Lina Wang completed her MBA from CEIBS, before which she pursued media activities, anchored TV shows, modeled for FMCG products and done a few television shows. After her MBA, Lina became involved with Business Development & Marketing activities in Online & Offline Gambling/Gaming Systems, editing digital magazines and a few E-Commerce Projects.
Eventually, Lina launched her own IT company primarily to develop global online gaming products and mobile apps, which turned out quite successful. Striving for more, Lina became involved with a startup funded by Atlantis Ventures, which is primarily a technology business that enables people to create big, specific ecommerce marketplaces faster around the world. Product design, creative direction, operational management, marketing, social media, web analytics, are things that are pretty much up Lina’s second nature. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and writes on business, content marketing and social media on her blog (www.linawang.org), Huffington Post, Forbes, Medium.com, Blogher.com and a few other places.
In your own words what do you do?
I’ve been involved with my own IT business for over half a decade now. I was brought into Atlantis Ventures to primarily engage with on a turnkey basis and even run some e-commerce and other startups which were funded or supported by the management. Being the facilitator or CEO of a startup is one of the most challenging roles one can take on. Your job is to build a product and provide services that customers love and guide the overall progress and quality of work. And yes, you are also in charge of things like incorporating, finding a place to work in the countries you are targeting, hiring your first employees, creating the foundation of your work culture, banking and finance, creating your online presence and marketing, finding early stage funding, and taking out the trash. You soon figure out that you practically would need at least two clones of yourself in the very least to help.
What led you to your current business?
Since I was 16 and earning a living, I have always done multiple activities at the same time. I still manage a successful marketing consultancy, for instance, even while running a couple companies. Besides my IT gaming and app company is almost running on auto-pilot and does not take much of my time. I took up the offer when it came up. The e-commerce business of selling products and services has become a ruthless game of razor thin margins requiring massive scale to compete with amazon, eBay, and the big box retailers on price, selection and speed of delivery. The marketplace product needs innovation in several areas; a challenge that I wanted to take up heads on.
Could you walk us through your process of developing your business?
Flexibility is key. For me, of perhaps the greatest importance is starting with sound strategies that follow a clear timeline. They should include KPIs to measure progress against the timeline and the impact they have on other aspects of the business operations that contribute to the actual wholeness of the business model. For example, expanding a business to open new facilities does not require having every phase of that time-consuming plan in place before it begins. A lot of factors can impact this phase of a company’s growth due to changes in the industry or economy, such as customer demand or fluctuations in materials costs. It boils down to whether the top management team who designs and oversees business improvement is being responsive to customer and employee feedback. Just as there are no cookie cutter solutions to every problem, so do we have to evolve and ensure that our customers’ goals and objectives are met while using our products and services.
Did you encounter any particular difficulties in the beginning?
When I was young, I wanted to be a painter; my parents had also enrolled me into a painting institution when I was 15. At 16, I lost my father in a naval mishap. I had to abandon my dreams then of being a professional painter and leave home to find work to support my family. Soon, I ended up modelling With Elite Models. After 19, I also was playing poker professionally to augment my income. Doing odd jobs and two to three jobs at a time was a regular thing. What I want to say is that difficulties are a part and parcel of anything you undertake to achieve in your life. The best part is that you learn from them; and grow.
What is your long term plan?
I love the IT industry; it has given me a lot; and I want to continue to be a part of it. With the E-commerce venture, I am very keen on implementing key technology integration, ground-breaking apps and branch out into virtual and augmented reality eventually. My passion is inventing out-of-the-box, powerful, profitable ways of “listening” to our customers/consumers & then turning those insights into business ideas that generate those million dollars plus bottom lines.
Could you share with us some industry insights?
With so much of the economy based around services where the clear majority of the transactions are still taking place offline, the opportunities for building new billion dollars plus product and services marketplaces represent an exciting growth area in e-commerce. For entrepreneurs who can conceptualize and execute their own secret sauce, the time is now to build new online products & service marketplace platforms. Look at fintech or edutech, for instance; it’s witnessing a current boom.
What are some important lessons you’ve learnt about entrepreneurship?
Taking something from scratch and building it into something remarkable and unique is the greatest high one can reach. And at the heart is ALWAYS the Value Proposition. It’s like a tree – a decision tree. You cannot create somebody else’s desire; you can influence it, speed it up and promote it. Accelerate it. Space it out. At the end of the day, organizations and businesses are about people and the relationships between them. So, when you can build positive relationships, you can build trust and it takes you very far in your work and in your life.
Any tips for achieving success?
“Keep your Eyes on the Prize!”
We know that if we want our venture to be a success, we must psych ourselves up with confidence and resilience to mentally prepare ourselves for the toughest and most progressive phase of our lives. No matter how tough entrepreneurship has been at times – and I speak for so many of us entrepreneurs – it has shows us the rewards of having relentless belief in yourself so that you can follow your life’s purpose.