Terng Shing Chen had the opportunity to work and learn from big marketing companies. Because of this invaluable experience, he was able to start his own business, SYNC PR.
What’s your story?
I’ve been in public relations and communications for the last ten years, moving between agency and startup. My expertise was in helping emerging brands grow and telling their story to their target audience. My previous stints included managing regional PR in Razer, as well as senior roles in agencies like Ruder Finn and others. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with great companies like Grab and Paktor, getting to understand how the startup industry works and what brands really need. During my time leading these teams, I was able to develop the idea for SYNC PR.
What excites you most about your industry?
Beyond the excitement of working with great brands and helping them tell their story, it is really the ability to be part of the growth and development of companies. In PR and content marketing, you understand the brand, become part of their story, and see their growth. This is very exciting and you feel a connection to the brand and the people you work with.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Sri Lanka, but I’m Chinese and have lived in Singapore for the last 10 years. During that time I’ve traveled across Southeast Asia and most of APAC, for both work and pleasure.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
For business, it has to be Singapore. It is the hub for startups and SMEs, especially new technologies and it is quite developed. There is strong infrastructure in place. I would say Indonesia and Malaysia are a close second, as Southeast Asia is starting to catch up quickly.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Doing what you love as a job is a luxury most of us don’t have, doing what you’re good at is just common sense.
Who inspires you?
I’m not sure there is a specific one person in the world that inspires me, because I gain inspiration from everything around me. I absorb news and information all the time, looking for patterns, trends, and opportunities wherever they might appear. However, if I had to pick a person or people, I’d say those who took the risk to start a completely new type of business with the knowledge that they are almost certain to fail, but are still doing anyway.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The real passion that drives true entrepreneurs to strive to be great. I had always assumed it was a mix of passion, stubbornness, and relentless drive, but through SYNC, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with over a hundred real entrepreneurs and have come to realise that there is no substitute for their passion.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken the plunge a little sooner. I reached a plateau where I wasn’t learning as much as I wanted to by working for other companies a little sooner than I expected, so I would have taken the plunge a little sooner to start SYNC PR.
How do you unwind?
I love travelling, reading and physical activity.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Sri Lanka for the nature, Bangkok for the food and shopping, and Vietnam for the culture and nightlife.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Maybe not a book, but I read a great article a few years ago, which I believe provides a blueprint for change: http://www.businessinsider.com/explaining-ebays-turnaround-2014-2/?IR=T&r=SG
Shameless plug for your business:
If you’ve got a startup or SME that has a great brand story and just needs an avenue to share that with the world, we can help. We saw a gap in the industry, where a tiny fraction of the brands in the market are given the opportunity to tell their story through PR or content. Most brands lacked the resources and capital to compete, so that’s where the idea of SYNC was born.
We built the SYNC platform to help us automate the PR and content marketing process, so we can push back the cost savings to the brands themselves. This has allowed us to help the smallest startups and SMEs as well as MNCs share their brand story with their target audience.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.