Cover Photo: Shafiq Farhan/Tatler Malaysia

Dato’ Simon Foong, a successful entrepreneur and one of our Generation T panellists, shares seven important lessons you won't learn from a business school.

Being an entrepreneur is a very popular career path for this current generation of youths. But for every accomplished entrepreneur and his or her empire, there are many who fail.

Dato’ Simon Foong, well known for his successes with Aquaria KLCC and The Body Shop, lets us in on what makes him tick when it comes to business practices and his approach to work.

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“I look at almost anything that interests me, share that interest with the people close to me, discuss and evaluate it before making the final decision,” says Dato’ Simon in reference to his business philosophy.

“Whatever I am assessing for investment, it must excite me. When it is presented to me, I want it to have an impact. Once it passes that first hurdle, I’ll bounce this off my management team and close confidantes and begin looking into the financial aspects of the investment,” he adds.

Although he is a self-confessed traditionalist when it comes to work, believing in good old-fashioned hard work and the social benefits of connecting face-to-face at the office, he also has his sight on the future of the Malaysian entrepreneurial scene.

He believes that entrepreneurs have the advantage of the digital age to enhance connectivity and distribute service in ways previously unimaginable. "Social entrepreneurship is on the rise. I believe that's where the future is,” he notes in reference to his last point. 

Here are the seven things that have stuck by him through the good, the bad and the ugly:

  • One should learn from young to be kind, be fair, in your dealings and should always keep your word.
  • Money should not be the only motivator; if it is you may not find what you are looking for.
  • See failures as lessons for success. Don't be afraid as without mistakes and failures we will never learn or know what success is. When you fall, get up and move forward.
  • Don't mix up luck with hard work. There is nothing that will replace your time and effort you spend in your business so don't depend on luck, if it's there it's a bonus.
  • Learn to listen more than you speak, it's a skill to be able to truly listen to someone.
  • Stay focused and committed on your path, a straight road is always faster.
  • When you have reached the top, look back and remember those that have helped you get there and do for others what they had done for you.


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