Nanz Chong-Komo’s latest book, Bringing Out The Entrepreneur In You, is a valuable reality check for anyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur.
By Esther Lai
It is very easy to spot Nanz Chong-Komo among a crowd. Even clad in a simple top and jeans, she captures your attention with her radiant smile and charismatic confidence. This month, the model-turned entrepreneur-cum-author launches her second book, Bringing Out The Entrepreneur In You, which shares the less glamorous side of entrepreneurial success through the real-life experiences of about 15 business leaders.
It was a natural follow-up to the many responses and feedbacks she received after the release of her first book, One Business 99 Lessons, which also led her to meet with and counsel numerous entrepreneurs and business owners. One Business 99 Lessons was first launched in 2006. Topping the local bestsellers list with 17,000 copies sold to-date, the book contained business teachings derived from her genuine success-to-failure-to-comeback experiences instead of punchy, unsubstantiated can-do mantras.
Many readers have gotten a first read of the book, and feedback has been encouraging. “Every chapter of the book inspired me in some way. The part I enjoy most is the last chapter on learning from the best, which featured stories shared by your precious friends about their own remarkable entrepreneurial personality and ideas. There are books out there focusing only the bright side, the successful examples, but this one shares the ups and downs of entrepreneurship as well …” said a reader, Winson Ho.
In 2010, Chong-Komo co-founded the women’s portal NanzInc.com with her good friend Theresa Tan with a simple motto: “to do life better”. She shared her story at many speaking engagements about how she came back from rock-bottom after her ONE.99 retail chain went bust in 2003.
One of the highlights of her career as a speaker was when she was invited by the US Embassy as a representative of Singapore to attend the APEC Women Entrepreneurs Summit, an international meeting founded by Hilary Clinton. As a panelist speaker for one of the sessions, she felt “very fulfilled because never had I thought my bankruptcy story would be shared on a platform before 400 international female entrepreneurs.”
As a member of the Young Women Leaders Connection founded by former minister Mrs. Lim Hwee Hua, Chong-Komo is also involved in mentoring young women who have just graduated or started working. Excitedly, she proudly shares about how a young female undergraduate from the National University of Singapore whom she was mentoring singlehandedly raised funds and organized two summer camps to Mongolia to teach English to the children.
“It’s very refreshing to work with them; I love to learn from them. It reminds me of my young days. It’s not just about a mentor-mentee relationship but a two-way flow where we learn from each other and impart values into the other’s lives,” shares Chong-Komo.
The big question, though, is this: is there truly an entrepreneur inside every person? Is this spirit of entrepreneurship a trait one is born with, or developed over time? “It’s a spectrum; some have less, some has more. Everyone has it to a certain degree but not all are called to be one, otherwise who would be our managers, our quality staff?” quips the author.
A mother of three, Chong-Komo constantly teaches her young children to “never be afraid of falling and failing”. The children are mentored as leaders-to-be, constantly exposed to thinking, making decisions and proposing solutions to their situations. Recently, they even set up a stall outside their house selling lemonade, and raised funds for Cambodian children. Indeed, nothing beats experiential learning.
From a multi-million dollar business owner to a bankrupt and then a best-selling author, Nanz Chong-Komo is no doubt fulfilling her call to impact business leaders across Asia, as she shares her hard-earned experiences with many.
Find Nanz Chong-Komo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Nanzchongkomo. Bringing Out The Entrepreneur In You is currently retailing at major bookstores including The Ink Room at S$28.