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Great Business Habits to Rise Above the Rest

The heady combination of a major business overhaul with a people-first mind set has helped Paul Lim grow a one-man show into a thriving integrated security solutions provider.

Great Business Habits to Rise Above the Rest

Things have certainly changed for the Secura Group since its inception in 2008 as the private security company Soverus. After struggling to climb out of the red for two years, its CEO, Mr Paul Lim, completely overhauled and restructured the company, transforming it into a key player in the security solutions industry. Under his leadership, the company has grown from a one-man-show to 1,000 employees, doubling its revenue year-after-year and expanding its presence to five countries across Asia.

The turnaround required investing heavily in building systems and structures, as well as hiring the right people to fill key positions. The firm expanded from offering security guard services, security systems, security consultancy, and private investigations, to cyber-security, IT and mobile forensics, and homeland security.

Mr Lim believes a correct balance of organic and inorganic growth strategies in enhancing their suite of security services is key to business sustainability — especially with the advent of the Internet of Things and the growth of smart cities.

In January 2016, the companies under Soverus Group and Secura Singapore merged to become part of Secura Group, which was subsequently listed on the SGX-Catalist with a market capitalisation of S$100 million. In June, Secura Group acquired veteran cyber security company RedSentry.

Great Business Habits to Rise Above the Rest

Moving into the Future with Technology and Research and Development (R&D)

Mr Lim has successfully brought Secura’s traditional businesses of security guarding and confidential printing into the digital age. Recent milestones include setting up joint venture subsidiaries with partners in Malaysia and Thailand, focusing on cyber and homeland security, and becoming M1’s first cyber systems integrator and the Singapore Business Federation’s cyber training partner.

The Group is now working on establishing R&D capabilities with the mid- to long-term vision of developing a made-in-Singapore cyber product for tomorrow’s needs. The R&D laboratories will be developed jointly with established academics, industry product partners and government agencies, and will provide a platform for students to acquire hands-on experience. Ultimately, Mr Lim hopes that these efforts can contribute towards the larger eco-system and cyber blueprint that the government has set up for Singapore.

Great Business Habits to Guard

Mr Lim shares that his entrepreneurship journey has not always been a bed of roses. He believes Secura’s transformation is founded on basic principles and inculcating great business habits.

“A lot of new start-ups panic about monthly expenses but as an entrepreneur, you have to dare to take the risk to spend money in order to grow,” he says.

He feels a vital but often over-looked habit that entrepreneurs should have is to always find opportunities to differentiate their company and its services from the rest. “Chase value-creation, not just the money,” he shares. He believes that a company that creates value for all its stakeholders will naturally succeed, and succeed fast.

He observes that many entrepreneurs spend a lot of time complaining. His advice? “Stop complaining and get the job done,” he says. “I have never seen a successful business that is always in the planning stage. If I see a 70 percent potential of transforming a business idea into success, I will go ahead.”

As an entrepreneur Mr Lim believes in the importance of having sufficient successful start-ups to ensure a viable sustainable business environment in Singapore. He has served on the Council of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) – which runs SME Centres where companies can receive free business advisory services and information on government schemes – for the last three years. He also currently mentors a handful of start-ups, both in traditional businesses as well as in the technology space.

“The biggest fear for people is when they don’t know the next steps, whether personally or with regards to business. When this happens, they lose the confidence to take the next bold step to leap forward, their business stagnates, and over time, dies a natural death,” he says. “This is a pity as many of these businessmen have the potential to grow their businesses into the next made-in-Singapore giant, but lack the mentor to guide them.”

Putting Your People First

Mr Lim’s innate belief in helping people is seen from both his contributions to community involvement and the business he owns. When Soverus was in the red during its first two years of business, suggestions were raised to trim the salaries of security staff. Instead, Mr Lim offered bursaries to help families manage their children’s education expenses. He believes that motivating employees and fulfilling their basic needs is crucial.

The Soverus Bursaries Award, started in June 2012, is still going strong. To date, the company has given about S$70,000 worth of bursaries to around 400 students. Through partnerships with various service providers, staff welfare is taken care of, with employees able to enjoy discounts for phone, medical and dental services of up to 40 percent.

Secura is also big on investing in training and upskilling. The company is embarking on a human resources management project to ensure a seamless HR experience across the whole group. The company has also launched the Security Specialist Vocational Scheme to develop skill-sets and raise esteem amongst security officers, allowing employees to move across the wide range of security professions within the Secura Group of companies.

From mid 2014 till end 2015, Secura spent 19,000 hours and invested S$210,000 on staff training. Mr Lim says he is not concerned about skilled staff leaving the company after the time and expenses incurred in training. Explaining this, he says, “The bigger problem is if you don’t train your staff and they stay, then you will have unskilled staff, which cannot be good for any company and individual in the long run.”

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Last Modified Date: 18 Apr 2018