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Top 3 Mistakes New Businesses Make


by Elisha Tan, founder of Learnemy

Having mentored over 200 business owners, Boyd Au is no stranger to the mistakes that new businesses make.

Boyd Au is the co-founder of Enzer Corporation and served as the CEO from 1984 to 2007. During his term, he switched the business from selling components to companies such as Apple and HP, to designing and producing Enzer consumer electronics.

That decision paid off. Boyd brought Enzer products to 33 countries and Enzer became a listed company in the Singapore Stock Exchange. After stepping down and selling all of his shares in 2007, he is now an investor at 7 Notes Capital.

Here are the top 3 mistakes that Boyd sees many new businesses make, and what you should do to avoid them.

1. No Compelling Differentiation.

Many new founders don’t know why they are starting up (besides making lots of money). Without knowing why they are starting a business, their vision, mission and purpose of the business are not clear.

Even if they do know why they are starting up, they often don’t have a compelling differentiating value. As a founder, you need to have domain knowledge of the industry and keep observing for gaps in the market. To spot these gaps, you need to be in the market, keep up with the news, be aware of what your competitors are doing, talk to your customers and suppliers, and attend exhibitions.

2. No Strategy In Place To Achieve Business Results.

Select your business carefully and make sure it is scalable. It will be great if the company has more than one source of revenue. Choose a model that provides sustainable profit margin with good cash flow. If possible, follow the CBD model- Cash Before Delivery.

To help you with creating a strategy, getting an experienced business mentor is definitely good. Look for mentor who has knowledge of the subject matter and a heart to see you do well.

3. Underfunded.

Many young businesses struggle with the lack of funds. Grants are good but usually small in quantum and not enough for 2 years of operating expenses. So the ideal scenario is to raise funds from investors.

All investors have the same objectives that are: good return on the money invested, capable management team, and money in safe hands. To attract investors to your company, make sure you have a good product, a management team that can execute, and a strategy to achieve business goals.

Want to hear more from Boyd?

And he is going to share with you how he started and grew Enzer.

Boyd will be giving a seminar on 3rd May 2013, 2 – 5pm at Furama Riverfront Hotel where he will be sharing his journey of starting a company and growing it to a public listed company. He will also be teaching you how to solve problems like:

“Should I change my idea or should I continue doing what I am doing?”

“How do I reach out to more of my customers?”

“How do I make good business decisions?”

It is not often that we have a Singaporean entrepreneur who started a business, listed it publicly and finally sold his shares. It is even rarer that he is willing to share the experience and the lessons learned.

Companies usually invest thousands of dollars per hour to get the knowledge and practical steps that Boyd acquired over 25 years.

Sign up or find out more about the session here. The session originally costs S$79, but Young Upstarts readers get a 5% discount and pay only S$75.


Elisha Tan is the founder of Learnemy, an online marketplace that connects you with instructors for anything you want to learn. She believes that people should be able to make a living by doing what they like to do. Hence, she hopes to provide a platform for people to monetize their skill sets by teaching.