The International Entrepreneur Podcast

#2 Part 2: Singapore with John Marcarian and Boon Tan

October 26, 2022 Kreston Global Season 1 Episode 2
#2 Part 2: Singapore with John Marcarian and Boon Tan
The International Entrepreneur Podcast
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The International Entrepreneur Podcast
#2 Part 2: Singapore with John Marcarian and Boon Tan
Oct 26, 2022 Season 1 Episode 2
Kreston Global

In part two of our second episode, we're back with Kreston's Singapore business arm to talk about the outstanding personality traits of an interpreneur, when the best time to take the leap of global business expansion is, and why Singapore is a great country to do so in.  New guests from the UK coming next week!

Link to the full Kreston Global report can be found here:

Written, hosted, edited & produced by Infinite Global:

Show Notes Transcript

In part two of our second episode, we're back with Kreston's Singapore business arm to talk about the outstanding personality traits of an interpreneur, when the best time to take the leap of global business expansion is, and why Singapore is a great country to do so in.  New guests from the UK coming next week!

Link to the full Kreston Global report can be found here:

Written, hosted, edited & produced by Infinite Global:

Hannah Robinson: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to Kreston Global's, the International interpreneur Podcast.

Welcome back for episode two, part two, and I'm here again with John and Boone to discuss in greater depth Preston's global business culture research and learn a little more about their own experiences as interpreneurs, as is. Uh, turning out to be the custom with this second part of the episode. So if you've just joined us as a new listener, I'd recommend going back and listening to last week's part one.

To fully appreciate the context, [00:01:00] though I can guarantee you'll still get some great tips and insights from our interpreneurs. If you want, stick this one out. Absolutely fine. So without further ado, let's jump straight in with a question I think a lot of listeners will be interested in and certainly able to identify with.

How has technology affected the way we work, do you think? Do you think it's made expanding globally easier and are there any unexpected ways it's changed and shaped the business 

John Marcarian: landscape? Well, I'm glad I get to ask to answer this one first because I would say technology, um, without a doubt has.

Adapted to such an extent that it's fundamentally changed the way people in the advice business and the, and the information provision business operate. Um, people have so much access to information. They are trying, in many [00:02:00] cases, to out accountant or out advise their advisors because they think that the answer is at their fingert.

Facts or purported facts may be at their fingertips, but the experience in applying the information and using the information isn't. So, Technology's made it a lot easier to get data. Um, however, it's, it's information overload a lot of the time. So you really do need the 30 years of experience to actually work out what to do with the data.

Um, and then I would also say that communication, And our ability to communicate, um, on, uh, on, uh, in terms of with our clients, with our market and explain our value proposition is so much easier today than it was in 92 when I started. Uh, for anyone who doesn't, you know, isn't around, [00:03:00] You know, there, there, or it wasn't around when there wasn't an iPhone.

Um, life's changed fundamentally. And so communicating, getting your message across is so much easier to do. You can start, uh, to be an interpreneur with a lot less capital if you're strategic about it. And, and smart, smart about how you enter a market. You can enter a market, uh, in a far more cost effective way today than you.

Even 15 years ago. So I think that the pace of technological change will, will only continue if anything. Um, the problem is that you've got a bunch of people who you communicate with and there's seven different modes of communication they expect you to be monitoring. Um, so some clients will wanna hit you on signal, some will wanna WhatsApp you, some will try FaceTime.

Some will expect you to be on teams. Some will expect you to be on. So there's a whole bunch of, [00:04:00] uh, uh, challenges to contend with. But no, for the most part, the, the, the business landscape has evolved incredibly since I got into the game. Yeah, I think 

Boon Tan: I agree with, you know, technology, even in the six years that I've been here, technology has absolutely, fundamentally changed the business landscape, the ability for.

Or the ease for companies to now establish a footprint outside of their home jurisdiction, because thanks to the pandemic, everyone's now used to the fact that I can employ people and never meet them face to face. I can just do zooms and Google meets when I need to, as I need to with my customers. So why am I, Why am I prevented or isolated to servicing?

A market, which is just [00:05:00] in Sydney, you know, what time zones are next to negligent in these days? Because a lot of people who are interpreneurs may well not even have an office. They may well be working from home. So having the, the, the difficulties of time and, and the standard working days kind of gone out, gone out the window.

Right. It's changed. Um, But the point that, you know, John's point about the information overload is, is definitely, you know, seeing it here in Singapore, um, a combination of technology and blogs and, you know, information websites have allowed or has created a market where, These interpreneurs who now see a very low barrier of entry [00:06:00] are kind of doing a DIY approach to entering a market.

But that, you know, as we've talked about earlier, totally dismisses the other issues like culture, like business trends, Like, you know, what is the, what is the norm of me? Needing to, how do I find a new client and create a relationship with a client in Japan if I've only ever dealt with people of my, you know, in Australia, these things are not to be, you know, dismissed.

Right. And a lot of people who don't think about. Or, or dismiss them often are, are setting themselves up to fail. Not to not, not withstanding that, okay, well it only cost me a couple of hundred dollars to set up the company and I did it all online. [00:07:00] Um, you know, the value of the local advisor is for an intrapreneur.

Just is, is very, is priceless really, because they are the people who have the experience, who are able to advise you. The cultural and business norms and really give you the foundations of setting up a successful business in an overseas market. 

Hannah Robinson: And do you think that new and unlimited access to information has made potential interpreneurs more likely to take the plunge?

Or have you found that people are becoming more risk averse through data 

John Marcarian: overload? To my mind, uh, I would say it's. Not vastly different. I think the, the, the person's, the person, which is a obvious thing to say, but if you, if you were a risk taker, um, having access to more data and more [00:08:00] information doesn't make you not a risk taker.

If you were inclined to be a little more conservative or more considered in your actions, I think having more data, Probably doesn't make you, uh, less, um, less inclined to act it probably just you are as you are. But what it will do is, uh, for the risk taker, it'll perhaps imbue him with a greater sense of confidence maybe because he'll, he'll see a bit of information that will back up a decision, even though it might be a totally wrong bit of inform.

He or she will go for it because they, they're naturally inclined to be a risk taker. So, um, you know, the paper does touch on, uh, things like business leaders in, in China or India, uh, are more interpreneurial. Um, I think that [00:09:00] there's societal and societal reasons for that. I mean, for many years, Um, and it's widely known, um, Indian, uh, Indian currency.

The Indian repeat wasn't an international currency, so you couldn't move it about freely. Therefore, the idea that you could create something international was, it was, was important cuz if you could get access to foreign currency or do business abroad, you weren't constrained by a domestic rupe that wasn't an international currency.

The, the, you know, and with China obviously it's not as open as other, as other economies. So having the ability to do international business was often the pathway to be able to move or to be able to, um, give one's self, uh, flexibility. You know, both social flexibility and also lifestyle flexibility. [00:10:00] So there are some real reasons why those countries.

And I don't think there's anything particularly magical about the individuals, um, you know, in those countries. It's just that it evolved that way. But I would say that I've met, you know, plenty of Israelis who would be 10 times more interpreneurial than a lot of other nationalities. So it's hard to generalize.

Um, I guess it depends who you ask. Um, so I, I, if you look across the board, Parts of the US are more interpreneurial than other parts of the US. So saying, you know, Americans are interpreneurial, Well, there's 50 different states, so which particular American are we, are we talking about? Um, so yeah, I think that's, that's probably what I'd say on that.

Um, for 

Boon Tan: me, the ability to obtain information, I think. [00:11:00] Has kind of made decision making somewhat more difficult for some people. Um, but case in, you know, as John said, it, it is still down to the individual and, and their personal characteristics. You know, if they are a risk taker, then absolutely the, they may not even worry about the information that's there.

They may just go ahead. But certainly I know that we, one client who is rather careful and conservative, the information was actually a barrier because it made, it made them double think about what they should or shouldn't do, um, and actually prolonged the process of decision making. So information is good, but I think what's.

People need to be mindful of is the quality of the [00:12:00] information. Okay. And, and what is being said and by who? And 

John Marcarian: you know, can we say fake news now? Yeah. We can say fake news because I've been wanting to say fake news. Fake news for a long time. So, 

Boon Tan: Yeah, no, because it's true though, because there's a lot of, you know, if you think about relocation, okay, the intrapreneur.

Often we'll set up base in, in another jurisdiction and actually physically move, which is, you know, such as myself and you know, when you're going into a country or that you are not familiar with. Well, let's just see what, what the internet has to say. Oh, here's a great blog site with chat rooms and people giving all their personal anecdotes and.

And wow, this one says that X, Y, Z removal list and they're the ones that I need to use, [00:13:00] but you've got no ability to to vouch, right? You dunno who these people are that are writing these posts. Are they XYZ themselves, putting 

John Marcarian: different names? Look, it's like, it's like, you know, you feel a stomach pain at one o'clock in the morning, so you jump onto WebMD and you decide to read about WebMD.

All the stuff on WebMD and then you depress yourself for the next five hours. Cause you've read all this dribble and suddenly you run around to the doctor and he says, Well, oh, you went out to, you know, went out for that meal last night. Oh yeah. Okay. Got it. So there's, there's plenty of people who, who do that.

And I've been guilty myself of running to WebMD. So I actually. Imagine if you, you wouldn't consult yourself, um, if, you know, if you're, if you're not to fix your ails. So a lot of that goes on as well with, with intrapreneurs. Well, the thing, you know, I'd just like to touch, you know, give a plug to Kreston because [00:14:00] our, our eams, um, which are led by Kreston accounting firms, um, are, are our quality.

Uh, and that's quality with a. And the k being Kreston because we, we, uh, we have Kreston as one of our group leaders. They select service providers that really do meet the brief and do help people. So rather than trying to wonder whether, you know, Sam Smith with apologies to Sam Smith, uh, Relocations, if there is a Sam Smith relocations, without trying to wonder about Sam Smith relocations, if Kreston has picked.

Uh, Bill blogs, relocations. Then you better believe Bill Blogs will be fine. And you don't have to Google. Um, you could just ask Kristen. So, um, I'm not sure if Ask Creton is infringing anyone's trademark, but ask Kristen 

Hannah Robinson: and looking more to your own territory, what do you think your country does to support [00:15:00] interpreneurs both looking to expand from and to Singapore?

Is that reflected in the research findings, do you think? 

John Marcarian: Look, Singapore is one of the, um, most hospitable business environments, um, on the face of the planet. Um, great launching pad, um, into, um, Asia, but also quite a good launching pad to the US and a lot of, uh, businesses use Singapore as a, as a launching pad into America.

Um, Singapore has a very broad base. International, uh, tax treaties. There's very well established business law, great banking regime, and absolutely, uh, transparent business practices. So I think the quality of the legal and accounting, uh, fraternity out here is, is very high. And so I think Singapore's very [00:16:00] well placed to, um, Help business expand into the region and, and abroad.

We set up here in 2004 and we were ready for business inside of the day with all the re requisite permissions, visas, um, and licensing. And, you know, my, uh, my experience of Singapore is it is a country built by expats for expats. And indeed, uh, Singaporeans and the, and the Chinese community themselves, our expats having come from Southern China all those years ago.

So it really does understand international trade and, and international business. And I think Boone would echo my sentiments, you know? 

Boon Tan: Yeah, absolutely. The government being a small island nation, The government is very focused on providing as [00:17:00] much support as they can for Singaporean based businesses to expand overseas.

Okay. The government obviously has a vested interest in helping build the, the brand name of Singapore. Um, and therefore, you know, statutory bodies like in, you know, enterprise Singapore. Um, the EDB to a certain extent, which is the economic Development Board, are there to identify and encourage, support, nurture, um, innovative and sustainable businesses that have the opportunity to grow outside of Singapore and, and the, uh, interactions that we've had.

Um, members of these statutory bodies have been fantastic because they understand what [00:18:00] the, what the, uh, objective is, and they understand, uh, how we can help them. So it's been a, you know, a very smooth and, and collaborative, um, sit, uh, relationship between us and. 

Hannah Robinson: Finally, and perhaps most importantly for a few of our listeners, do you have any closing advice or insights you can offer to aspiring interpreneurs looking to expand or move their business into a different cultural environment?

Any stories you may have to tell us about your own experiences? 

John Marcarian: Well, Bo why don't you jump in first so I can have the last word. 

Boon Tan: Sure. Um, I think with the barriers, you know, as we've discussed throughout. Podcast, Uh, with the barriers of entry so low for the young interpreneur, interpreneur, it's a fantastic time.

You know, now is a fantastic time to think [00:19:00] about getting outside of their comfort zone and looking to build a international business. But having said that, while the barriers of entry are low, there are some very traditional things that we've talked about in this discussion that need to be mindful of.

And therefore, you know, finding the right advisor on the ground in the jurisdiction you are aiming to get to and enter is absolutely critical. Um, And I, you know, and under taking the time I think is also important. Alright. Taking the time to understand, to evaluate and to assess the opportunity is also something that a lot of young people should be mindful of and, uh, and be [00:20:00] present in the sense of, There's no rush, right?

If you believe in your product and have a passion for your service, then it will be beneficial to take your time to set things up right, and understand the market you are entering, uh, before taking that first step. 

John Marcarian: Yeah, so I think for the young interpreneurs, There's one basic question, uh, to sort of figure out if they're the right person, um, to set up a business and potentially take that business offshore.

And that is, do they see themselves as the type of person that can adapt well to uncertainty and. [00:21:00] Overcome the unknown challenges that will no doubt present themselves with monotonous regularity when they're setting up a business without, um, the ability to do that. Um, then potentially being in a, in a larger company and working in a professional.

Environment. It may be better, better for them until they can say yes to those questions. Because when you are the interpreneur, you do all roles in the company. You're the, you are marketing, you are the janitor, you are head of sales, um, you are cfo, you are pretty much it. So if you want to adapt to that challenge and start, and you can see that you've got enough initial capital, To give it a go for, you know, possibly a year or two and, and test yourself, then it can be worth leaving the [00:22:00] comfort of a larger organization to discover that about yourself.

Um, earlier on I talked about ti diving off Acapulco. So if you're the sort of person that can jump when you see rock. Um, go for it. Uh, if not, um, hang out and, and don't, um, pretend to be something you're not. Cuz that can have disastrous implications, um, for the older person. Look, adapting to change and adapting to the differing impact the technology is making, um, can only really be addressed by.

Employing more and more young people in your business and listening to them rather than telling them how it is. Because as somebody who's 58 this year, I've got a business [00:23:00] full of people in their late thirties and early forties. That are on the next rung down in inverted commerce. And so they're better than me at tech.

Um, they're more flexible in a whole bunch of areas. They don't have my experience or wisdom, but I'm the first to acknowledge my GM in Sydney, um, who's in her mid thirties, has absolutely essential as the bridge between. You know what's going on versus where I am. So you've really gotta be prepared to bring more young people in and continually bring in young people and then give them the reigns.

And if you write a job description, let them do the job description. Don't micromanage the job description because you've quote unquote, got more experie. Let 'em fail, Let 'em learn, and they'll save you from aging out. Otherwise, you're gonna age out fast. [00:24:00] 

Hannah Robinson: And that's it for episode two. A huge thank you to John and Boone for your time.

It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you all. Next week we've got two new guests to introduce you to who are a little closer to home. In fact, we'll be staying right here in the. Until then, the white paper link is once again in this episode's description if you'd like to have a read, and I'll see 

Music: you next week.