just beside? 

In essence, one must be always thinking on how to improve the business, make it better, and more helpful, more value, to customers. This distinguishes the business in the long run.

Initially, the constant thinking portion may be tough, but persist in thinking and over time, human brains will adapt, and eventually be constantly thinking about the business. Right now as I'm typing out, I'm still thinking how to bring my projects forward and make my tuition more effective and be able to reach out and help more students. It has been conditioned this way for over a year, and it is now second nature.

Instead of investing in a business with a economic moat, why not create a business and create your own economic moat? 

Dare to experiment
The school system in Singapore is such that failures are not tolerated, and are in fact punished. It is nature that effective punishments will tend to change behaviour and characteristics, which is why it has been around for centuries. And because many become afraid of failures, many probably do not dare to experiment.

But in the world of business, experimentation may need to failures. But without experimentation, how could a business grow? How is it possible to innovate and come up above the rest? Failures serve as a feedback mechanism that a particular method doesn't work, and it just means that another method should be experimented!

I still remember in my workplace previously, whenever I want to experiment in another way to do certain stuff which I believe will be more efficient and just as effective, I was chisled by my supervisor. His words were: "just do according to the documents and don't be too creative; it might affect your future in this company." 

To be fair, the company was an established MNC, and many systems were in place to ensure things get done. What my supervisor told me was not wrong. Put it in another way, it means, just follow the system and don't create a new one. 

But my brain was really bored by following systems. I wanted to improve it, to update it, to come out with new stuff. I see the 40 year olds in the company (no offence) being stuck in the company for years, doing the same and almost repetitive tasks of following the systems every year for more than 10 years! 

I want to experiment, but just like during school days, I was told not to!

What's better to just come out and experiment and create systems myself?

Ok I shall this post here, and come up with another post on the other aspects I have learned and understood soon.


  1. Wealth Buch,

    In 5 men DOTA 2, we can't have everyone playing the role of carry ;)


    I find you recent sharing very interesting!

    We have too many gilded peasants working for land owners sharing their journey of the day when they will break their shackles of bondage. (Journey to escape)

    We have too few entrepreneurs sharing their journey towards land ownership. (Journey to achieve)

    Refreshing as ice cola on a hot summer's day!

    1. LOL SMOL, you so fast see my blog post.

      I have more lessons picked up but not yet consolidated. Slowly slowly :x

  2. "The true meaning of teamwork lies in forming a team where people with different skillsets can come to work in synergy."

    No man is an island.


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