... I read an ... story in a local ... It's about how a Thai ... survived a ... idea struck me that I should share the story with you. There is ... somethi
Recently, I read an interesting story in a local newspaper. It's about how a Thai businessman survived a recession.
An idea struck me that I should share the story with you. There is definitely something we can learn from this true story.
Here is the story...
After graduating with a degree in finance from University of Texas at Austin, Sirivat Voravetvuthikun, 53, climbed the corporate ladder and he was then the managing director of Asia Securities Trading. Later, he was on his own and became a private fund manager.
Voravetvuthikun then setup his own company, Tong Gween Ltd, and started selling luxury condominiums in a mountain resort.
He was very successful then and he was a millionaire living his dreams.
In late 1990s, recession hit and stock market collapsed. Voravetvuthikun had to close down his company as there was no buyer for his condominiums. He couldn't pay the bank and the bank seized his property.
He lost everything overnight.
At that moment, Voravetvuthikun had several options. Some securities companies approached him and offered him the position of managing director.
But he felt obliged to his staff and their families. So he decided to start a business, this time, selling sandwiches.
He explained why he sells sandwiches. He said, "No bank would give me money as capital to start a business. Selling sandwiches required very low capital, generated cash sales, and required no special skill."
The biggest challenge for him was Thais don't take sandwiches.
The sale for the first day started off with 20 tuna and ham sandwiches. His wife woke up in the wee hours to prepare the sandwiches.
Voravetvuthikun managed to convince his friend, the President of the Bangkok general hospital at the time, to allow him to sell sandwiches. Voravetvuthikun recalled, "It took us all of six-and-a-half hours to sell 20 sandwiches."
Due to the poor sales, Voravetvuthikun decided to go to the street to sell sandwiches. He had to convince his staff to follow him to the street to sell sandwiches. Some of them were a bit hesitant at first.
The story about a Thai millionaire selling sandwiches on the street caught the media's attention.
Voravetvuthikun said, "I have been featured in more than 89 stories internationally and 85 stories locally. I have also appeared on CNN four times, CNBC twice and BBC once."
The media helped. Some people heard Voravetvuthikun's story and supported him by buying sandwiches from him.
After two-and-a-half years, Voravetvuthikun has carved a name for Saravit Sandwiches. Voravetvuthikun takes pride in the fact that he introduced sandwiches to the Thais.
"The leftovers are donated", Voravetvuthikun said, "to welfare homes."
Voravetvuthikun said he was constantly invited to address university students. The jobless rate was high among Thai graduates. So his message to them is, "If no one hires you, go out and sell something."
Voravetvuthikun later went on to sell sushi. He would like to take his company listed on the stock market and create a sound foundation for a food company. He would like to be the McDonald's of Thailand.
Voravetvuthikun also said, "I derived strength from my wife and children. They never complained when I lost all my money."
Voravetvuthikun worked by capitalizing on his strengths while working to improve his weaknesses. By doing this, he believed, he had a future. He wanted to venture into areas where other people seldom do."
His motto is: "Be daring. Be firm. Be different. Where there's a will, there's a way."
That's the story about Voravetvuthikun - a real entrepreneur who managed to survive a crisis.
What we can learn from him is humility, persistence, and determination: important ingredients for building a successful business empire.
PT Cheng is the owner of FinanciallyRich. Get excellent tips on how to be your own boss, have more money, and free time. For future articles, subscribe to his FREE newsletter at http://www.financiallyrich.com/subscribe.asp and receive a BONUS report.