Letting Customers Have Their Say Speaks Volumes in Business

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BILLY Boen has achieved remarkable success at the young age of 33. But that does mean the president director of Rolling Stone Café Jakarta simply forges ahead with his own master plan.

He believes the golden rule is to make customers the main priority in any business endeavor. “We should first understand what the customer wants rather than what the company wants and can do,” said Billy.

“But it doesn’t mean that we have to follow 100 percent what customers want. We have to be creative in convincing our customers at times when we think that what we can offer them is better than what they are asking for.”

Rational discussion is the most effective way to overcome any impasse, he said. “All problems can be solved by discussing it with customers. Just like in all industries, retaining our integrity, not cheating others, and always trying to get a win-win situation for both sides are key factors.”

While he may appear to have enjoyed an unusually smooth ride to the top of the corporate ladder, he still encounters work-related issues. Having his managing partners and staff work at the same speed as him is his biggest obstacle at work, he admits to always setting a faster pace than others.

Billy finds the solution is to display his leadership qualities without slowing his pace, and showing people that this is the way to stay ahead of the competition. He also often hears employees complaining that their workload is too great.

“I make them understand that successful people always want to increase their capacity and that only by working fast can they be ahead of others. I always share my thoughts, character and work ethics with my employees when they need them. I love sharing, and making others become better and be willing to go the extra mile. If they succeed, I also succeed,” added the man whose weekend activities include running outdoors with his family in the mornings and going to church in the evenings.

Billy, who is also the CEO of Jakarta International Management & Consulting, shares some of his secrets of success in his books, including Young on Top, Hidupkan Suksesmu (Revive Your Success), and Top Words. The latter summarizes interviews he conducted on the radio with several successful people. The book focuses on the thoughts, values and types of leadership that led them to success.

Since the launch of his first book in 2009, Billy has given motivational talks to university students in Jakarta on being successful at a young age. “Know your passion, have big dreams and have a great attitude. Do what you love … and if you can be successful at a young age, why wait until you’re old?” said Billy of his favorite piece of advice to students still searching for their path in life.

Authoring best-sellers has sharpened his skills in motivating people to understand the meaning of success and how to achieve it. Billy’s definition of the coveted but often elusive S-word is that it comes when we achieve what we want to achieve.  “When you arrive at a meeting on time, you succeed in that context. Don’t just have one target to achieve, but have lots of them! And success has to grow from time to time. Never feel content with your achievements,” added the father of one son.

He brought all his academic knowledge after finishing his studies at 22 to his first job at Berca Sportindo as sales and marketing manager. After four and a half years of wearing sneakers to work, he became the general manager at Oakley Indonesia – the youngest in the company’s global operations.

A few years later, when most of his peers in their late 20s were still trying to determine the direction of their lives, he was offered the position of the head of the food and beverage division of the MRA Group, in charge of 500 employees of Hard Rock Café Jakarta, Hard Rock Café Bali and Haagen Dazs Indonesia.

With experience of leadership, management and brand management, Billy was encouraged to initiate his own business. He founded PT Jakarta International Management (JIM) in December 2006 with Rudhy Buntaram, the owner and managing director of Optik Seis. The modeling agency quickly expanded to incorporate a fashion division as well as a corporate and consulting agency. Along with Rudhy, he later became the licensee of Rolling Stone Café New York, and officially opened the restaurant’s doors to Jakarta’s hip youngsters in June 2010.

Industry-wise, the companies where he has worked may not be related but they are all brand names. Brand management is his true passion, other than the importance of making and keeping many friends.

The “glass half full” positive thinker acknowledges encountering failure many times, although he never gives up or feels hopeless about a situation. His key is to continually analyze his actions to improve. “No one can be perfect all the time; no one can avoid failure. So when I fall, I learn, get up, and continue walking,” he said. (Dyah Paramita)

The Jakarta Post, June 16, 2012

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