Kajang, 1 June 2020: The path to becoming a successful entrepreneur is always long and challenging. However, the rewards could be significant for those who are able to persevere and overcome challenges. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) alumnus Goh Wei Jian is a living example of how to succeed in one’s own business.
Before deciding to start a business, Goh spent his early career in the engineering environment with very little passion and purpose. His previous working life was stressful and unsatisfying for him. He subsequently discovered that this was not the life he wanted. Seeing his friends busy with their work and struggle with a great deal of anxiety, he came out with the idea to ditch his office job and become his own boss.
“I decided to try my hands on the seafood industry since my hometown is a fishing village located at Pontian,” he said. He added that it was a golden opportunity for him as there has yet to be any dominant players in the seafood industry. In 2016, Goh and his partner set up “Sea to Table Sdn Bhd” and started running their fresh seafood online business. They were determined to venture into the business and expand his entrepreneurship. Their effort was paid off and they sought after more achievements by having more physical stores. They successfully owned their first physical store through crowdfunding in 2018, and as of today, they have three physical stores in Johor Bahru.
Goh admitted that the business was not easy to start with. “Selling fresh seafood online is a new concept which has broken the traditional selling practices. Consumers can only buy seafood by referring to the images provided online. Therefore, there weren’t many customers at the beginning as they were not able to physically see or touch the seafood products,” he said. Goh said delivery was always made as soon as possible to ensure superior product quality and customer satisfaction. “Considering the seafood preservation issue, the targeted customer group at first was limited to the area from Pontian to Johor Bahru,” he explained.
Through continuous improvement to meet customers’ needs, Goh successfully established the brand’s image. In 2018, his customer base expanded to Kuala Lumpur and the northern region. He also expanded the product line by adding more new and imported products such as salmon, mackerel, scallop and tuna imported from Japan and Norway, as well as beef from Australia. Besides seafood, the business also sells local chicken and lamb to customers.
Although Goh has now possessed three physical stores, he would not stop there; he would constantly seek ways to continue providing their customers with better quality service and products. Talking about his future plan, Goh targets to go nationwide with both online and offline business. However, with the offline space facing an inevitable slowdown due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, Goh presently put most of his concentration on online business.
“There is a sudden surge in sales during the pandemic. But we know that is just a mirage. People are scrambling to buy a lot just for stockpiling,” he said. Goh also commented that the most challenging part for him was to safeguard the supply while making sure of customers’ satisfaction on product quality. Although the coronavirus-driven surge in demand boosted the sales growth, it has disrupted the business’ operation and production. “We had to make fast and decisive adjustments to the changing circumstances, especially for the production. Or else our customers may not be able to buy the quantity or quality that they expect, which could lead to the loss of potential customers,” he explained.
Goh said that he is passionate about upgrading his customers’ experience. Fulfilling customers’ satisfaction is the source of his motivation. Moreover, he shared some pieces of advice for students and for those who are pursuing their dreams. “Meet new people to open up new doors while you are studying at the university. Find the work that makes you feel content and make a living by doing things you love,” he said.
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