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Luis Kho, Founder of BB.TO

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Streamline your life with a click on Luis Kho’s new App.

What’s your story?

BB.TO(幫幫兔), your Personal Assistant provides a convenient and efficient, high-quality, all-round popular, personal assistant service app in China.  It’s core competencies come from a very strong team. Our frontline personnel are all professionally trained by a 5-star international hotel, our customer service team are well-trained by a well-known British lifestyle concierge and most of our IT technical team has worked at SINA.COM for over a decade. As the founder, I have several years business experience and I have great ambitions for BB.TO, the App that every mobile user should have.

What excites you most about your industry?
BB.TO, is the first online personal assistant service app in China. It is comprised of 4 main features: Help Me Buy, Help Me Deliver, Help Me Collect and Help Me Perform. Among these, the Help Me Perform feature, helps resolve all kinds of user issues with a click. This means, at anytime, anywhere, with a click, we’ll be there.  Also our underwriter is one of China’s largest state-owned insurance companies, The People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China Limited.  Our stringent training system contributes to our user a high merit service.  As a pioneer in the industry, we at BB.TO believe that we can enhance our users’ quality of living significantly.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am from the Philippines, with origins from Fuji, living overseas in China. We have family businesses in China, Hong Kong and Philippines.  With the development of BB.TO, I spend most of my time now in Guangzhou, China, the base of our operations.  After 3 months of starting in Guangzhou, we have expanded to Shanghai, and currently we’re setting up in Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Our aim is to gradually outspread BB.TO to every city in China.

LK_BBTO LK_Beckham

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Beijing. It is the capital of China and one of the largest cities in the world. It is the center of China’s highest decision-making power and a meeting point of China’s political, cultural, transport, science and technology, economic and finance industries.  Also, I studied in Beijing for 3 years and I have a soft spot for this city.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It’s from my father’s motto, “Never let your team get hungry, even if you are. Treat your team from the heart, and when in times of difficulty, without a doubt they will walk with you, side by side.”

Who inspires you?
World-renowned entrepreneur, Mr. Jack Ma.  One of his sayings goes, “Today is very cruel, tomorrow is more brutal, the day after is beautiful, however, most people die in tomorrow’s night.”
To become a successful entrepreneur, one must overcome all sorts of difficulties and challenges. One way to do so is to constantly engage in introspection because opportunities are only meant for those who are well-prepared.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently, I was impressed by Mark Zuckerberg’s huge donation to charity.  In light of this, we have just organized a BB.TO Warmth Action, my first time participating in charitable activties.  Through this experience, I have learnt that, at all levels of society, there’re a lot of people who need help and care. I hope that, upon my success I will follow Mark Zuckerberg’s good deed and do the same, and enable people to get over their hard times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
No matter how many chances I’ve got, I would still persist to create BB.TO. For my team and I, our life goal is to ensure BB.TO brings convenience and a higher quality of living to everyone. That means helping users have more time and space to enjoy life.

How do you unwind?
I advocate a good mental and physical health, so work can be done to perfection. Golf is my favorite sport. It allows me to have a close encounter with nature for physical enhancement.  I love to spend time with my family and I enjoy every blissful moment that allows me total relaxation. Due to the expansion of our BB.TO business, resting time has significantly reduced, however, with the knowledge that BB.TO can bring many benefits to others; this keeps me going.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
No specific place.  Due to my hectic workload, even when I’m on holiday, my mind is still thinking about work. Recently I went to Macau. Aside from golf, in Macau, you can enjoy cuisines from around the world, cabaret shows and most important of all, it is close to work and I don’t lose too much time travelling.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Every businessman should read the book on Steve Jobs.  He was a rare genius. Besides his incisive vision and market sensitivity, his dedication to product and passion in the industry make him an inspiring individual to learn from.

Shameless plug for your business:
Not long ago, BB.TO had organized a charitable event, BB.TO Warmth Action. It called on people to care for their families and friends, senior citizens, young ones, disabled, the poor and stray animals. We publicly invited a celebrity, Mr. Wang Sicong, son of China’s richest man Mr. Wang Jianlin, to participate.  Mr. Wang showed his support and even invited his dog to join the Action and it has become the talk of town.

How can people connect with you?
People can go to this website http://bbtu.com.cn to download our App.  BB.TO promotes public participation. Any feedback and suggestions are most welcome. Let’s help BB.TO to provide a better services to the public.

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

CallumConnects

Callum 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

Benjamin Kwan, Co-Founder of TravelClef

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Making music to create a life for his family, Benjamin Kwan, started an online tuition portal and his music business grew from there.

What’s your story?
I am Benjamin and I’m the Co-Founder of TravelClef Group Pte Ltd, a travelling music school that conducts music classes in companies as well as team building with music programmes. We also run an online educational platform which matches private students to freelance music teachers. We also manufacture our own instruments. I started this company in 2011 when I was still a freshman at NUS, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

I was born to a lower income family, my father drove a taxi and was the sole breadwinner to a family of 7. I have always dreamed of becoming rich so that I could lessen the burden placed on my father and give my family a good life.

After working really hard in my first semester at NUS, my results didn’t reflect the hard work and effort I put in. At the same time, I was left with just $42 in my bank account and it suddenly dawned on me that if I were to graduate with mediocre results, I would probably end up with a mediocre salary as well. I knew I had to do something to gain control of my future.

During that summer break, I read a book “Internet Riches” by Scott Fox and I knew that the only way I could ever start my own business with my last $42 would be to start an online business. That was how our online tuition portal started and after taking 4 days to learn Photoshop and website building on my own, I started the business.

What excites you most about your industry?
Music itself is a constant form of excitement to me as I have always been an avid lover of music. As one of the world’s first travelling music schools, we are always very eager and excited to find innovative ways to a very traditional business model of a music teaching.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore and I love the fact that despite our diversity in culture, there’s always a common language that we share, music.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hands down, SINGAPORE! Although we are currently in talks to expand to other regions within Asia, Singapore is the best place for business. I have had friends asking me if they should consider venturing into entrepreneurship in Singapore, my answer is always a big fat YES! There’s a low barrier of entry, and most importantly, the government is very supportive of entrepreneurship.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have been blessed by many people and mentors who constantly give me great advice but right now, I would say the best piece of advice that I received would be from Dr Patrick Liew who said, “Work on the business, not in it.” This advice is constantly ringing in my head as I work towards scaling the business.

Who inspires you?
My dad. My dad has always been my inspiration in life, for the amount of sacrifices that he has made for the family and the love he has for us. He was the umbrella for all the storms that my family faced and we were always safe in his shelter. Although my dad passed away after a brief fight with colorectal cancer, the lessons that he imparted to me were very valuable as I build my own family and business.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You can not buy time, but you can spend money to save time! With this realisation, I was willing to allow myself to spend some money, in order to save more time. Like taking Grab/Uber to shuttle around instead of spending time travelling on public transport. While I spend more money on travelling, I save a lot more time! This doesn’t mean that I spend lavishly and extravagantly, I am still generally prudent with my money.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken more time to spend with my family and especially my father. While it is important to focus our time to build our businesses, we should always try our best to allocate family time. Because as an entrepreneur, there is no such thing as “after I finish my work,” because our work is never finished. If our work finishes, the business is also finished. But our time with our family is always limited and no matter how much money and how many successes we achieve, we can never use it to trade back the time we have with our family.

How do you unwind?
I am a very simple man. I enjoy TV time with my wife and a simple dinner with my family and friends.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Batam, it’s close to Singapore and there’s really nothing much to do except for massages and a relaxing resort life. If I travel to other countries for shopping or sightseeing, I am constantly thinking of business and how I can possibly expand to the country I am visiting. But while relaxing at the beach or at a massage, I tend to allow myself to drift into emptiness and just clear my mind of any thoughts.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Work The System, by Sam Carpenter. This book teaches entrepreneurs the importance of creating systems and how to leverage on systems to improve productivity and create more time.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you are looking for a team building programme that your colleagues will enjoy and your bosses will be happy with, you have to consider our programmes at TravelClef! While our programmes are guaranteed fun and engaging, it is also equipped with many team building deliverables and organizational skills.

How can people connect with you?
My email is [email protected] and I am very active on Facebook as well!
https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.christian.kwan

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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Nadia Al Sheikh, Founder & CEO of Flenco & Deal’n

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Nadia Al Sheikh has created a business module which incorporates philanthropy and business to empower others, and herself, she’s called her business Deal’n.

What’s your story?
My story is mirrored in my work. Flenco and our Singaporean eco skin care brand, “Flen” combines Dead Sea minerals from the lowest point of earth with Chinese medicine, which represents the wisdom and mystics of the east and these things represent my journey. I’m a single mother rediscovering my identity at a low point in life. Throughout my journey, determination, flexibility and assertiveness are the pillars of innovation. Thus Deal’n was born after years of groundwork in volunteering with various NGO’s and pursuing my masters degree. Transforming a vision, into a module that incorporates philanthropy and business, with tools to empower others and empower myself!

What excites you most about your industry?
The endless opportunities for improvement, innovation, creativity, free thinking which is mastered through interaction with other players in the market and customers creating a virtual place for brainstorming and the exchange of ideas. An evolving industry that challenges each and every person to use their skills, talents, expertise and utilise all their abilities to claim a slice of the pie.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Asia and specifically Singapore are my second home. It’s my spiritual and business safe haven that provides fair opportunities for everyone to succeed. If I was back in the Middle East as a single mother, I’m pretty sure my struggle would have been much longer and more difficult, however, it wouldn’t have stopped me from achieving my dreams. Singapore specifically empowered me professionally and Asia spiritually in redefining who I am as a person and understanding myself better.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, although it’s a very tough and competitive market for entrepreneurs to start a business, it provides them with support and motivation through grants, competitions and subsidising the cost of exhibiting or promotional events to promote their business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Success is measured by achieving your own personal goals and dreams and not what others think you should achieve.

Who inspires you?
Those who go unnoticed. From senior citizens, cleaning tables at food courts regardless of their wealth of knowledge and experience to single mothers, who are fighting everyday to overcome the social stigma and manage taking care of their children while earning an income. The amazing people who give their lives to start an NGO to empower others asking for nothing in return except the success of their beneficiaries, the humble members of our community that work in silence changing lives not for the spotlight but for their belief in making the world a better place.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
To step onto the balcony! In order to evaluate situations and understand people’s motivations from different perspectives and even to understand ourselves better we all need to step onto the balcony and become observers rather than participants. It gives you the power to see life through a variety of lenses.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d be wiser with my decisions, evaluate situations from different perspectives and believe in myself and my capabilities. That all came with experience and the ups and downs throughout my journey so I guess, to be who I am today I would have accepted the rough times and embraced them because they were my best teachers. So I wouldn’t undo the past but I am changing my future.

How do you unwind?
Meditation, exercising, listening to music, reading a book and a walk in the botanical gardens.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Maldives, I love the peace and harmony in the simplicity of what it offers; beautiful beaches and wonderful people.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Wisdom Of Crowds by James Surowiecki

Shameless plug for your business:
Deal’n provides opportunities for all members of the community to utilize their skills, talents, expertise, capabilities and abilities in various ways, aiming at empowering all users to become productive members of their community. Using the services of other users for all to grow and benefit, interact with each other through the Deal’n community, thus enhancing their self esteem, level of confidence and as a result, a more empathetic and happier community!

How can people connect with you?
Through my FB page Nadousheh, my email [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@nadiaalsheikh

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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