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Impact 0319: Building an empire of fun: Lessons from a young successful entrepreneur

Ryan Ho · 14 January 2022
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Ryan Ho, 31, is the co-founder of FunEmpire, an award-winning company that creates unique experiences for team building, celebrations, gatherings and travel. The company has successfully organised more than 20,000 events for over a million people. 

FunEmpire’s vision is to create the world’s most incredible experiences that connect and delight people. Today, Ryan shares some lessons that he has picked up in his journey.

1.
Focus on the customer

The first lesson I have learnt in the business world is that you need to focus on your customers, and that means that you have to think about their needs and desires. You have to think about how you can satisfy them before thinking about your sales and income. In this way, you can be sure that your business will flourish. Focus on solving the needs of your customers first, and the rest will fall into place.

2.
“Market-product fit” over “product-market fit”

“Product-market fit” is a common concept used in the start-up world that highlights the need to create a product that can satisfy the market. However, I would recommend looking at “market-product fit” instead, where you first assess the potential market demand and start building an audience before launching a product. This helps to reduce your risk of a failed product launch and addresses the misconception of “if you build, they will come”.

3.
It’s all about the people

Your company is not just about your customers but it is also about your employees. Your focus should also be on serving others with a fulfilling career. Your vision of the future should align perfectly with this idea, as you want every employee in your organisation to not only feel valued but also enjoy what they do.

4.
Creating the right culture

I think one of the most important lessons that I have learnt is to create the right culture in your organisation. Creating the right culture for your company starts with you. When managers adopt a people-first mindset for their employees and team members, camaraderie and culture within the organisation increase tremendously. This provides the best foundation for the company to drive forward and achieve more success in the future.

5.
Innovate to survive

We all know that change is the only constant thing in the world. The wild and unpredictable nature of today’s business environment requires innovative companies to continue adapting in order for them not only to survive but thrive. 

When COVID-19 first started, the events and travel industries were greatly affected. FunEmpire’s operations ground to a halt as all of our physical events had to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. In order to continue sustaining our operations and company, we had to pivot very quickly to adapt to the new normal. We created several “firsts in the industry” from scratch, such as Singapore’s very first Virtual Escape Room, Virtual Amazing Race and Virtual Creative Workshops. 

We’re grateful that our virtual experiences have been very well-received by our clients. This gave us the inspiration to continue creating new concepts such as the world’s first Virtual Travel Experience, and most recently, the world’s first Hybrid Amazing Race that combines both online and digital elements.

6.
Attitude above all

In my entrepreneurial journey thus far, I’ve interacted and worked with people with different personalities and skill sets. Some have a great attitude, but lack experience and certain essential skill sets. Others have strong work credentials, but do not possess a growth mindset. 

What I’ve learnt is that the people with the best attitude almost always outlast the ones with the best skill sets. These people might not start with the most experience or best skill sets, but with the right attitude and humility to learn, they will be able to grow and develop very quickly. I’ve also learnt that it is much easier to impart technical skills than to improve attitudes.

7.
Consistency is key

Consistent progress is the key to exceptional results. It may not sound exciting, but it will make all of your hard work worth it in due time. Sometimes, it might be difficult to stick with a routine as urgent things and emergencies crop up. But if you want to see results, it is definitely important to remain consistent in your daily routine in order to see measurable results in the future.

8.
Learn from everyone

Inspire yourself with the wisdom around you. It’s important to be open-minded. Learn from your experiences, find new ways of looking at things and you’ll be able to handle life’s challenges more easily. There are many different good sources of inspiration from other industries and companies that can help generate interesting ideas and different perspectives.

9.
Passion and hard work go hand-in-hand

A successful journey is built on a foundation of passion and hard work. You can’t have one without the other, so it’s important to maintain both for your own success. 

Passion fuels our drive to achieve more each day – just as surely as getting up early or staying late at night. Hard work is what passion produces and it’s a necessary measure of success. What I’ve learnt is that you need both to continue to drive and motivate yourself during the ups and downs in entrepreneurship.

10.
Goals give direction while systems deliver results

As an entrepreneur, I have learnt the importance of goals and systems. Goals give you direction and a reference point to move towards, while systems enable you to execute the tasks and actions required that will move you closer towards your goals. From my personal experience, creating systems help to break down problems into simpler parts, allowing you to focus on and solve the issues that will generate the greatest impact.

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