It was December 2005.

K, my business partner and ex-colleague of almost 5 years decided to totally withdraw from our venture. After seven months of operations, our new company faced our first major crisis.

The first question in my mind is: To continue, or not to continue? K was returning to our ex-company with probably a pay raise due to his display of outstanding managerial abilities via the demo of our product MoCo SMS Suite. A product that I created single-handedly, from feasibility studies to requirements analysis, to design phase , to coding and deployment.

But if I were to continue with my company, I would have to take over tasks that I had never done before. I would have to do sales and marketing. I would have to divide my time between going out and meet people, and product research & development. The introvert and geeky side of me would freak out at those daunting tasks of having to meet new people everyday. But those were necessary tasks as I couldn’t afford to hire any staffs and I couldn’t find any other suitable business partners.

Another issue was to resolve our cash flow. Our company bank account was depleted. I urgently needed a new injection of funds to sustain our company’s operational cost. And then, there was the issue of my business partner K. He wanted to withdraw from the company, but he wasn’t prepared to make any losses despite knowing very well our financial situation.

I started to prepare a business proposal introducing my company, product and it’s market potential. Then, I requested to meet up with some of my ex-colleagues and friends. I asked if they were interested in investing into my company, and unsurprisingly they all said no.

I faced rejections after rejections.

Nobody saw value in my company and product. Perhaps, I was a terrible sales person then.

After every rejection, I refined my sales pitch.

Then I called another person. And then another.

I felt like a father trying his best to revive a dying child. Desperate, but at the same time, tried his best to remain hopeful.

Eventually, I managed to raise some money from a few friends and put together a small sum of money as the new starting capital. I intended to convert the current partnership business into a private limited with equities given to the friends who provided me the funds.

Almost every night, I would work late at my office at Chai Chee Lane. Sometimes I would take a break and walk over to the cargo lift side where I could see the AMD building opposite my office building. I remembered thinking to myself that, one day I would want my company to be as successful and had our own building.

But during every lonely night in December 2005, all I could think about was how long I can sustain my company operations. Did I make the right decision to venture out? Did I make the right decision to continue despite the pulling out of my business partner K?

There were too many unknowns. Too much uncertainties. A part of me wanted to just give up and return to the corporate world. But a bigger part of me wanted to see how far I can go.

Because I knew, ten years later, I would regret if I just gave up like that.

And I am glad I persevere on.

Rejections and gloomy festive season (Dec 2005)

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