Personal branding plays a crucial role for marketers, sales professionals, even for everyone and helps them deliver better results. If you have already created an influential personal brand, or if you are just starting out, you can never stop growing. Pay attention to the guys at the top of their game. They are people who offer excellent and proven advice.
Vietnam Insider talked to Steve Sidhu, CEO and Founder at CSS Partners, who is based in Tokyo, Japan, born in Australia and an accomplished, award-winning and results-driven global executive who has excelled at creating new business and utilization using powerful networks and proven strategies in sales. His career which spans many years take’s him into assisting local and global companies with global business development expansion, sales and marketing strategies, personal branding, advisory, sales training and coaching. He has considerable experience and demonstrated success in building relationships with top Fortune 1000 CxO management and companies across the globe and delivering results.
Can you please share with us your point of view about Vietnam’s economy?
Vietnam has exceled considerable since the Do Moi period, coupled by many factors; changes to socio economic reforms, free trade agreements, easing of rules to allow foreign entities to establish companies in Vietnam. Currently Vietnam economic growth is around 6.7 percent this year making it the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. Its economy grew at 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter that being attributed by manufacturing especially interest from foreign entities and higher output of agriculture.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) and manufacturing are expected to be biggest drivers of economic growth and continue to do so. According to Foreign Investment Agency, FDI in first quarter of 2019 increased by 9.8 percent year-on-year to around US$2.6 billion. Foreign direct investment into Vietnam rose 6.3 percent year-on-year to USD 11.96 billion in January to August 2019.
Other indicators of noteworthy are; because of the US China trade war looming, this would provide Vietnam short term benefits however there still lies a reliance by Vietnam on China. Due to many influences, Vietnam’s has many better options in terms of labor conditions, lower labor costs being cost effective, expansion of free trade agreements and improving infrastructure and a government that is committed to growth hence the attraction of foreign investment coupled by strong tourism. Vietnam government needs to strengthen regulatory frameworks plus bad debts, cybercrime and public investments.
In summary, with the progress of Vietnam’s economy to date, within 25 years there is a great chance the country will be within the top 25 economies and the very top among Asian countries. There is no doubt with the dynamics and synergy, and exports for this year to date at US$32 Billion, Vietnam economy still has room for more growth and realized profit gains.
What are your views about the new generation of young Vietnamese?
New generation in Vietnam somewhat lack social and soft skills to position themselves in the current world. Many of the young are unsure what jobs they should pursue with a career path of uncertainty. The higher education system needs to explore further ways to embrace and provide skills to the young to better position themselves in society. Introduce courses to cover readiness to the job market, personal branding, deep researching, better preparation of CV’s, thought leaders, to good communication skills.
Any viewpoint on a global level on what they should do? What contribution could they make to the growth of the country?
Vietnamese should attempt to go abroad and study in foreign institutions to gain global viewpoint and bring this back to Vietnam to build a better ecosystem and community. It is imperative that gaining considerable knowledge and experience will only further Vietnam in its development and modernization.
Young Vietnamese innovators or startup leaders should leverage from studying overseas to be more open thinkers and change Vietnam from its previous generations.
For those unable to study abroad, should try and leverage groups where they can take advantage of knowledge and information which is not readily available. More emphasis to be placed on self-learning skills from internet, libraries or other tools to gain more knowledge on different disciplines and self-discovery with more understanding of themselves and the world. Vietnam should at all counts try and prevent brain drain situation from arising. This is a result of highly skilled expertise leaving Vietnam and remaining abroad.
It appears there are more and more opportunities from local and international businesses within Vietnam. What is the best approach for young Vietnamese to work for these companies?
As more and more young Vietnamese are graduating from various universities or colleges, there appears to be a huge demand in AI or IoT, Fin-tech or financial services as the growth is ex-potential. It’s imperative that firstly the young have the qualifications for sought after jobs. Prior to visiting recruitment agencies or job fairs its essential to discover oneself and meet companies in their third year of studies to be well known to enhance personal branding. Motivation is very key as well as writing a professional CV, strengthening soft skills, proper grooming as perception is key, expanding networks, establish strong relationship in the industry they seek.
It seems Personal Branding is very important, but how can young Vietnamese create a Personal Brand to market themselves?
Each young person should create a personal brand for their career and to market themselves. It is so imperative to maintain reputation and impression on how others think about an individual. Start by creating a profile, work out strengths and weaknesses and what area of life could they make a contribution. Look at the global goals for sustainable development and pick a topic and create content and post that online or offline to raise visibility. The young may want to share their life journeys and look at the target audience where contribution could be made and the value the person’s brand creates.
As the CEO of CSS Partners; global consulting firm, what can your organization do to assist people in building their personal brand?
CSS Partners provides a multitude of services, as an organization are able to provide efficient education via training workshops privately, or to corporates or universities to sharpen each individuals personal brand using practical methods. Today, its not just your education or what you know, its’ rather how social media perceives each and every one of us. Investing in yourself is most important to carry the individuals brand to assist in many facets of life whether it’s career, lifestyle, confidence, socializing, thought leadership, networking or to merely stand out.
As you have been to Vietnam many times and held global sales roles in large multinational companies over the last 20 years, what has been your experience in terms of B2B or B2C sales in Vietnam?
The key factor for any sales person in any country is whether the individual possesses the key inherit qualities to be a closer. On the job training is not the solution to be great sales person. Obtaining and attending meetings is a first step, however getting to the right influencers and decision makers takes skill by seeking answers to open and probing questions. Ultimately without the right information affects closing deals in the long run. Hence my company addresses this problem by providing “Sales as a Service” where our organization is contracted by any company to be involved in understanding the sales bottlenecks and to finally close the sales funnel with wins.