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Vivek Iyyani, Director of YOU! Training & Development

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Vivek Iyyani is helping people ‘unleash’ their inner ‘champion’ through his training and development programs.

What’s your story?
My Name is Vivek Iyyani, and I run my company YOU! Training & Development. I have been working in the events and training industry for the past decade, specialising in training programs for personal and people development. I have been working with schools and corporates to run these programs. One of the key challenges people face is the phenomenon known as Akrasia – where they set big goals and kick off with a lot of willpower and motivation but fail to finish what they set out to do because they lost their drive over time. The programs we design cater to this specific challenge and is based on my upcoming book, ‘Unleash the Champion in You!’

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me the most about my industry is that I have the opportunity to work with different people from different walks of life, get to understand the challenges they face and help them overcome these challenges in a systematic and step by step manner. The joy of helping others overcome their challenges by teaching and providing them the specific Mindset, Skillset and Toolset gives me a sense of satisfaction I’ve not experienced elsewhere.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in India and my family shifted to Singapore when I was two in 1990. My father made a decision to migrate to Singapore when I was just two years old for a better life for all of us. Ever since, I have been based in Singapore

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My favourite city in Asia has to be Singapore because of the tremendous support that the government gives business owners here through the various grants and support system. I also feel that Singapore has a strong economy and is able to support businesses here very well.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
One of the best advice I have received is to apply the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) and focus on the 20% input that gives the 80% output. Focusing on everything and anything is counter productive. Hence, it is better to focus on a niche and concentrate my full efforts on the 20% and reap the 80% rewards. This principle can be applied in most areas of life and has definitely benefitted me well.

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by mentor Mr. Kesavan Sathyamoorthy, Founder of Diamond Glass Enterprise, who managed to beat all odds and become successful in his industry and then do his part to give back to society by encouraging Entrepreneur Mentorship through the Red Pill Program via the Singapore Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SICCI)

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I recently learnt and realised about how the internet can become a portal to serve clients on an international level rather than keeping our sights on becoming the best locally or regionally. Having seen it happen in my industry has opened my mind to the endless possibilities that I can bring my business to. Going digital is the way forward!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I had my time again, I would have engaged a life coach and mentor when I first started my business because I would have shaved off so much time and money from learning from the experienced mentor and it would have helped me reach the various goals so much faster. A mentor who has been there and done that will help anyone in their business tremendously.

How do you unwind?
I unwind by taking mini holiday trips outside of Singapore either alone or with friends. The change of environment invigorates me and I often am able to recharge well. I enjoy the thrill of discovering new places and I usually find that such trips enable me to get a better perspective of things related to my work or personal life.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
One of my favourite Asian destination for relaxation is Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. I enjoy the cool weather and fresh air there. Plus they have good tea there.

Everyone in business should read this book:
I am highly inspired by 2 key people: Tim Ferriss and Daniel Priestley.
This is because of the books they have written, namely ‘The 4 Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss and ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ by Daniel Priestley has impacted the way I perceived life and brought about a considerable amount of change in the way I operated both in personal and business matters. I am inspired by the paradigm shift they have brought about in the way we think and aspire to do the same on my own one day.

Shameless plug for your business:
YOU! Training & Development focuses on Personal Development and People Development. We run our CHAMP program that focuses on the five key aspects of Clarity, Habit, Action, Motivation and Productivity.
We help our clients in each of these categories, starting with Clarity. Most of our clients that approach us are visibly confused about what they really want with themselves and are unable to identify why they are not able to achieve the goals they set out to do. We
What we do best is to sit down with our clients, help them attain the clarity they need and map out their action plan. We do this by teaching them concepts on Habit, Motivation and Productivity. We strongly believe that your ‘environment drives performance’ and we complement what we teach by providing an environment that drives performance.
We run our programs for schools and corporate teams looking to increase their performance and provide individual coaching to entrepreneurs who need clarity and need to maximise their productivity.

How can people connect with you?
I can be reached at via 3 methods.
My email [email protected]
My blog is www.vivek-iyyani.com
I am also reachable via company’s website www.youtraining.sg

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

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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