Drawn to Bangkok, Travis set up his own web business after 10 years. Keeping on top of new technologies is both a challenge and inspiration for him.
What’s your story?
I came to Bangkok as an expatriate, but the culture, people and the opportunities here drew me right in and I knew this was where I wanted to stay. I’m now running my own business after working for both major corporations and startups over the last 10 years, and I am truly loving every minute of it.
What excites you most about your industry?
The speed of change when you’re working in IT really does keep you on your toes. If you’re not continually learning you’re quickly going to fall behind, and as a result will be selling an inferior product. New technologies can make certain elements of your job more productive, while others directly compete against your offer. Often it comes back to good, old-fashioned customer service to set you apart from everyone else.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I see a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs in Thailand, but the real connection for me is my family. I met my wife in a previous company I worked for, and we now have a beautiful baby girl. Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s got to be Bangkok. In the six years I’ve lived here I’ve seen the changes firsthand, the biggest being the growth of the startup community here. A few big exits have inspired many other people to chase their entrepreneurial dreams, and I believe we’re on the cusp of some very exciting changes to come.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There’s actually two that really ring home for me.
Find ways to add value to every product you sell. You’re not going to win in business if potential clients can’t distinguish you from the competition. Give them clear reasons “why” your firm is better, and then deliver on it. That’s what’ll get people talking.
If you’re not making an effort, every single day to improve your long-term fortunes, in a year you’re not going to be any closer to your goals. Find ways to automate, simplify and reduce you and your team’s wasted time, and you’ll be surprised at how much more you’re able to get done.
Who inspires you?
Richard Branson. He’s always been focused on doing what he loves, and hasn’t toned down any of his antics since he first started in business. By finding ways to turn the random idea’s he’s interested in into profitable businesses, he’s built his fortune, and had a lot of fun along the way.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Almost half of the small businesses out there still don’t have a website. Half. That’s just crazy.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started my business sooner. When you’re starting up you can find a hundred different ways to delay your decision to jump-right-in, but that’s the only way you can discover if what you’re planning will be a success. Do your due diligence, yes, but then put your all into making your business work.
How do you unwind?
During the week it’s usually just an hour or so with a book, or watching TV with my family. On the weekends, I love getting to Muay Thai. It’s so intense you can’t physically think about anything else while you’re training, which is the best way to unwind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Koh Adang. It’s a national park island that sits opposite Koh Lipe in southern Thailand, and is a place I love to go camp at least once a year. There’s only power for a couple of hours a day and no internet service, which means you can unplug and truly enjoy your time away.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. It teaches you how to eliminate waste and test your business ideas without a large investment of time or money. This allows you to make rapid iterations of your products, until you hit the one that truly resonates with your customers and is a massive success.
Shameless plug for your business:
I run a website development firm in Bangkok that makes it easy and affordable for small to medium-sized business owners to get a decent website. Call our team, and find out just how easy it is to take your business to the next level.
How can people connect with you?
You can give our office a call on +66 (0)95 887-4937, drop an email through [email protected] or reach me on LinkedIn https://th.linkedin.com/in/travisedwardbennett. Otherwise, connect on Facebook and we’ll keep you updated on all the latest https://www.facebook.com/StudioDigitaCoLtd.
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/>