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Exclusive Interview:
Sir Terry Leahy, CEO, Tesco Plc

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  July- August 2009


Sir Terry Leahy, CEO, Tesco Plc For Sir Terry, Tesco’s core purpose is ‘to deliver value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty’. There is no mention of products, no reference to the bottom line or market share, but a clear focus on people - the customers.

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AseanAffairs exclusive interview with Mark McClure, world renowned success guru and author of the hugely popular ‘Ruthless Entrepreneur Sytem’.

Q: What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?
A: Someone that takes risks, has a powerful belief in what it is they want to accomplish with this risk, and has an even stronger belief in their capabilities to pull off their business objective in the face of all odds.

Q: What drives a person to become an entrepreneur?
A: A passion for what they love to do, and a desire to have their income be dictated by their performance, not by what a manager or boss thinks that they are worth.

Q: Are entrepreneur’s a different breed of people or everyone has the potential to be entrepreneurs?
A: You are a product of your environment and that is a fact. Entrepreneurs for the most part, are developed and nurtured through   A) a passion for what they love to do and a desire to succeed at it financially based on their performance and B) the environment (friends and colleagues) in which that is nurtured. A plant needs sun and water to grow and an entrepreneur is no different. They need positive feedback, a positive environment and most importantly a positive outlook.

Q: Why are some countries/race/region more entrepreneurial than others?
A: I believe that the U.S. and Australia seem to be more entrepreneurial due to the capitalistic environment in which we are allowed to compete. The US gives me the freedom and leeway to take chances and risks that you would be hard pressed to find in most other countries. All though with the current US President that will all change or is seeming to change, as Barack Obama is anti-business and as someone who has never competed in the real world as a business owner or anything for that matter, he lacks an understanding of the entrepreneurial mind .

Q: Why should an entrepreneur be ruthless and opportunistic?
A: Because to get what you want and to succeed as an entrepreneur you have to have the passion and belief in your product or service, and at the end of the day it is all about sales and your ability to translate that passion and belief into money. Profits. No sales, and you’re out of business. Period. So I have always been very aggressive and ruthless towards my competitors in whatever business I was in. Not ruthless in an immoral or unethical way, but a no-holds barred, take no prisoners approach. Look at Wal-Mart, Exxon-Mobil, etc. At the end of the day it is all about sales and shareholder value and your only objective should be to the financial well being of your own backyard, not your competitor and that means dealing with them in a hard charging, aggressive, ruthless approach. Maybe that’s the US Marine in me. Who knows.

Q: What is the Number one challenge facing all entrepreneurs’ today, in this global age of crisis?
A: Number one challenge facing entrepreneurs today is separating themselves from the pack....their competitors....effectively. To succeed in a national economy, much less a global economy, you need to have a clearly define USP, a Unique Selling Proposition, and have the ability to answer the all important question; “Why Would Anyone Hire Me?” And until an entrepreneur can answer that question and put together a marketing strategy to capitalize on that answer, all their marketing is being done blindly against the wind. I put together a two hour audio program, Ruthless Marketing Secrets where I really delve into how to compete on an international scale, and how I did starting with almost no money. So having a lack of capital is not an excuse, it is having a clearly defined plan on WHO you are, what you sell and how to capitalize on the message.

Q: The tectonic shift of power to Asia is happening now. How should entrepreneurs in the West and the East adapt to this reality? What are the important changes they have to make and be prepared for?
A: Understanding each Asian economy, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and how to effectively market themselves in each of these countries with a more thorough grasp of using the Internet and other technology as a tool. This is paramount, and thankfully something I was able to grasp years ago when I saw this shift. Read the Complete Article Subscribe to ASEANAFFAIRS Magazine

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