By: KW Ang
Pardon my frankness, you are but a General who watches the business battles from the safe height of your Ivory Tower and when it is over, come down to count and dead and bayonet the wounded! I have three (3) questions:
1. Have you started a business, ever?
2. Have you encountered cash flow problems?
3. Aside from being a soldier (and a civil servant thereafter), what commercial experience do you have to boost in your resume?
I will now tell you six (6) facts of starting a business here.
A. As a startup, you cannot get any form of loans whatsoever from banks. You do not have the ‘past 3 years financial reports’ for their Credit Committee to review; and
B. When you cannot collect payments from your clients and/or debtors albeit the CPFs, workers levy’s, rental deadlines are looming, you will suffer immense pressure; and
C. Even if you have a brilliant idea and intend to implement R&D to further the exploration, funding may not always be available; and
D. Do you know many ‘new citizens’ engage lawyers or consultants to write business plans for EDB’s supportive funding only to wind up their businesses, depriving us of the essential bloodstream for our businesses?
E. Labour crunch and productivity – there are limitations, mind you. Machinery can only do so much. Innovations can only bring us so far. Enlighten me how you make beds without chambermaids? Advise me how you serve dishes without waiters?
F. Shareholders are only interested in returns. Do you think they will entertain your reasoning of economic downturns, challenges, etc? Have you face off intense questioning from irate stakeholders? And can you manage hundreds of employees without pulling rank?
When you fail as a businessman, you will have to be accountable. Writ of Summons, Examination of Judgment Creditors, Garnishee Orders, Writ of Seizure and Sale, Bankruptcy Orders, etc. Do you even know how many business owners have gone through these hardships?
So, until you earn your stripes in the commercial world, pass through the baptism of fire, run a successful business and show us businessmen “the ropes”, please don’t pervert our younger generation mindset with your warped sense of courage.
For crying out loud, as a General, you have not fight a battle, and needless to say, a war! We know we are not going to get angels in power all the time but a General like you?