Mr. David Tan: 3 Secrets To A Successful Trading Business
TYH Marketing Pte Ltd
All businesses come with risks. But as one young entrepreneur observes, the trading business seems to have more risks than others.
For one, in a trading business, you as the business owner have no goods of your own. You are not the manufacturer, and, therefore, can only depend on your source for what products to offer your market.
For another, in the trading business, you have to be more creative and resourceful to have better control over the quality, availability and pricing of your products and goods because unlike when you are the manufacturer of your own product, you are dependent on the manufacturer for which products to launch, which products to push to the market, and which products to manufacture at certain volumes.
That said, one would wonder how Mr. David Tan of TYH Marketing Pte Ltd managed to be successful in the trading business for 40 years now. TYH Marketing, which trades sanitary ware and high quality marine furniture fittings, is still going strong. Apart from carrying international brands, they also have their own brand of sanitary wares and flushing systems marketed under the brand, “Global”. But as it is with most businesses, it had a humble beginning.
In this story, he shares 3 secrets to his success and his advice to new entrepreneurs who would like to reach the same level of longevity and success in the trading business.
3 Success Secrets To A Trading Business
Mr. Tan shares that first secret behind a successful trading business is to buy from the manufacturer, and not another trading company.
TYH Marketing started with Mr. Tan making a personal trip to Japan to personally introduce his Singapore-based company and to win the trust of the Japanese manufacturers for him to do the selling and distribution in overseas market.
“When we first went there we were a poor company. So it was not fruitful meeting. They have appointed a very big company in SG to do the sales for them and asked me to get my products from that big company.”
As expected, the price was three times more than the direct dealer’s price. Mr. Tan knew that this was not going to be a smart way to do business.
So he went back to the manufacturer and attempted to win their approval the second time.
“The Japanese understood my problem. He then gave me a pricelist. And then told me, ‘This is what we quoted for people outside the Japan. It’s up to you to decide.’”
The positive outcome of taking that second attempt was the beginning of TYH Marketing.
As the global economy changed, products from Japan, while recognized for quality and durability, became increasingly expensive and, therefore, difficult to market.
Mr. Tan then decided to make a shift to Korea for his source of direct manufacturer. Here then is the second success secret which he would like to share: keep abreast of changes in the global trade landscape and never be afraid to make the change.
“More or less the Korean products were the same quality as Japan’s. So I started importing from Korea. Things changed again when we discovered that Koreans imported from China. Then I bought from China.”
Finally, Mr. Tan shares that the third secret is offering customer education and being customer-driven at all times. “You get a mix of customers who are very price-sensitive. I am honest to them about the quality standards that TYH upholds. Most China products are perceived to be low quality. TYH gets only the highest quality among these China-made products. We educate our customers that for the price difference, they get better quality and longer lasting products. My customers today are the same customers I had 40 years ago in addition to the new ones we gain every year,” the trading magnate shares.
Advice To New Entrepreneurs: Build A Good Team
Mr. Tan acknowledges that his success is also due to the formation of a good team behind the daily operations of his business. “I have employees who have been with me for 30 years now,” he said.
A self-empowering company culture also enables his employees to grow in their job roles. “They enjoy working here. I leave them alone after teaching them what to do.” But it isn’t just with bonuses that Mr. Tan is generous. He is also generous about understanding his employees when they make mistakes. “I forgive and forget. This encourages them to do better next time.”
Mr. Tan applies the principle of trust, quality and hard work to the success of building and managing a loyal team and clientele.
“Building trust means giving people what you promised them. This applies to customers and employees.” Mr. Tan is also dedicated to quality of products and relationships. “I spend a long time educating my customers about quality. Many of them are tempted to buy cheap but if the quality is not up to standard, I tell them that it will turn out to be expensive for them in the long run because these items will spoil easily and have to be frequently replaced.” he said. Finally, Mr. Tan advises young entrepreneurs to achieve success by applying his third principle: hard work. “It’s tough running a business. To be successful, you have to work hard. For me, the most important part of my work is after sales service,” and true enough, this requires a lot of hard work and commitment.
Every moment he is at work is a satisfying moment for Mr. Tan. “This is not really a job for me, it’s more of a hobby,” he says of being an entrepreneur.
TYH Marketing Pte LtdNo.59 Kaki Bukit Place Eunos TechPark Off Kaki Bukit Road 3 Singapore 416232 Tel: 67430654 Website: Www.Tyh.com.sg