Sue Tiong joins us from Malaysia to talk about her passion to improve people’s lives by helping them start and explore the business world. She works not only with big corporations, but also with startup owners to find the right strategy to grow their business, optimise opportunities online, and maximise profits. Sue always tells her clients, “You are always one decision away from a totally different life.”
Sue Tiong is a business coach and business strategy consultant specializing in Integrated Marketing Strategy and business growth. Among her clients are Accenture, Cisco, L’Oreal and SMEs from not only Malaysia where she is based but also Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, USA, Europe and Africa. Her vast experience has rendered Sue a versatile asset for her clients. She is laser sharp in her diagnosis of business health and has raised the bottomline of businesses from as early as 30 days. Sue is a global speaker and just completed a speaking tour in South Africa, reaching out to youth entrepreneurs and many businesses. She has been featured in various online and print media including appearing in a live TV interview on SABC News in Johannesburg. Happily married with two children, Sue believes that family and money should go hand in hand to make life even more meaningful and worth living.
Bronwyn Williams: Hello everyone, this is Bron Williams here from Business Radio Talkers.fm. And today, I have with me the wonderful Sue Tiong. Welcome Sue.
Sue Tiong: Hello Bron, how are you?
Bron: I’m very well. And Sue is coming to us today from Malaysia, so this is the Malaysia-Australia connection today. So Sue runs a number of businesses, she is the owner and other coaching and training businesses. She also has multiple companies and she’s particularly proud of the two social enterprises that she has that help people start businesses through sponsorships and grants. And she particularly works with single mums, those have been in poverty for a long time and the youth. So Sue, you are obviously a woman of diverse means and talents so just tell us a bit about what you do and who you do it for.
Sue: Okay Bron, thanks for the introduction. My passion is in business training so when I say business training, it usually targets the people who would love to start a business especially those who are working nine to five and they would like to explore business as a means of a lifestyle. Because I believe that business should not be work, it should be a part of your lifestyle and it should be in really your passion so and there are also another spectrum of the clients that I have who are already in business and yet they are stuck and they like to know how to grow their business to the next level. And on top of that, I have a very big heart – I like to believe that – so I have started two social enterprises. One targeting the abused youth and another one is targeting single mothers who and also the poor especially those who can hardly keep food on a table or to pay their rent and meet their other bills every month so is has been going on for at least four years the first case that I got four years ago so it’s still going strong. And the women that I am training, they managed to start a business from home and still keep the children with them which is my ultimate aim. The reason I’m doing all this is because I believe in giving back and also to keep children with their moms especially when their dad walks out on them. And when the children are with their mom, we can eliminate a lot of problems in a society which will in turn make our economy more stable. So in the long run, it will change your whole world. That is how I do it.
Bron: You have a very big vision there and I think that’s lovely. So what I’m hearing is that you have these big visions but you know how to bring that vision back into the individual, whether they’re somebody who is already in business, as you say, they want to take the business to the next level, whether they are someone who is experiencing long-term poverty and perhaps the breakup of their family. So you think probably people on two quite different ends of the spectrum. Do you find that you have to do things that are incredibly different for those two diverse groups of people? Or are they common things that everybody needs, whether they are wanting to grow their business or start a business?
Sue: I do find common traits in both spectrums. Of course it’s different because when you’re first starting your business especially when it’s bare, like you start with the bare minimum especially when you just started you start from ground zero everything has to start from scratch and of course it’s very different from when you already have a business and you just need to scale it up. But there’s a few things in common which is determination, commitment and the tenacity and that one I can’t really plan it in them – it has to come from them. And the people who succeed based on my experience are people who have all these three. So they must be really committed they must really want it and usually they are in pain so I come in and I solve the pain and the pain actually makes them very very committed yes and successful. There’s no room for failure.
Bron: No, that’s right. What I find that is interesting is that those terms of commitment and perseverance and tenacity, we would I think perhaps more readily associate those with people who are already in business, who have built their business and we know any of us, who are entrepreneurs, we know it’s that stickability that’s important. And I think it’s very easy to judge people who are in a very difficult economic or emotional situation like a mom who’s got a number of children who she’s maybe losing because she can’t support them. We probably sometimes tend to judge those people and say “Well if only they worked harder. If only they had more perseverance.” And yet the fact that they maintained where they are and are wanting to move ahead shows that they actually have all of those qualities that you talk about.
Sue: Yeah. There are many people who turned them away and when I talk to them, I look beneath all that hurt and pain and all the emotional drama going on and I tell them “Do you want to lose your children?” The most important thing to them, they say “No.” I say “Okay, we’re going to make it work. You don’t to default on your payment. You don’t want to be evicted so you want to keep the roof over their heads of your kids, right?” So after I work on their mindset, we talk about business. So I am very proud of them because some of them have actually started their own small business which is going on for some time now. And I don’t force the business down their throat, they will explore what kind of business they love because not every woman knows how to sew, not every woman know how to cook so I just ask them what’s their passion. That’s my role. And when they need anything, they know who to turn to for support and I point them to the correct direction. So yes, it is also the same for the other end of the spectrum if the business owner does not really know what he wants, then it doesn’t matter which direction he goes because it does not matter. I do work with a lot with the CEO and also the Board of Directors and especially in the corporate companies and they were like you think that big companies would know where their direction is but sometimes they’re just not aligned so that’s where I come in and talk to them about it. And of course the next thing that I like to highlight is there is also a similarity whether or not you just started a business or you are already in business for quite some time. It is the fear to show yourself. They like to hide, they like to be offline and not be online. So my role is to tell them “Hey, don’t hide. If you’re not on Google, you’re gone.” So there are many businesses who thought they can survive offline. Yes, you can survive but you want to thrive and grow, you need to scale and please use all the tools available for free or some really really cost effective tools online which can generate so much more sales. We’re talking about a hundred times more, 200 times more so some of them are like they have this fear to appear online, they just want to hide. So I’m proud to say I have managed to turn around quite a few businesses and they buy into the idea to go online.
Bron: That is excellent because it is the way, I was going to say it’s the way of the future, it’s actually the way of now. It’s almost impossible to do business without some sort of online presence. I said we could probably talk for ever but we can’t today, I think we will talks about what we will need to. So given that you work with such diverse groups of people and yet you find similarities and I’m sure there are people in who are listening today who are going “Yeah, I probably need to understand why it is I’m doing it.” Or “Do I have the tenacity? Do I know exactly what I want?” What would be a take-away, one thing that you could leave with our listeners today to help them just make one step forward?
Sue: The biggest block that I’ve gotten besides hiding behind the screen and not wanting to put yourself out there, it’s the inability to get past yourself to sell. A business will die if there’s no sales. So most of the most of the business owners, I’m talking about in general business owners, they think that a certain amount of sales, a certain number of sales is enough but it’s never enough. You would just carry it up and sell it moe and more and more so the one thing in selling, the old style is hard sell like you just push the sales. You say “Hey, this is the price, buy me.” But nowadays, we are shifting to another type of selling which the consumers are getting used to – this relationship selling.
Sue: We are building the relationship. We build the relationship even if we don’t have face-to-face contact. So it starts from the first point of contact which is usually the ,but how many of the people out there will go up to your storefront? So in order to build the relationship with as many people as possible, the most viable way and the most reasonable way is online. And they go search about you, when they hear anything about you. Even if they have already gone to your store, they will go on Google and see what people say about you. So that already forms an impression in your mind, in their mind and they will form like a trust impressions “Mmm can I trust this brand? Can I trust this company? Can I trust its service? Can I trust its product?” And then they’ll make up their mind and the next thing is they were search for you on social media.
Sue: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – they’ll see what you put out there. They will see if they like what they see. If they decide that they like you or if you are not searchable, they’ll be like “Oh okay, fine” – then you’re gone. So if you’re there, then they will try to connect with you via a message or send you an email and then the next point in this relationship is how fast you respond.
Sue: So don’t have a page, don’t have a Facebook page if you are not going to check it like every day. If you only check it once a month, the customer will buy from another person. So people just think “Okay I’ll just put up a Facebook page and it’s fine.” Or like ”Okay, I’ll just check it once a month.” And before you know it, the client would be like “What is this?” In this online world, you have to have a dedicated person who checks it every other hour.
Sue: So for me, the biggest takeaway that anyone can walk away with is start with in mind if you want to be a relationship with people you must know how to do it and you must know what kind of resources you need to actually make it work. In that way, you can increase your sales and your bottom line.
Bron: Sounds great and it’s just as I said, we have only scratched the surface of what you do and you are a woman who has so much to offer – startups, people who are already in business. So thank you so much for sharing just a snippet of your expertise today. So people want to find you and connect with you Sue, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Sue: you can find me on Facebook it’s my name Sue Tiong and you can look you can actually Google me up just use Sue Tiong, you will see my websites, you will see everything about me, you can even see everything about me. I’m very open, I don’t hide.
Bron: It’s good. So you are living by the advice that you give other people, you are doing yourself. I’m so pleased to hear that Sue. It’s been wonderful talking with you. So this has been Bron Williams from Business Radio talkers.fm talking with Sue Tiong today – a multi-talented, multi business owner who loves to work with people and get the best out of them. Thank you so much for today Sue.
Sue: You’re welcome Bron, it’s my pleasure.