For Talmix consultant Jing (May) Zeng, the life of independent consulting was born out of necessity. After completing her MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid, May faced a career prospect that many newly-graduated students face; finding a job. But applying for any and every position that presented itself was not the path that May chose. Instead, she looked at the years of corporate experience behind her, her in-depth knowledge of the Chinese and Japanese business markets and her innate communication skills and realised that she had more to give to organisations, than a 9-5 commitment.
What strikes me about May is her degree of versatility in the roles she has performed within the Asian business markets. “I started my career as an Overseas Sales Representative with Toray Industries in Tokyo, Japan. Toray Industries are producers of fibres, textiles, plastics, resins, chemicals and more and my role with the organisation was to build and drive sales within the Chinese and Indonesian markets which meant that I was responsible for international trade strategies, global supply chain development and business development within these markets. I achieved 130% of my annual sales target and earned the President’s prize for sales contribution”, she tells me. But it was her development with Japanese Mizuho Bank which took her career journey into another direction within the Finance industry where May was given the responsibility to manage the implementation of a national data marketing project in China, across 13 Chinese branches – transforming their business approach from a passive one to a proactive one and in so-doing, increasing their client base by 300%.
May decided to pursue an independent consulting path after graduating from her MBA and has already been working on client-based projects (both through the Talmix platform, and other network channels) to help them familiarise themselves with business ethics and approaches into the Asian markets. “I think what sets me apart from my consultant peers is that I have a very entrepreneurial spirit. Coupled to the flexibility through the way that I work and adapt to my clients’ needs, I am able to deliver a service which fits into their organisational culture, but most importantly, delivers results for them every time.”
May tells me that her years in working in Tokyo have taught her the true art of doing business successfully in the Japanese market. “Both the Chinese and Japanese markets are incredibly complex markets for foreign companies to enter. It’s not simply a case of copying an existing business model, and implementing it into the Asian market. Businesses who do that are most likely to fail within the first few years of business there. You have to understand the complexity and cultures that underpin all business relationships there. In the Japanese market, you need to understand the ecosystem that exists between Japanese businesses. Once you start a relationship with a Japanese company and that relationship is built on continually, you are almost certain to continue working with them indefinitely. Japanese organisations don’t easily switch suppliers or clients – so if you want to beat the competition, you have to understand it, and understand the client you are hoping to appoint, to stand out.” And that’s what clients who work with May appreciate. Her solid understanding of business success in Asia as well as her ability to speak Chinese and Japanese, enables them to prepare and implement a business strategy tuned to success in these new regions.
May’s final thoughts in our interview are the ones that stay with me long after I’ve hung up the phone. “Consultants deal with data. That’s what most of us do, most of the time. But without the reality of a story, data is useless. That’s why you need a consultant who can read the story behind the data and who takes the time to getting to know the organisations they work with and the teams of people they work alongside, to develop and identify the story which ultimately defines the path of that organisation, and gives them a chance to change the story, and reach their business goals”.
If your business is looking to expand into the Asian markets, then consultants like May are your golden ticket. For more information about how to get started, speak to Talmix today.
About the Author
Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.More Content by Katy Roberts