Executive Chairman & Managing Director, Qian Hu Corporation
1) How did you manage to achieve so much success in your life, and especially in your business? [Question from reader Perry Lai]
Success is a very relative thing and if I were to compare myself to many other businessmen such as Li Ka Shing, I am a failure. Moreover, nobody can say they are successful until they can pass on the business, have a succession team which is better than the current management team, until then they can somewhat conclude they are relatively successful.
I love fish and I am passionate about our industry, thus with that, many interesting things just happened along the journey. Plus I am very blessed and lucky, and for that I truly appreciate my life every day.
2) What are the difficulties you faced in running a family business? How did you overcome these challenges? [Question from reader Koh Shi Nuan]
Despite many advantages of running a family business, one shortcoming is the emotional ties and relationships. You cannot fire one person without knowing you might be firing a nucleus family. Bearing everyone’s interest in mind and putting their interest before yours, having a very transparent process, and frequent communication are some of the key ingredients to overcome those challenges. Of course, you must be very patient to change things.
3) Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of energy and persistence. What drives you? [Question from reader Aaron Tan]
I always think it is my responsibility to take care of my family members. To see all of them financially independent is such a rewarding thing that you cannot be tired of doing that.
4) What are your plans for the future, now that you are so successful? [Question from reader Derek Gue]
I am not successful yet. We want to build Qian Hu to be world No 1 ornamental fish exporter and be a truly Asiatic company that lasts beyond my generation. We are not there yet but before I retire, I want to pass on this kind of company to our succession team.
5) Why do you call yourself ‘Kenny the fish’? If you could be a fish, what kind of fish would you be? [Question from Grace!]
I find that most people cannot be happy and be themselves because of the ego. And if I can learn to laugh at myself and lower my status to a fish, I can do away with my ego and always be Kenny the Fish. Plus I am in the ornamental fish business and I love fish, so calling myself The Fish is the most interesting and appropriate title.
If I could be a fish, I would love to be like a dragon fish. This fish is prehistoric and outlasted many other species, plus it is such an elegant fish and yet it is at the top of the food chain. Its life span is more than 100 years. I want to be like that. Ha! Ha!
Grace says: A BIG “THANK YOU!” to my readers/pals for contributing the questions! I just HAD to ask the 5th question! Haha! I was amused at how Kenny signs off as ‘Kenny the fish’ and sorely tempted to sign off as ‘Grace the tigress’ (I’m born in the year of the tiger). I suppose going ahead with that would mean I wouldn’t get a response, so I refrained!
But it’s superb branding on Kenny’s part. And one can’t help but feel he REALLY loves fish. A former interviewee (from this blog), Francyn, told me about the amazing fish/foot spa that is available at Qian Hu for $10/half hour. Let’s all go try it out! If you spot me there, say hi!
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p/s: Kenny will be cooking fried oyster omelette this evening (7pm-9pm) at The Great CEO Charity Cookout at Food Republic Beer Garden (where St James Power Station is). Go support if you can, as all proceeds go to charity!
Update! - I got to meet Kenny in person on 6th June 2012 and found him to be a really humble and approachable CEO!