Making time to plan

Angela Sim (BBA 1998)

angela_simWe sat down last month with one of our alumna, Angela Sim, to find out more about her company ROI Strategy Consultants Pte Ltd and how planning has helped drive her business growth.

When did you realize the importance of planning?
To be honest, at the beginning I didn’t really realize it. But looking back, I was always planning subconsciously. For example, when I graduated, I knew I wasn’t good at holding money so I started to put money away in an investment-linked account where I knew I wasn’t able to touch the funds. It wasn’t a concrete plan to save a specific amount. I just knew that if I didn’t impose a disciplined savings plan on myself I would never hold on to money. And ironically it was a lack of planning by others that got me started with ROI.

How so? How did ROI come about?

I had recommended past customers and associates to various third parties to have them do the marketing for them, but when things didn’t work out, these clients sought me out and started asking me to take over, so that’s when I realized I could make a viable business out of it.

How has planning helped your business growth?

After a few years in the business we were stable, but we began to stagnate. We had regular clients and cash flow was steady, but I began to see that I had reached my maximum capacity in terms of bringing in business. That’s when we put plans in place to bring in other directors to help drive additional revenue, or ROI wasn’t going to go anywhere.

Being busy with the business, how have you been able to devote time out of the business to plan for its future growth?

I’m a very organized person, but I realized pretty early on that actions that are obvious to me aren’t necessarily obvious to others in my team. So I invested a considerable amount of time systemizing the processes of the business in manuals, and by labeling equipment and drawers, etc. This ensures that all staff are following the same processes, know where things are and I am not constantly spending my time repeating the same things to members of staff in turn. That frees me from the humdrum of daily operations so that I can concentrate on developing strategies for growth.

How do you keep yourself motivated in your business?

It can be difficult not to become complacent with the routine of business. That’s why it’s important to keep re-inventing goals. We are usually at our quietest around the beginning of the year so I use that time to plan my major goals for the coming year. For example, last year I focused on putting new directors in place while this year it’s all about staff training and staff retention. I have set milestone goals for the business throughout the year to devise bonus and training schemes for each staff member. But as in everything I do, it’s a two way process. For example we have a deal where if staff attain an agreed number of certifications within a year, they receive a cash bonus as a reward. However, if they fail to achieve their training goal, they pay the business the bonus as a form of penalty.

So how often do you revisit your goals?

Once the year goal is established, I set up specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART) goals to achieve throughout the year. It’s no good planning at the beginning of the year and leaving it at that. I review the goals on at least a quarterly basis to make sure that I am on track. I also check for changing circumstances in the business that have had an impact on the possible achievement of my goals. In such cases, adjustments have to be made to keep things on track.

Is there any one long-term goal you hold on to that keeps you striving forward?

One of the goals that keep me motivated is to have an office one day in Suntec City. If at any time problems seem insurmountable and I need a reason to push through a barrier, a Suntec office is usually the vision that does it for me. That and making sure the business never diminishes in size. We have to continually move forward. That is why I have set my goal for staff to increase from the present seven to 15 by the end of the year. The key is to set your short-term goals with clearly determined long-term objectives in mind so that you are always moving forwards.

About Angela Sim
Angela Sim is the tactical mind behind ROI Strategy Consultants Pte Ltd, a dynamic Marketing agency that positions companies for growth through business structuring, brand positioning and market targeting guidance. She has more than a decade of business development and marketing experience on a local and regional level. Her company, founded in 2007, comprises a team of dynamic and experienced personnel with cutting-edge insights into business strategy.

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