Watch “Everything About Grain Bins (Farmers are Geniuses) – Smarter Every Day 218” on YouTube

Farmers are all round geniuses.

Watch “How All You Can Eat Restaurants Make Money” on YouTube

Tips for those venturing into the food business. Specifically all you can eat buffet. Which is prevalent during the fasting month.

  • Start the row with the cheap food, end with the expensive food. Most people will fill their plate up before getting the expensive ones.
  • Small plates instead of big plates. It looks more fulfilling, even if they took only a bit. Also they cant fill it much. Though some people are skilled enough to pile it up. Or are able to do more rounds.
  • Consider doing specific foods only, and if they want more options, especially drinks, they can purchase at an extra cost. I haven’t seen this promoted much in Brunei.
  • Provide cheap foods, but this is not recommended as this will drive away customers.

TAP, SCP and Me – Things you may not know about TAP and SCP – The Savey Fox

Very useful info on tap for tap members. Some info useful fer self employed and employers.

Writing a Business Plan Slides

I am giving a talk on writing a business plan at IPA today. so sharing the slides here.

Writing a Business Plan 1 hour 20170328

to be clear, the 1 hour means, its a 1 hour talk. not that you can make a business plan in 1 hour.

Customer Experience

I was waiting at the pharmacy in the government hospital for my medication. My number was 4103, the current number was 4075, There was a sign stating that the average waiting time was 60 minutes. I took a quick timer and noticed that the number moved up on average almost 2 minutes. So for 33 numbers x  2 min = 66 minutes… Good thing I brought a book. Half through the wait, I realized that this waiting period is not much different from a customer waiting for his order in a restaurant, or a buyer waiting for his delivery.

First thought I had was what a company could (or should) do was that it should make their process efficient, to make it as fast or as cheap as possible. I stared through the window and wondered how the pharmacy staff could do it faster. Interestingly, I couldn’t. They seemed to be moving around, not dilly dallying, not using mobile phones or any distractions. They were doing what they can, as humanly as possible. My wife mentioned though that they may just be taking so much time trying to figure out what the doctors wrote on their prescriptions. :p

Then I remembered a Tedtalk on a box-packing company, that dealt with thousands of orders a day. On how they used robotics to streamline the system. I’m sure that they used other technologies like barcodes or RFID’s. How fast would that be if that was applied to the pharmacy. Where I noticed there were 30 people served perhour x 9 hours = 270 people per day! and that’s just for that one clinic, there are other clinics around Brunei.

But then I wondered, how much would it cost the government to upgrade their systems to be implemented. How much would it cost for companies to make their efficiency? would it be worth the cost? How fast would it make it anyway? How fast would make it cost effective. Fast food restaurants have this down pat. Food that may take 15 minutes, can be had for less than 5 minutes. Then I realize that sometimes a good product will take its time. That there will be a limit to how fast we can make or serve something, human or technological.

Then I remembered a Tedtalk from an Advertising man where he mentioned instead of spending millions to speed up a train, the company can spend 100 of thousands on entertainment, and the customers would probably even want the train to slow down.

We can either increase the speed or the quality of service or both. But it depends on the purpose or the intention. The point of business is to serve the customer, to fulfill their needs. If they need speed, we serve them with speed, but if they need value, provide them with value.


Update 28 March 2017

recently i had an accident that require me to go to the hospital, twice this year. the waiting time is still there. but what has change to my surprise is that now they have Coffee Bean! they also have introduced other facilities. waiting time is the same, but customer experience have elevated! Well Done MOH!

Online Tool to turn a picture text to editable text

I recently needed to edit a file. I could only find the picture format. There was a lot of text to by retyped.. So I was a bit exasperated thinking of the task at hand. Then I realize, computers are smart, there are tools that can do this. But I didn’t want the hassle of downloading and installing an app. So I searched for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) apps online. and I found one and used it. It saved me a lot of effort and time.

His Majesty’s Titah During the MMN

attached is a PDF that made its rounds in whatsapp groups I had.

Key points were

  • International Free Trade Zone
  • SME Bank
  • and for the speakers to be courageous in expressing feedback


Fire safety order

Certification only applies to buildings with 200 occupants…. So if a commercial building applies to the property manager. But then property manager might have to enforce on tenants or provide for them.

Government launches a business help desk


This is another good step in creating a better business environment. In any good business practice, they allow for customers to give info on what could be improved. But an online help desk would probably be best. Something that can be organized online of previous questions were asked, and the relevent answers. Something like Google help or Facebook help. So people dont have to visit a physical location, just go online, and search for answers. I realize that I myself could probably try it on this website. Check out my previous posts on SME related info, but if you have any questions, just ask in the comments and I will try to answer best I can.
I guess most of us are not online, or are used to searching info online, so this offline helpdesk will cater to those people’s need.
I haven’t gone there and checked it myself yet, but if you do, please provide info on what you think about it.
Till then, do what you love, and get wealthy doing it.

Update! 2016 Sept 9

This has been up for a while, only managed to remember to update now. This is actually online already. Just click the link below. 


Enterprise open day

Participated in the enterprise open day that was organized by the government. It was last minute for me, but hey, I am last minute man myself. Plus all I had to do was man a station,  although I had to postpone some other affairs.
It was good to see and meet the government agencies relevent to business in Brunei. I will report some of my findings here.
I went to the the ease of doing business unit, where they research about the business application process in Brunei, they were also displaying the ease of doing business report 2015 that was done by the world Bank. Overall they shared that the proses from business name registration to business license, that is to have a business legally running has generally been reduced from a two month process a few years back down to 14 days now. My opinion not as good as some other countries, but still very good improvement for Brunei. I forgot how our ranking was,  but i seem to remember that our ranking went down despite our improvements. But i think that is only because other countries have improved better than we have. I asked about the general processes now, and they were quite proud and promising of the changes. That is good to have, a positive bias,  hope makes us think we can do better,  and therefore we can improve.

On to wawasan 2035 unit. They had a goal of being top 10 gdp in the world. Not being a top student in school, I actually disliked the pressure of being at the top,  I was a good student. Not a great one.  I shared my thoughts on my disagreement with the goal on how wouldn’t it be good enough to improve? why is it necessary to be on top,  but the exhibitor and I had a debate on the necessity of such goals. Keep in mind it is my opinion,  that it is good enough that we improve, not that important to be at the top. But she was defensive in pointing out the country needs that goal in order to bring us out of deficit and into prosperity, to attract foreign direct investments and so on. Her colleague briefly shared that the goals were more on being competitive and about looking good.  I agreed with that. Again I compare the analogy of school.  Most top students may want to be competitive in order to look good against the other students, for their teachers and their parents, or to maybe even get a scholarship (insert analogy of FDI here). I only disagree with the zero sum game of such strategies, we can be at the top by pulling people down, and other people can bring us down intentionally or not, by just being slightly better than us. For me it is good enough to improve.  There is no need for comparison with others, only with yourself. The exhibitors were quite defensive of their goals,  which for competitive purposes may be adequate. They will need that stubborn spirit to persuade others to commit to the ranking goals.

BruIPO or the Brunei intellectual property office was there to share info about intellectual property and how to register for them,  they shared that some people still have confusion on IP. For example, the difference between parents,  trademark and copyright.  Some people often used the words interchangeably. But briefly explained patents are for inventions,  trademarks are for logos, and copyrights are for expression of ideas on paper, in music,  photographs or videos. They will hold more talks to share in IP and its importance in business in the future. For now they are accepting filing for patents and trademarks,  but apparently copyright is not required to register.  It is upon the owner of the copyright to place the © sign on their material and to report to enforce it if necessary. Records of registered trademarks in Brunei are available online.
LiveWIRE was there to consult anyone on business and on business plans, there are still a bit of confusion on what it is and what it does,  such as it only serves the youth (it doesnt), that it provides cash to start up businesses (it doesn’t, but it does gives prize away in the business awards competition),  and it’s free (some events yes,  but most workshops are very dirt cheap). LiveWIRE serves mostly as an education hub to guide aspiring entrepreneurs to lead them to success. They are the teacher,  but it is up to the students to be successful. Among the many workshops the Bright Ideas workshop serves as the best place to start in business, it shares about the Mindset of success in business, basic financial management and legal processes in Brunei. Have to admit, with all the new changes in government, some of the contents will require constant updating.
There were other government departments that were there.  TAP on their online payment process for employers to payee their employees TAP/SCP.
ROC on their business registration online.  But i discussed with them further in another event at the BSJV SME event at seria, more on that in another post.
The newly formed foreign direct investments or FDI unit serves the purpose of identifying industries in Brunei that deserves FDI’s. Kinda like a scholarship board for excellent students.
While the exhibition and clinics were held, there was also talks being held in the hall. For more info on the event please check for details.