Opinions & People

A strategic workshop

by Samar Al-Montser

The three-day WIEF Women Entrepreneurs Strategic Workshop provided 30 businesswomen with tools to grow their business and more. This brief report was first published in the third edition of In Focumagazine.

30 businesswomen, who were participants, joined the WIEF Women Entrepreneurs Strategic Workshop on 28 – 30 August 2018 to learn how to better understand their own businesses and grow. Held at Tamu Hotel and Suites in Kuala Lumpur, the three-day workshop was organised by WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN) and supported by Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad.

It started with industrial visits to two different businesses: a Malaysian satellite TV station, Astro Awani, and a family-owned business, Royal Selangor. The remaining days were led by business expert and experienced trainer, Goh Ai Yat, and various entrepreneurs who shared their entrepreneurial experience.

Astro Awani and Royal Selangor

At Astro Awani, Shamir Hameed, assistant vice president of Astro Awani’s marketing and business development department, took the participants behind the scenes to show how the team worked. Shamir mentioned how people’s attention span was limited and how Astro marketed themselves with that in mind. ‘We reduced news into shorter durations and put it on the web to easily grab people’s attention and convey the message,’ he explained. He also talked about the need to monitor audience response and trends in order to determine the next steps in business.

Royal Selangor is the largest pewter manufacturer and retailer in the world. Their factory museum showcased the different stages of their production and handcrafting processes which some participants got to try. Their museum showed how the founder, Yong Koon, started the company in 1885. Till today, Royal Selangor takes pride in handcrafted work to attain the desired finish and quality of their products.

Through these two visits, the participants got a closer look at how two very different businesses became successful: the TV business became more relevant to today’s consumer market and how rewarding it is for a family-owned business to preserve a craft.

Business Learning Tools

Trainer, coach and business expert, Goh Ai Yat, worked with the participants on how to rethink their business models. Ai Yat, demonstrated how visual thinking is a neurobiological-based approach that combines the human’s highly- developed verbal mind with the neglected but incredibly powerful visual mind, by combining illustrations and words to create a visual record. Among the many stages involved in this process was to create a value proposition and a proper pricing structure. ‘Drawing is thinking,’ Ai Yat said, as she showed the participants how business illustrations helped spark creativity in business thinking.

Goh Ai Yat’s tips on how to visualise and identify a problem through six visual pathways to trigger a visual equation that presents an opportunity or solution to a problem.

Stress management

Sharmini Henson, life coach and founder of LifeWorks, advised participants how to manage work stress to keep healthy. She explained how to filter thoughts and be aware of biases, beliefs, values, cultural contexts and other factors to help think out problems. ‘Many women tend to become more aggressive in order to match their male counterpart traits in the workplace which don’t help women manage themselves and their emotions well,’ she said.

Offline and online marketing

Guest speaker, Camelia Tan Sri Ya’acob, the CEO of Rootwommers Sdn Bhd, focused on how often communication barriers held people back such as lack of attention, cultural differences, expectations, judgments and different viewpoints. ‘Overcoming barriers is first and key to beginning marketing,’ she said. Camelia reminded the participants that the way to think about marketing is that it’s never about you, but it’s always about your business.

To add more to the digital marketing side, Angeline Ann Samuel, marketing specialist and managing director as well as founder of A Tech International, spoke about how to set realistic marketing goals. ‘It’s crucial for any business to stay active especially on social media, at least posting something once a day,’ she said.

Growing Your Business

Vice president of communications and stakeholder management of EXIM Bank, Baharuddin Muslim, also reminded the women that there were avenues for funding out there. ‘Malaysia isn’t big enough. If you export, the marketing opportunity is 10 times more, but the risk is also 10 times more,’ he said. Dato’ Dr Ir Haji Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah, who is group CEO of Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad, Malaysia, impressed on the need to uphold one’s values throughout the lifespan and journey of the business. ‘Success is a journey, not a destination,’ he said.


For more on the latest topics related to business, technology, finance and more, read our digital versions of In Focus magazine, issue 1, issue 2 and issue 3.

8 Jan 2019
Last modified: 17 Jan 2019
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