We started Wongnai in 2010 with a very simple idea: where to eat. It was an idea so simple that I met several people mentioning that they wanted to do the same thing. The key thing is that they didn't do it, and we did.
What I am about to say is that, in my belief, you do not need spectacular ideas to start a business. You only need a pretty good idea that fits you and your team, and you need to do something that you really want to do.
I would ask myself three questions: what are you good at, what do you want to do, and does it matter? If you get an idea out of these three questions, then you have just found a good idea for you.
When you get an idea, the next step is a reality check. Ideas that seem to matter to you, may not always be relevant to others.
So, ask yourself three more questions: does it solve a big enough problem, can it change the way people do things forever, and will it be relevant two years from now? You are looking for the answer ‘yes’ to all three questions.
Ideas can, and most probably will, evolve. So, talk to a lot of people about your ideas so that you find the weaknesses before you start. Don’t be afraid to be copied because as I mentioned at the start, your idea can be very simple – it is the one who executes the idea that wins.
To me, vision was always something I was not comfortable talking about.
What does it really mean? How can you judge one’s vision? It was not until I talked to one of my friends that I found the answer I looked for – vision is simply “the ceiling of your business”. One’s business will hardly grow beyond one’s vision.
Wongnai’s vision is “to have everyone in Thailand use Wongnai before going out for a meal”. And we all work toward that mission. As a company, we are not expected to do things such as daily deals or loyalty programmes, because that’s not in our vision.
Effective vision has to be big and audacious enough to get people excited, but at the same time it should not be so ambitious that it looks silly.
Most importantly, as leaders, we have to be able to communicate vision to both employees and customers, because in the end, vision must be translated into long-term planning of the company – maybe three to five years.
You can break your vision down to year plans, quarterly results or key performance indicators. These layouts are so vital, since vision explains the end goal, but plans/KPIs explain how to get to the goal.
In my opinion, if there is one key thing I have learnt in the past three years, it is this. Having measurable KPIs communicated clearly to your employees ensures you are a step closer to your vision every single day.
For Wongnai, we are around halfway to our ceiling (our original vision). But worry not, before we hit our ceiling, it is my job to expand our vision to the more audacious one.