Sunday, May 27, 2007

Company’s vision : An entrepreneur’s thoughts

I remembered during my university’s HRM course, we were taught about the importance of having a company’s vision and mission statement. A company’s vision is basically where the company foresee itself to be in the future, whereas a company’s mission is basically what the company is now. For example, "We deliver cost-effective, mission-critical and reliable system for military training" is a mission statement. Whereas, “To be the world leading provider for military training system” is a vision statement.

When we first started the business venture 2 years ago, we didn’t really have any mission or vision statement. We created a product which we thought was useful for a few target segments. However, sales wasn’t as good as expectation in the initial stages. Over the years, I had refined and enhanced the product according to customers’ needs into a relatively matured and comprehensive one.

Now that the product and sales have become somewhat stable, I begin to think about where the company would be in the future. That is, the company’s vision. In fact, this thing had always been in my mind for the past few years, even before I ventured out.

Where do I hope to bring my company to, in the next 5-10 years ?
What type of company do I foresee it to become in the future ?
Simply put, what exactly is my company’s vision ?

I am still not too sure about my company’s vision. But to say that I am in a lost would be an overstatement. A more apt description would be, there’s a fog between me and my company’s vision. A fog that I believed would eventually disperse in time to come. However, the presence of the fog caused some feeling of anxiety. The anxiety of not knowing where I would be heading towards. The anxiety of not knowing whether I am walking in the correct direction.

To be fair, I do have some plans for the near future. I have plans for another two new products, one being related to my existing product while the other is kind of experimental towards an area which I feel having good potential. In addition, I also have plans for bringing my existing product to another level, targeting to launch by end of the year. However, all these are only individual product roadmaps, not the overall company’s roadmap. They are parts of the jigsaw puzzle, but at the moment the links are missing.

Maybe I had been thinking too much. But it is better than not realizing the problem, or realizing the problem but pretending it doesn’t exist by sweeping it under the carpet. At the very least, I realize that something critical is missing. The next thing I have to do, would be to continue learning and enriching myself, and hope that in the process I would find the missing links. The links between now and the future.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

S$88 to transfer ownership from myself to myself ?

Went over to IPOS (Intellectual Property Office of Singapore) this morning to settle something that I should have settled long ago. Well, I am going to transfer the ownership of a trademark from myself to myself.

Sounds a bit weird? Alright, my previous sole-proprietary business owns a registered trademark. But I terminated the business early last year and incorporated a pte ltd company of the same name with myself as the sole director. So in order to continue using the previously registered trademark, I will need to transfer the ownership from the previous sole-proprietorship to the present pte ltd company. And in doing so, I need to pay S$88 to IPOS.

It seemed a bit funny that I had to sign off as both the previous and present owner, and pay S$88 just to transfer something from myself to myself.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Please help to stop this cruel “sport” of killing baby seals !!!

Got this email from SPCA recently. Please sign the appeal letter if you felt strongly against this cruel “sport”:

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Or directly to the letter of appeal:

Letter of Appeal

Norway and Canada have a new kind of tourism. Killing baby seals!!!! They call it "hunting" and it's a sport.

But do you really consider such cruel acts a sport ?

Are these people sportsmen or murderers ?

Please save these animals….they are being slaughtered by ruthless people and it's going on RIGHT NOW...!!! Save these seals….save humanity…

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What’s your plan after graduation ?

It’s May now. It’s this time of the year when local universities students are finishing their exams, and some of them are running their last laps. Many of them would be entering the workforce soon, just like what I did seven years ago.

Seven years ago shortly after I graduated, I had an ex-colleague HK who had lived in quite a few countries. He had spent a couple of years in China and Taiwan. Thus, sometimes he would like to compare the people from these countries with Singaporean. I remembered he used to say something like this: “In China, when you ask a student his plans upon graduation, he would probably says he plans to do postgraduate studies like Masters or Phd. In Taiwan, the student would probably wants to start-up a company. Whereas in Singapore, a typical student would probably says he wanna join an MNC upon graduation.”

I understand there is a bit of generalization here. What H was trying to highlight was the difference in mentality of typical students in these countries. In general, China students are hungrier for knowledge and don’t usually stop at undergraduate level, while Taiwan students have more entrepreneurial spirits. In contrast, a typical Singaporean student seemed to be perfectly contented with a bachelor degree and a stable job in an MNC.

While there is nothing wrong in wanting to work in an MNC, somehow HK felt that something is seriously lacking in our students compared to their overseas counterparts.

“What is that thing which our students lacked?” I asked.

“Directions.” HK replied.

Yes, directions. HK felt that in general, our students didn’t have a clear direction of what they truly want in life, even after they graduated from university. When a Singaporean student replied that he wanted to join an MNC upon graduation, the thing in his mind was probably a decent and stable paycheck and a comfortable lifestyle, rather than ambitions, passions or dreams.

Although I do not want to agree with HK, my encounters with quite a number of fresh graduates had more or less affirmed his observations. Many of these local fresh graduates that I encountered do not really know what they want in their lifes, and the thing I am worried about is that they never seemed to have given a serious thought about it. And as a result, many people make career switches because eventually they found themselves doing something that they do not like.

I do not know how close to reality HK’s observation is, and whether things have changed ever since. If you have just graduated or had been working for a couple of years, have you ever spend some time thinking about what you really want to achieve between now and your retirement? If your answer is no, maybe it’s about time to start thinking. Start thinking, before you turned yourself into a worker ant.

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