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Uncommon Business Sense | December 2013

DECEMBER 2013

Uncommon
Business Sense
INTERVIEWS WITH BOLD LEADERS AND ENTREPREN...
Prudenz Consulting Sense Bhd
Uncommon Business Sdn | December 2013
6.03C, 6th Floor, Menara Keck Seng , 203, Jalan Bukit B...
Uncommon Business Sense - Editorial | December 2013 <

Dear readers, This year, similar to any other years
saw some contin...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Joshua Liew

He’s a key member
behind Espressolab’s
innovations – Joshua Liew
focuses on the ...
“

We do not strive to replace or wipe out
traditions but to introduce a new ‘species’
of drinks to fellow Malaysians.

Es...
An
integrated
specialty
coffee
company from farm all the way to the
cup - This sums up the very existence
of Espressolab w...
Source: I. M Magazine, 2012

www.prudenzconsulting.com
“Espresso based coffee will
never replace Kopi-O, TehMalaysians who are willing to
embrace and appreciate it. We
would lik...
“44% Malaysians are unable to survive without a cup of coffee for a week!”
I. M Magazine, 2012

Source: I. M Magazine, 201...
Uncommon

Business

Sense:

Competition is getting heated in
the local scene and we are
extremely impressed with the
young...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Fadzarudin Shah Anuar

“

I don't think it's very
difficult to convince anyone
nowadays to in...
Fadzarudin’s
business partner
and wife, Vivy
Sofinas Yusof has
been his greatest
inspiration and
supporter since
the early...
I would caution physical
retailers though, to not
underestimate
the
difficulties of having an
online presence. The
benefit...
“

From the experience of
shopping on the website to
customer service to delivery
to the customer.

If we can do well thro...
“

In fact, you can see big designers
such as Valentino and Ellie Saab
creating designs inspired by Islamic
cultures. So p...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Datuk Ir. A. Sani Karim

The government has implemented initiatives through education and eng...
Uncommon Business Sense: “To

foster
open communication and a sense
of support, pride, enthusiasm, and
excellence in squas...
Most
recently, Khairy Jamaluddin,
Minister of Youth and Sports
stated that the existing youth
programmes only draw the
par...
Uncommon Business Sense: What

do you expect to take place in
the world of squash in the
years to come?
Squash will defini...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Michael Atanda Bashorun

Foreign businesses in Malaysia are less than impressed and stunned b...
There
are many Africans now in
Malaysia compared to 5 years
ago. They contribute to a
distinct
proportion
in
the
breakdown...
Malaysia surged to 6th from 12th in
the 2014 Doing Business Report.
The World Bank commended on
favourable measures aimed ...
Uncommon Business Sense: Are

you
more business savvy today?
At BHL Group {BHL Rimbunan
Teknologi Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, RC.
9...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Jacquelyn Chan

Doing business outside of Malaysia.

“

Jacquelyn is the founder of Rucksack ...
RETURNING EXPERT PROGRAMME* (REP) was launched to facilitate
the return of Malaysian professionals from overseas with the ...
JC: I’ve never heard about
this programme before.
Uncommon

Business

Sense:

Singapore
is
ranked
amongst the top countrie...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Pearlie Ng

Congestion charge <

Demystifying
the HR Function

“The Breadth,
the length, and
...
In the running of an organisation, people are sourced and retained. They are managed by way of getting
the policies in pla...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Mohammad Ridzuan Abdul Aziz

Governance, Compliance and Enforcement!
Few people know the fina...
Operational impact presents these firms an
opportunity to improve their capability to
better serve clients and help create...
Congestion charge <

Do you see all financial markets players
complying?
MRAA: In

my opinion, the market players have mor...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Johan Irwan Kamarozaman

Johan Irwan Kamarozaman
is an aspiring international
speaker, traine...
Uncommon

Business

Sense:

Organisations schedule trainings
every now and then with soft skills
training are commonly pla...
“

Most trainers don’t
really look at the impact
that they can make on
the community or the
organisation
That is how I see...
Practising uncommon business sense

www.prudenzconsulting.com
Uncommon Business Sense: It

is
difficult to assess the credibility
of a trainer. The steepest hill
climb for any trainer ...
Uncommon Business Sense: There

are hundreds of different training
programmes around the world. What makes yours so unique...
> Uncommon Business Sense || Teuku Putra Aziz

TEUKU PUTRA AZIZ is no stranger in
the local fashion scene and acknowledged...
‘It takes hard work to succeed
a brand’
From the kebaya to wedding gowns to skin care, Putra has been key in the expansion...
Prudenz Consulting is an independent consulting firm, committed to helping organisations
to achieve breakthrough improveme...
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Uncommon Business Sense December 2013 - 9 Profiles

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Stretching away from mainstream media - featuring 9 outstanding individuals on things that matter most to them

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  1. 1. Uncommon Business Sense | December 2013 DECEMBER 2013 Uncommon Business Sense INTERVIEWS WITH BOLD LEADERS AND ENTREPRENEURS Challenges & Opportunities Behind The Scenes JOSHUA LIEW - Special Project Director of Espressolab Asia Pacific | FADZARUDIN SHAH ANUAR – Founder of FashionValet | DATO’ IR. SANI KARIM – Patron of SRAFT | MICHAEL ATANDA BASHORUN – Foreign business owner | JACQUELYN CHAN – Malaysian business owner in Singapore | PEARLIE NG Former KPMG Associate Director | MOHAMMAD RIDZUAN ABDUL AZIZ – Director of RHT Compliance Solutions | TEUKU PUTRA AZIZ - Indonesian Fashion Director for Cosry | JOHAN IRWAN KAMAROZAMAN – Soft Skills & Coloured Brain Trainer www.prudenzconsulting.com
  2. 2. Prudenz Consulting Sense Bhd Uncommon Business Sdn | December 2013 6.03C, 6th Floor, Menara Keck Seng , 203, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 55100, Malaysia Phone: +60 3 2118 5117 Fax: +60 3 2145 7171 Email: ubs@prudenzconsulting.com www.prudenzconsulting.com
  3. 3. Uncommon Business Sense - Editorial | December 2013 < Dear readers, This year, similar to any other years saw some continuation of familiar trends; familiar forms of echoes in recognising milestones and achievements where leadership icons in governmental sectors, multinational organisations and government-linked companies are spoiled by the depth and expected coverage, expressively in oil and gas, construction of new office towers, transformation of the education system and revision of policies. We made this issue of Uncommon Business Sense on aspects of the working community that stretch away from the “norm of predictable topics”. The turnover rate for employees of medium and large corporations, banks and institutions is alarmingly high and retention rate continues heading south as the younger generation enters the workforce. This new strain demands a fast paced environment – more in tune with the lifestyle that enables mobility, freedom of speech and selectivity. They demonstrate diminishing interests in politics, distasteful preference for boardroom politics and dread mundane duties. A job that resonates a strong purpose and is deemed nontraditional deserves their attention. We have encountered many extraordinary personalities during our research, engagements, seminars and events and in this issue of Uncommon Business Sense , we talk to 9 of them. These outstanding individuals combine extraordinary talent, impressive careers and the determination and hurdles in being different. They shed some light on the things that matter to them most through experience and insights. We hope this issue will give you a new perspective on the working community; equally, we hope that you gain more insights into your business as you read our future issues of Uncommon Business Sense. Khalid Hashim Partner, Prudenz Consulting Kueh Joe Haur Partner, Prudenz Consulting www.prudenzconsulting.com
  4. 4. > Uncommon Business Sense || Joshua Liew He’s a key member behind Espressolab’s innovations – Joshua Liew focuses on the competition, customer service and talent to make the company’s strategy work. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  5. 5. “ We do not strive to replace or wipe out traditions but to introduce a new ‘species’ of drinks to fellow Malaysians. Espressolab’s Special Project Director, Joshua Liew describes the abundance of opportunities in the coffee market, seizing these opportunities and the people who are willing to realise them with you The coffee industry in Malaysia has exploded over the years where we see a new café every other week. As one of the early pioneers of the coffee industry, how sustainable do you think is this industry in Malaysia? Uncommon Business Sense: The mushrooming of new cafes is creating positive competition in the coffee scene. Instead of viewing new cafes as rival, we are all actually in the same boat helping each other out by spreading the knowledge and goodness of coffee. Hence, with everyone on board, we are able to spread the coffee culture to all corners of Malaysia and make it sustainable. JL: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  6. 6. An integrated specialty coffee company from farm all the way to the cup - This sums up the very existence of Espressolab which starts at the very beginning where they source their coffees from all over the world, direct from farm and through reputable traders. Uncommon Business Sense: Competition is getting heated in the local scene and we are extremely impressed with the younger generation exhibiting such creativity and twist in their business concepts. How did the Lab concept come around and who would you regard as your greatest competitor? JL: We are an integrated coffee company, which means that we are involved in the whole process from farm to cup. We source quality green bean from around the world, roast and blend them locally, and use our own signature blend in all Espressolab outlets. We are also a coffee education company. In that regard, we don't really feel there is any competition. “ However, in the world of business, opportunities do not come to you all the time. So, you started off by providing comprehensive and in-depth coffee education and training. Why did your team decide to start EspressoLab? Uncommon Business Sense: The ‘Lab’ was intended to be a coffee laboratory, where people can learn about the science and art of coffee and how to appreciate coffee. However, in the world of business, opportunities do not come to you all the times. We seized the opportunity to engage our first licensee, and the rest just comes along the way when people see value in our brand. JL: Most of us predominantly grew up drinking Kopi-O, Teh-O and definitely Nescafe 3-in-1. At some stage, the bubble tea craze hit all of us really hard and this time around, it’s back again and will be around for a very long time. So how is EspressoLab challenging traditions? JL: Espressolab is not trying to challenge tradition. We are just introducing something new to the Malaysian market. Espresso based coffee will never replace Kopi-O, Teh-O, Nescafe or bubble tea as they are totally different in nature. We do not strive to replace or wipe out the tradition but to introduce a new ‘species’ of drinks to fellow Uncommon Business Sense: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  7. 7. Source: I. M Magazine, 2012 www.prudenzconsulting.com
  8. 8. “Espresso based coffee will never replace Kopi-O, TehMalaysians who are willing to embrace and appreciate it. We would like to see that traditional drinks and espresso coffee exist side by side and provide more choices to consumers of all level. Are Malaysians true coffee drinkers or are we just bored with Starbucks and Coffee Bean? Uncommon Business Sense: As more and more young Malaysians study or travel oversea particularly to western countries, they have certainly brought back the coffee culture and appreciation of good coffee. However, who are we to give out the label of ‘true coffee drinker’? Everyone has their own unique preference and taste palates. We are not here to categorise people into true- or noncoffee drinker, but to make sure that everyone who comes to us gets gratification from what they consumed, be it coffee or noncoffee drinks. JL: O, Nescafe or bubble tea as they are totally different in nature. higher spending power to enjoy quality food. I would say in this saturated F&B market, we need to provide a brand experience that is consistent our identity, and the second phase will be the capacity and ability to scale up to meet market demand. Hence I always remind my staff of the importance of customer service in order to retain out customers. Uncommon Business Sense: Your distinct presence in The Gardens Mall, located at the link between the said mall and Mid Valley has worked out very well with respect to brand recognition. How important would you say branding and marketing are to a new business? Uncommon Business Sense: Startups and entrepreneurships are greatly associated with food and in this context, the beverage industry. How would you describe the scene in Malaysia? In the F&B scene, there is always room for growth as food is one of the essential elements of living. As the economy progress, the urban population now has JL: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  9. 9. “44% Malaysians are unable to survive without a cup of coffee for a week!” I. M Magazine, 2012 Source: I. M Magazine, 2012 www.prudenzconsulting.com
  10. 10. Uncommon Business Sense: Competition is getting heated in the local scene and we are extremely impressed with the younger generation exhibiting such creativity and twist in their business concepts. How did the Lab concept come around and who would you regard as your greatest competitor? Personally to me, the brand of Espressolab is not just our logo or our colour scheme of black, red and white. A brand is an answer to the market demand. The consumers demand for good quality coffee and Espressolab steps in to provide just that. When customers recognize our effort as a solution to their need of quality coffee, this is how we brand ourselves. Hence, it is important for new business to stay true to consumers’ need. It is not how we brand ourselves, but how much consumers value our brand. When you have a good solid brand or solution to offer, marketing is just an approach to reach out to wider target audience that have the need but yet to find the best solution. JL: As an entrepreneur, innovation is key and guarantees the survival of any business. How has EspressoLab innovated since inception? JL: Yes of course! Throughout these 2 years, Espressolab has Uncommon Business Sense: grown at an exciting rate and we certainly need to innovate in terms of business model, operation, management and most importantly services to adapt to changes. Innovation has been in the area of backend processes by which we created an ecosystem of coffee delivery with apps and content plugged in. They say if you want innovation, you have to invest in people. To what extend would you agree with statement? JL: I could not agree more to this statement. Our primary capital in this business is not the roaster, machines, or the outlets, but the people who are willing to sacrifice their time and effort to help the company grow. We do not have deep pocket to remunerate our people as much as other giant corporation, but we try our best to give our staff flexibilities and share with them the vision that we have for this company. As a young start up, we are still along the surge of learning curve, and I would be proud to see our people growing together with the business Uncommon Business Sense: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  11. 11. > Uncommon Business Sense || Fadzarudin Shah Anuar “ I don't think it's very difficult to convince anyone nowadays to incorporate an online element into their businesses. At the age of 25, a former Deloitte Consulting Strategy Consultant with an Imperial College Master of Aeronautical Engineering education and winner of MyEG’s Make The Pitch reality TV show Season 2, Fadzarudin Shah Anuar has set big goals for himself and for the team at FashionValet. Fadzarudin stresses on the high growth potential of eCommerce for online fashion stores and the benefits that come with. Uncommon Business Sense: FashionValet has given Malaysian designers a marketplace to showcase their creativity and potential. That’s something to feel really good about. As an alternative to retail stores, how does an ecommerce business convince brand owners to benefit from the less physical oriented business model to literally a virtual presence? I don't think it's very difficult to convince anyone nowadays to incorporate an online element into their businesses. . Everyone knows how rapidly the ecommerce market is growing and they don't want to be left behind. FAS: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  12. 12. Fadzarudin’s business partner and wife, Vivy Sofinas Yusof has been his greatest inspiration and supporter since the early days of university where Vivy was reading law at the London School of Economics & Political Science. Vivy is the Chief Operating Officer of FashionValet. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  13. 13. I would caution physical retailers though, to not underestimate the difficulties of having an online presence. The benefit of having a physical store is that you are almost guaranteed a number of walk-in customers based on your location even if you do nothing else but build an attractive store. On the other hand, it is very easy to launch your online store, but the difficulty is driving customers to your store have to work very hard to increase your traffic and if you do nothing, you're bound to have zero traffic. Uncommon Business Sense: E-commerce fashion in Malaysia has been expanding whereby many of them started as a blog store. With the availability of Ecommerce platforms, e.g Shopify which enables beginners to set up an online store in 10 minutes or maybe just under that, what innovative approaches must take place for FashionValet? FashionValet is already unique in the area of product offerings, we constantly bring in new brands to the website from the local scene. So customers are excited by the anticipation of "what's going to be new in-store tomorrow?" Apart from that, we always have to constantly improve customer experience. From the experience of shopping on the website to customer service to delivery to the customer. If we can do well throughout this process, I believe we will keep getting more word-ofmouth recommendations; which is the best kind of marketing. FAS: Uncommon Business Sense: What are the lessons for other online fashion stores? Why are we not seeing more ‘FashionValets’? There are a number of smaller 'FashionValets' around, however with our model, traffic to the website is key. Brands come to us because they know we have healthy FAS: website traffic so they will get coverage and sales. Like I said earlier, the hardest part about having an online store is driving consistent, quality traffic. In our model, you have to large enough traffic to ensure the economics makes sense. Earlier on, I mentioned that the hardest part about having an online store is driving consistent, quality traffic. In our model, you have to large enough traffic to ensure the economics makes sense. Uncommon Business Sense: Startups and entrepreneurship are the recurring themes in the business world. The local scene is witnessing a mushrooming of new businesses at an alarming rate despite the survival rate of startups at the early stage of inception being discouragingly low. What decisions did your www.prudenzconsulting.com
  14. 14. “ From the experience of shopping on the website to customer service to delivery to the customer. If we can do well throughout this process, I believe we will keep getting more word-of-mouth recommendations; which is the best kind of marketing. “ business and others make to fight the trend? That's a norm anywhere in the world. Over 90% of startups are bound to fail in the first few months, so it's not surprising that that's the case here as well. I personally think the startup environment here is very healthy because we have a very united startup community where events and networking meet ups are always happening. So it's up to the entrepreneurs to utilise them. The only immature part of the environment is the funding side. Unfortunately, South-East Asia isn't blessed with a large number of tech VC's. In comparison to India and China who have a combined VC list of over a thousand, SEA only has less than 50. FAS: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  15. 15. “ In fact, you can see big designers such as Valentino and Ellie Saab creating designs inspired by Islamic cultures. So perhaps we are creating the trend? Uncommon Business Sense: The Malaysian Fashion industry FashionValet was launched in 2010 with the primary goal of giving the local fashion market a boost to their sales and marketing efforts by adopting a modern approach to technology, e.g eCommerce. With a humble beginning of 10 brands, FV’s portfolio boasts over 150 brands with a strong and extremely loyal customer base from the region. predominantly gets pigeonholed as conservative. How are you working around this? FAS: It's seen as conservative because that is what the market demands. Fashion designers know that if they go too radical, the market acceptance won't be as good. I don't think it's a problem, every market has their own fashion trends. In fact, you can see big designers such as Valentino and Ellie Saab creating designs inspired by Islamic cultures. So perhaps we are creating the trend??? Uncommon Business Sense: Where do you see the Malaysian Fashion and eCommerce market size in 5 years? FAS: eCommerce growth in Asia Pacific is set to outpace USA and Europe for the next 5 years so that is extremely exciting for any online business starting up. We are attracting more international players to the region which is an assurance to us here that this is the right place to be. Online fashion is very likely going to be one of the leaders of this boom meaning competition in the region will only get tougher. There will be more and more casualties, but the ones who can survive the competition will be the biggest winners of the growth. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  16. 16. > Uncommon Business Sense || Datuk Ir. A. Sani Karim The government has implemented initiatives through education and engagement, in hope to aligning the community towards a stronger, market driven and economically sustainable Sports industry. But what does this all mean? Datuk Ir. A. Sani Karim, patron of Squash Racquet Association of Federal Territory, (SRAFT) shares his views on the current state of the industry, the progress witnessed by the community and why Squash deserves the same attention as other racquet games. Datuk Ir. A. Sani Karim is a notable figure in the world of squash. Datuk has held leadership positions in federations, squash associations, Olympic council of Malaysia and the Royal Lake Club. Datuk serves as an Executive Chairman and principal owner of five companies with interests ranging from construction to bakery. profit every year produced by ALS continued to skyrocket as the ALS produced about S$6.2 million profit every year www.prudenzconsulting.com
  17. 17. Uncommon Business Sense: “To foster open communication and a sense of support, pride, enthusiasm, and excellence in squash as One of the Eight core sports in Malaysia.” How has the journey been for SRAFT? SRAFT has been extremely successful in attracting a more youthful crowd to the sport. During my leadership where I was Chairman of SRAFT from 1997-2005, we fought relentlessly to bring back the glory days we enjoyed at the association. We are thankful to the supporters, parents and sponsors for demonstrating their support for the sport. Uncommon Business Sense: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to reinstate wrestling to the Games rather than adding squash or baseball / softball. Is this a possibility of the greater interest in other racquet games, e.g badminton, tennis and table-tennis over squash? DASK: Badminton, tennis and tabletennis have been and always will be the more common sports amongst Malaysians. Do remember that badminton was only recently added to the Games, roughly 20 years or so. Ultimately, I do believe that China does play a determining factor in this successful attempt. Squash is a relatively new sport in Malaysia but having it recognised as a Game in the Olympics would be pivotal in elevating the interest and participation in the Sport. DASK: Being educated and raised in an Asian community, academics performance is commonly prioritised over sports. How does the Association tackle this tradition? Uncommon Business Sense: Growing up in an Asian family, I can relate personally to this because I was passionate in all racquet sports especially tennis and badminton. I am a golf man now but my passion for racquet games will always be there. Traditional upbringing is where a parent will persistently make sure that every child is given a better education to enter a good university and land a good job which pays well. It would be right for me to say that most of us would have been taught to believe that high academic performance equals higher probability of earning a higher income. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, the possible benefits from Squash are still very much at the premature stage when it comes to monetary rewards. For parents to see the monetary benefits of pursuing sports over academics is a never ending challenge but that’s why associations like SRAFT and associations of other sports as a matter of fact are around - to spark interest in the respective sport at a young age. DASK: Datuk Ir. A. Sani Karim has been instrumental in his involvement in the World Squash Federation, Majlis Sukan Negara, Lembaga Kejurulatihan Kebangsaan National Sports Advisory Panel, Stadium Merdeka Board, Asian Squash Federation and Olympic Council of Malaysia.. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  18. 18. Most recently, Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth and Sports stated that the existing youth programmes only draw the participation of Malay youths. To what extend is this relevant to Squash? DASK: As the Minister of Youth and Sport , KJ definitely has the firsthand updates and insights into the Sport industry. With respect to Squash, I would say that Squash has been able to appear attractive to all races. It’s difficult to pin down on demographics because we have winners, players, trainers and supporters who are just so passionate about squash. Uncommon Business Sense: “ Unfortunately, in Malaysia, the possible benefits from Squash are still very much at the premature stage when it comes to monetary rewards. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  19. 19. Uncommon Business Sense: What do you expect to take place in the world of squash in the years to come? Squash will definitely be one of the Games in the Olympic. I am very sure this will happen. Malaysian Squash has come a long way. Squash is gaining in popularity every day and with top squash players being awarded scholarships from top leading American universities, we do see an increase in youth participation. Squash will continue being a sport of interest amongst the straight A’s students. The ‘lost’ of these players will need to be resolved by closer ties and collaboration with local universities to strike a more assuring and secured promise with our top national squash players. We will continue producing top squash players but much more work needs to be done with all key stakeholders. DASK: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  20. 20. > Uncommon Business Sense || Michael Atanda Bashorun Foreign businesses in Malaysia are less than impressed and stunned by the unwelcoming vibes they have encountered: Michael Atanda Bashorun, President of BHL Rimbunan Teknologi Sdn Bhd explains the hurdles in overcoming labels. The rejection is a common situation “that everybody faces daily one way or the other. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  21. 21. There are many Africans now in Malaysia compared to 5 years ago. They contribute to a distinct proportion in the breakdown of international student numbers and African businessmen are taking their business ventures here. Why is that? MAB: The voluminous rise in African population in Malaysia and Asian countries could be attributed to the growing economic development in Asia. Concerning increase in Students population, take a look at Petronas Bhd, they have billions of investment in Africa and they bring in lots of African Students into Malaysia for educating, secondly, LimKokWing University aggressive student in-take from Eastern, Western and Southern Africa and finally we have many Malaysia Institution of High Learning appoints Representatives in Africa to recruit student for them. On the sides of Business, although still growing, the rise in Africa restaurants is due to “Need for Native food”. The increasing rise in Africa Students in Malaysia will definitely contribute to different innovations and Africa Business promotion in Malaysia. Thirdly, Malaysia been a Trading nation and currently one of the Top Competitive business nation, makes it an ideal location for aspiring and intelligent Africans to explore business opportunities between Malaysia and Africa. Fourthly, Africa Economic indexes have been revolving around 7% growth for the last 5 years and it’s expected to remain so for another Uncommon Business Sense: “Our business acumen is keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome. decade, this makes it imperatives to find Africa Businessmen coming up in Malaysia. Business Sense: Business propositions by African businessmen are commonly received by the raising of an eyebrow. How do you prove your worthiness and legitimacy to your prospective clients? Uncommon Racism is a global situation. Recently Oprah was denied entry into a shop in Europe because of her colour. The rejection is a common situation that everybody faces daily one way or the other. My advantage was that, having worked in Malaysia and Asian cities for some couple of years before setting up my business, l have a little understanding of the cultural difference and the need to be honest in dealing with Asians and Malaysians in particular. Suspicions remains especially if you are trying to make a new acquaintance. I build relationships through business memberships, reconnecting with former colleagues and maintaining a high moral virtue. MAB: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  22. 22. Malaysia surged to 6th from 12th in the 2014 Doing Business Report. The World Bank commended on favourable measures aimed at cutting the number of procedures needed to obtain a construction permit, lower the time required for new electricity connections and reduce company registration fees. ~79,000 Africans entered the country last year. Of that number, 25,000 came in on student visas. Malaysia Department of Immigration photo by The Bode www.prudenzconsulting.com
  23. 23. Uncommon Business Sense: Are you more business savvy today? At BHL Group {BHL Rimbunan Teknologi Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, RC. 928752 – X, SSM Malaysia and BHL Africa Plantation Nigeria Ltd, Nigeria, RC. 931625, CAC Abuja Nigeria} our Business acumen is keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome. The strategies has enable us to build credibility, staff career, executive mentality and continental company named “BHL AFRICA GROUP” MAB: How are you playing your role in improving the image of Africans / Nigerians in Malaysia? Uncommon Business Sense: Needless to highlight the negative image about Africans in Malaysia, I am currently involved in three forums to help addressed some of the issues confronting Africans especially Nigerians in Malaysia. These forums are Nigerians in Diaspora 0rganization Malaysia {NIDO-MY}, Yoruba Community Malaysia {YCM} and Malaysia – Nigeria Business Council. MAB: As a foreign national, the local community has been regarded as reserved and unwelcoming. With the presence of this, how do Africans, or in this case, Nigerians build their network? Uncommon Business Sense: BHL belongs to the relevant professional bodies and participate more in program’s of Malaysia Government Department and Agencies. Few months ago, BHL Group and Nigerbash Properties Co. Ltd jointly did a write-up on “Doing Business in Africa – A Construction Perspective” for Construction Industry Development Board, Malaysia “CIDB.” During the book preview and review, many industry players including Exim Bank Bhd, Matrade Malaysia and Master Builder Association of Malaysia were in attendance and those eager to tap in the growing infrastructure industry of Africa MAB: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  24. 24. > Uncommon Business Sense || Jacquelyn Chan Doing business outside of Malaysia. “ Jacquelyn is the founder of Rucksack Inn, a prominent name amongst travellers visiting Singapore who are looking for affordable accommodation. She reckons that Singapore provides more effective schemes in spurring entrepreneurship. Uncommon Business Sense: You began your career as an air stewardess for Singapore Airlines and today, you are the face of one of Singapore’s most successful hostels for backpackers. There must be an interesting story behind this success JC: During my university days, I was involved in a lot of community campus activities and I realised that I was really good at dealing with people, I was a campus counselor and also a gym instructor. When I chanced upon an advertisement for Singapore Airlines, it naturally became my first and only option that I gave myself. And I went for the interview and was accepted for the job right after I graduated from university in New Zealand. Three and a half years went by and I felt that I have finally www.prudenzconsulting.com
  25. 25. RETURNING EXPERT PROGRAMME* (REP) was launched to facilitate the return of Malaysian professionals from overseas with the objectives of overcoming the shortage of professional and technical expertise in the country, and creating a world-class workforce in Malaysia, especially in the context of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). The REP is constantly being improved to meet the needs of Malaysian expats. For example, as of 12 April 2011, a revised scheme of benefits for the REP was announced by the Prime Minister himself. achieved my goals of seeing the world, learning what team work and discipline in a corporate setting was like and made a decision to try something totally different. I left SIA and worked as a Corporate Communications Executive in an audit firm for just under 2 years. Towards the end of my career as a Marcom executive, that was when I met my current business partner, Sam and started Rucksack Inn. In 2009, the financial crisis had hit Singapore and it happened just after I had just resigned from my position at the audit firm. I had the jitters and uncertainty as most people would have felt when they first start a business but with Samantha’s experience of running her own business previously, we pulled it off and started our very first Rucksack together in May 2009. The backpacker scene was almost nonexistent in Singapore at the time so it was a risk that we were taking. Little did we know that the financial crisis worked in our favour; Travelers downgraded from hotels to budget hotels and budget hotel travelers started looking for an even cheaper alternative to accommodation and that’s how we got our first few customers. From my experience in Singapore Airlines, I learned so much about exceeding customer’s expectations, and I applied that same philosophy to my guests at Rucksack. For just $22 a night, the value from their stay and service they received were way beyond their expectations and very soon word of mouth and reviews made us an award winning hostel. Since then we have grown to 3 properties around Singapore. The programme does sound attractive. I guess I have some researching to do. “ I’ve never heard of the Returning Expert Programme by TalentCorp Malaysia before. Uncommon Business Sense: Malaysia’s Returning Expert Programme in luring back the Malaysian Diaspora is spearheaded by TalentCorp Malaysia. How attractive is this programme to you? *More information regarding eligibility criteria of the programme is located on the official website of TalentCorp Malaysia www.prudenzconsulting.com
  26. 26. JC: I’ve never heard about this programme before. Uncommon Business Sense: Singapore is ranked amongst the top countries in the world for businesses. What has the red-dot done right, in comparison to Malaysia? There are many SME business schemes the Singapore government has implemented, one of them is the PIC (Product & Innovation Credit) which the government subsidies and gives a $1 match bonus on the cost of any product that can benefit the efficiency of the business. Also there are business loans that the government provides from SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore that help supports cash flow of individual SME. And the schemes are readily available and made known to all businesses. Something I feel is lacking in the Malaysia to enhance SME businesses. JC: Uncommon Business Sense: Would you be coming back to Malaysia anytime soon JC: There are plans for Rucksack’s expansion in Malaysia, so yes it believe I would be spending a lot of time back in my country www.prudenzconsulting.com
  27. 27. > Uncommon Business Sense || Pearlie Ng Congestion charge < Demystifying the HR Function “The Breadth, the length, and the depth of HR in unravelling the “invisible” cog in any wellfunctioning organisation. To what extend is the Human Resource Department appreciated? Only to a certain extend, says former KPMG Advisory Associate Director, Pearlie Ng. PN: What is one function in your organisation that you find you can't quite fully grasp in your hands? Certainly not the numbers or financial concepts that you keep as the foundation of XXX your business. Not even the tastes and behaviour of your clients as you discover and deal with every day. The one function that is both hard facts and fluid uncertainties, which you might not be able to grasp in full, could very well be the managing of the people that you have hired. According to Dr Meredith Belbin, a researcher and management theorist, "a team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals." We know that when we have a bunch of individuals working together—8 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week—we will have in our hands a whole plethora of challenges to handle. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  28. 28. In the running of an organisation, people are sourced and retained. They are managed by way of getting the policies in place to ensure desired behaviour, setting the optimal metrics to ensure expected performance, and deciding on the procedures to at least have the HR processes to manage the people in the best possible way to run the operations of the business. This is where the hard facts meet the fluidity of human behaviour. The challenge will be on how best to manage the people in your organisation and have a group of different people in intellect and skills, in behaviour and preferences, to be productive together, to work and assist one another towards the same goal in mind. In this attempt to demystify the HR function, we will look at what I will term as the breadth, the length, and the depth of HR. What do you see when you step back and look at your HR department? What's the breadth you are going with its practice? In other words, have you covered the essentials that you need in managing your people? The questions to ask are like these: do you have recruitment policies and procedures in place? Are your people being fairly governed by a structure in how they are remunerated for their work and performance? Do you plan and execute training programmes for them to improve and grow in what they do? Do you have a procedure to handle their grievances or a set process to discipline them when you need to? In the history of the management of people, we have come a long way. Whether or not we have put everything in practice, we know we need to cover all the essential areas in HR in order to reduce the risks. The next important facet to evaluate as you continue to look at your HR function is how far then must you go. the Breadth  When it comes to the "length" of the HR function, you need to look into why you are doing what you are doing, and inversely why you are not doing what you are not doing. It goes back to the one thing why your organisation exist. For example, one company hires housewives as personal shoppers by piecemeal work and another company is a typical supermarket with the whole works. The first will not need an extensive remuneration practice as much as the second. The first will definitely need a more sophisticated recruitment process compared to the more regular one of the second. The danger you may face though, in how far you should go in the practice of HR function, is the desire to go the whole nine yards without really understanding why. Your employee performance management is a good place to start. How do you implement your employee performance review and why? Do your activities have direct links to the outcome? In my experience in bigger organisations, we tend to complicate things when simplicity is the clear solution. We seem to think that complex problems require complex solutions. In reality, we may not need to go the whole length to achieve what we want. But is something still missing even though you are convinced that you have covered the breadth and the length well? May it then be the depth that is the issue? the Length  In reference to the depth of people management, I am not talking about the management side of things but the people. The one most important question to ask now is: how well do you understand your people? Much have been written and talked about the Gen-Y and the likes but that is not the question, or at least not the whole question. What is important is, do you know your people? What motivates them? What do they do best, and worst? What principles do they hold on to? How do they relate to each other as colleagues, as superiors, as subordinates? This is where you need to round off your HR function with a good study on what makes your people who they are and what will make them better. This may be the toughest thing to do but it will give you a deeper insight into the why and how you carry out your HR function. There are many ways to go about it—dialogues, surveys, mentoring, coaching, personality tools—but know exactly what, how and why you are doing it. The HR department is quite often seen as the player behind the scene, but they are by no means trivial. They are the manager of the football team sent out into the field to play to win. Your people may be the stars of your business, but your HR department is the team manager that ensures who your people are, and where you want them to be. the Depth  www.prudenzconsulting.com
  29. 29. > Uncommon Business Sense || Mohammad Ridzuan Abdul Aziz Governance, Compliance and Enforcement! Few people know the financial market situation in Malaysia better than Mohammad Ridzuan Abdul Aziz. The regulatory and compliance advisor discusses the recent modernisation of laws governing the conduct and supervision of financial institutions. The “shadow banking” system – the periphery sectors of the financial markets has been an issue of contention for many years and with the recent Financial Services Act 2013 and Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 which had come into force on 30 June 2013, compliance is a mandatory exercise, rather than an admiration of best practices. Uncommon Business Sense: The shadow banking concept is rather pejorative under the current circumstance. It was introduced with intention to assist individuals with reasonable amount of credits to spur consumption vis-à-vis the economic activities but it requires financial discipline i.e. compliance in order for it to be positive to the nation’s economy as a whole. As far as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is concern, shadow banking is a paradox – with the implementation of FSA/IFSA, the BNM is trying to manage both sides – infusing financial discipline by giving itself more prescriptive authority and power – and continue to serve politicians’ needs by allowing the Minister of Finance (or his delegate) to decide on certain policy matters. MRAA: EPF, MIDF, PNB and MBSB are amongst the prominent names in the financial markets. What do you think was the key factor that led to Uncommon Business Sense: Bank Negara Malaysia in putting its foot down and implementing the FSA 2013 and IFSA 2013? There are many factors with regard to the rationale of FSA/IFSA implementation and let’s look at three of them – financial literacy among Malaysians, financial institutions’ key risks efficacy and economic climate/concentration of wealth. First, it dawned upon BNM that Malaysian in general is not a savvy lot about financial matters. Financial literacy can be defined as ways individuals manage their money in terms of insuring, investing, savings and budgeting . Financially literate individuals would know how to manage their money, understand how financial institutions work, possess a range of analytical skills, able to handle their financial affairs effectively and have the discipline to be responsible financially. Second, the key risks efficacy of many financial institutions in Malaysia has yet to attain the level where it could effectively manage the key-man and systemic risks. This is evident with the introduction of Bridge Institution and further requirements to obtain preapproval for the establishment of a Financial Holding Group. Third, it is prudent and logical for the central bank to consolidate its authority over all licensed financial institutions in Malaysia. The previous laws consolidated under the FSA and IFSA (Banking and Financial Institutions Act, Exchange Control Act, MRAA: Insurance Act and Payment System Act) had served its purposes well under a domestic-focused economic environment. However, with the inevitable globalisation, the Malaysia financial sector need to be managed effectively and under the current economic circumstances, it is necessary for a nation to be quick and nimble to adapt to the fast changing scenario. Uncommon Business Sense: Market analysts, investors, business school students and enthusiasts are pointing the fingers at several financial market players, suggesting the possibility of misconduct. How credible is this speculation? It is wise and timely for BNM to implement FSA and IFSA given the circumstances. However, having sound legislative framework should serve as a catalyst for key players of the financial segments to start thoroughly understand their role, respectively. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  30. 30. Operational impact presents these firms an opportunity to improve their capability to better serve clients and help create rooms for business growth. Misconduct revolves around human behaviour or misbehaviour. In any financial market, misconduct is often driven by greed and when the opportunity presented itself. Greed is something that no system could mend but it is certainly possible to limit the opportunities to commit misconduct. Hence, it is the responsibility of all involved in the financial market to limit these opportunities to curb misconduct. One common theme is the choices made by the persons involved to commit misconduct despite knowing at certain stage that they were on the wrong path. MRAA: Uncommon Business Sense: Insurance and Takaful companies are expected to be undergoing or have begun major restructuring exercises. How would daily business operations be affected? The FSA and IFSA require insurance companies to operate life and general businesses under a separate legal entity and the timeline to comply is within the next 5 years, i.e. by 1 July 2018. The re-insurance and re-Takaful businesses are exempted from this requirement. Details aside, it is going to cost the insurance/Takaful companies more to manage separate businesses, with additional resources required for people and infrastructure as well as compliance. The other possibility is that BNM may impose higher capital requirement for each business, likely to be higher than what MRAA: was required previously under the old regime. There will be an inevitable gestation period for the new structure to adapt to the new ways under the reorganized structure, plus the need to establish a Financial Holding Company, where necessary. In my view, this is quite a major exercise and the insurance /Takaful companies would need time to realign resources and infrastructure to deliver services/products effectively to clients. the reorganized structured operational aspects such as system configuration, database, systems interlink, etc. need to be revamped to accommodate the new operational needs. This would require reconfiguration, retraining, system architecture redesign and various other works that will add more cost, including capital expenditures. Uncommon Business Sense: Insurance and Takaful companies are expected to be undergoing or have begun major restructuring exercises. How would daily business operations be affected? MRAA: It is a fact that Malaysia is one of the leading nations when it comes to Islamic Finance “best practices”. The implementation of IFSA which stresses on governance, compliance and enforcement would give conviction to the world that Malaysia is the leading nation in this space. However, it is yet to be seen on how the IFSA would be implemented and put in practice given that there was virtually zero case on misconduct related to the Islamic In my view, this operational impact presents these firms an opportunity to improve their capability to better serve clients and help create rooms for business growth. However, these opportunities would require extra investment through capital expenditure to help elevate the operational standard of their services. Given the changes required, I reckon some of these firms would take the opportunity to reorganize more than the operational aspect and corporate structure as the implementation of FSA/IFSA sort of put all existing players on the same level and restart all over again. Those firm that have already started making the required changes would have an advantage over others as they have better understanding hence able to adapt quicker. On the contrary, those who choose to wait will likely take longer time to adapt and likely to incur higher cost to make the necessary operational changes. banking and finance industry, especially in Malaysia, has ever been tried and decided upon. One of the main questions is – which set of law would be applicable in relation to the Islamic banking and finance alleged misconduct – the conventional or the Shari’ah laws? In my view, the implementation of IFSA is a step in the right direction as it makes reference to the Shari’ah Advisory Council’s basis of verdict and/or decision in evaluating an alleged misconduct. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  31. 31. Congestion charge < Do you see all financial markets players complying? MRAA: In my opinion, the market players have more reasons to comply with the FSA and IFSA than otherwise. In a highly regulated industry, it is inevitable that compliance with internal and external requirements defines the market player’s level of integrity and trustworthiness - both for the entity and its representatives. As far as the regulator is concern, BNM has continuously been effective in discharging their duties effectively and manage to value add as well. Market participants in Malaysia seems to be clear about the role that they need to play partly because BNM managed to explain the laws and regulations under its administration from the context that made sense to its licensees. Nonetheless, there will be occasion of non-compliance events but it would likely be due to misunderstanding rather than a blatant disregard. This is to be expected and depending on the gravity of the consequences, I think BNM will take appropriate remedial action swiftly to contain negative impact to investors and public at large. There is neither rationale nor incentive for a non-compliance conduct by a licensed entity or its representatives as conviction under the FSA and IFSA is heftier – larger fine and longer jail term. Malaysia is also seen as a moderate practitioner of Islam and has developed a reasonably well thought-out Islamic banking and finance industry. This is evident by the public and private sector efforts/collaboration to establish several training and development entities such as INCEIF, IBFIM and IIiBF for the purpose of continuously developing competent experts to further grow the Islamic banking and finance industry. In short, the IFSA provides a credible platform for the market experts to put into practice the theoretical aspects of the market as there is more clarity in terms on key terminologies and scope of authority as well as basis for enforcement actions. The combination of these elements with the competent personnel is what made Malaysia different (and better) from other. I hope that the current market players, BNM and the training and development entities will continue to perform their duties effectively.. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  32. 32. > Uncommon Business Sense || Johan Irwan Kamarozaman Johan Irwan Kamarozaman is an aspiring international speaker, trainer and author on Leadership & Communication Skills. “ Most trainers in the market train based on trend and not passion Most people become trainers because they see the opportunity that the government provide especially the amount of money that they can profit from, says Leap Integrated Solutions CEO, Johan Irwan Kamarozaman. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  33. 33. Uncommon Business Sense: Organisations schedule trainings every now and then with soft skills training are commonly placed as a secondary option. As a trainer, do people warm up easily to the idea of soft-skills training? JIK: I have to agree that soft skills training is commonly placed as a secondary option. The perception of soft-skills are is that people should already have developed them and people may take-up the skills along the way as they mature. But the fact is most companies during recruitment, they will look at the ability to communicate. When we do business dealing, people who communicate better will have the advantage. These are all soft-skills. And people who master it, they will have some added advantage. There is always a problem especially in terms of communication in any organisation – the opportunity to develop in soft-skills, even though people who have abundance of experience. Unless people see the needs to solve the problems, people might have that kind of perception of soft-skills as secondary in terms of priority. In my opinion, you may have the best hard-skills in the world, but if you don’t communicate well, you will still be a small potato. Take Thomas Edison as an example. Light bulb was originally invented by Nikola Tesla Ralph C. Smedley said, "We learn best in moments of enjoyment.”The correct methodology also will make the knowledge and lessons stick in the participants mind for a longer time. However, Thomas Edison was the first person who communicate on the invention, he has known to the world as the inventor of the light bulb. Furthermore, his invention has impacted millions of lives because of he know how to communicate better. Same goes to people like Steve Jobs. His ability to communicate has change the whole industry, where Dennis Ritchie who invented the C language and Unix, which is the fundamental of Windows and Apple was been ignored. We see many providers marketing their programmes. e.g creative thinking and writing skills. What has triggered the need for such programmes which resulted in this category of training programmes to be considered generic? JIK: Most trainers in the market train based on trend. Not based on their passion. If they train based on trend this will result in the training becoming generic. Especially when we talk about creative thinking, it is a wide topic to cover and often time a training is not sufficient to make a person to become creative. Uncommon Business Sense: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  34. 34. “ Most trainers don’t really look at the impact that they can make on the community or the organisation That is how I see some trainers are not effective, because they try to solve things that is too generic. However, some trainers are really specific in terms of solutions that they provide and they are often good at packaging their training module. Take Blue Ocean Strategy as an example, the founder is trying to create a concept which is part of creativity but how the framework that they introduced provides a solutions to solve specific issue. Same goes to writing skills, there is no way for a person to learn how to write within 2 days. We learn in schools to write for more than 10 years, yet most of us are still struggling. But if the module is focusing on solving specific issue in writing, the training can be seen as more effective and it will provide a better return-on-investment. Because of that, it is important to address specific goals that can be achieved at the end of the session. The training objectives must specifically mentioned what are the solutions that the programme may offer. The government has allocated significant amount of budget on training programmes over the years. How successful would you consider the government’s effort in shaping “better Malaysians”? Uncommon Business Sense: Based on my observation, most people become trainers because they see the opportunity that the government provide especially the amount of money that they can profit from. As a result, most trainers don’t really look at the impact that they can make on the community or the organisation. The government initiatives are very much needed especially to develop the skills of every Malaysian. However, in terms of implementation, the trainers need to ensure that the training provides good results for the participants. Not only according to specification or certain syllabus. Students must be convinced with the benefits brought about from training. If they are being forced to join the training, they might have different focus during the training session. In my opinion, once the participants are in the training venue, it is the trainer’s responsibility to inspire the participants to learn and to gain experience as much as possible during that session. This can be done by shifting their focus to the learning objectives and behaviour modification techniques. JIK: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  35. 35. Practising uncommon business sense www.prudenzconsulting.com
  36. 36. Uncommon Business Sense: It is difficult to assess the credibility of a trainer. The steepest hill climb for any trainer is maintaining that timespan where the audience is captivated and drawn to all wisdom being shared in the room. As a trainer, how do you find that connection with your audience? JIK: In any training, what makes the training effective mainly is not because of the content. It is always the methodology. These days we can get the content easily by buying books or even by searching from the internet. Even though we have such good content, if the methodology is not right, it might not contribute to the effectiveness of the training. On the other hand, if the methodology is good, it will produce great training results. That explains why good trainers will often be called back to conduct other trainings even though the subject might be not related. Ralph C. Smedley said, "We learn best in moments of enjoyment." The correct methodology also will make the knowledge and lessons stick in the participants mind for a longer time. If you can recall the last training session that you have attended, what makes it effective? Which training is more memorable? Uncommon Business Sense: Some people are unfamiliar with the differences between a trainer and a consultant. How would you differentiate the two? JIK: As a trainer, the main responsibility is to develop people through learning and experience during the training session. The focus is to fill-up the competency gap and the gap is identified through training needs. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  37. 37. Uncommon Business Sense: There are hundreds of different training programmes around the world. What makes yours so unique? Of course there are hundreds of training programmes out there but each and everyone of them cater for different training needs. For our training beside international recognition from American Institute of Business Psychology, the programme is designed based on the fundamentals psychology of leadership and communication. By identifying the basic pattern of human thinking process and understand why people do what they do, we will be able to identify the strength and weaknessess of ourselves and people surround us. We would also understand what motivate us to achieve more in our work and our life. Thus translate to better performance in our work and we can inculcate better organizational culture. Most of the time people trying to fix on things that they can see, that they forgot that what they see is just the tip of the iceberg. Most problem can only be solved by understanding the root cause and that is what exactly the solutions that we provide. JIK: Uncommon Business Sense: What are the lessons for other aspiring trainers in the field? It’s about passion. Trainers is only for people who are passionate to learn as well as helping others to develop. If someone decided to become a trainer because they see the other factor such as income they potentially earn or the flexible time that a trainer might have, they might not be able to cope since there are more challenges that a trainer needs to overcome. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what is the purpose of you becoming a trainer. If your answer is the fulfillment you received by seeing people growing, that is the ultimate satisfaction a trainer may have. JIK: www.prudenzconsulting.com
  38. 38. > Uncommon Business Sense || Teuku Putra Aziz TEUKU PUTRA AZIZ is no stranger in the local fashion scene and acknowledged for his sophisticated detailing and extravagant designs. Putra is the head designer at Cosry and although the brand is associated with royalties, celebrities and highly popularised socialites, Putra shares his journey with us in taking the brand to greater heights and why he chose Malaysia to do so. www.prudenzconsulting.com
  39. 39. ‘It takes hard work to succeed a brand’ From the kebaya to wedding gowns to skin care, Putra has been key in the expansion of Cosry’s product offerings. The fashion industry is witnessing a massive influx of designers. This forces every designer to innovate, says Putra. So why Malaysia? TPA: (laughs) She was a very young market when I first set foot here. There were not many kebaya designers and this was the market that I wanted to see flourish. Cosry has come a long way and our recognition as a high quality brand has definitely set us as the preferred label amongst our most loyal customers and fashion loyalists. Malaysia is so similar to Indonesia – it was really easy for me to make the decision of coming here to pursue my ambitions. Uncommon Business Sense: Uncommon Business Sense: Cosry is perceived as a Malay label which triggers an automatic response to being translated as Muslim fashion. How true is this? TPA: Our main target customer is the Malay community. Our designs are in tune with their expectations but it would not be accurate to assume that Cosry ignores the other communities in Malaysia. We are promoting it as a fashion for all. Since our branch opening in Bangsar, a variety of customers are frequenting our shop. This has allowed us to plan for more surprises in our fashion line Uncommon Business Sense: Today, with access to better education and better standard of living, we see an increasing number of aspiring designers and brands. TPA: Exactly. To see so many aspiring brands in the market, this shows the opportunity that exists in the fashion industry. As the local scene is at a maturing stage, the market is facing a saturation of high street fashion. At Cosry, we distinguish our brand by providing elegant and sleek designs. We are targeting more matured loyalists which allow us to be more accommodating. So you have more competitions. How does that turn into innovation? TPA: Cosry does not compete directly with most of the local brands in the market. However, there are some designers that provide custom made tailoring and these are in direct competition with us. It is no secret that sourcing of material plays a major factor in providing a better customer experience but we start with the need of our customers. To fully understand the need, it helps that the team has many years of experience in fashion and constitutes members from different generations. Our skin care line, for example, is our response to a need. Uncommon Business Sense: Branding. TPA: This is a tough one. We have recently opened our flagship store in the Middle East to tap into the Muslim market. This undoubtedly raised the awareness of our brand but we underestimated the importance of language and cultural barriers. Branding is still a mystery to us and we are currently exploring ways to perpetuate our brand. Uncommon Business Sense: All businesses require some form of introduction to new resources and innovations. Ours include: • Rolling out of e-commerce platform • Opening of new branches • Hiring of talented designers • Managing overheads • Branding, branding, branding www.prudenzconsulting.com
  40. 40. Prudenz Consulting is an independent consulting firm, committed to helping organisations to achieve breakthrough improvements in overall performance. Our professionals have a wide and varied range of industry experience and we worked closely with our clients to ensure that their expectations and concerns are addressed. We cut across multiple disciplines in an organisation – we search for risks which are less apparent but impact greatly on efficiency. Simply put - we solutionise and provide realistic recommendations and not single liners. We exercise creativity in providing commercially viable solutions to enhance the control environment and mitigate any risks. For more information, please visit www.prudenzconsulting.com © Prudenz Consulting Sdn Bhd, 2013. All rights reserved. The analyses in this report are based on public data and forecasts that have not been verified by Prudenz Consulting and on assumptions that they are subject to uncertainty and change. The analyses are intended only for general comparisons across companies and industries and should not be used to support any individual investment decision. For information or permission to reprint, please contact: Email: ubs@prudenzconsulting.com Fax: +60–3–2118 5117 Mail: Prudenz Consulting Sdn Bhd 6.03C, 6th Floor, Menara Keck Seng 203, Jalan Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur 55100 Malaysia www.prudenzconsulting.com

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