Amidst the competitively chaotic landscapes of the business world, to offer a truly disruptive product or a solution is both, an arduous task as well as a step towards glory. In such cutthroat races to global success, there are organizations that assist other companies in establishing and maintaining their positions in the market. One of such reformative companies is Accentuate Pte Ltd, a Singapore based company with products and services revolving around helping Small & Medium Enterprises gain software capabilities. True to its mission, Accentuate is the only company in Singapore that provides Enterprise solutions on SaaS basis. The company’s primary offerings include Customer Relationship Management Software and Enterprise Resource Planning Software.
One of the strategies that Accentuate adopts is that it does not try to excel at everything. The company comprehends that there is always limited time and resources, but there are always too many things needed to be done. Therefore, Accentuate’s strategy is to partner with companies with a complimentary skill set, including technologies in the area of Business Intelligence, Machine Learning, AI, and sometimes hardware too.
A Diligent and Exemplary Leader
Accentuate is ceaselessly ascending the stairway to global business success under the efficient and prolific leadership of Ken Tan Kian Hui, the company’s founder and CEO. During his two years in National Service, Kian Hui was greatly inspired by a renowned author, Robert T. Kiyosaki, and began his journey to become an entrepreneur after reading ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and ‘The Business School’. He later joined and worked in network marketing companies and indulged himself in the self-improvement education system, which subsequently became critical to his development in business.
In the year, 2008 after completion of NS, Kian Hui decided to walk in the footsteps of Kiyosaki, and started out with a sales job selling copier machines. He decided to reject two successful University enrolments to NUS as well as SMU in order to fulfill this dream of financial freedom. “Back in those days, no one would reject any enrollment to NUS or SMU. These Universities are ranked amongst the top 10 best institutes worldwide, even up till today,” says Kian Hui.
Kian Hui learned to do sales the traditional way, for the first time, canvassing door to door, walking from one shop/house to another. The 2007-08 financial crisis, possibly one of the greatest in human history did not make this job of Kian Hui an easy one. This endeavor was a humbling experience for him and he quickly learned that the journey to success is not going to be a smooth one. At that point in time, Kian Hui was only paid $800 a month as a sales person, which was really not enough to sustain a living in Singapore.
Towards the end of 2008, an opportunity knocked at Kian Hui’s doorstep. The Ministry of Education announced that it were to recruit a special group of teachers named the Allied Educator. This job became a very important milestone to his career as an entrepreneur. It provided him the monthly income needed to sustain his day to day expenses as well as training to be later used in business. These 5 years of working in MOE also provided Kian Hui the opportunity to observe how large organizations are operated.
Even though Kian Hui was still teaching in school, the desire to be a successful entrepreneur continued to motivate him. He started his part-time business in the IT and Office Automation, which eventually became Accentuate Pte Ltd. It was both physically and mentally challenging initially. He had to teach from 6 am to 3 pm, meet clients between 3 pm to 7 pm, and finally finish off the day with admin tasks between 7 pm to late night. Sleeping at 2 or 3 am was common for Kian Hui during those days. He officially left MOE in 2014 and came out full time after he had witnessed a good traction in his business. He continued to grow his company to a turnover of $1.2 million in the year 2015. He was proud of that result as it was a collective effort and that he started off with only $7,000.
The benefits gained through Accentuate’s solutions, by its clients, are quite evident if a client is adopting technology for the first time. Improvements in the client’s overall productivity can be as high as 80%. Which means that, with an adequately implemented ERP solution, companies can do much more with the same number of employees. “If the savings were to be calculated based on labor hours, our clients may experience returns on investment as early as 1 year,” Kian Hui expresses.
The most growth deteriorating factor for Accentuate has always been attrition, and the company knows that hiring and training an employee in this industry is really difficult. Kian Hui is of the belief that for an employee to truly perform well, they will usually have to undergo 6 months of OJT. “Each time we lose an employee would mean that we lose 6 months of teaching that person, and possibly another 6 months to train the next person and this totals up to 12 months of low to non-productivity for the mentor,” he adds.
Voyaging towards Excellence
For the near future, Accentuate’s blueprints to global success, holds plans to expand to Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam as well as Myanmar. One of the viable strategies considered and discussed at this point is the use of Channel Partnership. Also, for employees are of key importance for the company and its holistic development strategy is and always will be to train its employees as much as it can and try to keep them happy for as long as it can.