Interview With Multi-Business Owner - Cedric Soh

Cedric Soh is one of the busiest people I've ever met, and he definitely has lots of business knowledge, experience & other inputs to share with us in different aspects of the business. He is also one of the respected businessmen in my circles. Today, it's an honoured that we've Cedric on my blog's #bloginterviewseries.

Cedric owns afew businesses and today's feature will be focusing more to his Business Digital Marketing business, named Cantley LifeCare Pte Ltd.

Some of his other companies are very much related to his passion & health. 

What ignited the spark in you to start this business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about? 
I used to sell toys and books, but sales have been dropped over the years due to decreasing population size of Singapore. I turn to eCommerce to reach out to more people. People have been turning to the internet for retail, and we suppliers have to do the same and risk extermination. Nokia has failed to move with the times, so did Blackberry. If these huge companies failed, what are the chances for any of us small enterprise?  
I met a good business partner, Henry Hoe, a few years ago and it was perfect. He has the perfect skillset, the ability to handle all forms of digital marketing, the ability to sell (you have no idea how that much is lacking in most technical person), and most of all, the ability to be humble and LEARN. He pays top money to learn. He pays for digital courses, he pays to attend seminars, he goes out of his way to meet other successful people and learn from others. 

I think the spark in ecommerce and digital marketing really comes from the meeting of two wonderful partner. Till this day, my wife lovely refer to him as “The Mistress”. 

What is your background? Education & Work Experience 
I graduated with honours in Economics, my first career was in insurance. I learnt so much about sales techniques; and later as I got promoted to manager; HR and management skills. I started a small business with a good friend, and realised cash flow and accounting are very important skills for any small business. Later on, as our market shrank, I realised that flexibility and the ability to move quickly is a must-have skill for all business. 

How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses? 
I have started doing small “part time business” since I was in the army! Selling cylume sticks and party gears at NYE countdowns, plush toys at Sentosa flea markets. Of course the real business started when I graduated from university, so I guess it’s been more than ten years. 

How important have good employees been to your success? 
Crucial. As a boss, you only have 2 hands and 24 hours. What can you achieve? You need good staff to help you expand, help you scale up. You need operation staff to manage your business well so you can stop worrying, stop selling and have more time and brain time to think on the next step. Delegate all the operations to your staff, you have more time to think. 

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently? 
I will join a corporate world, learn more about the corporate ladder and how huge department works. I see this as a handicap as I never have to manage huge teams before. And I would not have wait till graduation to gain more serious work or business experience. I would have spent my weekends labouring over my small ventures, rather than spend it teaching tuition or working in Sim Lim Square for that small petty salary. 

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? 
Persuasion, Digital Marketing, Easy-going 

Persuasion is very important. You need it to persuade people to work with you, to trust you and give you businesses. You need it to persuade staff to put in their career paths with you. You need to persuade your suppliers. It is one obvious skills but so much lacking in our society. People now think that they can persuade the other side by shouting. They think that they can just put a brunch of pictures, statistics and photos and SHOUT out loud, and then hey presto, the other side would be convinced. No such luck.  
Donald Trump is, unfortunately, a wonderful example of persuasion. I am no big fan of his, but I seen his persuasion method over the year. He is tremendously apt in persuading people to his side. We may not agree with his opinion, but he I think he pulled the biggest upset in modern history. 

Digital Marketing- A wise man shared with me, you would not use a 486 or a Pentium (for those young folks, those were the old computers in the 90s) now. Any smart phone has more processing power than those antiques.   
Why would you use old marketing / sales strategies in today ages? Why would you still think giving out flyers, advertising in newspapers as a good strategy? 

Easy-going – I learnt a lot from observing my father. Over the years, many elder business partner has commented to me how my father is easy going. He is humble, never blame anyone for business failures. Whenever people suggest, he will follow and not be critical and find issues. He is extremely NOT calculative, and do not count profit and losses so meticulously with partners. This may sound wrong from an accountant’s point of view, but it helps to open so many doors to business partners. What you do today affects what other views of you and what opportunities they can bring to you tomorrow.  

What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made? 
Not persuading a career overseas when I just graduated. I think I would have learnt so much more! 

What motivates you? 
Ability to make a difference in the world. I am not Elon Musk, but I hope one day I can have enough financial abilities to influence more youths to guide mankind into a better future. 

How do you define success? 
Once you people asking you how did you do it, I think that is happiness. 

How do you build a successful customer base? 
Build a successful staff team and they will help you with the successful customer base. 

Who has been your greatest inspiration? 
Elon Musk. He sees this project, using plain maths to deduce it is physically possible to bring down the costs and to expand the scope, he goes at it like an energizer bunny. He did it with SpaceX, he did it with Tesla, he is going to do it with The Boring Company, and probably every single engineering sector that he touches. 

What is Unique about your business? 
We embrace digital marketing in a huge way, till we become digital marketing consultants for other larger firms. SEO, SEM, SMM, all forms of digital marketing. I am surprised at this age, there are still small businesses who do not even bother to understand digital marketing 

What book has inspired you the most in business aspect? 
How to fail at almost Everything and still win big 

Book by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert comics. You can read his blog 
I am not kidding at how powerful this book is. I still reread it just to make sure I am refining my system. If you can follow 50% of this book, there is no way you will not be successful. I guarantee it. 

How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing? 
SEO marketing is the best. It is the most tedious, as you have to keep writing, and keep building backlinks. These are tough work that cannot be outsource easily. Till today, I am still writing for important parts of our businesses that I deem too important.  
Despite the tough work, it is the best. It provides organic, natural authentic referrals to you. With proper SEO, it is also so much easier for you to push for SEM and all forms of SMM.  
SEO is like the foundation of the building. 
 What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time? 
I love to meet up with other entrepreneurs and talk about how to be better in business. I am not kidding about this, most of the time I only got out of my house / work to meet other people so that I can learn from them. I hate BBQ, but I always meet up with a Mastermind Business group of Singaporean entrepreneurs over steamboat or BBQ. I believe over the 4 years or so, I have never missed a single outing. And I have learnt so much from these business people, on distributionship, technical stuff and so many business ideas. 

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur? 
Time. I no longer play video games of any kind, maybe indulging in some brainless point and click game just to destress. I even choose dramas, like House of Cards or Breaking Bad, because there are so much to learn from there. So my leisure time is so limited now. 
My wife was just complaining to me I have been coming back late almost every Friday now, and meeting with “The Mistress”. 

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most? 
Tesla. How many companies you know of that customers queue up to pay a big fat deposits for something that is not even in production yet? 
They did not just change the car, they changed the car distribution model, they changed how cars would be sold and moved. I believe falling car sales may trigger the next economic recession because old car manufacturers are still producing cars and trying to sell them within that one year…… 
Tesla is way ahead of the economy. 

Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years? 
I hope we can split into a digital marketing firm for others, and a whole new ecommerce business, exporting goods from Singapore. Singapore is too small, and we need to find new things that we can export to the world. 

What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 
Read more. Learn More. 
Do not quit your job if you have little savings, start small, start a part time business first. If you cannot even profit from a part time business, go back to point 1. 
Stop selling on your own, start using marketing strategies. 


♥ Thanks for reading as always!

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Singapore Food & Lifestyle Blogger Hello, I'm Irene

Welcome to Goodswanderers blog! The concept of Goodswanderers blog is to explore & blog about the Good things around me & my love ones. Read more long self-intro about why I started this blog here.