Issue 2, Jan 2019 - Adam Khoo Learning | KCK Food Catering

Head In The Clouds, Feet On The Ground


The statistics may vary across jurisdictions, but the underlying fact remains – not many start-ups survive beyond five years, and even fewer make it past the 10-year mark. Locally, according to OCBC Bank, of the over-50,000 new businesses set up each year in Singapore, only half will reach the five-year mark, and the success of the remaining half hinges mostly on their ability to rapidly scale up during the initial years. Companies that go on to celebrate their 10th anniversary typically possess a few similar traits – clear vision, sound strategies, business models that are aligned with personal values, and significantly, adaptability and an embrace of technology.


In this second edition of SME Showcase, we shine the spotlight on two SMEs that are alike in ways that matter. One is a training business that, currently into its 12th year, ranks among the top in its industry, with an imprint in seven countries; the other is a food and beverage outfit that has consistently raced ahead of the pack with its creative offerings during its 28-year journey.


While conventional wisdom suggests that large companies, with their more extensive resources, can afford to dabble in new ideas, the featured SMEs demonstrate how they have used their size to advantage – they are more nimble, whether it’s to test out new concepts or resolve issues; the management team is in tune with what’s happening throughout the operations, and resources are optimised. It is relatively easy for the team to effect change, such as when new technology is introduced or new business lines are added, or even if the business focus should change.


An SME does not have to view its size nor limited resources as a liability. Just consider how many industry giants started off small – Google, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon and even Disney all got going from a garage. Singapore, too, has its once-fledgling businesses that are making waves in markets beyond its shores – Axe Oil, Bakerzin, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, BreadTalk, Creative Technology, OSIM, Raoul, Razer, TWG, and the list goes on. Some local companies have opted to expand via a public listing while others have stepped up through third-party investments. For example, Charles & Keith, Crystal Jade, Heng Long Tannery and Sincere Watch & Jewellery all have the same investor in LVMH; messaging start-up Pie was acquired by Google, and corporate services firm Janus was snapped up by a wealth structuring company. And if we look beyond the numbers to the very beginning, we will likely discover that the founders had started off with a dream.


As we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the two SMEs, we hope the sharing of their business journeys will inspire, encourage and motivate other SMEs as they chart their own paths. Clearly, it is alright to keep dreaming – and it does not matter if the dreams are big or small – as long as there are solid, workable plans, companies can progress to the next level.



Dreamers and Strategists: Transforming Lives: Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group (AKLTG)

If there were a case study for dreaming big dreams, and then doggedly chasing them and realising them, then Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group (AKLTG) would be an excellent contender. Set up in 2002 by entrepreneurs Patrick Cheo and Adam Khoo, the training business quickly took on a life of its own. Today, it ranks among Singapore’s largest training and education companies and Asia’s leading personal and professional development organisations. AKLTG’s footprint can be found in seven countries, namely, Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.  Read more



An Insatiable Appetite For Tasty, Nutritional Food: KCK Food Catering Pte Ltd

Traditional food caterers tend to grow by expanding the range of their menu offerings, the taste of their dishes and/or presentation, and perhaps, by streamlining their order fulfilment. But the growth trajectory of KCK Food Catering Pte Ltd shows that it is anything but traditional. Since its catering business commenced in August 1991, it has proven itself to be an “early mover” in many aspects of the food industry, and has reaped rewards for its entrepreneurialism. Not one to sit on its laurels, the company has continued to chart new ground as it explores various ways to bring tasty, nutritional food to a wider clientele.  Read more



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