Building a multi-million dollar company in the digital age

| 17 Oct 2018

Mario Singh, founder of brokerage Fullerton Markets, shared his principles on how to build a multi-million dollar company in the digital age. It took him less than two years to turn Fullerton Markets into a multi-million dollar company with an eight-figure turnover, he said.

Proving his point quick about what it means to be in the digital age, Mario flashed a photo of these four men (image below) and how long it took for them to go from being a millionaire to billionaire. 

The time taken to become a billionaire shortens drastically once it’s an online platform. From 26 years for Warren Buffett to five years for Bill Gates, to just one year for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and less than one year for founder of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao (AKA “CZ”).

The message was clear: Go Digital.

Instead of just theories, Mario’s whole presentation was actions he took to scale Fullerton Markets to its current day.

Below are three principles you can use to scale your agency to a multi-million one too:

#1 Enlarge your vision

“Enlarge your vision,” he stressed. Living in an era where trillion-dollar companies are being created, one should think bigger and widen your ambition and goals.

He said, first, you have to announce it to the world. He made statements like “I’ll be starting a company called Fullerton Markets. I will build it to a billion dollar company.”

His reasoning was, once you boldly proclaim to the world, you’ll have accountability.  And the moment he made such a bold declaration, the media came and gave him exclusive interviews and propelled him right into the spotlight. For anyone, it would be hard to back out from the plan.

#2 Magnify yourself

In the current day and age, there are so many distractions, so much “noise” around us that it’s hard to bring attention to the crucial details in life.

In the insurance business, it is important that you can capture people’s attention when it is most necessary.

Introducing three quick steps on how to magnify yourself, Mario shared his 3M rules: Media, Materials and “Manja”.

Media: Brand yourself and your company on the biggest media platforms like News and Radio channels. And don’t limit yourself to English medium, foreign media giants would translate your content anyway. 

Engaging the media is challenging. Especially if the media are big players like Bloomberg, CNBC, BBC, CNN. But, once you’re on any of these channels, you immediately get broadcasted to millions of people across the world. Your brand, name and face get publicised to millions for free.

Materials: Share your knowledge, write a column in a publishing firm, or write a book. Publish whatever you know.

As advisers and agents, you would have accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience over the years in the insurance and finance industry. Media channels are constantly on the lookout for materials and legitimate content to publish and would be happy to pick your brain for articles. Expose yourself to the media. Once you’re seen on newspapers and articles, your legacy lives on. 

“Manja” (loosely translated as gaining attention by being adorable): Let the people see the fun side of you, too. Share a quirky photo of yourself on social media, or brand the company in a good hobby (Fullerton Markets sponsors a Rugby Team that has a good number of elite national players.)

Being prim and proper is part of your professional job to showcase your competency level. But, that doesn’t mean that people can’t see the fun side of you. It’s one way to grab people’s attention especially in the digital world where everybody’s attention span is as fast as their finger scrolling the page.

When Media, Materials and Manja are combined, the playing field automatically widens. The people and attention you attract are on a bigger scale. And according to Mario, “When the stage is bigger, we play better”.

#3 Execute or Die

A lot of times, it’s the lack of execution that causes the downfall of an operation. Everyone has many ideas and plans, but exactly how many of those plans and ideas are being carried out?

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Have you ever once thought to yourself that you shared the same idea as Airbnb or Grab and that you might have been as successful as them if you carried out your plans?

The only difference between you and those CEOs is that they executed their dreams and plans while you let that thought in your head pass.

Mario shared some tips for execution from a book by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.

Follow Through: We tend to set a long list of To-Do for ourselves sometimes, but it’s best to prioritise a task and follow through.

Rewards Your Doers: This creates a “performance culture” that actually rewards the people who get things done.

Expand your people’s capabilities through coaching:  Everyone has a “lid” in life. Applying “law of the lid”, you have to lift the “lid” up of the people you are leading. Through good leadership, you would potentially increase the level of effectiveness and success of your business.

For leaders, when you bring forth an idea, you would need to lead the team and walk them through the stages of execution, so that they can fully buy into your vision as to why it is important. This will take your business to a whole new level of success. 

The dreams and the plans that you were thinking of last month or last week, just do it. Execution is the key. Once you get into the momentum of execution, you start forming positive habits. It becomes a routine of execution until it becomes a form of mastery.

Take home message

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”- Alvin Toffler

Everyone has to move on with the times. The concept of being illiterate holds a different meaning today. If we are not evolving constantly, we would be left behind.

If the century is moving towards digital, move along with it.

Mario was speaking at the 18th Singapore Agency Managers’ Conference (SAMC) organised by Financial Managers’ Association (Singapore) where Asia Advisers Network was the official media partner. 

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(Main picture courtesy of FSMA)