Hard work and passion has led Peiru Tao’s wedding business to be the market leader.
What’s your story?
A valedictorian with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and a Chartered Financial Analyst, I started my corporate career as a Management Associate in Citi, followed by a private equity fund, managing projects of more than S$4 billion.
Since venturing into entrepreneurship, I have grown my wedding services company La Belle Couture Weddings Pte Ltd (“La Belle”) to being the market leader in the industry over the last 5 years.
What excites you most about your industry?
Anything is possible and creativity knows no limits. As long as you dare to dream, can sell your ideas and execute every detail to perfection, there will be clients and partners who will support you along the way. Hard work and working with passion will bring you a long way.
New developments always excite me – it could be a new concept, a new technology to make execution faster, or simply being challenged to a new perspective at looking at a legacy way of doing things. I appreciate that I have a wonderful team who is always on board with me to experiment with new ideas.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and grew up in Singapore, and spent some time in Shanghai for work and studies. My dad ventured to China for his software business in the nineties so we visited many parts of China when I was young. I have also toured cities like Kunming, and Shenzhen for Chinese orchestra and other cultural performances. I’ve also had opportunities to lead cross cultural exchanges in Hong Kong.
As a family we love to visit neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. The Asean region has so many unique flavours and experiences on offer.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is easily my top choice. Everything is so efficient and many government applications are a mouse click away. Systems are open, and information is readily available without a deep dark jungle to traverse to get to what you need.
That being said, South East Asia is definitely growing with much untapped potential and I see Jakarta as a key driver to spur growth in the region. The fundamentals and the population dynamic are well paved for an exciting growth trajectory for the next 10 to 20 years.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you have made a well thought through decision about something, unless circumstances significantly changes, don’t go back to rethink it or second guess the decision as it will only be a waste of time. Move on.
Who inspires you?
Self made successful business people inspire me. No doubt everyone loves the rags to riches story, but it is the grit in overcoming endless obstacles, the creativity in problem solving, relentless positivity to keep going and the ability to influence a team to work towards a common goal, which is truly inspiring…
In Asia, we now have the likes of Jack Ma (Alibaba) and Liu Chuanzhi (Lenovo) moving the world as compared to the past where the known business mavericks were from the west.
Locally, many outstanding entrepreneurs like Olivia Lum of Hyflux, George Quek of Breadtalk, Charles and Keith Wong, have also served as great inspirations for home grown entrepreneurs.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
In business school, we were always told to have the most unique idea or product to have a successful business. I’ve learnt that many successful business don’t necessarily need to hinge on a revolutionary product or idea. It can simply be eradicating inefficiencies in value chains, doing the same thing faster and cheaper, and we certainly don’t need to be rocket scientists to solve many problems our customers face.
If you can improve status quo, or you can adapt a good idea from an industry to another, it can potentially be the next big thing! Sometimes the big idea you have been looking out for can be right in front of you. Start by listing best practices across a number of industries and shortlist the ideas that can be easily implemented.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Looking back, I would say that I did the best I could for many things along the way, be it mistakes or home runs. Hence, I would not be able to change much without hindsight bias.
However, if I could, I would train myself to be a lot more at ease with being uncomfortable and to step out further and faster. Caving into a sense of fear really does nothing for anyone.
None of us should be saying, “I should have done it,” while looking at the achievements of others. If you really want it, go do it! The world has enough to go around for all its people.
How do you unwind?
Spending quality time with my family and closest friends brings so much joy and relaxation knowing that I am in a circle of support and love. Catching up with friends who are very positive in life also recharges and energizes me.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Maldives is such a beautiful place. Just being there, soaking up in the gorgeous seas and getting lost in the beautiful sunset is simply therapeutic.
Japan has a rich culture, and the scenery, shopping and food is awesome. Definitely a great country to unwind in, visit and revisit many times over.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Everyone in business should always read widely across the topics that concern their business: Management and people, business plans, processes, creative thinking, sales and marketing.
Some books that have been very useful to me are: How to Win Friends and Influence People, Business Model Generation, Influence, Positioning and The E Myth.
Shameless plug for your business:
La Belle has helped over 2600 couples to date and couples fly in from 7 countries to work with the team. We are also recognized by renowned hotels like Marina Bay Sands and Shangri-La for wedding partnerships and events organization. Brides often look to us for our award winning gown designs, experienced photography team and our acclaimed bridal consultants for their excellent service.
We are also expanding our services across Asia and welcome like-minded wedding businesses to join our network to provide greater value add to our clients.
Our vision is to be Asia’s number one bridal network.
How can people connect with you?
Drop me a message on Facebook or LinkedIn.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>