Melissa Lim is the co-founder and head of marketing at BiTS.sg - an enterprise resource planning software which enables Singapore SMEs to go digital by automating processes with an all-in-one customisable system, helping traditional businesses innovate and thrive in the digital economy.
She is also the co-founder of LadyBoss - an online media space and offline community created to empower women entrepreneurs and women leaders. Over 3.000 women have attended the LadyBoss events and workshops since it was launched in January 2016.
How you came up with the business idea for Lady Boss?
My co-founders and I wanted to highlight the success of female entrepreneurs and leaders through a digital media space, our goal was to inspire and empower women to dream big. At the offline events, we had overwhelming response so we decided to build a community for like-minded women to meet, have a good time and help each to be bigger and better.
Name one situation that made you want to quit what you are doing.
Just two months ago, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities and mounting stress. I could not sleep well and would stay up all night thinking about work. I am writing my response to this interview at 5am, not yet gotten a wink of sleep. Being able to live with delayed gratification is a real struggle but I am learning to not be so harsh on myself.
Name one situation that made you want to go forward.
I do love owning the freedom and power to build a business that can help others, providing real value to my clients. It is extremely satisfying to watch my baby (the business) grow each day by my own efforts, and of course not forgetting my team’s hard work.
What Marketing Trends you see growing on asian market in 2018?
I think we all know that AI is the current buzz-word and, supposedly, the next big thing – I agree and the power of AI will not be limited to just Marketing. As they collect more data, chatbots will be more efficient and cost-effective than a customer service officer. In fact, BiTS is already embarking on our own AI-enabled products.
Asian market is still quite slow to adopt influencer marketing, so I believe the trend will continue in 2018. That said, brands will be more careful as to who they hire and allow them to have an authentic voice, instead of simply using their social media accounts as digital billboards. Consumers don’t believe it when influencers say that they like a certain product because it is so obvious that the brand has paid them to say that it is great.
What do you think are the most difficult challenges entrepreneurs have to face on asian market nowadays?
The Asian market is really fragmented, so being able to scale their business beyond their local market is tough! I’ve spoken with lots of entrepreneurs and another issue that they're facing is not being able to raise funds for their business, before the seed stage – angel investors who want to support untested ideas are hard to find.
Imagine you have the money to invest in something else but your actual business. What would you invest them in?
Easy. I would invest in other female entrepreneurs to help them chase their dreams as well. Ideally it would be a social enterprise that gives back to society while being able to generate some profits.
If you could change something about the Social Media Network & Communication Channels to improve them in any way, what would that be?
I wish that social media networks would stop showing me so many ads! Back to the good ol’days when I didn’t have to skip ad or scroll past ads that completely do not appeal to me.
MEET MELISSA LIM, THE WOMAN
Name one good habit that helps you deal with your active life.
Having lots of meetings in the CBD – they are close to each other, walking distance, so I am quite active even on work days.
Name one bad habit you can’t quit.
Eating junk food.
If you could be anything else but an entrepreneur/marketing professional what would you be?
I would be an ice cream seller by the beach. Making people happy with delicious ice cream and being close to the sea – my dream life!
You are the co-founder at BiTS and LadyBoss in the same time, what is the favourite movie of a marketing expert?
The Founder. It shows the harsh realities of business – even if you have a great product, if you do not have what it takes to build a business and scale it quickly, you might end up like the MacDonald brothers. And, like it or not, there are many unscrupulous businessmen out there so don’t trust people so easily.
Tell us your favourite inspirational book. What’s the best thing you learned from it?
My favourite inspirational book would be Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vance. Even though Elon Musk has recently said that there were many stories in the book that are untrue. His life story shows just how much he was willing to sacrifice to make his dreams a reality and how hard an entrepreneur must work to build a successful business.
Name the most important value of Lady Boss Commuity.
Our purpose of empowering and inspiring women.
Name the most important value a leader should have.
Being able to manage and lead people with your vision.
If you could compare your journey as an entrepreneur with a song what song would you choose?
I will Survive! No matter what happens, I will survive.
A place you want to visit.
Bhutan. I’m no longer fascinated by cities – I would love to be immersed in the beautiful nature and learn about their unique culture.
If you would give our readers one advice from your entrepreneurial experience, what would that advice be?
Don’t be afraid to tell someone they are wrong when they're trying to give you a bad advice on business.
What is your biggest expectaion on Brand Minds ASIA event?
I am hoping to learn something that I don’t already know!