When examined closely, the story of a successful business is often not a lonely journey. In fact, strong businesses rely on building working relationships in a network sealed by trust. In an interview with Dato’ Eric Ng Keng Hiong, Founder and CEO of NCL Energy Sdn Bhd, a thriving construction electrical service and software development provider, about relationships and his business principles that contribute to his company’s outstanding performance.
Born and bred in Serdang, Selangor, Dato Eric Ng Keng Hiong has always had an interest in business ever since he was young. During his school days, he started small business endeavours in school that has helped nurture his budding business acumen.
“I did small trading, part-time jobs in retail, photocopy services and even distributing flyers,” recalls Ng. “I sought for the jobs myself and I got to meet a lot of people. That’s what I like about it,” he adds.
After graduating from high school, Ng immediately decided to start doing business more seriously. He started a distribution business, but not long after he was asked to help his own parent who was running a construction electrical services company.
“They needed extra hands to manage his projects, so I was given the trust to manage the projects and meet clients,” Ng says.
For 2 years, Ng played an essential role in his parent’s company, in which he had the opportunity to polish his communication, project management and technical skills, particularly in construction and the electrical field.
In 2007, Ng took a bold move and founded NCL Energy to start running his own business. He admits that it was not easy for one to be involved in the construction industry, and for him it was doubly difficult as he was much too young then.
“I was around 23 years old, and many were sceptical about me running my own business. There were plenty of competitors, especially the experienced ones,” he says.
“Nevertheless, I took the challenge. I did have a lot of support from clients I used to work with, my family and my friends. Without them I don’t think I will get this far,” says the 36-year-old visionary entrepreneur.
Through his early exposure in project management and working with people from diverse background, Ng now has built an impressive business network and earned the trust of many, particularly due to his company’s values of delivering uncompromised quality in its services.
“I believe NCL Energy has grown because of our principles in delivering high quality of workmanship and building a positive relationship with our customers,” says the dedicated leader.
“I ask my team to commit and deliver their best, making sure that they have the necessary guidance if they encounter any difficulties when executing their jobs,” says Ng.
As a leader, Ng believes strongly in empowering his team to find solutions, believing that it is one of the best ways to help people grow in their career.
NCL Energy has come a long way since it started, scoring impressive contracts with multiple GLCs and corporations through tendering and nominated sub-contractor jobs. Currently, it is completing a few major projects with Sunway Group, Telekom and Hilton, as well as upcoming projects from Gamuda Group and PKNS.
Besides NCL Energy, Ng has also started up NCL Energy Technology where it provides software development solutions for business applications, hardware integration applications and web-based accounting software applications for its clients.
“We have to adapt and stay relevant. Diversifying is one way to make a business sustainable, but you have to think carefully of the kind of investment portfolio that you would want to diversify– one that you can control and take over seamlessly if anything goes wrong,” says Ng who also believes in being efficient and strategic in business.
When it comes to business advice, Ng is generous in dispensing it. As a person who grew his own business from a scratch, Ng’s ultimate advice to budding entrepreneurs is to know their turf before embarking in the journey.
“Identify the risks and challenges and be ready to face it. Once you know them, don’t be afraid to take them on. Work at finding the solution and only then can you reap the rewards,” says the doting father of two.