Flexible youth runs multiple businesses

October, 05/2017 - 09:00

An Phương has an indepth interview with Lê Đăng Khoa, a 35-year-old entrepreneur from HCM City who manages 10 companies.

Keep your options open: Lê Đăng Khoa, 35, a successful entrepreneur who operates 10 businesses, says having a fixed mindset is detrimental to business success. VNS Photo An Phương
Viet Nam News

By An Phương

“Having a fixed mindset is detrimental, especially when one aims for success in life,” says Lê Đăng Khoa, a 35-year-old entrepreneur from HCM City who manages 10 companies.

“I started off with Ba Lá Xanh, a family business that focused on fertilisers, after I majored in psychology in the US, an experience that inspired me to start a package printing business three years later," he says.

“The demand for package printing was high, and since I made and sold packages to Ba Lá Xanh in addition to other clients, my company would do just fine, I assumed,” he adds.   

However, the company went bankrupt after several months.

Khoa realised he did not have sufficient experience in the industry and knew little about how complicated package production would be.

“I wasn’t that upset since failure taught me great lessons and to continue to do better,” he says, adding that failure is necessary to one’s success. “But keep in mind what you did wrong!”

Khoa is now involved in diverse fields, including real estate, flowers, food and beverages, and tourism, among others.

Do the research

Tre Việt (The Bamboo), an ecotourism destination in Đồng Nai Province, is one of his favourite projects.

“It’s important to do in-depth research about what you’re going to pursue, prepare a thorough business plan, and find a distinctive path to avoid competitors,” Khoa recommends.

The Bamboo is the first ecotourism destination offering combo package deals. Visitors only need to pay VNĐ369,000 (US$16.2) per person to enjoy food and swimming.

The lack of visitors during the first few months after opening was expected, but the destination quickly gained popularity during the national holiday on April 30 and May 1.

“It got so busy that I had to join my staff to help with the dishes,” he says. 

Khoa notes that, unlike other ecotourism destinations that are family-oriented, The Bamboo is ideal for short-term stays and for company team-building activities.

Similar to The Bamboo, Khoa’s 38-Degree Flower Market Tea House, which opened recently, employs a similar strategy, offering services to a wide range of customers, but with a “twist”.

“My vision for my tea house is to approach people from all walks of life. Everyone can enjoy fine tea and flowers at an affordable cost,” he says, adding that the strategy will enhance his competitive advantage in the market.

In the months to come, Khoa plans to launch a food photography business called Food Click.

Though many freelancers are involved in food photography, Việt Nam does not have a professional company of this kind.

“There are about 500,000 households involved in the food business. Imagine how Food Click would thrive if the company becomes a national brand,” he says.

With his many businesses, most people assume Khoa is overwhelmed with work, but he says that “determination is key”.

“It’s more efficient and less overwhelming to focus on one task at a time,” he says.

Despite his busy schedule, Khoa hits the gym at 3:30pm every day. Gym time is break time, he says.

“I don’t take a break on the weekend, so I arrange some time for a break every day. Most people tend to have a fixed mindset, thinking we have to take a break during the weekend,” he adds. “I disagree with this since we need to constantly work to achieve goals that we set in life.”

Khoa stresses the importance of pursuing what one is passionate about as this brings joy and fulfillment. “We feel less stress if we do what we love.”

In addition to working out at the gym, Khoa enjoys reading books.

“I learn new lessons with every book. To be honest, I’m looking forward to my long trip to the South Pole next February. I’ll certainly read and disconnect myself from the world.

“It’s weird, but every once in a while, I enjoy being somewhere where nobody can reach me. I feel recharged and inspired that way!” he says.

Having the eagerness to learn, whether it is from books, daily observations or conversations with experienced individuals, contributes to success, he says he believes.

“Everyone has a story to tell, so never underestimate anyone.”

Khoa says he wants to encourage the younger generation to identify their strengths and to acknowledge that success requires time and effort, and most importantly, patience and hard work.

“You either live an ordinary life or try your best to be someone,” he says. “Considering that I spend 16 hours per day working, you should spend at least 18 hours or more to ‘defeat’ me. That’s the reality!”

In response to the stereotype that rich people achieve success more easily than those with humble backgrounds, Khoa says: “The moment you lock in that mindset, you automatically cut yourself off from the list. Instead, think of how and what exactly they did to thrive.”

“Last, but not least, failure is expected, and the more you fail, the tougher you become,” he says. “I’m more than happy to invest in young people who have distinctive products, similar to what I’m now doing with Food Click!” — VNS