Ben's Blog

# Blog 6 - "Knowledge comes from learning. Wisdom comes from living."

posted 10 Mar 2016, 08:47 by Zhe Loong Benjamin Ho   [ updated 10 Mar 2016, 20:26 ]

Learning can only allow us to gather certain amount of knowledge. Like how we had attended the Minor in Entrepreneurship module from summer school till now. Wisdom can only be obtained through living the experience thus we took up the module and ventured into the unknown. 

Over the span of many months, i have learned to interact and make new friends from all over the globe. Ultimately finding new people who are like minded, with the thirst to achieve and create. I am glad to have found 4 other individuals who are up to the challenge and created TripBuddySG with me. 

The last month was quite messy as the team and i were rushing for the deadline that we had set for ourselves. As the Operations executive, i am in charged of ensuring that our clients would have an awesome experience with us and having good training for our new hosts with the mind of offering great customer service. 

I had laid out the guideline for the hosts who are intending to join us so as to ensure that they would meet our minimum requirement for hosting. This allowed us to ensure the quality and integrity of our hosts. The guideline includes basic understanding and directions to legal matters such as the law, do's and don'ts, how to interact with the clients and many others. This guideline would have toe be read by the hosts through the website prior to creating an event.

I had also created a list of safety checks for the students so as to allow them to be equipped with the knowledge to be aware of so as to protect themselves from any unscrupulous hosts which had managed to evade from our screenings. Under the operations, i had also laid out the format for the hosting of events form (version2 which is yet to be loaded onto the platform, already in the system). The new format is more detailed and strict with providing the necessary measures for the clients. This included information such as detailed time and location of the event, and also information for the contingency plan in the event an outdoor event was to be cancelled due to an inadvertent rainstorm. Information on the mode of transport was also included.

On top of operations, i had assisted to incorporating of the company through bizfile. We had experienced many hurdles which ranges from collecting all necessary information of which organisational structure we would be having to the delay of incorporation due to the system upgrading at ACRA. We had contemplated to set up an LLP due to the "low cost and admin" required. But we were put on hold due to the fact that we have 3 exchange students on S-Pass thus preventing us to even explore the option of them having a working pass or entre-pass. The only method viable in this situation would be a private limited. This although might be alittle more costly than setting up of LLP, it allows us to be smarter in having a work around to the problem. The plan that we had agreed upon was to the 2 local students would set up the company legally through bizfile. Thence we have our shareholder agreement which would split up the shares to the rest of co-founders. This would allow all founders to have an equal share of the company equity and liabilities. 

Although the module may have ended but we will be continuing as a team to bring our vision into reality through TripBuddySG.

#Blog 5 - "We are building up slowly, we want to do it right!"

posted 22 Jan 2016, 02:29 by Zhe Loong Benjamin Ho   [ updated 22 Jan 2016, 02:29 ]

Through the weeks we had began our search to understand which kind of company our team should set up. Through much detailed research and resourcing, we have decided on the incorporation of the company.

Initially our team decided to launch as a LLP due to the consideration of lower cost on the income taxes and cheaper set up cost. However, as 3 of our members are students on student passes from the Ministry of Manpower. This would be a limitation to LLP as they have to be on Entre-Pass. There could be underwriting of ownership of the company however liabilities could not be underwritten and it is tricky to do so. 

Our previous concern for setting up a Private Limited was the extra admin work and cost of set up. However due to the limitations, 

#Blog 4 - "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Confucius

posted 14 Dec 2015, 05:38 by Zhe Loong Benjamin Ho   [ updated 14 Dec 2015, 05:39 ]

14th December    

We had a consultation with our instructors with regards to our progress which would be outlined in our team blog. 

As the COO, with regards to the future tasks i have planned to take action of which one would be to create a standard operating procedure for the company. On top of that, i would have templates for our platform users to allow them to have an easier task at planning. This would include the necessary planning procedure and interaction technique with the exchange students.

This would be the task i would uptake. This month is a quiet month as most exchange had left either for their home country or travelling around Borneo.


#Blog 3 - Good times + Crazy friends = Amazing memories

posted 14 Dec 2015, 05:08 by Zhe Loong Benjamin Ho   [ updated 14 Dec 2015, 05:39 ]

Sat 8th November,

Today is the day where we start to test the system of idea in stages. As our platform is not up yet, we continued to test our operations of the company and services through offline means. During this trip we would be assessing various components of our ideas, this would also affirm our beliefs in the demand for our company's social movement.

Today we assess how comfortable and easy it is for the exchange students to meet the host at a dedicated location in Singapore. This would allow us to understand how much assistance or initiative an exchange individual is willing to make for such a paid trip. For this section, we arranged to meet our clients at Serangoon food market directly for dinner. The meeting up took alittle longer due to the wet weather and delay in transportation. There were no other hiccups. 

The dinner spot we hosted was at a public place however we had made prior arrangement with the hawker stall owner thus we had our food priority and it came right after we had ordered, eventhough there were alot of people and the hawker centre was packed. We had fun making friends, jokes and interacting. There was an individual who is slightly more reserve. We engaged him through sharing our local stories thence him sharing his share of local intricacies. Dinner was a breeze. One thing to consider in the future is to ensure that all individuals are able to take spicy food. This in particular a consideration for the Caucasians. 

We then took public transportation to Wala Wala Bar in Clarke Quay. Here, we were trying to find out if the clients are able to direct themselves there if needed. We broke up into 2 groups and departed to the Bar in Clarke Quay. One group was there with no issues, however the other took the bus in a wrong direction and ended up slightly further. They eventually hailed a cab back to the bar. Getting a Taxi was a breeze with the assistance of the new booking apps such as grab taxi. We can consider to collaborate with such service providers in the future to better our service to our clients. 

At the bar, we shared stories over beer and left back to the hostels in our separate ways. We tested the 2 main concepts we were trying to drive at and it was a success.

The next trip would be hosted to understand if the exchange students are comfortable to pay upfront which also included the extra charges for our platform and hosting services.


*We had a good time with all of them! #MemoriesNeverDies

#Blog 2 - Post Business Plan Presentation

posted 23 Oct 2015, 21:09 by Zhe Loong Benjamin Ho

"The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice." - Brian Herbert
Every events and situations regardless good or bad is an opportunity to learn and improve.

#Blog 2 - Post Business Plan Presentation

Presentation was conducted by my team members. The presentation was smooth and drives the key points in our business plan to our audience.

Suggestions provided by the audiences;
1. How to get the business from 0 to a level of sustained crowd users
2. Sourcing for your first hosts
3. May be able to promote on NTU campus, school medias, etc.
4. Look for grants / ministerial assistance

Overall it was a good presentation, feeling motivated and positive on the business. 

#Blog 1 - In the making

posted 23 Oct 2015, 20:50 by Zhe Loong Benjamin Ho   [ updated 23 Oct 2015, 22:01 ]

"Wherever we are, it is our friends that make our world."  -Henry Drummond.
If we are travelling abroad or on exchange for semesters, without making local friends we will never know how differently we see the world as compared from the eyes of the locals.

#Blog 1 - In the making...

The team initially comprises of 4 members - Bobby, Suyash, Nikhil and myself. The idea formulated after the end of ET9134.

14 August: 
- We first met up to storm over the idea of tripbuddy. 
        /We felt that the idea is viable but we have to be clear with our intention and goals of the business. 
- We laid out the timeline for the company
        /We aim to have the business plan ready for check before the 1st day of official lesson.
- We begun the division of work and feasibility check 
- Brainstorm of the company's name and logo.
         /I had initiated the brainstorm such as 'WeMonkey', 'TripPal', etc. The name would have to imply Authentic, Mix, Local, Bonding, Social, Experience, Adventure, Happy, Active, Lifestyle, Exposure. 

19 August: 
- We began planning of the feasibility report and our approach 
- We finalised our company name to trip buddy 
- We finalised our vision and mission statements 
- We did myers briggs test to undertand our personality mix better
- Researched in transactional fees and how to set up a company

9 September: 
As the date of our first official lesson for ET9135 as a team:
- We continue our pricing check and competition research
- We refocus our efforts to the short term target of having our business idea assessed externally

15 September:
- We finalised our market survey
- Deciding on the URL (.com or .sg) 
- Decide on the strategy to distribute the survey (online and offline medium)
- Speak to Ogems for assistance with the distribution of the surveys

3 October:
We have an additional member who will be able to help with our marketing area of the company - Ernest.
- Reassessed our idea and firm up our decision to continue on this venture.
- Survey questions finalised and ready for desemination

13 October:
Full force out for the business plan, market trail and presentation for the blog.
- We focus where our current skillsets fit us best. 
- I was overlooking the operations of the company and projected it up to 3 years.
- We conducted a test run for the market and gather personalised feedback

20 - 24 October:
- We sat down together to finalise and presented or parts to each other to ensure the common understanding of the company.
- I allocated the resources of the company
- I projected the operations and forecasted for the company to 3 years.
- We completed the business plan and blog, ready for the pitch. 

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