In most cases, the next generation is expected to work in the family business but for Michelle Tiu Lim Chan’s case, she wasn’t asked to. Despite this, she was eager to help her family run the business.
Because of her choice, Mega was able to become a more future-ready company. An example of this was her help in introducing technological advancements like the SAP System. She also remains as a mediator when conflicts arise between family members.
Learn about her deciding factors in joining in the family business and see how she does her work as the VP for Finance, Support Operations and Export Sales at Mega Global Corporation here in our Q & A from the Modern Tao Ke Webinar!
Q: How are you personally involved in the family business?
A: Actually when I was young my parents used to bring me to the office and we played there after school. Actually, my mom is an avid Baclaran goer so she always brings me to Baclaran, then after we’d go shopping and that’s where I learned my negotiation skills. So it was very good training.
I went to Vancouver to study. I stayed there for 7 years and when I graduated, I felt that my parents needed help so decided to leave Vancouver. At that time the fishing business has been established but we were going into a new business model so when I came back we started Mega Sardines and from that time onwards, 20 years ago, I’ve been working in the family business. This is my first professional job. Currently I’m the VP for Finance, Support Operations and Export Sales.
My parents never told me to come home, they never told me that I had to help out in the business. When I was here I just wanted to help out. Ever since I was young I really wanted to help my family out.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in the family business and how did you overcome it?
A: Personally, I don’t have any big challenges, especially in dealing with the first generation. I was trained very well by my dad and my mom. When my dad has meetings, he usually tags me along so I learned from him. They have instilled the discipline in me and the values that are important so when it’s my time to make a decision it’s easily aligned with those values
I’m really lucky ‘cause they give me the freehand to make my own decisions and to make my own mistakes. Within the family, what is really important is communication. For me family is more important than money. So harmony is one of the things we look at when we do business dealings with our family.
Q: What major improvements or innovations did you make to maintain the company’s success?
A: I set-up the systems control because this is what will take the company to the next step forward. We will be able to pass this on to the next generation because if we have the controls, then we will minimize fraud and abuse…One critical point that we did was to implement SAP. We were going fast at that time and we needed a system to grow faster with us so we had that and it is very successful right now. We have our reports through SAP. .. I think this gave us a lot of data on whether what we’re doing is good or not.
One of the best innovations was [also] my dad’s idea of the easy-open can. We launched it in 2012, since then we have been getting good feedback. Actually, our dad is very fair, he listens to our reasons but we have to make sure that what we propose to him will give us the returns.
Q: What would you have done differently had you known that a crisis like COVID was forthcoming?
A: What’s important in this COVID crisis, with the ECQ, is really interconnectivity…[all our quarters] are interconnected so it’s really easy for us to do these things. We have been doing virtual meetings even before this pandemic so we are really prepared for this innovation-wise and technology-wise. For our communication, most of our employees have data plans. We get our reports every morning on our cell phones so this ECQ didn’t really hamper our operations for the admin side.
Q: What advice can you give to the second and third generations?
A: Not everyone is destined to join the family business but…if you are needed in the family business and you feel you can contribute and help move the family business forward, I suggest you help out…
It’s [also] important that in whatever you do you give your 100% effort and be persistent, don’t take no for an answer… as long as you’re prepared for what the outcome will be…
You cannot do it alone, the people are very important. The right people can bring your company forward… family support is [also] important. It’s one of the reasons why I do my job very well
And that sums up our Q & A with Michelle Tiu Lim Chan!
The Modern Tao Ke webinar is the first out of four webinars organized by Globe myBusiness in cooperation with Chinoy TV. This is Globe myBusiness’ way of providing the Chinese Filipino community the right knowledge and business solutions to improve their businesses, especially during times of crisis.
You can watch the webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB0vrYyfFEQ! Stay tuned on our social media pages for the next webinar set this June 2020!