Going down the entrepreneurial path wasn’t really in the cards for CEO and co-founder of Talenox, Gordon Ng; in actuality, his initial pursuits were driven by a means to support his avocation for selling figurines at the time.
This was just but a small taste, yet it was enough to peak his intrigue. He went on to co-run an education center for 6 years, and kickstarted his unlikely journey as an entrepreneur and dedicated to building up the culture of entrepreneurship in Singapore.
After gaining a fair amount of insight into the advances in HR technology holding precedence in the U.S., Gordon noticed that the technology being utilized back home was still far from being efficient and straightforward.
As the current framework was built to cater more to medium-sized to large scale enterprises, SMEs and the like rose as an underserved market left hanging in the balance.
Noticing the disparities, Gordon, joined by his fellow co-founder, Edwin, got to thinking about how they could build a system that could facilitate the HR and payroll needs of businesses of every size without worrying about international statutory laws. And so, they got to work on something of a ‘HR experience designed for people, not personnel’.
Then they ran into a bit of a bump in the road.
Going into this with the intention of being an inclusive platform for both MNCs and SMEs, they realized it wasn’t as simple as they thought.
“When we looked back at our business model, it became clear that the way to serve SMEs and MNCs were actually very different, with enterprises having a much longer-sales cycle as compared to the former,” admitted Gordon, stating that when it comes to the decision-making process for each company, it can vastly differ.
Knowing this, they had to come to a decision. “Eventually, we revisited why we wanted to do this in the first place and made the tough call to make the platform more self-served by giving away a majority portion of our revenue in the MNC side to focus solely on SMEs.”
But, despite this, they didn’t let this make them falter in their plans. Putting themselves out there and taking to the streets to better understand the needs of these small businesses, they managed to build a faithful network that would prove to push the startup forward.
And that was enough; because, as Gordon, puts it: “We do the best we can and stay true to mission of solving the needs of our users.”
“I, myself, am still in the midst of learning the ropes but one thing that’s important to me is being a good listener. I believe that when you understand your team, and how we can align their end goals with the company’s, we can help each other grow.”
Gordon goes on to say that, as a leader, he takes great strife to ensure that if there’s anything his team can take away from being at Talenox, it’s the joy of building the platform together.
Though most would think that Talenox’s biggest competitors would be other software systems, that’s far from the truth. “It’s actually Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets,” says Gordon with a laugh.
He justifies this by stating that the most common practice that most people managing their business would do is to find a way to do it on their own, hence the use of Google and Microsoft tools.
Gordon hopes that by providing a more efficient solution to their HR needs, it would remove their need to depend on these programs, leaving no room for potential human error that often comes with relying on Excel and Sheets for HR purposes.
“In this part of the world, we still heavily focus on the administrative processes, whereas in the other developed countries, they’ve already long passed the need.”
Moving forward, Gordon is looking to expand the software’s reach throughout the region and is in the process of working on a more product-focused offering for the market. The startup has localised for Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong and in the midst of creating local language versions to further assist local users.
According to Gordon, this move would lead them in the right direction in the long run. “We want to grow Talenox and help as many SMEs as possible and be their preferred choice of payroll management platform.”
“We’ve got some work to do, but it’s an exciting journey ahead.”