In the beginning, the biggest challenge for her was to reimagine and disrupt the consulting business model. Consulting is regarded as one of the oldest industries and where multinational brand names already dominate the market.
“So, for me to build an advisory practice, it would be like a little kid fighting sumo wrestlers,” Ms Binh joked.
Inspired by Elon Musk's story of how he founded SpaceX, Ms Bình added: "Often it will be the sumo wrestlers who win but sometimes the kids will manage to prevail, and I think this will be one such case."
“We now hear a lot about sustainable business and ESG [environmental, social, governance], but five years ago when I started ASART these were still very new concepts in Vietnam.
“Sustainable growth is a founding principle for our own firm as well, and we have practiced it since day one in everything we do, so it was a double challenge.
“Luckily, great work pays off and sustainable growth has become one of our biggest competitive advantages today.”
Ms Binh explained that putting the sustainable mindset to practice can start with very small and simple concepts. For example, not buying social media followers to inflate your firm’s reputation, not misleading employees by offering high monthly salary and nothing else attached for their wellbeing and quality of life, not quoting small fees to win a package proposal then later charge extras, using as many sustainable materials as possible for buildings and events, etc.
“We were probably the first advisory company in Vietnam built based on the founding principle of sustainable growth, and my worry was that whether our principles of strictly following sustainable growth would work and receive support," she said.
“Today, ASART is much bigger than just me – we are a solid team, with a very strong network, and have been recognised as one of the best advisors with leading transactions and projects in Vietnam. If our firm is successful – meaning continuing to last longer than our lifetime – this will also be a legacy that not only me but all of my team can be proud of.”