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Desmond Sim, Co-Owner of Wafuken

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Desmond Sim

Desmond’s life was going in one direction, until circumstances changed it and took him into a corporate finance direction. He has also set up a food venture, Wafuken.

What’s your story?
Being born in a below average family, where having shelter and food on the table sums up my life growing up.

Soccer has always been my passion since a very young age. I managed to make it to the National U21 squad and represented various S League clubs. Just when my future looked really bright, my childhood ambition was shortened due to multiple injuries. I was forced out of my favourite sport at the age of 21 when I was shortlisted to represent the National Team in the SEA Games.
When God closes a door, He will open a brighter one for you. As devastated as I was, I came across an opportunity to get myself into the finance industry. Dealing with asset management mainly in real estate and commodity. Through God Grace, I was raised and recognised as one of the top, within a short period of time.

At 26 years old, I was awarded top performer for two consecutive years and successfully made my first million via asset investment. I have since been given the opportunity to speak on various platforms, be it on sharing my life story, investment or motivational talks.
Currently, I am the head of business development for a 40 year old regional development group in their investment and capital financing sector.

Being a sport and fitness enthusiast, I have also successfully set up Wafuken together with a couple of my very capable partners with the key objective in mind to offer more variety on healthy food. I am glad that it has been a success this far.

What excites you most about your industry?
The sense of satisfaction when you have made a profit for one of your clients through a recommended investment trade! The appreciation from your clients is just priceless.
I love crowds and speaking in public. Seeing the audience enjoying my talks or performances, definitely excites me.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am born in Singapore. I was brought up in a typical Singapore culture and lifestyle although my mum was born in Indonesia. So I would say I am Singaporean Chinese and I have been exposed to some of the Indonesian culture as well.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It has got to be Singapore. I am not saying this because I am a Singaporean. HK and Singapore are both well known to be the key financial centers in Asia. Singapore has many supportive policies to encourage new business set up and entrepreneurship.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Never give up especially during the period you feel like giving up. As that’s the period you are closest to your target.”
Someone who I respect and look up to once told me this. I still remember it vividly today.

Who inspires you?
He is a CEO of a group which I think is not appropriate for me to mention.
Apart from him, I would say Jesus. As He is the reason I am still alive today. When I was 21 years old, I was depressed and almost committed suicide. He is my inspiration. He encourages me that this is not the end.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
May your hunger for change be greater than your complacency to stay the same.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would not have done anything different. I am strong believer that every failure in my life is a lesson for me to learn and improve on.

How do you unwind?
I love cars. I take my cars out for a spin aimlessly whenever I am stressed.
Chill over some wine with my buddies.
Workout in the gym.

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Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. Scenery is nice and value for money.

Everyone in business should read this book:
There are many good books in the market. From motivational, to steps and guides to be a successful investor or entrepreneur.
Personally, the book which really changed my perspective and got me thinking, has got to be Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

Shameless plug for your business:
http://www.wafuken.com/

How can people connect with you?
FB: Sim Desmond
Instagram: Desimaosheng

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Jasmine Tan, Director of Stone Amperor

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Jasmine saves her clients time and effort when doing kitchen fit outs with her biz Stone Amperor.

What’s your story?
I started working in the industry in 2003. I was in a marble and granite supplier company for 5 years. Even though I left the company, I still had customers calling me for my services. I referred them back to my previous company but they refused to because they loved the fast response service that I offered. I realised that customers do look at prices, however most of them prefer quality over quantity. Thus I have decided to establish a sole proprietor company also known as 78 Degrees which later rebranded as Stone Amperor in 2014.

What excites you most about your industry?
The kitchen countertop industry is a very confusing market. There are many brands, materials and prices to choose from. What excites me the most is my ability to help clients choose the best materials and brands within their budgets, whilst saving them time and effort.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have been in Asia all my life and I love Asia. No matter where you go there is no place like home.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Singapore. This is because Singapore has always been a stable country and it is great for doing business. However as it is a small country, it can be really competitive. I believe that if just do your best and give your best to your customers, you can overcome this.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Take actions. Learn and improve continuously. An idea without action is just a dream.” This was really good advice that I received from my partner.

Who inspires you?
A very down to earth billionaire from Malaysia, Robert Kuok

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Property is the foundation of every business.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Own instead of renting property for my business.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy going shopping, watching movies and hanging out with friends. I am quite a simple being.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love going to Taiwan as I love the culture there. Everyone is so polite and the weather is great.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Sun Tzu, Art of war

Shameless plug for your business:
Perfect top, Perfect price, Perfect life from Stone Amperor

How can people connect with you?
Email me at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@StoneAmperor

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

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Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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