Peng Seng Ong
What was your path into business?
My business experience journey started in 1972 when I was the assistant manager on an innovative project by the Co-operative Society of the Penang Port Commission in Malaysia to set up and run kiosks for sundries on board each of the ferries between Penang Island and the mainland. This business is still operational today.
I am educated to a degree level and had been the Fellow of the Institute of Consulting (FIC) and SFEDI accredited. I have 30 plus years experience in the role of advisor across the Private, Public and Third Sector. My past roles include being an Executive Director of a Charity, Working Well Trust and Initiative Limited, Manager of Islington Co-operative Development Agency, and business advisor for Co-operative, Social Enterprise and Firms. More recent role includes:
- Commercial Director of Charlie Allen – couture fashion retail & wholesale – collection at SEHM in Paris for Courtaulds, Coute Vieylla, M & S
- General manager in the UK for China Liaoning Import & Export Corporation
- Experienced in international trading, trade exhibitions, warehousing, distribution & managing sales team, 500+ UK customers including B & Q, Argos.
- Other previous positions held includes Finance Director, Sales & Marketing Director.
What do you love about mentoring?
For me, understanding ourselves and being mindful of one’s limitations is as much an asset as our knowledge. So in this respect, we are always learning and sharing our knowledge and experience with and from each other and this is what I love about mentoring.
It is a privileged position to be able to mentor people and their businesses and also very rewarding for the advisor when we are able to add value for our clients along their enterprising journey, especially if they can also taste success at the end of their journey.
What skills / characteristics do you think are necessary to enable entrepreneurs succeed?
There is no silver bullet but in my opinion most successful entrepreneurs have more than one of these skills and characteristics around the 3 key areas of People, Product or Service and Process. Besides having personal qualities of perseverance, the belief in one’s product or service and business planning, the following are equally if not more important like understanding your:
- Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat
- People – in your business, the right people doing the right jobs and managing the these
- 4 Ps - Product, Price, Place and Promotion
- 4 Cs - Clarity, Credibility, Consistency and Competitiveness
- Managing and Understanding Finance, especially cashflow
How do you like your tea / coffee?
There was a time when I had coffee with milk and three spoonful of sugar. Like everything else, this is dynamic situation and it evolves with time, today I have my coffee with no sugar and milk.
Where’s your favourite spot in London to hang out?
When I can find the time, visiting and wandering aimlessly in one of the many public parks in London, especially St. James Park is a favourite pastime for me.