Interview of Binni Ong, Spirit of Enterprise Nominee 2007
Excerpts from interview with Ms Binni Ong by Tan Geargina
Business Profile: Investment Trading.
Interviewer’s Comments: A passionate woman with a very strong technical knowledge.
What is the nature of your business?
Our company empowers investors and traders on their investment decisions with technical analysis. Technical analysis has been around for few hundred years and utilises price movement, volume and charts. It is widely used among many investors and traders round the world on many financial instruments such as stocks, futures, options, forex and commodities.
What made you embark on this venture choice?
It was like a passion turned thingy. Initially I started off as a private investor. During my university days, I was investing in the market already. Rather, I would say punting or buying and selling with hearsay. During 1996-1997, the stock market was booming and everyone was talking about buying stocks. I still remembered back then, instead of going to the library to do research, I was looking at stocks prices from the only tele-text TV in the library. During then, before the financial crisis, I made lots of money. Being a student who started off from $10,000, I made $40,000. However after the financial crisis hit, I lost the $40,000 profit as well as my initial investment. After this, it got me thinking, rather than invest from hearsay, is there any technique that I can use? This time, I went to the library to do research and found out that many professional traders employ technical analysis in their investment.
My husband and I observed that many people have not realised the goodness of using a systematic approach in their investment. From this, we started a free forum on TA. In the forum, many people are interested on reading stock charts for their investment. It was partly the entrepreneurial side of me that I embarked in setting up Terraseeds. But more importantly, it was my passion in TA and the goodness that I derived from using TA and I wanted to share it with others. Then it came one day when me and my husband turned our passion and interest into a business. Soon it transformed to a formal basis and turned into the Terraseeds you see today.
Why does someone decide to be on their own rather than join an existing company?
When you work for yourself, you are fighting for yourself. When you work for other people, you are fighting for other people. I believe that if I have an idea and this is something that I want to embark upon and with the passion, I just want to do it. If I do not do it now, ten years later I might question, am I right to stay put working for others or am I right to be on my own. I rather just do it and be my own.
Who/What motivates you?
First, the joy of knowing that I can do it and I am fighting for my dreams. Secondly, I am motivated because I see actual results that investors and traders who came for my training benefited. They are not losing as much as they do or winning much more than before our training. Students are making more money than they used to and they are able to manage risk a lot better.
What are some qualities that you feel you possess which differentiate you from someone who works for others?
I would say that I am crazy enough. If one thinks that it is not possible, I’ll think of ways to make it possible. That means sometimes I am unsure of my risk, but it does not mean that it is not possible. I’ll still try. I am more positive than negative; I always see things are good and nice.
To succeed in business, what qualities are essential?
You must really be interested in what you are doing. Next you must plan and be willing to take the risk. Plan on how to handle the risk and if you have a 50% chance, just take it because you have a 50% chance of winning, but if you don’t take that you only have 0% of winning. Furthermore, after you have decided to take the 50% chance, give it a good thought. Whatever that might cause it to fail or succeed or whatever that might happen, think about it and at least you have an idea of how to tackle that the problem.
Who or what inspires you?
My father. We were staying in Lim Chu Kang and I had to feed the pigs after school. Although we were poor, he made sure we have sufficient resources to send my siblings and I to university.
In your opinion, how would you define entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is not about just starting a business. Starting a business is very easy, just register online with the authorities and find an office or get a push-cart. Rather, it is more of whether you have the interest and passion to do whatever you want and the sprit that you must succeed. In addition, it is how long you stay in this business and how you sustain for a long time and not how many businesses you start. Most important, you must do the business ethically.
To what extent does ones educational level help or hinder entrepreneurialship?
This question is very relevant to me. I am not a top student although I came from a good school so I have always been under the impression that I am slightly better than others. When I went to the university and completed my Masters, I always thought that I need to be paid a certain amount of salary due to my title. I have wrong thoughts such as ‘Oh this is something I shouldn’t be doing’ I told myself that having a Masters degree, I must do this and not that.
It’s only after my husband told me that such thoughts were a baggage for me because I only allow myself to do some things but never something else because I have this Masters. Now, I realised that having a Masters degree will not necessarily guarantee success. It is no big deal since it’s only a paper. So after that I put the certificate into a box and now I can’t even remember where I put it now.