Coming from a simple family, Ms Michelle Liew started working after her graduation 8 years ago. Despite having to work in different trades such as Human resource, Telecommunications, Banking and Entertainment events, Michelle knew deep down in her heart that she wanted to own a business of her own. With encouragement from her family and friends, she started exploring different types of business, doing feasibility studies on them and finally she decided upon the moneylending industry.
At the age of 25, Michelle started Trillion Credit Solutions Pte Ltd, a licensed money-lending company providing personal and business loans to people in urgent need. Extra Cash whatever you need whenever you need is the slogan created by the company. “My greatest satisfaction in this industry is the ability to help those in urgent financial need and receiving grateful thanks from them!” comments Michelle. It was never easy at the start of the business; Michelle had to be hands on for every single detail of the company – from locating a business office, to hiring of staff, to paperwork and accounts.
Michelle strived and work hard and after a year of operation, she expanded the business by setting up a branch in the heartland area to further provide convenience to those in need, and to widen her business perspective through further outreach.
Presented with many difficulties through her journey to success, one of her biggest obstacles was expanding the outreach of the company to the public. Michelle needed to constantly think of creative newspaper advertisements and ways to attract customers. However she stood in the face of a major hurdle in 2012 when the government laws restricted money-lending companies in their channels of advertisement. “The government rules are becoming more and more stringent, and it does affect business on a level. For example, besides no advertisements in the newspaper and no flyer distribution, we are also not allowed to open more outlets.”
Michelle then needed to source for other means and channels to reach out, which she took to by investing in the company website to enhance the corporate image, as well as participating in approved online advertising. She spent a lot of effort doing up the company website from design to text, to even the online application form. Thereafter, she invested strongly in the search engine marketing and search engine optimization. However, following policy changes, Michelle had to remove the online advertising. Michelle also, together with her appointed managers, had to undergo a test set by the Registry of moneylenders to continue the business.
In the face of all challenges, Michelle stayed firm keeping her eyes on her goal, as she slowly and steadily made her steps towards it. Till today, she ensures that her staff undergo proper training in providing tip-top customer service and that all are familiar
with the moneylenders acts, rules and regulations. In addition, by retaining good connections with their clients, they are also able to introduce word-of-mouth recommendations to Trillion Credit Solutions. Michelle commented, “Being able to lead a team of dedicated and professional employees is also important to me. Good employees, to me, are one strong factor to the success of a company. We are not just doing business with our customers, we spend time listening to their problems.” With six staffs running two outlets, Michelle often takes the whole company for a dinner and an annual overseas retreat to boost up the employees’ motivation in addition to spending a great time bonding with the team.
“With so many competitors in this industry, I have revolutionized Trillion Credit Solutions to create a healthy image towards the money lending trade, which include providing tips for the borrower and highlighting that they should borrow responsibly for the right purpose.” Michelle highlights. “We also customize different loan packages to suit the needs and budget of our customers.”
Although the plan for expansion for more outlets had to be shelved for the time being due to governmental regulations, Michelle is still hopeful about the future. She will continue to strive and maintain high standards of work ethics between her employees. “Being patient” are Michelle’s key words. “The government definitely has their reason to tighten the money lending industry; this will prevent borrowers from excessive borrowing”.
“Being an entrepreneur means controlling your own destinies to a greater extent. Unlike working for others, an entrepreneur needs to judge and make the right decisions for the company. This means you need to know how to run the company and when to reassess the management strategies on top of other issues such as cash flow and expansion.” Michelle exemplifies. “Strong determination and perseverance in the face of obstacles, the ability to seize the opportunity, the ability to take risks, and a goal in life – these are the basic qualities one should acquire in order to be successful in business. Not forgetting hard work and effort, and to stay positive at all times. “It’s never easy! But you should never give up in pursuing dreams,” Michelle advocates the budding entrepreneur.