Daphne Ting, 28, is one of the co-founders of Siege Advanced Manufacturing, a 3D printing business in Singapore. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, they decided to help contribute by easing the shortage of face shields that the healthcare sector was facing by printing and donating over 35,000 of them, both locally and abroad. Today she shares some values that she has learnt running a business.
1. Adapt well, adapt fast
In today’s world, things change very quickly. I learnt this especially when COVID-19 hit Singapore last year.
All of a sudden, everything shut down, and we needed to adapt to survive.
My team at Siege Advanced Manufacturing had to make decisions very quickly and implement them fast and well. We pivoted to manufacturing COVID-19 essentials. This was a really big change for our startup as this sector of manufacturing was completely new to us.
2. Take (calculated) risks
Be it through investing money, effort or time, it is nearly impossible to grow as an entrepreneur without taking some sort of risk. When we started manufacturing COVID-19 essentials, it was a calculated risk.
This meant jumping into a new industry, buying supplies for it and putting in much effort—without a guarantee that things would work out. However, if we didn’t take that risk last year, I’m sure we would be in a much worse financial state today.
3. You can’t succeed alone
There was no way I could have pivoted the business myself. My team played a huge role in acquiring supplies, and assembling and packing items. We are grateful for donations from generous individuals who contributed to our crowdfunding. They enabled us to manufacture and deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to all our beneficiaries.
Without their help, it would not have been possible for us to have manufactured and donated thousands of face shields and ear-savers.
Personal Protective Equipment
PHOTO CREDIT: DAPHNE TING
4. Don’t burn bridges
Being in a startup, I am usually the one facing many of our clients and suppliers. While there are definitely difficult people to work with, I learnt that it is important to never burn bridges with anyone.
Misunderstandings usually arise from miscommunication, differences in expectations, or simply someone having a bad day. You may have negative feelings at that time, but chances are you will regret acting on impulse. Treat everyone with the expectation that you will have to work with them again.
5. Not everything needs to be perfect
It’s normal to want to ensure everything is perfect before launching something.
But over the years, I’ve learnt that sometimes, it’s better to move first.
Getting things going is equally, if not more important, than fussing over details.
For example, The Erde Co is a company I set up to recycle waste 3D-printing plastic. There are things I would like to improve to make the recycling process even more efficient, but if I were to have waited till that was achieved, the plastic waste recycled thus far would have all been thrown away instead.
I used to be quite picky about the small details, but I’ve learnt to also go with the flow. Of course, that doesn’t mean launching a business idea that is not thought through!
Daphne holding up PPE.
PHOTO CREDIT: DAPHNE TING
6. Don’t expect instant rewards
Things take time. In today’s highly saturated market, it is difficult to stand out and gain traction needed for a business to take off. It is easy to feel disheartened when you don’t achieve the results you expect at first and want to give up.
Expect to put in long hours and hard work to see results. Because when you do, it is rewarding.