Mr Kelvin Lim: Reinventing Spaces
Having been raised by a family of entrepreneurs, Mr Kelvin Lim always felt that becoming a businessman was a natural step in his life. Both Mr Lim’s grandfather and father were businessmen themselves and putting food on the table was never an easy task for them. At a very young age, Mr Lim roused the entrepreneurial spirit within him to follow their footsteps.
A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Mr Lim’s father initially started a sawmilling & trading business in the timber industry. When it became a sunset industry in late 1980s, production and business slowed down as a result. Mr Lim’s father had to roll up his sleeves and look for alternative sources of income. At that time, Mr Lim’s father noticed that excess spaces were increasingly prevalent due to resettlement of kampongs in Singapore. Mr Lim’s father immediately took action to leverage on the promising opportunity. LHN, then a relatively small venture, thus entered the leasing and real estate business in the early 1990s.
Mr Lim decided to join his father at LHN in 1997, after leaving his diploma course on Electrical, Electronic and Computer Studies at Singapore Polytechnic. Inspired by his father, Mr Lim wanted to take the business up a notch and he envisions LHN to go beyond the leasing business to become a leader of its own right. Beyond profits, Mr Lim strongly believes that it is critical for LHN to add value and provide meaningful contributions while doing business.
Mr Lim noticed that there were several old, under-utilised buildings and facilities littered across Singapore. Astutely, Mr Lim saw the potential to convert and transform these facilities into productive and creative spaces. Through a process of innovation and planning, renovation and refurbishment, Mr Lim believed that these old facilities could ultimately become usable, vibrant areas that could add value to the business. Together with his sister, they stayed strong and forged into uncharted waters, building the strong foundation for what LHN is known today.
A TEAM’S EFFORT
Nonetheless, Mr Lim did not have an easy road to success. As a young entrepreneur then, he was cognizant that passion alone was inadequate – Mr Lim felt that he needed more experience to excel, and he believed that success would come only through team effort.
“I had many worries in this business. I needed capable talents that could advance our sales leads, execute operations on the ground and plan effective strategies to respond to supply and demand in the industry. I knew that bringing good employees on board would definitely benefit our company.” explained Mr Lim.
Mr Lim quickly started to build LHN’s human resources capabilities. He sought out talents and professionals to join the management team, and worked closely with them to grow the business and execute daily matters of the company. Even though he was helming the organisation, he remained humble and often turned towards his team for advice and support during decision-making.
With the economic swings and headwinds, Mr Lim spent a huge portion of his time concerned about LHN’s operations, growth, and more importantly about LHN’s future that would give job stability to his employees. This gave rise to Mr Lim’s belief that an organisation, rather than focusing on a hire-and-fire strategy, should channel efforts towards organically and holistically developing one’s people.
To Mr Lim, management of his staff is crucial. It is important to give them space to grow, and exert flexibility in management styles. For instance, micromanaging would stifle his employees’ growth and discourage them from contributing new ideas and solutions to team projects. As such, Mr Lim and his team formed a close-knitted bond over time, with a relationship that is built on trust. This has been a major factor that contributed to LHN’s accomplishments.
“With a great and reliable team, I am able to trust team members to manage and handle the daily operational affairs of the company. Having talents in the company is also extremely helpful for me as they take ownership of their tasks and always make an effort to chip in new ideas to projects. This allows me to explore new opportunities and keep a bird’s-eye view of the business at the same time.”
ENSURING CONTINUED SUCCESS
As a company that looks at creating productive environments and adding value, Mr Lim often emphasise that he and his employees must embody similar visions of living a productive and value-adding lifestyle for themselves. One way of doing so is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Recognising the importance in keeping apprised of news and daily events, Mr Lim usually starts his day off reading the newspapers, followed by a morning walk or jog for at least 45 minutes. His calendar notes his appointments, which usually begins at 9.30am till approximately 6pm. If Mr Lim has no dinner appointments scheduled, he usually retires early at home to spend time with his family. Mr Lim’s family is his driving force at work, motivating him to work better and faster.
Moving forward, Mr Lim’s future plans for LHN include strengthening their core expertise, streamlining operations and integrating lean strategies in the company. Regional and global expansion plans are also underway, as Mr Lim continues to identify opportunities in overseas market for LHN to tap on and grow beyond the Singapore shores.
Mr Lim is aware that the only constant is change, and this belief has LHN poised for future growth and successes.