Brian Yim, Group Publisher and Managing Editor, MillionaireAsia 2009 Spirit of Enterprise Honouree
MillionaireAsia is a regional multi-channel platform targeted at high net worth individuals in Asia. It has a database of 120,000 of many of the richest people in Asia and other parts of the world.
The group is famous for its MillionaireAsia lifestyle magazine which reaches a readership of 350,000 high net worth individuals. From a single edition launched in April 2005, MillionaireAsia has expanded to a total of seven distinct editions, published in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Macau and Hong Kong.
MillionaireAsia also regularly organises its signature investments, business opportunities and wealth management event, The Millionaire’s Summit.
Brian Yim, the owner and publisher of MillionaireAsia, shares with Biz Daily his struggles and success leading a company dedicated to serving the needs of millionaires. And how he learns an invaluable lesson talking to them.
What is the start-up story behind MillionaireAsia?
I was sending my son for his weekly martial arts class. I had two hours to kill and came across the World Wealth Report published by Cap Gemini & Merrill Lynch about the millionaire population growing fastest in Asia Pacific and particularly in Singapore. I was very intrigued about this cash-rich segment and wanted to do something to reach out to them.
I then created Millionaire’s Summit, our signature wealth management seminar targeted only at millionaires. We have to date organised 40 of these summits in nine countries. After the first few summits, we expanded on the concept to create MillionaireAsia to cover a broader range of topics of relevance to millionaires and it became our communication channel with our database. We now have one of the largest databases of millionaires in 15 countries.
Why did you decide to create a business product for millionaires? What fascinates you about them?
We saw that the segment was “underserved” at the time (2005) and we also knew that millionaires are difficult to reach. They are cash-rich but time-poor so we made a business of creating multiple platforms for corporations wanting to connect with millionaires.
Since its launch, MillionaireAsia has attracted a growing clientele of wealthy readers. What feedback have you received so far from readers that aided your work in this publication?
MillionaireAsia currently enjoys a readership of 350,000 in seven countries. We regularly go out to connect with our database through our editorial outreach and through our many events. Our readers are mostly male, in their late 40s and running successful businesses.
From feedback, they like us to write articles that are relevant to them such as investments in the various asset classes, wealth protection and wealth preservation, succession planning and issues relating to health. Such feedbacks guide us in the production of MillionaireAsia.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
We market our business largely directly to corporations and sponsors who are interested to tap into our database of many of the richest people in Asia. We also work closely with Advertising Agencies and PR companies as well. We have a team of dedicated sales staff in each of the locations we operate in.
Our most successful form of marketing involves having a well trained sales force who understands customers’ needs and offers them solutions on how to tap into the MillionaireAsia platform and concept.
What is your definition of success, and has your company achieved it?
Success is defined as the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted. If we set our goals (there can be multiple goals and sub goals) and give it our best shot, we will always achieve a measure of success. We should celebrate our victories and struggles and run a good race.
MillionaireAsia is just into its seventh year, thus, we are still very much a “young” business and a “work in progress”. Our MillionaireAsia trademark is registered in 22 countries and we have launched in seven countries in six years.
We have our work cut out for us as we seek to have a MillionaireAsia edition in each of the 22 countries.
To what do you attribute MillionaireAsia’s recent achievements?
A lot of hard work and sweat.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced to date? And what stops you from throwing in the towel and giving up during those frustrating days of running your business?
The biggest challenge to date was in 2009, the year of the global financial meltdown. One of our largest advertisers and sponsors were financial institutions. Yet they were the worst hit during the last financial crisis. Some closed. Others merged or were taken over and those still standing slashed advertising budgets drastically. Business from the banks which used to be brisk suddenly flat lined!
Most other sponsors also cut back or froze budgets altogether. But I am glad to say that MillionaireAsia rode through the storm and remained profitable even in the worst of times in 2009. In fact we were profitable from Issue #1 in April 2005 and continue to grow from strength to strength.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
It starts with a dream. Live that dream. Make it real and make it happen. In between, there will be lots of challenges that will surely come your way. But stay the course and choose your battles well.
Who has influenced you most and been your greatest inspiration?
In the course of my work, I am fortunate to have the privilege to interview heads of states, royalties, billionaires, tycoons and some of the most interesting personalities. You learn a lot from each of them and take away invaluable insights as they share their life stories with me.
In one word, characterise your life as an entrepreneur.
Any new grounds to pursue in the coming years? Where do you see yourself and MillionaireAsia in 5 years? 10 years?
One of the most exciting projects we will be launching soon is “Project Legacy.” It is a privilege club for ultra high net worth individuals.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
“Be prepared to run a marathon.”
Life as an entrepreneur is probably going to be one of the toughest journeys you will ever undertake. Be mentally strong to last the distance. And the journey, while it may not always be rewarding, will certainly enrich you as a person.