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Starting a business is not easy, and many will make mistakes along the way, so wouldn’t it be good if successful businessmen share their experience with budding entrepreneurs? JOY LEE talks to PKT’s Michael Tio.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP may seem an exciting prospect — you get the freedom to build your own dream the way you want it. But entrepreneurship can also be a rather lonely journey with plenty of mistakes made.

As such, it would be a good idea for entrepreneurs who have made it to give back to the community by sharing the stories of their own journey, says PKT’s Dato’ Michael Tio.

Tio has always been eager to share what he knows. It saves others from making the same mistakes and helps them do things better, he opines.

“I see myself in a position to help them. These may not be the best methods but they are the things that I have done,” he explains. “And it may not be the best way or the most suitable for you, but it could help you to improvise.”

Tio has been approached by many small business owners who are keen to learn how he has managed to turn a small, dreary logistics business into a vibrant company that has a long line of young people waiting to join it.

“PKT is like a role model. I have a lot of people following me on Facebook. Everyone wants to learn and wants to meet up to ask questions. But it’s hard for us to meet everybody,” he says.

Tio has created several avenues for others to learn from his experience, including organising regular study trips with other entrepreneurs. He started organising these trips two years ago and has found them to be beneficial to many.

His most recent trip was in January, which saw 23 participants joining him as he gallivanted around New Zealand. Tio’s trips are not just holidays to exotic places, of course. They also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to spend two weeks with Tio to pick his brain on the practices and culture at PKT.

“We share rooms during the trip. We may be CEOs, but learning to share rooms is stepping out of our comfort zones. It is quite fun. It helps us get to know a person better. I have roommates giving me masks and earplugs for their snoring,” laughs Tio.

This helps take down the barrier between participants, creating a more conducive environment for them to share the experience of running a business and to encourage and learn from each other, he says.

Tio notes that some participants have tried to implement some of PKT’s management practices prior to the New Zealand trip and have positive feedback on the changes they have observed unfolding.

Apart from enjoying the great Kiwi outdoors, the group also spent a lot of time brainstorming about management. It’s not all just sleep and empty conversations, assures Tio.

Tio himself has come away from these trips with some nuggets of inspiration.

“It shows that it works. I hope to impact them. And the participants continue to meet even after the trip. The relationship is there. They continue to ask questions and continue to reaffirm each other.

“A lot of entrepreneurs need this kind of help but don’t know where to get it. I want to encourage them to keep sharing. If people concentrate on sharing positive news, it is a good world to live in,” he says.

Tio also ensures that there is a good mix of participants for the trips to encourage positive networking among them.

While these trips may seem like they are meant for an exclusive group, Tio says those following him on social media are also able to learn from the sharing done online.

“We are also doing online mentoring. People get to learn from observing us. And we want to teach people to have the right culture,” he says.

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