Name of Recipient:
Ms. Shirley Shi
Like a star shining brightly in the travel industry, Travel Star Pte Ltd is a trend setter. Travel Star Pte Ltd is a travel agency that is an authorised agent to work with schools, government and companies. Besides traditional services that cater to walk-in customers, they also have an online outlet for its sales in Groupon, who is their appointed company to work with.
The director of the company is Ms Shirley Shi, who came to Singapore in 1998 after her graduation. Being an avid traveler, Ms Shi had always wanted to start her own company. Thus, she worked in a travel agency for 3 years to learn the ropes about a travel agency’s operations. In no time, she was able to prepare and plan her own itineraries and also help others to plan theirs. “It is like selling happiness to others” Ms Shi remarked.
Like all businesses, Ms Shi’s road to success was blighted with struggles and challenges. Manpower was a chronic issue for her company. “People come and go as they have many choices to work in. Furthermore, “the increase in foreign worker leverage cost presents another headache to me” Ms Shi lamented. “Initially, we wanted to rent a place but were asked to buy the shop instead.” She added further. To deepen her woes, she was left with little capital when she invested most of her capital on renovation as she wanted to bring out a holiday feeling for her store to differentiate themselves from other travel agencies.
Thankfully, Lady Luck sparkled on her and she managed to overcome her problems with the aid of her overseas partners. The overseas agency agreed to give credit limit to Travel Star which lightened their financial burden. To retain her workers, Ms Shi introduced a remuneration package that has a high basic segment and a commission-based portion to keep her employees in the company. “We are willing to take in people with or without experience as they can bring in new ideas.” Ms Shi revealed. Above all, the company was given plenty of opportunities from the government by being appointed the authorized agent to work with schools for their overseas exchanges programmes.
To further differentiate her company from the rest, Ms Shi has a unique policy for clients – if anyone is not satisfied, they do not need to pay. In addition, their package can go as low as $99. “This is to give everyone, including lower income people, to have to opportunity to travel and see the world!” Ms Shi explained.
Already, plans for expansion are in the running. Ms Shi enumerated that she is in the midst of planning to set up a company and headquarter in China. On top of that, she intends to expand her online sales revenue to tap on the global consumers. Lastly, one day, she envisions having her own hotel under the company name to provide cheaper alternatives for inbound tourists and expand her operations. “This will be my ideal plan for the future.” Ms Shi quipped as she explicated her ideas.
Thus, what does entrepreneurship means to Ms Shi? “There needs to be unity in the company. You need to be creative and innovative, to break the mould of the conventional thinking. Do not be afraid of setbacks. Being an entrepreneur gives you the chance to do something others cannot achieve. You reap what you have sowed. There will be a breakthrough eventually. Hard work is a must.”
Lastly, Ms Shi advocated on the other key qualities needed to be successful in business. “Know your strengths and weaknesses and your target audience. Have a comprehensive business model before you make any hasty decisions. Never give up easily. Persevere and be mentally strong. Most importantly, have a sincere attitude. People will keep coming back when they feel the sincerity in your services.”
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