It is no surprise that Singapore is a fantastic country to visit whether for business or pleasure. It is a wonderful melting pot of cultures, food and businesses with unbelievable and ground-breaking architecture and not to forget beautiful nature and historical sights worth exploring.
With one of the world’s most efficient and widespread public transport systems, you can more or less come from meeting to meeting without ever breathing fresh air, but stay in the airconditioned trains, stations and tunnels from building to building. That would however be a shame, as you would miss out on all the beauty that Singapore has to offer.
EXPANDING OUR BUSINESS INTO NEW TERRITORY
The efficiency and innovative thinking, which the Singaporean transportation system has become a symbol of, has made Singapore a popular place for doing business, and is also why the country was ranked at number 2 by the World Bank on their ease of doing business. At OMNIA, we have had Singapore in sight for some years, and we first visited the country in the beginning of 2016.
We have all heard it hundreds of times: “Network is key” when doing business, and there can be no doubt that most successful businesses are built on strong relationships and strategic partnerships.
So, before going to Singapore, we reached out to about 50 people on LinkedIn. Those 50 messages turned into about 20 meetings, which again have led to new connections and meetings. In short, it is as simple as that. But what it really comes down to is how you approach people and what you have to offer.
“The characteristic of OMNIA is our ability to unite clients, partners, employees, projects, solutions and subsidiaries in surprising, new ways, and thereby, we create synergy between all components to accomplish the ultimate result. By connecting elements, we form the unique.”
The philosophy of OMNIA Global
DO YOUR RESEARCH
We all know the people on LinkedIn who will connect with anyone just to have +500 connections on their profile. Rather than focusing on numbers, you should focus on building connections that matter. Invest time researching for relevant people - then their stories and backgrounds, and learn all you can about the actual person behind the professional profile.
When you do reach out and try to connect, create a personal message that is meant for that specific person, including a few lines of why you would like to connect – especially if you do not have any mutual connections (always bet more on the people you have mutual connections with). Finally, you should keep your message short, simple and leave out your sales pitch.
IT IS EASIER WHEN YOU ARE VISITING FROM ABROAD
Know that people are much more likely to take the time to meet you, if you have let them know that you are visiting from abroad rather than if you are living right next door. Most people know that when you are flying in from abroad, your time is limited to visiting the right people, and there is not much room for wasting time. For that reason, it is often easier getting relevant and productive meetings, when you have flown in from abroad.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
When you do meet, you have to connect with people the right way. What we consider ourselves to be good at at OMNIA is meeting people on equal footing and with an open mind. This way, we are also more open to new surprising opportunities, which might come our way when meeting new people. Entering a new territory, you have a lot to learn, and people usually like telling stories and sharing experiences. Therefore, listen a whole lot more than you speak.
HAVE SOMETHING INTERESTING TO TALK ABOUT
Lastly, creating connections is easier when you have something unique to offer – this makes people much keener to listen. It is important to recognise that connections and meetings must be for the benefit of both parties. Never waste anyone’s time, and as you have done your research before a meeting, you should also be well-prepared for the actual meeting.
ALWAYS TAKE THE NEXT MEETING
When you have built up those connections and actually met, hopefully you will be introduced to a lot of other people. If you are lucky enough to have been referred to other people, who your connections trust, and who want to meet with you, you take that meeting! You never know what the person will bring to the table, or who that person knows – he or she might be the connection to your next valuable connection and meeting.
If you look at the people you are doing business with, they are probably different than the ones you thought you would be doing business with. Remember that you will learn something from any meeting you attend, and hopefully you will adapt your business as you keep learning. And you never know what will come out of that last meeting you attended.
“You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
And those 50 messages on LinkedIn back in 2016? A lot of great meetings, with what we now can call out network in Singapore, transformed into acquisitions for our private equity division, bond distribution channels, blockchain projects as well as great banking relationships. The greatest thing about all that we learned along the way is that we ended up in a different and better place than we expected in Singapore.