Below is the transcript for my first interview with Alvin which took place in late 2014. Back then, Alvin was only a few months into settling in Australia as migrants. He wasn't a business agent in Australia yet. Hence, the talk revolves mainly around his entrepreneurial journey.
Ken: Thanks for your time, Alvin. Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Alvin: Sure, I was born in Penang and have attended schools in Penang and Klang Valley (Subang Jaya). I have always liked the creative aspect of what life can offers, I do not like to be at the same place all the time.
Creativity comes from the heart but however not everyone can accept that in the business world. I’ve therefore ventured into business later to start my own Agency.
Ken: The job you are doing now, is it something you have always wanted to do?
Alvin: I’ve always wanted to help people to open themselves up to abundance in this world and one way of reaching out is to help small business or start ups to get into the game.
Ken: When did you start running your own business back in Malaysia?
Alvin: I’ve been on my own since 1999 during the economic crisis, having done several other businesses and also employment and to this day I’m in the advertising business for more than a decade.
Ken: What are the secrets of your success in doing what you do?
Alvin: One of the key aspect is having a positive outlook and a ‘NEVER GIVE UP’ attitude.
Ken: For young people who are interested in your field/industry, what is your advice?
Alvin: Most people whether in my field or not, the main problem is getting started, making the first ‘BIG’ leap. My advice would be ‘Be Bold and Courages!’ and don’t let anything stop you from doing what your dream is.
Ken: What are some of the major trends in your industry today?
Alvin: The trends are always changing from pencil drawing to the digital age and right now, we can see another trend coming in or is already here.
Even for advertising, advertisers are shifting their focus to digital, social media, gone are the days of web sites. Nowadays, to be in business you must have a website, email, Facebook page, Twitter and etc.
What I see in the new trend is the emergence of mobile applications, which every business that engage with their customers should have one.
Ken: Is social media a good marketing platform for your industry? Why and how?
Alvin: Social media is a good platform and a must for any marketing campaigns now as it engage directly to people. We have witness in the past viral marketing or promotional marketing campaigns have very big impact on the direct consumers, therefore if you have both, the impact is even greater.
Ken: What are some of the biggest challenges in your entrepreneurial experience?
Alvin: The biggest challenge is communication, whether be it internally or externally, communication is key to having a good relationship with clients, suppliers and employees. Most relationship breaks down when there is a communication misunderstanding. So, getting this right is a major factor in our type of business, imagine a typo error or the wrong message has been sent to the media or social media. Things can turn out very ugly.
Ken: Who are some of your role models in life?
Alvin: I wouldn’t say I have a role model in life, I would say be authentic, the ‘REAL YOU’, discover yourself for who you are and be yourself.
Ken: How do you unwind yourself when you are not working?
Alvin: To unwind myself I would go for movies or just relax by the beach side. Meditate and enjoy nature.
Ken: Can you share with us some of the most memorable lessons you have learnt in life?
Alvin: I think the most memorable lessons I have learnt in life is not to be like anyone else but myself. The whole world is asking you to be somebody else. But the truth is, you just need to be who you are and be comfortable with it and everything will fall into it’s own place.
Ken: How do you select the right people to work with you?
Alvin: I usually have a personal approach to have some casual conversations and get to know the person whether they are trustable, not so much of them having the knowledge and the skill as all this can be learnt, however, trust, loyalty and integrity cannot be learnt as it is cultured with having the right mindset. I also uses a simple profiling tool in Enneagram which will briefly tell me about the persons behaviour and character.
Ken: How important is their previous education or relevant work experience?
Alvin: Not so important to me as I look for other values.
Ken: How do you lead and manage your team?
Alvin: To me I would want my team to be open with what they are facing and come clean on all communications. I prefer a more liberal/coaching method of getting things done.
Ken: What are you future plans?
Alvin: My plans for the future would be to extend my business in Asia if not globally. Our mobile promotional loyalty application is ready to be used by all small business owners as well as big corporations.
Ken: Once again thanks so much for your time and answers.
Alvin: Thanks for having me, Ken.