The seminar named “Formulating Strategy for Sustainable Growth – From Ideas to Start-up to Sustainable Growth” was organized by Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) on 19th Nov 2015. This seminar aimed to share successful entrepreneur’s experience about the strategy for sustainable growth through successful entrepreneurs’’ cases.
The guest speaker was Mr. Cary Tu (Founder and Director, CWN Connsulting Ltd.) who was successful entrepreneurs, non-executive diretors and board member of number of companies in China, the Chief Executive’s Commendation for Community Service – HK SME Development in 2014, as well as Committee and advisor to the Centre for SMEs under Trade and Industry Department, HKSARG. He asked 8 questions which startup or SME usually faced to and shared some cases in each question. I would like to summarize what Mr. Cary Tu shared to us below.
1. Big idea but limited resource
Mr. Cary Tu told us must to “Focus” for a quick startup. He would ask some questions such as “How many clients do you need to breakeven?” or “Do you product/service only one thing and the best in Hong Kong?” He advised to be focused on one thing first and to be the number 1 in the market.
2. Big market but limited marketing budget
Mr. Tu said to sell your product to the market leaders that used to “leverage our top clients”; even though unreasonable due but it could be considered as Marketing Budget. Because you earned the reputation and it could sell to the top client’s competitors. One example he said a 17 years old boy, he knew nothing but drawing Cartoon/Comic. He found the boss of top one in the market and showed his comic to him. The boss asked what is different to others. The boy said I am free to draw it for you. So that boy worked in the company for 3 months and then become one of staffs in that comic company. Then he changed different companies and finally built his own comic empire.
3. Big demand but limited R&D resources
Mr. Tu said “Ride on market leader for products/services development and performance standards”. It was because market leader had well-established system and provided guideline for their suppliers. The strategy was leverage your tough customer to enhance your product quality as R&D resources.
4. Survive but barely profitable
He also mentioned that we needed to be market leader and strike for process efficiency. He added there were three types of clients. A) Market Leader (Profit is low!); B) Market Leader’s competitors (Some profit made) and C) Followers (More profit). For followers, we needed to take care that didn’t over production to kill the market. On the other hand, you don’t over price for your excellence product otherwise it could loss contract and create competitor.
5. Stable business but lack of growth
He also said it needed to extend product and market. “One at a time and Focus”
6. Crisis and opportunities
Mr. Tu told us to “Ride on the changes to enable new products and services development”. He also told us that market crisis was a signal for market change. So you cut expenses during crisis but excluded R&D resource because it was the time for new products and services.
7. Investors (Angels or Devils)
One of participants said both. Mr. Tu explained there were two types of investors that one was Financial/Professional Investors and the other was Industry Investors. For Financial/Professional Investors, they were clear cut, target and money oriented. For Industry Investors, they understood what you were doing. However, two engineers discussion were never end! Mr. Tu advised to talk to investors whatever you needed money or not, because they were clever man to sharp your idea. (But he alerted that “Don’t go to investor if you haven’t any money!”)
8. Dreams vs RealitiesHe shared some cases people was successful in business but not happy because it was not his dream. He added dream keeping you survive when crisis come. Sometime you need to face yourself, to face your fail. Everything is skill including Engineer, Boss and Entrepreneur.
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