Ultimately, entrepreneur and RMIT Vietnam alumnus Ngo Quoc Dung’s reason for starting his own business didn’t stack up.
“I didn’t want to work for someone else, I didn’t want to report to a boss,” he told University academics and students recently.
“But I found that when you start a company, everyone becomes your boss; your clients, your staff, the government and your suppliers – you have to report to everyone!”
That conundrum doesn’t appear to have affected Mr Ngo’s motivation.
Having graduated from RMIT Vietnam with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Information Technology and Multimedia) in 2004, he is now the co-founder and partner of Jodric LLP, a leading sales and marketing company in Vietnam.
Through Jodric LLP, Mr Ngo has quickly grown into an industry frontrunner, boasting a large footprint in the banking sector and multinational clients such as HSBC, Mastercard, VIB, the Military Bank, VP Bank, Vietcapital Bank, VFM and Prudential.
The company is also responsible for the branding, concept, sales and marketing strategy for the Kusto Group's Diamond Island – one of the most prominent property developments in Vietnam.
Mr Ngo’s success, celebrated this year with an RMIT Outstanding Alumni Award, perfectly places him for sharing with current RMIT Vietnam students the tribulations, pitfalls – and joys - of running a business.
“It’s like running a marathon; at the start people are encouraging you, telling you that you will be successful,” he said.
“But then you start to run and you get tired, somewhere around the 30km mark you start asking yourself: Why did I start this? But giving up now should not be an option.”
Mr Ngo didn’t give up, and he can pass on to others what he learnt from the experience.
“Starting out, it’s extremely difficult to have an original idea, to determine where you can add value,” he said.
“Choose what you do best; figure out your core business then outsource other tasks.”
Building on success, growing the business, is another area where Mr Ngo has advice born of experience.
Contentiously, he advises an emphasis on fulfilment rather than money, and people (staff) over reputation.
He is critical of motivations such as popularity, wanting to be rich, wanting to become a ‘businessman’ and working for yourself rather than the team.
“Understand what you know (not just what you think you know) and what you don’t know,” he said.
“Ask people close to you to give you feedback on your true weakness; accept and embrace criticisms.
“Don’t have ‘yes people’ in your company.”
Ultimately success, according to Mr Ngo, comes down to managers having good personal values: in how they operate, innovate and treat the people around them.
“Constant striving after wealth and popularity are not goals for any business- they are simply vehicles, or at best, consequences,” he said.
“Be happy with what you have and stop constantly asking yourself: What if? And remember it’s how you act after you fail that really counts.”