My ex-boss has a net worth that is above the S$100 million range.
You could definitely define that as a “crazy rich Asian.”
By the way, did you watch the movie?
The reaction from my former boss about “Crazy Rich Asians”?
She hated that movie. She said that majority of rich people don’t behave that way.
How Do The Super Rich Behave Then?
When I first starting working with her, she was only driving a Mazda 3 despite owning assets worth more than $100 million.
She dressed very humbly and simply – preferring to be more comfortable than stylish.
Her outward appearances has never screamed multi-million-dollar net worth.
But I learnt a lot regarding her mindset, decision-making process and business instincts.
Here I share with you 5 insights I gained working with “crazy rich Asian”.
Fast Decision Maker
When we begin negotiations to acquire a property, she makes decisions quickly.
Cool, calm and collected – because she has done her calculations, is aware of her limits and clear on the potential of the new acquisition.
Her constant reminder to me was this: Never make a decision when you are emotional.
Instead, calm down and focus on something totally different to dissipate the perturbed feelings.
Insight #1: Never make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
Long Term Foresight
To acquire a $100 million property portfolio, there is a key differentiating factor that make her stand apart from other investors.
She thinks very long-term – at least 20-30 years ahead. She might not get the rewards immediately.
This is in stark contrast to those speculators who think very short term – they are already thinking about how much they made after 2-3 years.
They will buy, focus on flipping and exit quickly to capitalize on the short-term gains.
For her end, she can see the potential of a shabby-looking shophouse and execute the plans to make it attractive to her tenants.
As her tenants are mostly business owners, she knows what value she can add to make it attractive to them – whether they are in F&B, a marketing agency or a pub.
Insight #2: The wealthy knows how to create true value and extract them.
How do I know? Because I was tasked with all the nitty-gritty efforts to aid in the value-creation process.
There are no emotions involved.
There is always room to negotiate and she makes it possible by creating win-win situations.
For example, she believes in striking a win-win situation with her tenants.
Her negotiation style – Everybody must win.
For example, there is the delicate task of informing tenants of an impending rental increase.
This is unavoidable – thanks to rising costs.
But at the same time, she will help her tenants improve their business.
Some of the ways I’ve seen her add value to justify rent increases:
- by making the shophouse look more outstanding to attract foot traffic
- installing additional air conditioning units to make the place more comfortable
- adding attractive signage to the exteriors to pull in more attention
She will do her best to keep her good tenants with her for a long period of time.
She is also quick to let go of tenants that might be not-so-good.
The way she talked terms and negotiated with her tenants in good faith are lessons to be learnt.
The ego is suspended, she validates the other party’s feelings and listens intently.
Insight #3: Be decisive, helpful and empathise with the other party’s needs and requirements.
The way she handled resistance, getting the eventual buy-in and even making them feel glad – is a masterclass in persuasion.
Work With Professionals
To be honest, when I first started working with her – I had zero knowledge.
Perhaps some background in real estate from studying for my Real Estate Salesperson exam, but I was quite the greenhorn then.
She was patient to share her knowledge with me.
She doesn’t believe in micro-managing and trusted that I will be able to do the tasks assigned well.
Why the trust? Because in her own words – I was “proactive”.
When I left her company to pursue my real estate business full time, she shared with me that she will only work/hire people who have been property agents.
Her reasoning? She said that “people like you (agents) are used to not have things being served to you on a platter.”
As a professional property consultant, we are used to negotiating and going out of our way to get the best solutions for our clients.
Part of her company portfolio included 12 units of a condo development (7 cluster houses and 5 penthouses). Because of this, I had a seat in the MCST committee – further allowing me to understand the inner workings of a managing agent in charge of a condo’s maintenance.
Insight #4: Become a Proactive Professional – Anticipate To Deliver More
Thanks to this pro activeness, I learnt a lot more than I anticipated.
Humble & Open
You might have met people who are outwardly humble – driving a humble car or wearing a humble watch – but are nowhere as “humble” in their behaviour.
There are some businessmen who will claim to “have eaten more salt than you eaten rice” and are closed to new suggestions or business ideas. They remain stuck to their old ways of doing business.
Generally in this disruption era of the 21st century, this type of behaviour will probably result in the business not lasting beyond their current generation.
Perhaps I am blessed to have crossed paths with her – my ex-boss in this case is humble inwardly as well.
She is humble enough to ask for my opinions and ideas – she is open to suggestions no matter how weird it might be.
If my idea is good, she will take up my idea and let me run with it.
Insight #5: Ego is the Enemy. Don’t fall into the trap of self-imposed ignorance.
Shadowing my boss for 4 years and understanding how she managed a $100+ million property portfolio really helped me discover new insights that most people will never see.
Looking at the facilities available at a new condo launch – I can easily identify the future problems and potential issues when the development is completed in the future.
Doing rental yield calculation and identifying the type of future tenants mix – these are some of the automated thoughts that cross my mind whenever I look at a property’s future rental potential.
More importantly, the experience of working with her helped me to deeply understand the mindset of a true property investor. Not all properties are a good buy – it is essential to know on whether you are going for appreciation or rental yield.
If you are planning to enter the property market for the purposes of investment, I invite you to contact me to discuss on its potential returns.