What is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is an owner of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.
So what is a successful entrepreneur? Being a successful entrepreneur takes more than just a keen eye for business.
There are various types of common characteristics that are shared by successful entrepreneurs. For Mrs. Jacequeline Yeo, characteristics such as passion, open-mindedness, willingness to change and take risks are the keys to her success.
After working for almost 25 years in the office, she decided to join her husband, Mr Kenny Yeo who is a former consultant of an investment company. Her husband ran a small eatery shop at Serangoon Gardens before moving to Tampines to take over a bubble tea shop. They entered the food business because both of them have a passion for food.
It all started when they went to Penang, Malaysia. They tried a Penang’s style Chendol and found it delicious. As a Chendol lover, they were able to tell the difference in taste between the normal Chendol in Singapore and Penang’s style Chendol. Thus, they decided to sell the Penang’s style Chendol in Singapore.
When Mrs Jacequeline stepped into the business, she told herself that it will be a success. In 2002, she and her husband took over a bubble tea shop in Tampines. Using their own savings, they spent SGD 30,000 to start the business without getting any help from the government.
Before taking over the bubble tea shop, she did a survey and decided to take up the opportunity since the shop is near to a polytechnic, schools and office. She added that business is all about taking risks. You will never know if you don’t try.
When they took over the bubble tea shop, they re-branded it. Initially, the place was very dead. With the use of extensive marketing, within six months, their popularity grew among the Temasek Polytechnic students.
Although she doesn’t have any business related experience and educational background, she said that passion is the most important thing when comes to starting a business. Without passion, there is no point in starting a business.
When she was a student, she was never involved in any entrepreneurial activities in her life because her school is not active in promoting entrepreneurship. However, she pointed out
that by having this kind of activities, students can learn and gain experience before they enter the real business world.
Due to the lack of exposure, she was never interested in business until she joined the workforce. She loved to dress up and follow the latest fashion trend when she was working in the office line and she thought of opening a boutique. However, her interest changed when she settled down with a family. She preferred food.
That was when she decided to take over the bubble tea shop and re-branded it as A1 Penang Chendol. She had no prior knowledge in business when she was first started this business venture. However, because of her passion, not only did she sustained the shop for 12 years, but she also managed to mold it into a successful business investment. She decided to come up with her own creations to make her shop stand out from the other bubble tea stalls. Some of her recipes come from cake and baking recipes.
Her customers were instrumental in helping her start and maintain her business. She never fails to ask them for feedback and be open-minded whenever they buy any drink from her shop. From her customer’s feedback, she came out with a new flavour.
Instead of selling just to make a profit, she emphasizes on meeting the needs of her customers. For example, she has a regular customer who is about 60 years old who frequently visits her shop to buy her Chendol. One of the Chendol ingredient is coconut which has a high cholesterol level. Being concerned about the customer’s health, Mrs Jacequeline did some research and managed to come out with a new Chendol recipe which is low in cholesterol.
Not only that , she came out with a ‘Chendol Smoothie’ to accommodate to the youngsters’ preferences since they prefer to drink from a cup instead of a bowl.
For her, business is not about the products or services that she provides. Business is also not about the prices that she charges for her drinks. Business is not about the competition with other bubble tea shops and how to beat them. For her, business is all about her customers and clients. After all, her customers are the people that will ultimately decide if the business will be a flop or a successful one.
When asked what was the most memorable for her during her initial entrepreneurial activity, she recalled the time when her business turned 10 years old. She came out with a slogan “ A1 is 10 Years Old “ and with that slogan, customer have to say that slogan in order to get a promotion.
One day, a group of customers from Temasek Polytechnic came to Mrs Jacequeline’s shop and sang a birthday song for them. She felt so touched, appreciative and elated as it is not something that she can buy with money. For her, building a relationship with her customers is very important. She even treats Temasek Polytechnic students like her own children.
She added that in business, there are gains and losses. Throughout 12 years of business, her business has managed to gain popularity not only from the public but from the government sector too. Through word of mouth, they are able to attract new customers and at the same time gain more repeat customers. According to research, most business will come from repeat customers rather than new customers.
However, when it comes to business, there will always be challenges faced. For example, her business was doing well in Serangoon Gardens, the landlord decided to increase the rental fee, which forced them to relocate to their current location.
In conclusion, business is about taking risks. You have to be prepared to fail in order to succeed. As long you are passionate in what you are doing, you will eventually succeed one day. One person with a burning passion is better than forty people who are just merely interested.
Penang A1 Chendol
Block 822 #01-186 , Tampines St 81, Singapore 520822
Operating Hour :
Mon – Fri (11:30 am – 8:00 pm)
Sat, Sun & PH (11:30 am – 5:00 pm)
HP : 98519477
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