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Melvin Soh, Founder of Enlightened Profits

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Marshall Thurber was Melvin Soh’s inspiration for his business – to bring world-class mentors to entrepreneurs in Asia.

What’s your story?
I started my copywriting business a few years ago, thinking I knew everything about sales and making money. Very quickly, I generated a lot of sales and leads – except I had no clue how to run a business. I was over-worked and had no time for myself. I realised that I needed to learn the true art and science of business. A lot of what was written out there didn’t work for me and it wasn’t until I found Marshall Thurber did things finally click.

What excites you most about your industry?
My partner and I are in the business of bringing world-class business mentors to entrepreneurs in Asia. These are mentors who walk the talk and are the original source of a lot of real-world, results-producing business wisdom. We are excited to share this with business people here and hearing about their success is the best feeling ever.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up here in Singapore and the students who attend the classes we put on are largely Asian. I feel, having grown up here and having spent so much time with Asian business people, I truly know the goals, aspirations and struggles they have.

Melvin-Chilling

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Bangkok and Singapore. Bangkok has a unique energy unlike any place else I’ve visited and Thai people are so hungry and excited to learn. Singapore is the hub for business in Asia and frankly it is the place to be for any aspiring entrepreneur.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Results speak the loudest. In the world of business, it’s not just about charisma or fancy slogans or new ideas. People might be interested in that, but at the end of the day, when what you offer delivers real-world, actual results – you ALWAYS get attention, sales and customers.

Who inspires you?
Buckminster Fuller. The business mentors we bring to Asia often count Buckminster Fuller as their original mentor and with good reason. Here’s an ordinary man who at age 32 did not achieve a lot and had by his own admission wasted his life away. But inspired one night by what one individual can do to change the world, Buckminster Fuller decided to dedicate his ENTIRE life to serving humanity. He became a philosopher, futurist, engineer, mathematician, author and speaker (among many other things) and became the modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci – impacting millions until today with his work.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Business is evolving so rapidly and will be so different in the future. We are living in the age of artificial intelligence, machine learning, worldwide connection and incredible technology. Those who learn and adapt will put themselves in a prime position, those who don’t will be rendered redundant in no time at all.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Learn from proven, real-world mentors and immediately apply the theories of business that works. A business is more than making sales and generating leads and you quite simply have to learn from the right people or you’re going to run into a brick wall very quickly. You don’t just feel your way around all the different aspects of business.

How do you unwind?
I exercise, read books, upgrade myself, watch award-winning movies and spend time with my loved ones. Doing all of these centers me and fuels me to be able to give more of myself to our customers.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. Just an incredible place with some of the friendliest people around.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. The world of business is evolving and this book shows you the 12 ways change is taking place and more importantly how you can prepare yourself and your business.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you’re keen to learn proven business theories from world-class, original-source business mentors that can help you increase profits and scale your business, visit enlightenedprofits.net. Our next Marshall Thurber business masterclass happens 11th to 18th July 2017.

How can people connect with you?
Please write to me at [email protected]. I read and reply to every email. Also, be my Facebook friend – http://facebook.com/melvinsohonline

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

Marek Danyluk, CEO of Space Ventures

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Marek Danyluk has a talent for assessing the competencies of management teams for other businesses and pulling together exceptional teams for his own businesses!

What’s your story?
I am the CEO of a venture capital business, Space Ventures, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses. I also own and run Space Executive, a recruitment business focused on senior to executive hires across sales, marketing, finance, legal and change.

My career started as a trainee underwriter in the Lloyds market but quickly moved into recruitment where I set-up my first business in 2002. The business grew to around 100 people. I moved to Asia in 2009 as a board member of a multinational recruitment business with the mandate to help them scale their Asian entities, which helped contribute to their sale this year, in 2017.

My main talent is assessing the competencies of management teams as well as building high performing recruitment boutiques and putting together exceptional management teams for my own businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
Building the business is very much about attracting the best talent and being able to build a culture which people find invigorating and unique. It’s an exciting proposition to be able to define a culture in that regard and salespeople are a fun bunch, so when you get it right it’s tremendous.

From a VC point of view there is just so much happening. South East Asia is a melting pot of innovation so the ideas and quality of people you have exposure to, is truly phenomenal. The exposure in the VC has taken me away from a career in recruitment. Doing something completely different has given me a new level of focus.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Whilst I came here with work, both my boys were born in Singapore and to them this very much is home. That said, my father in law spent many years in the East so coming and settling here was met with a good degree of support and familiarity.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Possibly Hong Kong. It’s the closest I’ve been to working in London. Whilst there are massive Asian influences people will work with you on the basis you are good at what you do and work hard. I find that approach very honest and straightforward.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Always treat people well on the way up!”

Who inspires you?
I like reading about people who have excelled in business such as Jack Ma, James Kahn, Phil Knight, Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, all have great stories to tell and they are all inspirational. No-one has inspired me more than my parents and they are well aware as to why…

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Pretty much any technology innovation blows me away.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Whilst it is important not to have regrets I do continually wake up thinking I’m still doing my A’ Levels. So, I’d have probably tried a little harder in 6th form.

How do you unwind?
I like the odd glass of red wine and watching sport

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan skiing. I love skiing and Japanese food and it’s a time when I can really enjoy time with the wife and kids. I recently tried the Margaret River which was divine, although not technically Asia.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Barbarians at the Gate

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive is the fastest growing recruitment business in Singapore focused on the mid to senior market across legal, compliance, finance, sales and marketing and change and transformation. Multi-award winning with exceptional growth plans into Hong Kong and London this year, and the US, Japan and Europe by the end of 2022. We are building a truly global brand.

Space Ventures is interested in any businesses that require capital or management and financial guidance or any or all of the above. We have, to date, invested in on-line training, food and beverages, peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring as well as other tech and fintech start-ups. We are always interested in hearing about potential deals.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

Twitter handle?
@Spaceexecutive

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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Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings

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Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched.

What’s your story?
I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects.

What excites you most about your industry?
It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position.

Who inspires you?
Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start.

How do you unwind?
I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki

Shameless plug for your business:
Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning.

How can people connect with you?
Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@malcolmABM

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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