CEO Series

Groupon Killed His First M'sian Startup, But He Bounced Back To A 100% Yearly Revenue Growth

  • EasyParcel is an e-commerce and one-stop logistics solutions provider based in Bayan Lepas, Penang that lets clients compare the lowest prices from different courier services and order delivery requests on same platform.
  • In an interview with content-creators Mileiniu, founder Clarence Leong touched upon the subject of startup failure and provided some of his insights, including the importance of being truthful, the value of time, and how having a good team makes things easier.

In the second episode of their series covering Penang-based startups, Mileiniu shine the spotlight on e-commerce and logistics solution providers EasyParcel.

Launched in 2014 as a subsidiary of the Exabytes group (which was the focus of the previous feature), EasyParcel offers e-commerce and logistics solutions to businesses by providing them with a one-stop platform for shipping and consignments with competitive prices.

In 2017, EasyParcel recorded a 100% year-on-year growth in revenue, and currently has 50,000 users locally as well as over 100 employees.

Speaking to founder Clarence Leong, Mileiniu uncovered some insights regarding the issue of startup failure and got him to share some of the key learnings from his previous business ventures including EziVoucher and EasyCorner.

Image Credit: EasyParcel

1. Honesty, The Best Policy

The very first thing pointed out by Clarence was the importance of being honest in a sticky situation, especially those that concern the survival of your business.

In 2010, Clarence’s venture EziVoucher (an online coupon purchasing platform) faced stiff competition from the arrival of Groupon. As a local minnow unable to contend with the financial clout of the American corporation, Clarence was forced into making the decision to shut down his company.

Image Credit: EasyParcel

“When you realise that you no longer have the strength to compete with a company of that size, you have to make a decision,” he said while explaining how necessary it was to be open with all those involved.

“In this situation, most companies prefer to keep the bad news to themselves while only telling their teams the good news,” he added.

“But you have to make them understand—without dropping a bomb on them—that there is a problem, and that there also is a plan to solve the problem.”

One of the fun features of EasyParcel’s office is an wooden slide for employees / Image Credit: EasyParcel

2. Time Is A Precious Commodity

Discussing one of the most important lessons from his previous entrepreneurial endeavours, Clarence was quick to caution all entrepreneurs on the dangers of trying to do everything on their own. From his experience, Clarence mentioned how his attempts at handling even the most menial tasks eventually affected his ability to run his businesses well.

“When you’re first starting up, everything seems to be very big, important, and seemingly needs looking after,” he said, detailing how his team would even wash their own office toilets to save on cost.

“Looking back, these things could have been outsourced, and we could have made use of the time to come up with business plans and marketing ideas. This is how you generate more revenue.”

EasyParcel’s office has a relaxation/gaming area that is also used as a common meeting area / Image Credit: EasyParcel

3. Quality In The Ranks

Another thing pointed out by Clarence was the value of having a good team, especially in difficult times.

“As an entrepreneur with eight years of experience, I do think that having the right team is important,” he said. “Having the right members means that you don’t have to over-explain things.”

“Whatever hurdles a strong team faces—even if there’s failure at first—you’ll succeed one day.”

“There are a lot other factors at play when it comes to determining a startup’s success. But when you have the right team, your chances of success are higher.”

Go on a tour of EasyParcel’s Suntech office in the first part of the video feature:

For more of Clarence’s business insights and thoughts on startup failure, check out the second part of the video feature below:

Update: In a previous version of this piece, there was a misspelling of Clarence’s surname. We apologise for any confusion caused. 

Feature Image Credit: Mileiniu

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