“What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate”, a tweet from the newly elected American President Trump aptly describes the success story of Bryan Cheong and his start-up firm, Syntax Technologies. Coming from a middle-class family, being independent, learning to adjust and seizing opportunities from young, has been fine-tuned into a life-long habit. Starting it up upon leaving his stint as a Consulting Manager, Cheong has turned Syntax Technologies into the best reseller of SQL accounting solutions. The introduction of GST is another opportunistic twist of fate propelling Syntax Technologies to becoming an invaluable expert within the Malaysian retail landscape. In this conversation, Cheong shares his indomitable journey towards becoming a leading Goods and Services Tax (GST) accounting solutions provider in addition to future plans for his business.
Trump’s tweet on seizing and becoming a champion at every new opportunity frames Bryan Cheong’s life experiences both professionally and personally. He comes from a middle-class family with both parents working. “I had to cook from the early age of nine, while taking care of my brother by myself. Can’t say I did not learn anything from that as I am an expert cook today,” chuckles Cheong.
The experiences of a latchkey child have shaped his career journey as a soft-spoken demeanour belies his resolute determination. “I am very independent to the extent that I have always worked alone and currently am the sole owner of my business. Decision-making is easy and fast and I take responsibility for it,” says Cheong.
“After my studies in computer science at TAR College, I worked for a short while before deciding to venture out on my own. My first office was in my home as a reseller for SQL solutions from UBS,” he reminisces, “I sat in my home office in formal clothes so as to be ready to leave immediately in the event clients requested for me travel to their offices.” The home office, on expansion and because of the need for a more comprehensive business set-up, later relocated to a commercial office space.
“I am a successful SQL reseller through the high level of quality customer service I provide. My achievement as a SQL ambassador is an acknowledgement of my success as a service provider,” says Cheong with a sense of pride.
“Syntax Technologies has also made a name for itself within the Goods and Services Tax (GST) arena. When the government first spoke about GST, the majority of the retail industry were clueless. Businesses went into panic mode, made worse by the looming deadline,” he recalls.
“This was where Syntax Technologies came in, a new opportunity that had great potential,” says Cheong.
His journey to becoming an expert in GST-related services started off by acquiring the credentials followed by seminars and conferences. Once when attending a conference Cheong felt that he could hold his own as a presenter. That confidence has evolved into his business becoming a leading GST solutions shop and Cheong himself is a recipient of the SME Young Entrepreneurs Award 2015. The company has also moved into helping customers to develop web-based programmes and mobile applications which will be the main focus of Syntax Technologies in 2017.
There is a required high level of professionalism from the 12-member staff. “The government regulations mandate accuracy which is practised by staff as well as clients,” says Cheong. “The experience, albeit in a high-pressure environment, has benefitted all staff, including interns.”
Despite a heavy work schedule on his part, Cheong does spend quality time with his wife and nine-year old daughter. “My wife supports me in the company and we do spend time together as much as possible, especially when playing video games, our favourite pastime. My daughter, being our princess, accompanies me during my talks and is turning into quite a speaker herself,” says Cheong with a laugh.
Cheong’s advice for those who wish to be a winner, similar to Trump’s tweet, is to seize new opportunities through innovation with a ‘never say die’ spirit.