Connect with us

Interviews

Olivier Verot, CEO of Gentlemen Marketing Agency

Published

on

Olivier Verot is a 36 years old entrepreneur from France. He is now the CEO of Gentlemen Marketing Agency, a pure digital player dedicated to the Chinese market. Olivier decided to travel to China about 11 years ago and fell in love with its culture, people and environment. Olivier is now married to an incredible Chinese woman and have a child. He has worked and lived in China since 2008 and have not looked back since. Olivier discovered China by participating to a semester long exchange program at Dalian University when he was in business school.

In regards to his knowledge and experience in both Marketing and the Chinese market, Olivier can be described as a Chinese digital marketing lead generation specialist. His company, Gentlemen Marketing Agency, offers different services related to using a Chinese tailored digital strategy to enter the Chinese market. Services range from community management, e-reputation, SEO to content marketing. All of which allows their clients to create tangible leads and more traffic to their website or online business. They also provide well-though out and captivating articles on our French and English websites (marketing-china and marketing to china). They can accommodate international clients as their team is culturally diverse and made of French and Chinese employees.

In your own words, what do you do?

As a CEO, I oversee the team and take care of the big projects. Besides assigning tasks and projects to my project managers and lead generation interns, I am also in charge of replying to request for proposals/quotation, meeting prospective clients and most importantly thinking through a value added digital marketing strategy to meet our client’s requirements, thanks to my numerous years of experience in the Chinese market.

What led you to your current business?

My passion for marketing, as well as my love for the Chinese culture and market, led me to the creation of my blog Marketing in China a few years ago. As my blog started receiving more and more traffic and attention, I started to get comments and messages from visitors willing to know more about digital marketing in China and thus started doing some freelancing. After 3 years I decided to take the leap, and created in 2012, the Gentlemen Marketing Agency in collaboration with Phillip Lim, a Chinese marketing professional.

Could you walk us through your process of developing your business?

The first step that helped me in developing my business is having a successful blog. Writing high quality and relevant content allowed me, not only to connect with prospective clients who could eventually be interested in my services, but also to enjoy a good ranking on the most used search engine in the world, Google. Everybody do their research before engaging with a company to get information about their expertise, advice, reviews or even just contact information. The second step was to continue to build momentum by creating a lead generation strategy. Gentlemen Marketing Agency mainly relies on online lead generation. Even though I started my compan, I didnít stop my blog and continued to supply good quality content and information for my readers by posting frequently. Thus, we gain new clients thanks to our expertise in SEO, e-reputation, content marketing and so on. it is important to note that an entrepreneur should use its own talents to create his own opportunities. Why should you act like others when you can do better with your own skills, team and strengths?

Did you encounter any particular difficulties in the beginning?

Just like any entrepreneurs, I had to overcome obstacles to get to where I am today. One of the difficult parts of being an entrepreneur is the fact that I had to leave my home country, France, to establish myself in China. This ultimately means living far away from your friends and family which can, sometimes, be difficult. However, I am lucky to say that I have my family here in China and can once a year go back to France. Another thing is the work-life balance when you start a business, I had to learn how to juggle between working hard for the business and still enjoying some resting time.

What is your long term plan?

My long-term plan is to grow Gentleman Marketing Agency to be :
1) The most well-known, reputable and sought out Digital Marketing agency in China by foreign brands looking to enter the Chinese market,
2) Develop the business internationally maybe in Asia or France,
3) Employing more staff to cope up with our new projects and having an overall improved turnover.

Could you share with us some industry insights?

The digital landscape in China is rapidly evolving and changing every day. What you knew two years ago doesnít apply today. To give you an example, before WeChat was born, QQ was the most used instant messaging app in China. WeChat has now surpassed all of the other social platforms and remains strong at the first seat. Basic things you have to know about Chinese digital marketing are the fact that the social media platforms are merely Chinese. The main social media are WeChat (more than 690 million active users worldwide and first market: China), Weibo (a twitter-like microblogging platform with over 220 million active users), QQ, and Ren Ren (similar to Facebook). Concerning search engines, Google is out of sight and Baidu dominates owning about 80% of the Chinese search engine market.

There are a lot of things to say, but I think it is important to note that Chinese are very web and tech-savvy, they mostly use their mobile phone to access the internet and do so daily. A study found that Chinese internet users spend on average 25 hours a week just browsing the web! Also about 90% own at least one social media account. A lot of services in China are provided through mobile apps and the internet. You can book a taxi, get your lunch delivered to your home and even your groceries.

What are some important lessons you’ve learnt about entrepreneurship?

You have to work hard! Nothing is easy in life and even less when you decide to run your own business. Managing people is the most complex part but also the most rewarding. You have to choose your employees and co-workers wisely. Finally, networking and connecting with people genuinely and providing relevant high-quality content is the way to go to grow your business.

Any tips for achieving success?

Have a vision, know where you are going. Also, don’t listen to nay-sayers and believe in your talents as well as your team ability to succeed. Finally, work hard, team up with the right people and enjoy the road!

Connect

My website: http://ecommercechinaagency.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/olivierverot
LinkedIn: https://fr.linkedin.com/in/olivierverot

Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Trending