Talent is everywhere - you just have to know how to recruit!


It used to be that a multi-location retail or service business was best built by taking a successful overseas franchise. Hence, we saw the growth in Malaysia of the super successful franchises such as KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway outlets, along with the less successful ones like Burger King, A&W, Chili’s. It seems that not all food types do well here. There are very few non-food franchises. Mailboxes Etc. is one that changed hands recently, so it’s too early to judge their success. Unlike the US and UK which has a stronger representative of service and home supply franchises that doesn’t seem to have work here.

The US have used the “build once and sell to many” approach which has been successful for them and does not seem to work in the smaller and community centric Asian markets. In these markets’, success requires one to “build many to sell to many” with an emphasis on localization.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Malaysian entrepreneurs have focused on food and everyday convenience – creating many local franchises. Old Town Coffee and The Chicken Rice Shop are few of the success stories to be used as reference – companies built by local entrepreneurs who have sold off the business to foreign buyers.

Mr.DIY is planning a RM10 billion IPO. It has +500 stores and is still growing. TeaLive successfully parted ways with its Taiwan franchisor and relaunched with a stronger emphasis on local flavors and the cut fruit specialist MBG continues to grow its outlets. US franchised convenience store 7-Eleven’s hold on the market has been chipped away by 99-SpeedMart, MyNEWS.com and KK Mart, which collectively have +2,000 outlets, a little short of the 2,240 outlets operated by 7-Eleven. Add to the mix is the Mydin chain of hypermarkets, with +70 outlets.

In healthcare services the Qualitas chain of GPs continues to grow, as does BP Healthcare diagnostic centres. My local pharmacy, AA has been rapidly expanding. This sector is attracting interest, with new entrants challenging Caring and Guardian. These businesses know the advantages that come with scale; in purchasing, negotiating leases, marketing and other management costs.

Local entrepreneurs have also made waves in Islamic fashion – dUCk and Naelofar Hijab. FashionValet, the many ladies shoe brands are testimony to the strength and depth of Malaysian management talent.

Why write about this?

Well, it is time we speak of the abundance and quality of Malaysian talent, rather than bemoan the lack of it. If you do not invest in your people and invite them to support your mission, you are not going to find success. You only look to AirAsia to know that talent is available here. Superstar entrepreneurs; Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun bought a 2-aircraft airline in 2002, to running one of the largest fleets with +250 aircraft. How would this have been possible without local talent?

Entrepreneurial and managerial talent is abundant in Malaysia. The many successful Malaysian entrepreneurs have not only been able to start, but also grow to multiple outlets developing the management skills necessary to manage a large number of outlets. It seems only a handful of GLC companies seem to struggle with hiring the right people – perhaps the problem is not with talent, or hiring, but with their mission?

If you are struggling to find talent in Malaysia, ask yourself what you are doing wrong – have a look at what the other companies are doing right. Oh yes, and the next time someone tells you we are short of talent, ask them to walk the streets and check out AirAsia and the many successful Malaysian retailers. Their growth was possible because Malaysia has talent.

Which is your pick for the most successful retail business in Malaysia?

#malaysiantalent #malaysianbusiness #malaysianentrepreneur #successfulbusinessinmalaysia

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