CEO Series

This Founder's One Secret To Growing A Company That Makes RM40 Mil A Year

  • In a new series covering startups and businesses in Penang, content creators 米雷牛 Millennials interviewed Exabytes founder Chan Kee Siak and talked to him about his management styles and the importance of open communication.

In their new series exploring tech companies based in Penang, local startup-focused content creators 米雷牛 Millennials took a look at Exabytes, an award-winning provider of online tech services.

A homegrown company established in 2001, Exabytes started off as a business offering only web-hosting services.

But within the past 17 years, they have gone on to include other offerings such as web security, web design, digital marketing, and more recently e-commerce services such their EasyParcel platform, all with a focus on providing solutions to SMEs.

“Due to the change in society and technological evolution causing a shift in consumer demand, we opted to slowly diversify our products,” said founder Chan Kee Siak.

“For example, our EasyStore venture was built because many customers were asking us how to sell their goods online.”

“As they began selling their products online, they also approached us about their need for a better solution to get their products delivered. That’s when we came up with EasyParcel.”

“But even though we’ve diversified over the years, you’ll realise that our core hasn’t changed. It’s always been about helping SMEs expand their business.”

Currently, Exabytes enjoys an annual revenue of around RM40 to 50 million, with operations in Singapore and Indonesia.

Trust Issues

Speaking about the task of growing businesses, Chan was keen to share some of his own experience as a founder. He began Exabytes at the young age of 19 without any entrepreneurial or management experience.

“The concept that I went with was that I had to just trust my team,” he said. “That way, they’d also be able to trust you.”

“With trust you can delegate important tasks to your team members, and this will enable you to have a bigger and more ready team. That’s how you expand.”

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米雷牛 Millennials gives us a tour of the Exabytes headquarters in Penang / Image Credit: 米雷牛 Millennials

Chan emphasised a willingness to allow his team members to take on leadership roles and to constantly empower them to develop into able successors by investing in their improvement.

“The methods varied at different stages of our company’s growth,” he explained.

“When the company and the staff were still young, we invested in resources for them to train and learn new skills.”

“At every stage of growth, you need the best talent and team to execute your plans. So you need to always pass down your company’s values to your team and trust them by giving them the necessary resources.”

All Ears

With the Exabytes staff force now comprised of close to 300 individuals,  Chan said that he uses a top-down approach when it comes to the passing down of company values.

“To pass down our values, we incorporate them into every single thing that we do,” he said. “It’s in everything we do everyday, including our product packaging, marketing, and branding.”

“All of them will carry the same message—which is to help our customers build their businesses online. Naturally, this will attract more like-minded people to join the company.”

After having expanded into foreign markets and offering different product verticals, Chan went on to talk about the importance of clear and efficient communication between all levels of the corporate hierarchy, and what he himself does to facilitate this in his company.

The pantry has free drinks for employees, and free breakfasts on Fridays. Employees also have a wishlist to jot down what they’d like to see in the office / Image Credit: 米雷牛 Millennials

“The biggest problem with management is communication,” he said. “As long as communication does well, there won’t be any problems.”

“We practice open communications as we like it transparent,” he added. “My logic is that a wrong question asked is always better than a wrong deed done.”

Check out the tour of their Bayan Baru headquarters below:

For more of Chan’s insights on management and effective communication, check out the interview between him and 米雷牛 Millennials in the second part of the video feature below:

Feature Image Credit: 米雷牛 Millennials

 

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