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Norman Yeo, General Manager of Tangy Lab Group

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Norman Yeo

For Norman Yeo of Tangy Lab Group, running his own business gives him the flexibility to live his life the way he wants.

What’s your story?
Influenced by my parent’s business journey, I have always wanted to start a business and thus at 19 years of age, while studying, I started my first business – writing a book featuring established business owners in Singapore. Since then I have participated in a number of startups and helped young businesses by being involved in their strategic planning and building the system within the business.
In 2015, at the age of 28, I finally embarked on my own to run a digital marketing agency (Tangy Lab) with the intention to help businesses grow through social media marketing and lead generation. Within 3 months we were net positive and by the second year we had grown the business to a high 6-digit business with an initial capital injection of less than SGD5,000.

What excites you most about your industry?
2 words – results and growth. The thing about marketing is that it is an economic driver. Marketing allows businesses to grow, expand and hire more people. That in turn allows them to feed their families.
Being able to see the businesses we have helped generate results, grow and start hiring more people is what fuels me. It is what allows me to know that we are doing the right thing.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Singapore being my homeland is the starting point of my business. At the moment, we are in the midst of exploring neighboring countries for market expansion opportunities.

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Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. While the limitation of Singapore is its small geography and population, Singapore is still, in my opinion, the best place to start a business because of transparency and government support. The eco-system for business here is so strong and it is something our country should be really proud of.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever got was from another business owner who told me that staying small is a “sin” in business. Because, if you choose to stagnate your business, you have let yourself down, your family and your staff.
Those who follow you will have very limited means for progression, making it difficult to attract and retain talented staff. And those who continue staying, will have let down their own families, because they will give their families a limited future.
As an entrepreneur, we have limitless potential to achieve and not allowing that potential to come through is not being fair to oneself.

Who inspires you?
My parents are the one who inspired me on the entrepreneurship journey.
Being from a family that runs a business, I was able to understand from young age that running a business is the best way of being compensated based on your effort and the decisions you make. If you want to be able to control your own future and lifestyle, running a business allows you that dream.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
One of the new things that I have learnt and developed in the last few months is to build a marketing funnel within messenger bots. This is relatively new in Singapore and an area which I really believe has tremendous potential. Basically, it allows marketers to sell and engage all within messenger bots itself. When I first found out about its capabilities, it totally blew me away and we knew we had to take action quickly.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I can turn the clock back, I would have done 2 things differently. Firstly, I would have placed a lot more emphasis on specialised education at a young age. Secondly, I would have experimented much more at a young age with a variety of things. As we grow older and many commitments start to kick in, we naturally have to move from more testing to greater stability as more is at stake. I would have loved to experiment and make more mistakes in my younger days.

How do you unwind?
Comedy. I love witty humor with creative catchphrases. It just gets me going.
For example, I thoroughly enjoy comedies like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. I also enjoy some really old comedies by Rowan Atkinson like Blackadder.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Well, I have been to many countries in Asia, but ironically, the one that is at the top is still Malaysia. It’s easy to drive into, has great food and a huge variety of different experiences from food hunting, thrill seeking adventures and plenty of nice places to have my “zen” moments.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. The term outlier, commonly used in statistics, refers to a data point that does not behave within a predictable range or an abnormality.
In this book, it covers the story of how successful outliers achieve their success and what makes them different. It also shares an idea that for someone to achieve mastery in a craft, the time required is 10,000 hours.
It’s a book filled with great ideas shared in an interesting way that I believe is an awesome read for anyone pursuing success.

Shameless plug for your business:
Tangy Lab Group Pte Ltd is Digital Marketing with the key agenda to grow business in 3 different ways. We help them establish their brand through content marketing, develop a direct response strategy to get them leads or sales and we teach businesses how they can build their own businesses through a 3-day lead generation course.
Find out more at www.tangylab.com to see how we can help you grow your business.
Or if you wish how you can generate massive amount of qualified leads for your own business, www.tangylab.com/fbleadintensive

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How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me at LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/normanyeo

Twitter handle?
@Normanyeo87

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

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

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

Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo founded iPaymy for Business – a secure and easy to use
platform enabling SMEs to pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today.

What’s your story?
I’m Chrystie Dao-Szabo, and I’ve worked as an international banker for over 22 years. During that time, I travelled through Asia, Australia and Europe, and everywhere I saw how my clients struggled with managing their finances and keeping cash around.

I wanted to use my experience to help them, but I also knew the solution they needed didn’t exist yet. This pushed me to give up on my secure career, and instead look into the innovative world of FinTech for an answer.

This is how I founded iPaymy – at its launch, a platform to help consumers pay their monthly expenses using their credit cards. We’ve grown a lot since, and today, iPaymy for Business is a platform that allows business owners to use their credit cards to pay for rent, salaries, invoices and taxes, freeing up their cash for business-critical operations.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about FinTech is it’s culture of constant disruption, thanks to cool and innovative products and services coming out every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Vietnam, grew up in Australia and worked in Asia, Europe and Australia. Being raised by traditional Vietnamese parents meant that deep down I was still an Asian at heart, so I have a strong connection with the region.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s easy to do business, English is the main language, and the infrastructures like public transportation are great. Also, the government supports local innovation in multiple ways, like giving grants for SMEs and FinTechs.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep giving, and one day you will receive.

Who inspires you?
My parents. My father had a successful business in Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975. After the war, my father was sent to a re-education camp for three years, which meant my mum had to bring up two young kids – a 3-year-old, me and my 4-year old brother on her own.

In 1980, we all fled Vietnam on a boat and arrived in Sydney, Australia via refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore. There, my parents had to start over with nothing to their names and only AUD 50 given to them by the Australian government.
They went on to build several businesses in Australia!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The number of young and smart people who have carved out successful careers by founding their own startups (or joining really cool ones). When I was starting out my career, doing any of these was not a viable option; it was either working for an accounting firm, an insurance company or a bank.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I were starting out my career now, I would choose the path of joining a startup as you get to learn so much about running a business and how to assemble a winning team.

How do you unwind?
I like travelling to a beach or a resort destination and just relaxing by the pool or beach. I also like to unwind after work with a glass of champagne or wine, and a bowl of truffle fries.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love the people and the spicy Thai food.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The E-Myth. It’s a book series that dismantles common myths about entrepreneurship in different industries.

Shameless plug for your business:
With iPaymy for Business, SMEs can pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today. SMEs love iPaymy because it works like a credit card, but pays like cash.

iPaymy’s secure and easy to use platform reliably delivers payments to vendors while freeing up cash and providing access to interest free credit. Forget the delays and aggravations that come with traditional SME financing options. Schedule recurring payments, manage invoices, set payment reminders, and monitor payment status all from one dashboard.

It’s never been easier for SMEs to meet monthly payment obligations while keeping cash available to fuel growth, bridge receivable gaps, and make immediate investment in the supplies, services, and expertise needed to drive a growing business forward.

How can people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me by email.
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrystiedaoszabo/
My email: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/ceedeees

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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