Why is Henry Sy so successful and why
does he seem to have a Midas touch? Simple answer: hard work,
integrity, passion for the things he does, and unbridled optimism about the
future of this country. So for those who have given up on this
country, these are the lessons to learn from Sy as retold by his eldest,
Teresita Sy, chair of Banco de Oro and president of Shoemart Inc.
Here is Tessie on her
1. Strive to be a leader in your
chosen field. My dad has big and bold visions and dreams. Being a leader means
being different, taking bold steps, and going to unexplore places. Leadership is
a skill and process, which like other skills can be learned through practice.
Leadership is being simple and driven. Being a leader means being a
self-starter, not waiting for motivation from others. It also means knowing and
focusing on one’s target, and pushing oneself beyond one’s comfort zone.
2. Be a person of integrity. We have
to be trustworthy in our undertakings, be fair and credible. And put a lot of
weight in our commitments and responsibilities.
3. Have a long-term vision and
strategy. Our vision has to be wide-angled, making us able to see the big
picture as well as the small things. My dad thinks long term, investing for the
future and seeking long-term relationships in business.
4. Focus. It would mean concentrating
and prioritizing. In business, we have to prioritize our goals and be selective.
Once we have identified our goals, we can concentrate on our areas of
strength—developing them with our time, energy, and resources. My father
concentrated on four main categories in business—retail, shopping centers,
banking and leisure property development. He focused on integrating them to add
value to each other, create multiplier effects, and provide synergy to the
group. He taught us that as our business grows, we also have to go back to
basics and concentrate our resources in areas wherein we have a competitive
5. My dad has always liked to explore
new ideas. He traveled a lot when he was younger, always looking for new ideas
and new ways of doing things. He made his first million after a trip abroad
wherein he was able to observe new trends in merchandising and new concepts in
6. Have a great passion to achieve.
Your desires determine your destiny. The stronger your willpower to achieve, the
greater is your potential. If you follow your passion, you become a more
dedicated and productive person.
7. Work hard. My dad used to tell us
that there is no substitute for hard work. Long before people thought 24/7, he
used to work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.
8. Be patient and persevere. My dad
always reminded us that there is no such thing as an overnight success or easy
money. If it does happen, then it could be luck.
Even if one gets lucky, he has to
work hard to sustain it. Success is not just good luck. It is a combination of
hard work, opportunity, readiness and timing. My father took a lot of risks, and
made mistakes too. He kept on moving and did not quit.
9. Recognize opportunity. It is one
thing to see opportunity. It is another to do something about it. When
opportunity comes, you should be ready to react. Otherwise, it goes to someone
else. Opportunity does not always come knocking. You’ve got to go out and look
for it. Pick the best opportunity you see and take it as far as you can. Don’t
stop until you have done everything you can do to make it happen.
10. Try to be optimistic. Optimism is
difficult in the Philippines. Looking back at my dad’s business career,
however, there were major crisis in the country during SM’s key periods of
11. Be confident. A positive attitude
comes with confidence. It is more than inspiration. If you believe you can, you
can. Life is not easy for any one of us. We must have the perseverance and above
all the confidence in ourselves. You’ve got to go out and look for it. Take
stock of your assets, talents, and resources. Doing it will give you an idea of
your potentials. We must believe we are gifted for something, recognize that
gift, and use it to attain our goals.
12. Be disciplined. My father is
disciplined in both his personal and business life. When he undertakes
something, he gives it his all. Second best does not exist. My dad advocates a
culture that abhors waste. He puts a big premium on saving, because of the need
to be prepared for all contingencies in business, politics and one’s personal
13. Build your organization. Having a
sound and dynamic organization is the ultimate competitive advantage.
14. Make it your mission to provide
15. Social responsibility is
important. My father has made it a point to show appreciation for good things
that have come his way by giving back to the community through the SM
16. Henry Sy wants his family to
remain an important part of his business.
Singapore's appetite for Philippine stock will be
tested when ethnic Chinese retail taipan Henry Sy launches a roadshow of his
soon-to-be-listed holding company next week.
The roadshow is part of Mr Sy's marketing efforts to
pique investors' interest in SM Investment Corp's (SMIC) initial public offer (IPO).
SMIC's subsidiaries include listed mall operator SM Prime Holdings and property
developer SM Development Corp.
Mr Sy owns 23 shopping malls nationwide, which account
for half of the retail market, and 53 per cent of total gross floor area of all
malls in the country.
He has tapped Macquarie Securities (Asia) Pte Ltd, the
Singaporean securities unit of Australia's Macquarie banking group, as
international lead manager of his company's IPO.
Based on its prospectus, SMIC's IPO involves the sale
of between 75 million and 140 million shares, making it the Philippines' largest
stock offering this year.
The company has earmarked 65 per cent of the shares,
priced at between 230 and 300 pesos apiece, for sale to foreign investors, with
the rest for the local market. It expects its IPO to raise between 12.94 billion
and 32.5 billion pesos in gross proceeds, the bulk of which will bankroll the
company's expansion, both locally and abroad.
Mr Sy owns two malls in Xiamen, China, and he plans to
put up two more - in Fupu, north of Xiamen, and Chengdou in the Sichuan
province. He is also eyeing similar malls in Indonesia, India and Vietnam, in
partnership with other foreign companies.
In the Philippines, the taipan intends to build four
more shopping malls estimated to cost 5 billion pesos. He will also pursue the
completion of what would be Asia's largest mall - the Mall of Asia along
Manila's Roxas boulevard.
In addition to malls, SMIC will also embark on other
projects related to property development, tourism and leisure. Besides
Singapore, SMIC will also hold IPO roadshows in Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Paris,
London, Edinburgh, the United States and other offshore capital markets.
The company said it has the option to increase the
size of the offer, but this will depend on 'favourable market conditions and
brisk investor demand'. SMIC is slated for listing on March 22 on the Philippine
Stock Exchange. - By Al Labita in Manila
BUSINESS TIMES 28 Feb 2005