From an intern of a company incorporated by the current business partner to a full-time staff to a co-founder and working mother of one now, Jeslin Bay demonstrated strong faith and resilience in her actions. After her graduation, she took an unconventional route of entrepreneurship. Most of her peers did not comprehend her choice as she can choose to work in multi-national corporations or government sectors, which was still an impression to many as prestigious and stable. Knowing that she would receive many advices not to walk the unusual path, she decided not to seek much opinions from others and forged ahead.
1. Why do you choose to do this business?
I always wanted to become an entrepreneur since the age of 15, not just running a business but multiple businesses concurrently. I often discussed my business ideas with my friends during class hours. One of them has now set up a café with zoo / forest concept whereby students can pay by hourly basis or subscription to study there.
This has affected my course selection in polytechnic and university. I was tempted and almost take up fashion designing course but in the end, I chose to enter business faculties in both institutions. I told myself then that I would want a career in business that involves creativity. Consulting might be the desired career that can help invoke creativity. This also could be the fastest way I can get to understand how to manage businesses and learn the challenges and mistakes from other entrepreneurs.
2. Describe your typical working day.
The first thing I will do in the office is to have a quick glance on my mailbox. This is to ensure that all important emails are well-addressed. Overlooking may cost a potential deal to be gone.
As I am mainly in charge of Taiwan, I will liaise with the partners and my team at Taiwan office by arranging calls to host meetings. The calls are set in the afternoon as I will need to prepare beforehand.
Most of the planning and operational matters will be done after working hours, between 11pm to 2am.
3. Why are you unconventional?
The challenge I would constantly face is lacking years of experience. We must understand that we can never catch up with the years of experience to the seniors, thus by differentiating yourself will create value that is hard to be replaceable.
As such, I like to do things in an unconventional way. One good example will be picking up fencing in university. Years of experience in this sport can make a huge difference as it involves physical training, how refined your action, understanding of rules and acting fast. In other words, it depends heavily on muscles memory and habit.
Therefore, I worked around my lack of experience by focusing on a move that most people would not be comfortable to deal with as it was seldom used by people due to the high level of risk to execute. This help compensate my challenge and achieve triumph.
4. How do you handle adversity, fear and doubts?
Acknowledgement is important. Most of the things are uncertain. I will just need to accept it and move on. Always make decisions that have some forms of uncertainty. This will set you apart from the rest.
Figure: Jeslin and his son, Xander
5. What are the 3 habits / key activities do you think one should have to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur you will likely be racing against time. Often, you will tend to feel that you have less time than others and have to maximise the values of the time spent.
Furthermore, we operate as a startup, the resources will not be as much as the others and it is vital for us to allocate them well even though there are matters that may look lucrative. The most common startup failures is running out of cash and thus, focusing on wrong area can be fatal as there are minimal rooms for mistakes.
What I realised in my entrepreneurial journey is that you do not know when you would need favour from others. Help others if you can but always ensure the time spent is moderate and it should not affect your day-to-day activities. Most deals were done through close connections and trust.
Planning / strategising the next move:
The key is to keep at least 3 steps ahead in all business meetings and engagements. One good way will to apply the principle of causality. One thing (the cause) under certain conditions shall give rise to cause something else (the effect). For example, if I were to propose A, how would the other party react? How should I address their concern and handle that reaction? And how can it lead to the desired outcome of B? Thus, it is important to draw out the possibilities and then enhance the cause to result in the end goal.
Always anticipate the key 3 points when you are striking a deal or proposing a partnership:
– How can the other party benefit? (Usually the other party will want to see the more immediate ones than in the future)
– How can you benefit? (Will it be immediate or in the future?)
– Who else within the circle of both parties can speed up the achieving your joint goals?
6. What are the responsibilities of a business owner / entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is definitely responsible for the survivability and performance of the company, with bottom line as emphasis. You basically have to know all functions even though you may not be strong in everything.
Another responsibility is to ensure that their successor is ready to fill in the gap of his / her absence or even take over the position when required. A company seldom works well without an identified and trained successor.
However, it is not solely the entrepreneur’s responsibility to ensure all employees achieve their goals. As an entrepreneur, you need to make the right decision for the organisation and not the welfare of employees because if the organisation is failing, the employees will usually get the first direct impact.
7. What is the one advice you will give to someone that is just starting out?
Be unconventional but practical. What you can think of, there is a likelihood that others are doing so. It is not easy to find a person with these two traits as they do not usually gel well. However, do look for such person and bounce ideas with one and always believe that both of you can complement with each other despite the tendency of heated debates.
About BlackStorm Consulting
BlackStorm Consulting is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.