Bharati Jagdish interviews Roger Koh, the owner of what many have called the “overpriced fried rice place”, Chen Fu Ji (陈福记）.
Singapore a 'Third World' F&B market: Chen Fu Ji owner
Koh: Learning to accept talent instead of finding the talent you want. Accept people for what they are and make use of whatever they're good at, instead of keep looking for a better person. We always complain that there's not enough talent in the market.
In reality, a good team is like the characters in Journey to the West. You have got the lazy pig, you have got the naughty monkey, you've got an operator who will ask about the working hours. I work 9 to 5, and don't ask me about my dreams. That kind of team is a real team, rather than getting all the best people under your wing before you go forward. That’s harder to achieve and, if you wait for that, you may never move forward.
It is not necessary to be in the business of something you love. You need to be in the business of something that you can win. You have to look into the industry that you want to go into, and the kind of businesses and the competition.
It's better to be in a blue ocean than to be in a red ocean. Blue means less competition. I love innovation and creativity, but you should be cautious, because it's easy to fall in love with the things you want to do. Sometimes they don't make business sense. So you need to be very business-minded.
It’s called a business. It's not merely an interest. Sometimes interest and business are two separate things. My advice to budding entrepreneurs is do something where you can make money, rather than do something that you're only interested in, because there may not be a market and you’ll just go out of business.
[Photo source: Roger Koh FB]