Shape your business around customer desires: seminar panellists

Firms must also be laser focused and realistic about what core product is, and pivot when needed


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

Held at the NTUC Centre on Friday (May 17), the clinic was the second of six Business Empowerment Seminars organised by, 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 panel consisted of Lee Li Meng, chief strategy officer of Razer, and Wolfgang Baier, group CEO of Luxasia, and was moderated by Jacky Tai, principal consultant of Unbroken Branding.

"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 said.

He gave the example of a customer who walks into a brick-and-mortar store to buy clothes but wants the clothes delivered. Instead of saying that delivery can't be done via a brick-and-mortar store, the company must instead strive to satisfy the needs of the customer.

Mr 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 that it is crucial for executive staff to communicate the compelling reasons behind the shift and prove it. 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".

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

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

One of the audience members asked how startups should utilise their resources to bring their product up to the level of the major companies. Mr Tai said that one must look at those resources, be realistic and plan ahead accordingly.

Dr Baier added 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 two panellists were asked for the one lesson that they would like the audience to walk away with.

Dr Baier said his lesson was: "The courage to take things forward is the number one ingredient to sustaining growth in the future."

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