Name of Recipient:
Mr. John Lee
If you want more, you have to require more from yourself. Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable. When Mr John Lee first initiated Waikiki Dive Centre as his initial foray into the entrepreneurial world, he knew something must be changed and revolutionized in the dive shops industry in Singapore.
Mr Lee depicted his journey to the start of his entrepreneurship: “Back in the days when I was still studying in a polytechnic, I was working part-time in dive shops. I learn how to manage the dive shop operations and dive training courses. Through time, I felt that someday, I would have my own dive business.” With this aspiration in mind, Mr Lee decided to bring his dream into realization in 1994, by commencing Waikiki Dive Centre, proffering a range of scuba diving goods, alongside the conducting of scuba diving courses.
“Waikiki is similar to the ‘Orchard Road’ of Hawaii.” Mr Lee, making a reference of Orchard Road, Singapore’s popular shopping belt. “I did my instructorship over there, and it was the best time of my life.” Mr Lee added, “The pay and lodging was good, but most importantly, I was doing what I love the most daily.” Mr Lee expounded on why he chose the name Waikiki Dive Centre. “I felt that there was a lot of room for improvement for dive shops in Singapore, in comparison to the United States in terms of customer service, technical knowledge and the retailing of equipments.”
As Mr Lee was still new to the entrepreneurial world, the business find itself in a financial predicament with a lack of initial capital. “Our company’s image wasn’t established yet, thus the lack of customers at the start. We did not have a proper storage for dive training equipments as well.” Mr Lee explicated. Mr Lee then made some implementations to enable the coup of eradicating these setbacks. “We re-invest our monthly savings into dive gear purchases, to further increase our sales. Also, we participated in road shows, sponsored the Class 95 diving adventure to further raise our company profile.” Mr Lee listed how the company gets over the hitches faced. “We bought a second hand lorry with a storage container and turned it into a mobile dive-training store to easily transport our dive gear.”
The company also opted for modern advancement in technologies to aid its infrastructure. “We started to have a proper POS and bar-coding system, which allows customers to know the price of each item, and for us to keep track of our current stocks.” Mr Lee elucidated. Waikiki Dive Centre had racked up a multitude of achievements over the years. “We have now become a distributor of various brands, and being one of the best in diving businesses. It also shows that we have an established presence and that the company is financially stable.” Waikiki Dive Centre’s achievements do not just stop here. The business has also procured spiritual acquirements, as Mr Lee divulged: “Once, there was a newly wed couple. They walked into the dive shop and asked about scuba diving. I managed to convince them into taking up a diving course, and they went on to Hawaii for their honeymoon.”
“The fact that I am building a sport, diving; something which I love into a successful business motivates me on to be the best in the industry. Being able to do something you love as your career is the best form of inspiration.” Mr Lee commented. “Entrepreneurship is all about taking an idea and transforming it into a successful business. I believe to possess a marvelous idea; you need to have good and accurate foresight. A successful business requires the constant reviewing of the business model, and the modification of certain trends in a different trade to fit into your business model.” Mr Lee dictated the steps for success to come about. “You need to make astute decisions as opportunities come and go. Having good contacts and relationships with investors will go a long way for your business as well.”
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing, said Mr Lee: “Integrity, honesty hard work. These are the prerequisites you need to have to succeed in an entrepreneurship. I also believe talk is cheap and you really have to do what you say.” Mr Lee also advocated budding entrepreneurs: “Always borrow within your means, and always be willing to admit your mistakes. You learn more from your failures rather than your success.”
Despite its tremendous success, Mr Lee chose not to impede Waikiki Dive Centre’s progress, and is in midst of making a foray into the Malaysian market, along with parts of Indonesia in terms of technical dive training, and retail business. “Our online store is also in the making, to bring about another growing trend in the years to come.” Mr Lee added. These effectuations will bring Waikiki Dive Centre to new heights.
462 Crawford Lane
T| 6291 1290
F| 6294 2146