Panellists share tips on how game-changers stay ahead

From left: Luxasia group CEO Wolfgang Baier, Razer chief strategy officer Lee Li Meng, and Unbroken Branding principal consultant Jacky Tai at last Friday's seminar on game-changers. They discussed how start-ups should utilise their resources to brin
From left: Luxasia group CEO Wolfgang Baier, Razer chief strategy officer Lee Li Meng, and Unbroken Branding principal consultant Jacky Tai at last Friday's seminar on game-changers. They discussed how start-ups should utilise their resources to bring their products up to the level of major companies', among other things.ST PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN

Putting customers at the heart of your business and being laser-focused were two of the main points brought up by panellists at a recent seminar on "How game-changers lead in the company and the market".

Held at the NTUC Centre last Friday, the clinic was the second of six business empowerment seminars organised by sgsme.sg, a business resource portal powered by The Straits Times, The Business Times and Lianhe Zaobao.

It is supported by RHB Bank and co-hosted by U-SME, the SME arm of NTUC.

The panellists were Mr Lee Li Meng, chief strategy officer of Razer, and Dr Wolfgang Baier, group chief executive officer of Luxasia, with Mr Jacky Tai, principal consultant of Unbroken Branding, as moderator.

"When you think about the consumer, don't fall into the trap of (just) thinking from your company's perspective," said Dr Baier.

A business must shape itself around what the consumer desires, he added, giving the example of a customer who walks into a brick-and-mortar store to buy clothes but wants them delivered. Instead of saying that delivery cannot be done via a brick-and-mortar store, the company must strive to satisfy the needs of the customer.

Dr Baier described the lesson he learnt from the difficulties that Luxasia faced when it transitioned from brick-and-mortar retail to omni-channel retail.

He said it is crucial for executive staff to communicate the compelling reasons behind the shift and prove them. Without this, people would be less inclined to change.

Razer's Mr Lee was asked how the company defends itself against being disrupted by "the next Razer".

He said Razer is one of the few companies with products that straddle the entire stack, ranging from keyboards and mice to computers and phones.

But he added that Razer is not only about gaming hardware as it has expanded into fintech and built a strong software user base with more than 60 million users.

One of the audience members asked how start-ups should utilise their resources to bring their products up to the level of major companies'.

Mr Tai said one must look at those resources, be realistic and plan ahead accordingly.

Dr Baier pointed out the importance of not getting too caught up and distracted by the latest trends.

Expanding on that, Mr Lee quipped: "Be very laser-focused on what your core product is."

He said that trying to expand into a certain market when a product is not ready or suitable for that market in the first place is a no-no. Always do the groundwork and research before expanding, he added.

The panellists were asked for the one lesson that they would like the audience to walk away with.

Dr Baier offered this pointer: "The courage to take things forward is the No. 1 ingredient to sustaining growth in the future."

And Mr Lee advised the audience to keep an eye on things to come and to pivot when needed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2019, with the headline 'Panellists share tips on how game-changers stay ahead'. Print Edition | Subscribe