How to Start a Business in a Smart Way

Don’t Do Business Unless You Start It Smart

Aida Amanda Atan, Licensing Consultant/ Personal Coach/ Principal Trainer.
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By Cindy Liew

The founder, and well-respected master trainer in Amanda Consultancy and Training, Aida Amanda Atan has always craved growth. She likes to grow every five years, a phenomenon she refers to as the “weird five-year cycle”.

After five years of working in a bank, she moved on to real estate in 2000. With a banking background, Aida was able to focus more on customer service, always putting her clients’ interests first.

“But during those days, there was no significant reference to do commercial property—meaning there was no champion agent to do commercial property,” Aida recalls. Determined to venture into the commercial property market, she paid her lawyer friends to tutor her to understand the documentation involved. Soon, her popularity in the Malay market and her expertise in creativity marketing via TV and radio added points to her consultancy.

After a perilous brain surgery in 2009, Aida’s five years cycle ‘expires’. Today, she has become one of the most sought after peak performance trainer and a business coach.

She was even hired by a global engineering company to train their sales directors and contributed an increase of more than 30% sales during her attachment at the company.

Her signature programme now focuses on Mindset Shift called VIBES, a sales branding programme known as VACUUM and Sales Leadership Mastery which caters for management or higher ranked personnel of companies or business owners.

In 2015, she clinched three entrepreneurs’ awards for her company—Most Promising Brand Asia Pacific, SME Asia Award and SG50 Finest Enterprise Award.

Back to Business

When Aida resumed work after her brain surgery, she realised that the industry of commercial property was still stagnant and there were still few people doing commercial property. She was amazed to find her old clients waiting for her.

“I heard about your surgery but you are okay now, right? Come, come, I was waiting for you. I want to talk to you about the business,” one of her clients said to her. She took the case and got it done. She was back in business.

Her signature programme when she did commercial property was providing consultancy to clients on licensing issues.

“Everyone thought that if you want to do business, you could just rent a space and start the business. However, in Singapore, one has to get approval from Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). For café owners especially, they need to get approval from National Environment Agency (NEA)”, shares Aida.

Let’s Do Business! But Do You Have the Licence?

Having witnessed the shutting down of many businesses, especially in the F&B industry due to the lack of proper licensing, Aida came up with the book ‘Let’s do business’. Titled ‘Jom Buat Bisnes’ in Malay, she hopes to reach out to business owners and make them aware of the importance of getting proper licensing.

Below is a case shared with Epoch Times readers by Aida:

“In my seminar, I don’t empower people by saying that it is good to do business. I always tell them that before they start, they have to know about licensing, budgeting and advertising issues,” says Aida.

Having worked with different clients for many years (80% from the F&B industry back then), she gradually figured out why some businesses close down while others grow.

“It is not about how fantastic your ideas are. It is about blending your idea with the real business context in Singapore. That is one key thing that people need to know when they do business,” Aida reveals. “And this is what the book ‘Don’t Do Business Unless You Start It SMART’ tries to convey.”

Don’t Do Business Unless You Start It SMART

Aida’s new book, ‘Don’t Do Business Unless You Start It Smart’, includes six stories of real business journeys. Inside the book, readers will find motivational quotes and licensing tips, like when they should go to SCDF or NEA.

SMART is an acronym for “system”, “mindset”, “action”, “result” and “time”. It captures a framework for business owners to follow.

“Sometimes the business owners’ systems could be cropped somewhere. Sometimes the system is right but people’s mindset isn’t ready, or subconsciously they think they are not ready. Other times their actions are not in accordance with their systems: they have put up a system, but they are not putting in the action. All these caused them [to not get] the right results, or they may be taking too much time to get the desired results,” Aida reveals.

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