MBG Fruit Shop managing director Adnan Lee spells out his winning business philosophies.
Lee joined the family business after he completed his education. – Pic by TM Info-Media
Starting and managing a business can involve a mixture of parental expectations and personal perseverance. Just ask MBG Fruit Shop managing director Adnan Lee, who delved into the business when he was just 19 years old.
Lee wasn’t an academically inclined student. Not wanting to risk the ire of his strict father, a man who won’t tolerate an idling son, Lee knew he had to do something to earn a living.
Even at this early stage, Lee realized that time is indeed money. His best and simplest option was to join the family business as a fruit seller.
During his first month, Lee earned a clean profit of RM2,000 and became motivated to try harder. As time went on, he was able to top what his mother made in a month.
MBG Fruit Shop sell various types of fruits. – Pic courtesy of MBG Fruit Shop Facebook Page
After six years of sheer hard work, at the age of 25, Lee became a millionaire — he succeeded in saving RM1 million in cash.
Lee went on to set up MBG with the money he saved. Today, MBG Fruit Shop is a household name. The company is known for its fruits, as well as related products such as juices and syrups.
The main mission of MBG Fruit Shop is to ensure that customers are satisfied with the produce and goods on offer.
There are more than 30 MBG Fruit Shop outlets nationwide and the company has 320 employees working in the shops as well as the head office.
“I choose to do what I do because it’s a family business. The know-how was transferred to me, and I managed to successfully complement the expertise already available with my own abilities and experience,” says Lee.
Trust and good communication skills are among the values Lee look for in prospective employees. – Pic courtesy of MBG Fruit Shop Facebook Page
He also realizes that doing things differently from his parents’ style of doing business is a risk-taking venture that has paid off.
With designing as his hobby, Lee makes use of his hands-on artistic flair to solidify the company. His contributions include designing the MBG company logo and the company T-shirt, stylizing the company’s price stickers, painting the company lorries, and giving his input on the company’s retail outlet designs.
“If we don’t integrate what we like in our job with our leisure interest, it becomes boring. Combining your hobby with your work can give extraordinary results.”
Doing things differently has also enabled Lee to learn a few things about himself as well as his employees.
“My parents were baby boomers and small-time traders who didn’t really get the opportunity to share and expand their trade. Today there’s social media, and great importance is given to effective communication to develop trust,” Lee says.
Cut fruits at an MBG Fruit Shop outlet. – Pic courtesy of MBG Fruit Shop Facebook Page
To Lee, a business owner’s personality, core values and inspiration are important in order to set the company’s business direction.
“If the business owner has good values and culture, then the business will also be good. This is how we build a company,” he adds.
Amid the company’s success, Lee admits that MBG also deals with the ups and downs that all businesses face. According to Lee, when it comes to opening and managing its retail outlets, the company has a 60% success rate.
"Not all the shops can do well. When I fail, the company loses hundreds of thousands on renovations and operational costs. But it’s all about attitude. Challenges are a part of life. Overcoming them is just a process, just like everything else we go through in life. Knowing how to motivate oneself in such times is useful.”
Find out more about MBG Fruit Shop here.