5 Habits of a Successful CEO of a Small-Medium Business

What does it take to be successful in business? Working hard is a given, but other habits can definitely give you an edge. Dennis Ng, founder and CEO of logistics technology company Mober, lets us in on some of his personal best practices. 

Develop grit. Mober is the first to introduce delivery vans on demand in the country, and it can be very intimidating to be the leader of an industry; it requires a lot of courage. “I remember I read this book called Kiasu, I think the author is Malaysian,” shares Ng. “When we translate kiasu, in English, [it means] you’re not afraid to lose. That book gave me a good foundation. The author shared yung hindi ka dapat takot na mag-fail. I get my inspiration from there. I read [about] a lot of people who failed and yet they recovered.”

Learn to invest. When asked about the best advice he’s ever received, Ng cites some words of his wisdom from his mother: “My mom always reminds me that if you have these two cups of rice and you can live comfortably with one cup, then you can always let go of [the other] cup. Meaning, if you have this much fund and if you can live comfortably with this fund, then you don’t have to be afraid of letting go of the other. Invest. Just close your eyes and let that either go or let it grow.”

Think outside the box. “I’m not a traditional businessman. I don’t make a business plan before I venture into any business,” says Ng. “I just probably use my common sense and think: ‘[Has] this business already been done here or not?’ If I find out that it hasn’t been introduced yet, then I just go for it.”

This unconventional way of thinking also applies to a business once it’s up and running. Ng cites Mober as an example. “If you create a campaign for Mober, I don’t want yung [ordinary] campaign lang. Gusto ko something unique, something that anybody will always remember.”

Read the news. It doesn’t matter where you get information from, whether it’s books or podcasts or apps; what’s important is to stay on top of trends and be aware of what’s going on in the world so your business can adapt. Ng’s preferred source of info? “Believe it or not, I still read the newspaper every morning!” he says. “I have a few apps where I get my news. I have CNET, I have Bloomberg. For Southeast Asia, I have Channel News Asia.”

Know when to let go. While Ng is passionate about the businesses he builds, in the end, it really is all just business. “When I build any business or any startup, I always incorporate my exit plan. I treat any venture as a baby, then I’ll make sure that I can grow him or her to be a very good person. By that time, I’m not afraid to sell or let go,” he says.

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