On the other end, entrepreneurs that are less fortunate would have to contend with a gruelling and excruciating process to barely put their business on the right track. However, regardless how relentless it may be, a good entrepreneur should not at any point of time abandon their pursuit for success, but rather, toughen up and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from succeeding, just like what Mr Phillip Koh did.
As the founder of Eastern Neon Pte Ltd; a local business that deals with the fabrication, repair and maintenance of signage, Mr Koh had to deal with many complications and challenges before he was able to direct the company towards the path of success. Founded in 1988, Eastern Neon Pte Ltd was initially led by Mr Koh and his partner, who decided to leave the business 2 years after its initiation with an abrupt shift in responsibilities and powers to Mr Koh.
Despite having prior working background in the field, Mr Koh was unable to properly manage the business singlehandedly due to the sudden departure of his partner. With a lack of manpower and capital, Mr Koh was struggling to keep Eastern Neon Pte Ltd afloat. Throughout the decade of 1991 to 2001, Eastern Neon Pte Ltd was able to receive some aid from other signage companies and took on jobs as an external vendor, dealing in the installation of signs. Despite how Eastern Neon Pte Ltd remained to be plagued with financial and management issues, with external help, Mr Koh remained tenacious under all pressures and challenges, choosing not to relinquish.
Since its start in 1988, Eastern Neon Pte Ltd has never succeeded in its progress towards success. It was only in 2001, that Mr Koh, with his acquired entrepreneurial experience and knowledge, realised that the impediment that was hindering the business from succeeding was that the business had been ineffectual and lacking in productivity. Mr Koh then proceeded to scale down the operations of Eastern Neon Pte Ltd, and led the business in a new direction, even selling his Malaysian company to fully concentrate on running Eastern Neon Pte Ltd well.
Mr Koh believes that Eastern Neon Pte Ltd should start proffering their clients with rudimentary services that its peers have overlooked upon all along; the repair and maintenance of signage. By doing so, Eastern Neon Pte Ltd was able to establish a direct connection with clients, fabricating signage on a secondary basis. It has been more than a decade since Mr Koh restructured Eastern Neon Pte Ltd, and the business has secured substantial achievements within this period of time; enjoying the patronisation of large buildings developed by prominent property developer Far East Organisation, and other eminent clients.
Eastern Neon Pte Ltd has also grown in leaps and bounds, and business now possesses a strong manpower of 20, coping with customers’ demand without hitches. Nevertheless, despite its considerable progress, Mr Koh thinks that the success of Eastern Neon Pte Ltd is still limited and there are many rooms for improvement.
Through his bittersweet experience as an entrepreneur, Mr Koh likes to advocate budding entrepreneurs to ensure a good start in an entrepreneurship to prevent troubles from cropping up, and to refrain from having a partnership as it makes entrepreneurs highly reliant on each other.
Mr Koh also urged the need to seek the advice from experienced authorities in the same industry, and to uphold trustworthiness and a positive attitude when dealing with people, as he believed these are the qualities that aided him towards the achievements that Eastern Neon Pte Ltd has attained today, alongside his faith, which has motivated and guided him on his entrepreneurial journey.
“ Mr Koh urged the need to seek the advice from experienced authorities in the same industry, and to uphold trustworthiness and a positive attitude when dealing with people. ”
Mr Koh intends to fortify the operations of Eastern Neon Pte Ltd for the next 5 years, intending to perfect what the business does best now before considering any expansion opportunities. What makes Mr Koh so exceptional is persistence when it comes to the pursuit of success, never giving up even when faced with protracted and overwhelming obstacles and forces. The challenges that Eastern Neon Pte Ltd and Mr Koh faced has undoubtedly shored up the business and make it more formidable than it ever was, and this is also why Eastern Neon Pte Ltd is worthy of the SME of the Year 2014 accolade.