Ken Teng had a rough start but used his experience to build his business, Yoonly Enterprise – one of Singapore’s leading trophies, badges and mementos manufacturers.

What’s your story?
Society often tells you to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire at 63 and live out the rest of your life. But that wasn’t me at all. When you think about a problem child, you can think of me. I didn’t do well academically; I shoplifted and I gambled. However, that changed when I took over my mother’s business and was held accountable for every employee. It was then that I met many people who changed my life for the better – my life mentors who encouraged me to go school if I wanted to, start a business, work for myself, travel the world, get married, have children, retire at 40 and live. This is how I have grown Yoonly Enterprise to become one of Singapore’s leading trophies, badges and mementos manufacturers.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me the most about designing and manufacturing trophies, badges and mementos is the level of personalisation and detail that goes into each and every award. We believe that every award holds a special meaning to both the award presenter and the recipient and we put our heart into doing our best for each award.
Additionally, while a lot of companies in my industry seem to be faltering due to costs going up, I am seeing how the use of technology has allowed Yoonly to streamline its operations and grow faster.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Being born and bred in Singapore, the island nation represents a melting pot of cultures and this unique synergy between different races and culture greatly influences the design mix of our products. For example, we incorporate the Japanese way of producing high quality product and delivery of high service standards, the Chinese way of high efficiency, the Malaysian way of creating a fun and relaxed working environment, the Indian way of effective problem solving and of course, the Singaporean “Kiasuness.” We believe that being attuned to the different cultural nuances in Asia helps us deliver better products and deliver it faster.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore definitely! At a young age of 51 years, Singapore has been widely accredited for being the best place to do business due to the support provided by the government and ease in setting up a business. In addition, as a multi-racial, multi-cultural country, we have the opportunity to learn from and interact with a myriad of clients from different ethnic groups. While this presents its own set of challenges, it also allows us creative freedom to explore our product range, thereby contributing to the diversity in my business.

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What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
To always deliver on the promise of the best value, as competing on price points will never work out long term.

Who inspires you?
Tony Robbins – who is arguably the best motivation coach in the world.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The fact that life follows the patterns of nature. Life has many ups and downs, much like how there are no straight lines in nature. Only the human mind is engineered to think in straight lines and logical progression and this is why virtually every straight line you see is man made. This parallel between life’s tumultuous journey and nature’s winding rivers blew me away – everyone, regardless of topography, always follows an unchartered winding pattern, even across flat land and this is something we should embrace.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started my entrepreneurship as early as I could.

How do you unwind?
Having experienced my fair share of bumps in life, helping others truly warms my heart and helps me unwind and is something that I incorporate into my daily life. From helping animals in need to conducting free classes on investment, just knowing that I can help others, especially from making the same mistakes as I did, keeps me grounded and sane in this modern day and age.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
To be honest, I am a simple man. All it takes is a clean beach, clear waters and a coconut and I’ll be happy and relaxed. Being a big fan of nice beaches and tropical waters, my favourite Asian destination would be an island with a pristine white beach. More recently, I discovered this island in Asia, Manjuyod Sandbar, that makes me want to be spontaneous and hop onto the next plane to the Philippines.

Everyone in business should read this book:
While I am not a conventional book junky and I am basically allergic to books, I take an active interest in following successful people; their habits, philosophies and strategies.
Shameless plug for your business:
We are a leading provider of fine works for awards and recognition. We have come a long way advancing ourselves through the latest technology and skilled craftsmanship. We pride ourselves in delivering on the promise of the best value.
Also, despite not liking reading, I wrote an ebook on money management. For interested parties, my ebook is available on: http://www.stayin-positive.com/free-book.html

How can people connect with you?
People can either connect with me through my company website, http://www.yoonly.com/, through my personal blog: http://www.stayin-positive.com/ or reach out through email, [email protected], or my personal Facebook account, Ken Teng.

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.

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