“At that time the manufacturing business of my family was going quite well, that was why my parents were sceptical about my idea of introducing a totally new business model.”
“The lesson I learnt from that experience is with storytelling, the key point is not the story itself, it’s how well you understand your listeners, whether you can speak their language or not, and your ability to prove that your dream can be aligned with their motivation,” Ms Hanh said.
It’s also true to the CEO of tiNiWorld Ms Mai.
“Our biggest challenge is how to convince all the stakeholders [the investors, landlords and staff] to understand, believe and get on board with our business," Ms Mai shared.
Founding tiNiWorld whilst she was still a student meant securing capital was her first key challenge.
“My co-founder put all of his savings into our business and I had to convince my mother to sell our house and move to a smaller one so that we could use part of the money to invest in the business,” she said.
Ms Mai successfully secured her first targeted 500-square-meter location in one of the most expensive and hard-to-rent neighbourhood in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, even though her landlord was reluctant as there was no such concept in Vietnam at that time.
And the thing Ms Mai trained her staff for the launch of tiNiWorld’s first playground was not how to sell tickets but to deliver happy moments and childhood memories for children.
“I cannot explain enough how I felt on that day because after all the hard work to put things together, I finally saw my dream come true,” she said.
And leadership to these inspiring entrepreneurs is about co-existence.
That’s what CEO of Passii Ms Thu learnt from her role model – founder of the clothing brand Patagonia Yvon Chouinard.
“I lead by emotion and I am very impulsive,” Ms Thu said.
“Without seeing and learning from people with strong leadership in my life, including my mother, my staff and other stakeholders, I don’t think I can go this far.”
Business Development Director of Rabity Ms Hanh introduced to audience an interesting concept which has helped her address the challenge of being a female entrepreneur and mother of two – driving harmony instead of work life balance.
“It means that we should identify the key priorities in different aspects of our life. We have work, home, community, and ourselves, and all are connected,” she said.
“For example, I can take several hours from work to attend my daughters’ performance at school and I should not feel guilty because it doesn’t affect badly my work productivity but with a sense of fulfillment as a mother, it could actually boost the productivity as I come back to the office.
“It’s not about dividing your life into four equal parts but knowing your priorities and finding a solution instead of all solutions so that you can fulfill your dream and live a happy life.”
To CEO of tiNiWorld Ms Mai, her philosophy of “Never Give Up” and a business mindset are what have been keeping her going through all ups and downs during the past 13 years.
“I started my business when I was very young and inexperienced. From a growth mindset, I’ve kept learning from my team, partners, co-founder, and new trends,” she said.
“We went through a lot of situations, like nearly facing bankruptcy, but we do not want to think about giving up, what we think about is what to do and how to find a solution to get to the other side.”
Business Development Director of Rabity Ms Hanh advised aspiring entrepreneurs to be fearless but not to be perfect all the time.
“You have the circle of your loved ones who you can share about your dreams and passions, so be your authentic self,” she said.
“You have the most dynamic environment here at RMIT Vietnam so make the most out of it and be yourself.”
Last but not least, CEO of tiNiWorld Ms Mai closed the insightful sharing session with one of her favourite quotes: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live a life that you imagine”.