Dr Ting advises entrepreneurs to think global
| Danial Norjidi |
THE size of your business is limited only by the size of your thinking. For entrepreneurs, changing one’s mindset from thinking locally to globally is crucial towards growing and achieving success. Despite the obstacles every problem and challenge should not be seen as discouraging but as an opportunity.
These points were underlined at the Local Business Development Forum yesterday by the Chief Co-Creation Officer and Founder of the Strategic Co-Creation Group, Malaysia, Dr Peter Ting.
Speaking at the forum, which was held at the Radisson Hotel in the capital, Dr Ting said that we are living in a “global village”, and that competition is no longer local but global.
An innovative mindset is imperative he said before adding, “We need to shift from the conventional industry’s boundary of confinement and redefine it, rather than confining ourselves to these boundaries.”
He also spoke on the need to re-orientate strategic focus. “Rather than thinking about competing within the existing market space, look at creating new, uncontested market space,” he said. “Rather than focusing on the same customers, look at non-customers.”
He highlighted examples of fitness centres, mother support groups, child day care centres and music. All these things are different, however, by shifting and redefining the boundaries of the conventional industry, an opportunity can arise.
He cited the example of a company in China called ‘My Gym’, which combined a fitness centre with aspects of gymnastics, parental support, music, art and IQ development. It has proven to be very successful with more than 250 centres in more than 30 countries.
My Gym, he said, was able to transcend the boundaries of conventional industry to reach and turn non-customers (in this case, parents and children) into customers.
Another cited example was of Pao Ahmad, a pioneer in homemade Halal buns, who now exports his products to the global market. “We enlarge our market space if we redefine our market boundaries,” Dr Ting said.
Moving on, he highlighted, “If we act local but think global, the world is at your doorstep. We are now living in a global village.”
He elaborated further, “I think for too many years we were influenced by competitive strategy, even in school. So all the graduates coming are out to compete rather than thinking of creating a new market space where there is no competition, where the rules of competition are yet to be written because you are the pioneer. You define your own rules of competition.”
Asked for his impression of Brunei’s business environment he said, “I think that there is a sense of eagerness among entrepreneurs who have already achieved a certain level and have peaked.
“So they’re wondering how to get to the next level and some seem to feel that the local market has very little room to move. They’re looking at how to move into the global market space.
“If I focus on doing local business, my time is still the same as that of doing global business. Doing global business doesn’t mean I need to set up an office in every country that I want to penetrate.
“We’ve heard about micro SMEs (small and medium enterprises) but there is a new movement called ‘micro multinational’. That means that you may be small but you are going international. How? A virtual office. If we are selling virtual goods, for example, an idea or a design, you can deliver it virtually.
“If it’s to do with physical goods, then logistics and supply chain management are required and even if I don’t know, I don’t have to do everything. I must focus on what I do best, so this is where I co-create with someone who is involved with supply chain management or a logistics expert, preferably with someone whose country’s tax is low because it will benefit my profit margin.”
Dr Ting himself had a venture in China for which he outsourced HR and accounting management to a local company there, allowing him to focus on other priorities elsewhere.
“If I have this mentality, that means that while my business may be small, I know that my small business will have the potential to grow big if I think globally. If I was thinking locally, I would not be coming up with solutions as to how my business can go global. I would not be thinking of the markets in China or the Middle East. I would not be thinking of the rest of the world.
“To me, the size of my thinking will determine the size of the business that I’m doing. If my thinking is just small, my business will stay just small. I will end up always looking for excuses and reasons to explain why I failed to go global. But if I already make up my mind to go global, I will always be looking for solutions rather than waiting for solutions to come to me.”
This, he said, should be a personal initiative. “Be proactive. Make things happen. If you just wait for things to happen, you don’t know how long you need to wait.
“It’s a complete shift of mindset. If I have this mindset, I’m solution-oriented. Every problem is an opportunity for me to provide a solution. If I can come up with a solution, I can make money out of it,” he concluded.