Entrepreneur on finding opportunities

Posted on  31/01/2012  |  Media Centre

By Danial Norjidi and Jake Ten

It’s all about being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time.

These were the words of wisdom from Fong Wai Hong, the Chieftain of successful Australian multi-niche online retailer, OZHut, in an interview with the Bulletin at Asia Inc Forum’s unplugged session yesterday.

Explaining the secret behind his company’s success, he said, “It changed four times. We started out as an eBay discerner, and we evolved into an eBay website, then went through website, website, website, and it changed many times.”

“I always say this, ideas are one per cent of a business, 19 per cent is hard work, and 80 per cent is just being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, and the only way you will see that 80 per cent is if we have those eyes, we keep looking out, taking the next step, and genuinely engaging people.

“I don’t think it’s complicated, because sometimes the simple things are the hard things to do. Being pleasant to the people you meet, sometimes people may say weird things and whatever, and just being engaging, I think that is important. You have to maintain that pleasantness.”

Wai Hong explained that he has met so many people who may be very unassuming, (for example), and though they may not look very impressive, they turn out to be some of the loveliest people you’ve ever met and the most well connected, and they will introduce you to other people.

“Sometimes you meet some big – name people who have big titles, who are not very nice people at all, but those connections help a lot,” he said.

Asked if a steady network is required to be successful, he answered, “I don’t think so, you need to know the right kind of people, and sometimes the right kind of people don’t come from aggressive networking, they come from being pleasant, and engaging each person as they are.”

Using Melbourne, Australia as an example, he said that people look at him and sometimes don’t even want to talk to him, because he may “not look very impressive”, but said that this is fine, because those people are those he may not even need to engage with and are not the right kind of people he needs to network with.

“I think everyone is on a different journey, and the key is for people to understand what journey they are on, and for me, I was never a ‘dream big’, had ‘big visions’ kind of entrepreneur, I was more of an accidental entrepreneur. I kind of just stumbled into business, where I was helping out my uncle, and one thing led to another.”

Wai Hong highlighted that taking the incremental change was a huge thing, taking one thing at a time, taking the next step, and described this as being a very big part of my journey, because he didn’t know what he was climbing, and was just very focused on taking the next step.

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