With many young, passionate and driven individuals at the helm, the start-up scene in Singapore has been thriving over the past few years. Recently, with the start of Black Hammer’s online store, I’ve looked at many courier service providers.
Today, I’d like to talk about a company that has caught my eye, as well as the eyes of many. It’s none other than Ninja Van. I’ve seen many features and articles on the owner Mr Lai and felt some of his experiences truly resonated with me.
Entrepreneur Lai Chang Wen started one of the fastest growing logistics companies in 2014 – Ninja Van. The company now handles 20,000 deliveries a day in Singapore alone, with clients including major brands like Zalora and Toys ‘R’ US. However, before Ninja Van became a success, Mr Lai had to overcome many difficulties and make sacrifices for his business.
Ninja Van started because Mr Lai realised a gap in the market – there was no one to deliver e-commerce parcels well in Singapore. Very much like how Black Hammer was started, I felt that there was an opportunity for Black Hammer in Singapore: to offer mass market shoes to the men in Singapore, shoes for every event.
‘’Our biggest challenge was simply not knowing enough” – Mr Lai, 2016.
Mr Lai did not have any prior experience in the logistics industry – Mr Lai, along with his co-founders would even create fake deliveries to each other so they could ask couriers questions. It’s indeed admirable, to go to such lengths to learn the technicalities of delivery systems. Like us, we were new to Singapore’s retail scene when we opened our first store. The learning curve is steep for an entrepreneur, there is so much to learn. In fact, it’s safe to say every day there’s something new.
The second challenge for an entrepreneur is to build relationships with people. For Ninja Van, they needed to build good relations with business investors as well as partners. They did so by attending networking events and conferences. For Black Hammer, it was essential for us to build good relations with each mall management.
To manage a business and to do it well, you’ll need to make sacrifices. Your social life takes a backseat because working hours can be really long. To aspiring entrepreneurs, you have got to be prepared to make such sacrifices because the start is never easy. However, don’t be daunted. With hard work and a keen mind, success is definitely possible.