The route to entrepreneurship is never an easy one and most entrepreneurs can agree to it. What makes it easier is to find something that motivates the day-to-day battle and the best way to do that is to find the stories of entrepreneurs that are relatable to you - stories of small entrepreneurs that share the same concerns and goals as you.
So here we’ve compiled top 5 entrepreneurs’ stories that will most likely motivate you and what you can learn from them.
Inspiration is in small celebrations, and that’s exactly how Ming En, the founder of Boxsome, got his idea for the business. It came to Ming En back in 2017 when he and his friends went on a hunt to find the perfect birthday gift for a friend.
“We didn't want to send the usual gifts that can be found in the retail store, hence, we DIY-ed it”
He shared that after considering all possible alternatives, they decided to get a one-of-a-kind, customized box gift made especially for his friend; someone who snacks a lot, and that’s how they started their journey.
He and his friends went around multiple snack shops to buy a variety of snacks to be put into a personalized gift box for his friend. Once that was done, they went on to wrap the box and finished the gift with personal handwritten cards. What made the gift extra special is the sincere effort and the amount of personalization that they put in to make it personal for their friend.
He described the experience of preparing the gift 100% from scratch as ‘thoroughly delightful’ and that was when the idea of turning it into a business struck him.
“The idea of Snack Surprise Box was born from our sheer young curiosity and adventurous spirit. Imagine unboxing a box full of excitement and unknown things awaiting for you, scanning through the surprises from top to bottom, how cool is that! And that's how Boxsome came to life 2 years ago.”
When asked what was his biggest challenge in managing the business, Ming En answered while they were able to maintain a high sales volume, their customers retention was still relatively low.
He shared that in order to overcome this problem, he re-assessed their marketing plan and decided to adopt strategies that are more tailored to their brand. Aside from that he has also sought help from experts in the field to construct better marketing strategies. Since the revision in plan, they were able to increase their retaining customer rate by 30% and here’s his advice to new entrepreneurs.
“Never be afraid to ask for help! As a startup, you probably will have a small team with big goals. So to grow your business and make it competitive, sometimes you might need to ask for help that is outside of your organization. Asking for help is never a weakness, but rather a strength.”
Boxsome’s surprise snack boxes can either go as a gift or as a monthly snack subscription. Each box contains specially curated snacks and treats from all around the world.
Today, Boxsome has grown into one of the popular gift brands, they have surprised more than 4000 people, has an established online presence, has been featured in various media platforms such as BFM, New Straits Times, The Edge, The Vulcan and Many more. Boxsome is currently available on Fave and is eager to deliver their box of excitement to many more people.
When describing his experience of the whole journey, Ming En described it as something that still amazes him and his friends. Little did they know that one sincere attempt of buying a gift in 2017 would eventually change and bring so much value to their lives.
Looking back at his journey, one important thing that we can all agree on is that exploring new ideas can be fun and with passion and dedication, it might lead you to discover new paths.
Eagles’ Wings Nursing
Motivation that stems from good intentions, that’s one way to describe how Eagles’ Wings Nursing came to life. Tharmaraj Rajandran shared that the idea of the business started with the story of his mother; a hardworking woman that dedicated more than 28 years of her life to helping people as a nurse. After her long tenures at various hospitals and clinics, she ventured into the private nursing services field.
It was only after quite some time in the field that she noticed a glaring need for private nursing services as she came across many families facing difficulty in obtaining high-quality nursing care at affordable rates.
Upon understanding the need for this service she wanted to provide a way for families, who could not care for the sickly or elderly members of their household - either due to lack of time or healthcare skill, to have their loved ones cared for without having to send them to a nursing home or assisted living center.
Thus, that was how Eagles' Wings Nursing was born! Today they serve a variety of clients and their loved ones during their most vulnerable moments, and they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the welfare of their clients.
Their services include providing private nurses and caregivers to homes and hospitals, physiotherapy, acupuncture, changing of Ryle’s Tubes (Nasogastric intubation), wound dressing, Catheter Insertion, and many other services.
Image source: Eagles’ Wings Nursing
When asked what’s the biggest challenge they face in managing the business, Tharmaraj responded saying keeping a lean administration and management. With a small team of people working on all aspects of the business, often-time they had to wear many hats to ensure the smooth running of the business. Another continuous struggle for the business is gaining more exposure - especially in such a competitive environment.
Tharmaraj shared that with a lean administration and management, they try their best to balance their time between different roles. When it comes to gaining more exposures, he said that they try to keep an open eye and take on every opportunity that comes their way such as the opportunity to be featured on FaveBiz!
“Network and learn. Your knowledge will be the groundwork on which you build your business and your network will be your foundation. Running a business is like riding a wave. You will not have complete control of the market or the environment, however, you can maneuver your business to survive in any conditions with the right team, skills, and mindset.”
We cannot agree more with this! The power of networking will not only help kickstart your business but also help you expand your business indefinitely. Always look for an opportunity to collaborate and meet new people! Having a strong network will never fail to help your business at its most critical time.
Vivae Board Game Cafe
Finding motivations from small joys and warm moments. For Abraham Joel, the founder of Vivae Board Game Cafe, that is what drives him to keep doing what he does, reminding people to focus on real-life interaction and making memories through simple board games.
“Teasing someone and getting teased back with no hard feelings, enjoying each others’ company and remembering the good times with the faces that means the most to us”
These days we have admittedly become more attached to our phones and device screens have dominantly replaced most of our real-life interactions with people. Abraham Joel believes that small things like spending time with the people that matter to us and making memories with them are important to de-stress and lift us from our troubles.
“Our family and friends is the reason Vivae Board Game Cafe exists and seeing these happy faces, makes us want to be better every day”
He started the business because he noticed that there was a need for work life balance and issues with people not having enough "me time". It came to him that gaming is one of the best solutions to this but he wanted to avoid device-based gaming so the idea of tabletop gaming struck him as the better option as it is healthier and offers many mental health benefits. Not only does it promote healthy social interaction but also promotes problem solving skills and deduction among other benefits.
In his effort to help people create more genuine interaction and work life balance, he came up with the idea of Vivae Board Game Cafe; A cozy cafe situated in Damansara Utama that not only provides people with a conducive space to unwind after a hectic day and gather over, beers, and soda but also offers one of the most extensive collections of board games one would ever see in their lifetime.
Abraham also pointed out that despite their smooth sailing, currently, their biggest challenge in managing the business is to keep up with the industry and its changes. One way they have managed to overcome this problem is by listening to their customers and try their best to understand and try to fulfill their needs or requests as a business, and that has and is helping them to be a community centric game cafe. His advice for new entrepreneurs is simple.
“Build relationships and business will follow”
We’re totally on-board with it. It’s always important for businesses to remember that at the end of the day, consumers are human, and providing services that appeal to humane needs will never be irrelevant.
Inspiration can come from combining leisure and work. For someone that describes himself as having an introverted side, Jun Xian Yap, the founder of WIF Pilates said that that’s what inspired him to start the business.
He has been working with people as a Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor for the past 6 years, resolving their pain and discomfort, sharing their laughter and life stories, making them feel recharged, and move healthier.
Aside from his professional life, he has always loved indulging in peaceful self-relaxing times. Doing nothing, spending his alone time by the beach, in a chalet on the mountain, or in an Airbnb for self-isolation always helps to recharge him better than anything else.
That’s where he got his idea from - the business combines the 2 things that he loves the most (aside from his family) because he believes that there are many people out there that share or would be as fascinated at the idea as he is. Thus equipped with his knowledge and driven by his passion, he started WIF Pilates Studio in Mont Kiara in December 2019.
Image source: WIF Pilates
His intention was simple yet captivating, it was to pamper his clients with complete privacy, peace, and refreshing personal time. His mantra for the business was what charmed us.
"Be kind to each other, being authentic with our self, and be diligent to serve"
He wanted to provide a space that will allow his clients to become healthier without disturbance, giving them a weekly private getaway to recharge.
WIF which stands for 'Wellbeing In Fitness' aims to minimize client's risk of injury in their fitness efforts. The business highlights their personal connection that they cherish the most; being with their client. They wish to create a place filled with genuine care, and an out-of-routine getaway for clients.
When asked what was his biggest challenge in managing the business, he answered that having to work on the business and in the business takes up most of his time. Getting stuck in running the business than growing it often results in a delay for most of his important tasks.
He also shared that one of his ways to overcome this challenge was to be generous in sharing and guiding new talents to assist in daily operations so that he can have more time to work on growing the business, and getting their service to help more people experiencing back pain.
On sharing his advice to new entrepreneurs that are starting their own business, he said that the best advice is to,
“Deliver your promise and go beyond expectation.”
The most important thing that businesses can learn from this is that to provide a service that we personally believe in, a service that we enjoy and with time and effort, people will also believe and genuinely see its value.
Dtox Car Service
The determination to bring change back home is what made Hendrik Tan, one of the founders of Dtox Car Service to open up the business.
Hendrik and his partner opened the first drive-thru car service center in Malaysia which promises to get people their oil change done in 10 minutes or the service is free.
Although it was already a very common and well-known concept in the USA, Canada, and Australia. They noticed the striking need for this concept to be introduced in Malaysia as it was very foreign then.
The idea is to provide basic services to cars in the most efficient and time-saving way. They have received a lot of attention due to this; both good and bad and they accept both in a welcoming manner. Today, after almost 7 years of operating, they have 5 locations in the Klang Valley and their Deals are listed on Fave.
This quick-service concept is gaining popularity with other car workshops and even car dealerships (4S) promoting their version of quick services in Malaysia. Hendrik and his partner are happy to point out that this is now the new normal of car servicing. What captivated us the most about the business was its catchy tagline.
“We change your oil, not your schedule.”
With that said, what you can take from this is that to succeed, you should always take criticism with a pinch of salt and never stop looking for an opportunity to provide new solutions.
Motivation and inspiration can come in many forms. Seeing how other entrepreneurs work hard to succeed doesn't mean that you will go through the same thing to succeed. Think about your journey, focus on what makes you or your business strong. So one piece of advice from us here is to look at the different aspects of things that other entrepreneurs did on their journey to success, revise to fit your business, and apply accordingly.