Getting your first customer is always difficult, as Collin and his business partner Joe found out.
The two co-founders of Mithn Singapore had realised in 2006 that the open source movement in Singapore was growing tremendously, but few were the companies who could deliver open-source enterprise solutions and thin client solutions for businesses. Both Collin and Joe had already spent more than four years in the IT industry, and finally decided to form their own company after weeks of planning their business. Mithn Singapore was thus born, out of their love for information technology and Linux.
But business wasn’t forthcoming. They lacked contacts, and not having links to vendors in the industry made things difficult. Worse yet, they were easily pushed aside by bigger competitors. “We did not have any customers and we were not drawing any salary,” said Collin. Money was flowing out – spent on marketing materials such as posters and business cards – but none was coming in. “There were times we wanted to throw in the towel, but we were so passionate and determined to make it happen, we decided to push on.”
“One day I had no more money to draw from my bank account which meant that I had to go hungry or I had to borrow money, which I did not like,” Collin shared. The desperate Christian prayed – and an answer appeared in the form of an old friend, who called him out of the blue to ask if he was interested to do a job which involved replacing a router and modem for a magazine publishing company. When they went down, they soon found out that more things had to be done so they drew up an infrastructural proposal for them. In the end, the magazine publisher bought a server running a Linux operating system to house its data. This was 2007, and Mithn finally had its first client.
Mithn today has a portfolio of seven to eight clients under their belt, but it had been very hard work and long hours. In case you’re wondering, as I did – Mithn is short for “making things happen now”.