Ever wondered how successful founders got to where they are today? 12 entrepreneurs weigh in on their secrets to success.

Fear of failure stalks the world of every entrepreneur. After all, it takes a certain set of skills and characteristics to make it in the world of business. And, even then, success is never guaranteed, as there are so many external factors that come into play, a great number of which are out of your control. 

Taking the best advice from some of Asia Pacific’s leading entrepreneurs, here are 12 entrepreneurial secrets to success.

1. Find and curate your “A-Team”

“A startup founder’s journey can be extremely challenging and feel like an everlasting race of jumping over emotional, technical, and personal hurdles. Finding and creating a strong team that shares your mission is a crucial element to overcoming these hurdles. Your team can consist of co-founders, employees, advisors, contractors, mentors, or even trusted loved ones. Link your team curation to your values and choose compatibility over competency.”

– Shing Yue Sheung, COO and Co-Founder of Navi Medical Technologies, featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia in 2018

2. Stay aligned with your vision

“Many people will tell you why you cannot achieve your vision, so it is essential to stay truly aligned within yourself. Alignment becomes easier with in-depth research into your business idea to build the confidence you need to guide you through the many challenges you will face.”

– Patrick Newell, Co-Founder of Tokyo International School and TEDxTokyo and Founder of 21 Foundation

3. Be passionate about your work

“A deep passion for the business and company vision is the starting point for success. Passion is highly contagious and is one of the most important things for entrepreneurs to openly share with their team, colleagues, partners, and followers.”

– Alexander Petersen, Co-founder and CEO of LAIBA Beverages

4. Tap into future trends and needs

“It is pivotal to adapt based on future trends and customer needs. If a young Jeff Bezos tried to set up an online bookstore today, he would fail miserably. His foresight to capture what his customers would want next is what drove Amazon to transition from an online bookstore to a global e-commerce store today.”

– Fengru Lin, Co-Founder of TurtleTree Labs

5. Stay positive

“I am a big believer in energy and positivity. Take care of yourself and always maintain a state of high energy when making decisions. A leader must be a calculated optimist – your level of positivity can make or break the team because no one wants to follow a pessimist.”

– Ashley Galina Dudarenok, Founder of Alarice and Chozan, featured in LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing 2019 and Top 25 Innovators in the Holmes Report Asia-Pacific 2019

6. Take meaningful actions

“As a startup, it is important to always remember your ‘why’. We all started our own venture because of a reason so everything we do should be taking us closer to that goal. Whether that is a new feature or an additional service, every decision you make should always contribute to why you do what you do – if it doesn’t, don’t do it.”

– Alex Chung, Co-Founder of Stryde

7. Unlearn outdated trends to make way for the new

“Successful entrepreneurship is 20% learning and 80% unlearning. Unlearn the limiting assumptions to make space for valuable data.”

– Christine Deschemin, Founder of the Renewed Edge Hypnotherapy Centre and UpNow

8. Create something that adds value to the user

“When creating your product, the most important thing is to think from the user’s perspective and aim to make their experience the best it could be. There’s a big difference between coming up with an idea and actually making it work – it takes time. We spent many months trialling different designs and refining them until we came up with something we were truly happy with.”

– Charles Ng, Co-Founder and Design Director of Orbitkey

9. Think fast for solutions and act fast

“Our brand is called Slowood, but acting fast is the secret behind the brand. Environmental problems are exacerbating, so we need to act fast, look for sustainable solutions and eco-alternatives that minimise our impact, and spread the idea of conscious living to our next generation as soon as possible.”

– Chan Kai Ping, Co-founder of Slowood

10. Be adaptable and flexible

“Being an entrepreneur means you assess risks and opportunities with equal measure. This will help you develop a clear business and ensure its long-term competitiveness and sustainability. At SensorFlow, we work closely with our customers to adapt our product to their changing needs, which has definitely helped us navigate the uncertain times we are going through with the COVID-19 outbreak.”

– Saikrishnan Ranganathan, Founder and CEO of SensorFlow

11. Exert self-discipline consistently

“Of all the attributes that drive success, discipline is the most crucial but also the most difficult to live by.

A million things contribute to success, here are just a few off the top of my head: curiosity, humility, leadership, teamwork, knowledge, business network, and – the most important one – luck. In many cases, what drives success is just doing the right thing in the right place at the right time with the right people. However, you have to consistently put yourself in these potentially ‘right’ circumstances, and that takes discipline. You need to utilise your finite resources efficiently every day; learn with an open mindset and humility every day; inspire your team every day; be proactive and purposeful every day; and aim to serve rather than take every day.”

– Timothy Yu, Founder and CEO of Snapask

12. Be resilient

“During your entrepreneurial journey, some days will be good and some days will be bad. It’s necessary to stay adaptable and resilient to embrace changes and overcome difficulties.”

– Devana Ng, Co-Founder of Distinctive Action


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