There are always ups and downs in one’s life and there is nothing to be proud when your goal is reached with everything on your way. It is said that only when you overcome all the hardships and obstacles to reach success, your true talent is shown. Alumnus Lou Kam Fai (Grant)(Class of 2003, BSc in Software Engineering), currently the Managing Director of SO-IDEA Convention & Exhibition Consulting Co. Ltd, started an IT company that provided networking and system management services with three college classmates after graduation. In 2006, the company was expanded to cover multimedia advertising industry that focused on Internet Advertising. Then in 2009 he started stepping into convention and exhibition industry which enabled his company to become one of the most influential in Macau convention and exhibition industry. Starting the business bare-handed and going through difficult periods like SARS and financial crisis in all these years, Grant concluded that a way to success is to keep business growing steadily at the right pace.
Overcoming the Emotion of Being Rejected
Grant recalled the difficult time when starting a business without branding, customers’ relationships or connections. He started by making 40 to 50 cold calls a day to promote their business; often being met with a simple reply of “NO”. “It was not easy for anyone to walk out from the emotion of being rejected. But if you keep focusing on this fear and do not take any step further, you’re likely to miss some business opportunities. What’s more, the clients rejected you mostly because they are not interested. Therefore, how to sustain attraction is the real problem that we need to tackle.” Grant got the direction for moving forward after passing through all these; “To understand the real needs of customers are the key.”
Development Strategy: Quality and Not Quantity
Coming from a software engineering educational background, Grant started business from developing website to advertising industry and eventually convention exhibition business. Turning from tech elite into marketing professional after passing through two most critical periods to entrepreneurship, his philosophy of running business amidst the unfavorable economy was to keep down to your feet and engaged wholeheartedly. He believed that you would fail even in favorable time if you did not engaged totally. As the economy is going down, it is more important to operate the business step by step. “Firstly, adhere to quality and meet customers’ requirement is our development strategy. Secondly, listen to voices that are supportive or changeling. Thirdly, operate within your business capacity and don’t bite off more you can chew.” Speaking of business partnership, Grant thought sharing the same belief is most important, “I started up business with friends and now he is still my important business partner. In partnership for entrepreneur, you need someone who can enhance your strengths and yet benefit from what you own. Nevertheless, mutual trust is the most important element.”
Learning from Seniors and Giving Back to Community by Serving in Different Associations
Grant is currently managing three companies and has been elected as the National President of JCI Macao, China in 2016. Grant said serving in associations has inspired him on his growth and career development, “Apart from the professional knowledge I learnt from college, I think working for associations is also a good training to get contact with different cultures. By participating in association activities, you can polish personal capability and get connected with seniors from all walks of life. It is a better way to extend your network, get a lot of valuable life experience and insights.” Grant encouraged students to make good use of spare time to participate in community activities and volunteer work; to contribute to the society as well as to acquire social experience. He also advised college students to “accumulate experience and no need to rush to start a business”. He said, “I started to accumulate skills and experience from my high school. When considering to start a business, we need passion and enthusiasm as well as capital. Once you get them ready, just go for it.”