Ten lessons learned from Chatime Malaysia founder Bryan Loo
By Patricia Hului
If you are not familiar with Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, it is the company responsible for bringing Chatime into Malaysia.
Besides Chatime, the company also introduced Japanese gastrobar Hacha Mecha, whisky bar Ikki, Spanish yogurt Llaollao, waffle Grid & Go to the Malaysian market.
Founder and managing director Bryan Loo won Best Master Franchiser award in 2012 and ‘Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2013.
Before he went into entrepreneurism, he took the typical route: graduated from Monash University in Biotechnology, and took a job with a stem cell company. After two years, however, he pitched the idea of starting a business with his father and the possibility in F&B franchising.
After approaching several beverage brands, Loo finally got a hold on Chatime and led the brand into becoming the fastest growing beverage brand in the country. Now, there are more than 150 Chatime outlets nationwide.
Perlis-born Loo was recently in town to share his thoughts and experience as a young and successful entrepreneur at the Sarawak Youth Forum 2016 held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on Apr 9.
Loo has been through a lot and was ready to share his top ten lessons learned.
1. Grab before you are ready
The young father of two girls said, “Being an entrepreneur you have to grab every single opportunity before you are ready.”
Loo continued, “Because trust me, once you are ready, there will be no opportunity.”
2. Without great people, even great ideas are useless
Becoming an entrepreneur is never about having the greatest idea.
“It is all about having the right resources to execute the ideas.”
Loo shared the importance of his family and friends who made up his support system as he believed that without them, he would not have gotten this far.
Now he has 15 friends, most of whom he has known since childhood, who have joined him in his business venture and now holding key positions in the company.
3. Build a soul behind the brand
“Today in this ever-changing global market, consumers no longer consume brands without knowing the effort and understanding who is behind the brand,” he said.
“We have to build a soul the brand so that people are able to agree with your brand value and see the vision and mission of your company.”
4. Embrace failure and fail faster
The lesson he holds on to is that fear of failure should never be in any entrepreneur’s dictionary.
According to Loo, his team has failed so much and have failed more than they achieved.
“We should change our mindsets and say ‘we should fail faster so that we can gain so much compared to other people,” he said, “All the failures gave us new learning so that we can go to the next level.”
Before he started Chatime, he had an idea of venturing into the tea business as the market was not as developed as coffee.
So he flew to Taiwan, the world capital of milk tea, hoping to bring back any of the top brands of tea franchises to Malaysia.
But rejection came in one after the other. “At that time, all of them were focusing on the China market. None of them were interested in Malaysia.”
So Loo flew back to Malaysia empty handed. Then a cousin told him about Chatime.
Driven, Loo actually searched the CEO’s number and gave him a ring and as they say, the rest is history.
5. Build on, not in, your business
“Building on your business will allow you to create multiple brands in a very short span of time,” Loo said.
He explained that when one builds on a business, it was to use the same system or procedures which worked on the first brand and apply it to other brands.
“That is why we always believe that if we build on our business instead of in business, we are able to bring in three new brands every year.”
6. We need a mentor
Just like many successful people out there, Loo also has his own mentor who guide him in his business.
“I have great mentors in my life, no other than my own father and a lot of business leaders as well.”
Loo’s father was the first one who believed in him and encouraged him to pursue his entrepreneur dream.
7. Try many things. Take risks
“Many people called us the crazy ones,” he said, adding that venturing into a freshly made tea business was almost unheard of before as other tea businesses rooted here before the days of Chatime made most of their products with pre-made tea or tea powders.
“Nothing comes without risk,” he said.
8. Virtual benches
According to the hip and stylish entrepreneur, virtual benches are your talent pool.
“When you have your virtual benches, you will be able to do more things because these talents are your assets,” he said.
9. The secret to success is consistency
Loo never failed to ensure consistency, not just in his business efforts but also making sure that there was consistency in quality for all his customers.
10. The power of appreciation
The 29-year-old entrepreneur shared his appreciation for his father saying, “I would like to thank my father for being the greatest asset I have in my life because he teaches me to become a true entrepreneur.”
“True entrepreneurship is never about making profits, revenues, sales. It is about people who have vision to inspire and motivate more people.”