SMEs Advised To Be Independent, Not Relying On Funding

Posted on  07/11/2012  |  Media Centre

By Danial Norjidi

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 08:01

Jerudong – For entrepreneurs to develop their SMEs into companies that are successful and strong, it is imperative that they learn to survive and stand on their own two feet without relying on funding.

Dr Peter Ting, “the Regional Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Market Creations at the UCSI Blue Ocean Strategy Regional Centre said this yesterday during an interview with the Bulletin during the Asia Inc Forum’s Local Business Development Forum at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

Earlier this year, Dr Ting told the Bulletin that Brunei is well on its way to achieving Vision 2035, with two of the three visions have already been achieved where the only one left is building high intellectual human capital.

In that interview, he highlighted that the one impediment was the mindset of SMEs in thinking that Brunei is too small.

Following up on that, Dr Ting this time around once again asserted that Brunei was well on his way, saying that the quality of life here in Brunei is many times better than even the top 10 countries in the world.

“All good things come with a price,” he said before adding, “However, just because they seem free, they aren’t, because someone is paying for it.”

“Whoever pays for it, that person becomes stronger. Whoever does not pay for it, and takes it without the right mind-set will become weaker, because you will always be looking for subsidies, and always looking for funding.

“My personal view is that, if you really want to be strong and go regional, go about your business as if there is no funding,” he continued. “That means that you plough on with your business, think innovation, think about the value that you are going to give your target customers or the new market that you want to create.”

Elaborating, he said that the fact is there are so many excellent schemes here in Brunei that people can really tap into.

“I believe that if we have the mindset, one can conduct their business as if there is no funding, yet at the same time apply smart strategy to tap into the funding,” he said.

He stressed that funding should not be the life and death of the SME or organisation, saying, “It should be optional extra to help us scale up to the next level faster, to help expand faster, and maybe for some R&D and market research before launching any new products or services.”

Possessing such an attitude will help entrepreneurs and their businesses become more resilient and stronger, underscoring that having the mentality that there will always be funding can lead to complacency.

“If you always think – ‘government is too slow, doesn’t give me help’ – then you will always be looking for help instead of looking for a solution,” he said. “It means you haven’t learnt to be independent, because the moment we go regional, we really have to stand very strong on our own two feet.”

As an example, he said that if one is doing business in another country and for some reason ends up having to face legal proceedings for one thing or another, “your government can’t help you.

“You have to stand on your own two feet. You have to fight your own legal battles,” he said, adding that, from such things, one can learn how to handle and solve problems with less money, because in business, every single cent that is saved can be considered profit.

“This kind of lesson I didn’t learn from doing my MBA. My MBA professor never taught me how to fight a court case. It’s about learning to stand up on our own.

“We didn’t get a single cent of subsidy from our Malaysian government, and we became stronger as a result,” he continued. “So my advice would be to learn to stand strong as if you don’t have funding, because sometimes funding coming in can cripple our innovation.”

He reiterated that if the survival of a business depends on funding, then without that funding, that particular business will die.

“So if my business is already surviving without it, then when funding does come, I will do even better,” he commented.

Dr Peter Ting, Regional Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Market Creations at the UCSI Blue Ocean Strategy Regional Centre, speaking at the event.

Yesterday’s forum was themed ‘Creating Breakthrough Growth’, and touching on this, Dr Ting said that if a company wants to go beyond nominal growth, then possessing that way of thinking is very important.

He said that one should not simply blame one’s government or the bank, but rather try solving the problem by oneself Solving it yourself, he said, could be looking at what you have, and thinking about how you can repackage what you have, sell more and as a result, make more money.

He also recalled a friend of his who came to him with a cash flow problem. “I asked him, ‘have you maximised your retail sale?’ to which he replied ‘not yet’. I told him to go and sell what he has and then increase his revenue and profit margin rather than waiting for the money to drop from the sky, which will never happen.

“I recently got in touch with him, and he’s now doing okay, rather than thinking of selling or quitting his business,” he added. “So rather than constantly thinking about having a cash flow problem, why don’t you solve it yourself by increasing your sales?”

Dr Ting yesterday delivered a ‘presentation in which he explained the Blue Ocean Strategy, which entails looking for untapped markets through innovation, as opposed to red oceans, which are markets that involve a lot of competition.

–Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin