Azran Osman-Rani: 6 Entrepreneurship tips young Malaysians need to know

Leading up to REAConnect, where the former CEO of AirAsia X and iflix will be speaking, we had the chance to catch up with Azran to glean some tidbits for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Azran, sharing his views. © Azran Osman-Rani

Azran Osman-Rani is no stranger to success. His colourful career has seen him scale from the dynamic work of consultancies such as McKinsey and Booz Allen & Hamilton to the dizzy heights of the corporate ladder as the CEO of well-known brands such as AirAsia X and iflix. He is currently focusing on Naluri Hidup, a local health-tech startup that is aiming to bring cutting edge psychological therapy services to Malaysians. He also has a very useful book out titled ‘30 Days and 30 Years’, which uses his own personal career experiences and channels it into helping organisations achieve transformation.

When chatting about business opportunities in the real estate industry, we asked if he has any advice to share with those who are looking to venture into the ‘propreneur’ realm. Azran has a couple of nuggets for them:

1) Don’t react to what customers tell you. But observe to determine what their true pain points are and look for unmet needs that are unmentioned.
2) Learn by doing, not studying or observing.

And here are some additional tips of his, on a few key things young and aspiring Malaysian entrepreneurs need to know before venturing out:

#1 Don’t fall in love with your product or idea

Things around us are constantly changing at a rapid pace, and with that, our customers’ needs. Azran suggests that you should focus on the customers’ problems instead, “Be obsessed with the problem that your target customer is facing, and keep finding ways to solve that problem in a way that no one else has until they are delighted.”

#2 Always stay curious

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is also something Azran recommends to all young aspiring Malaysians, “Life is unpredictable. We can’t plan everything or predict what will happen. I don’t put a lot of effort in trying to craft detailed plans. I am best when I observe, learn and am constantly adapting to the external environment.”

While extremely active, Azran does not consider himself an adrenaline junkie. © Azran Osman-Rani

#3 Use constructive criticisms to constantly improve yourself

Granted, Azran has had to endure his fair share of baseless criticisms, like how he is an adrenaline junkie. He assures us that it is not true.

I’m very cautious and fearful. But I learn to recognise it and not let it hold me back.

But he recommends not shutting down all criticisms because the constructive ones can help you improve yourself, “I was once told that I’m too impulsive with my views and I can discourage dissent by my tone, which upon reflection, was true. I need to keep myself in check and seek feedback from my team members.”

#4 Don’t be afraid of the big players, but be wise

When it comes to dealing with larger competitors, Azran encourages young entrepreneurs to be brave, but at the same time, also smart, “Don’t be afraid to challenge big giant incumbents. But don’t go head on with them and play by their rules. Look for segments that they are not prioritizing and focus on those instead.”

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Azran has scaled the heights of the corporate ladder, notably as CEO of AirAsia X. © Azran Osman-Rani

Wisdom also comes by learning from others. Azran is quick to attribute the finding of his entrepreneurial feet to some of the people he has worked with, such as Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, who exemplified the courage to take on the status quo and the relentless determination to overcome obstacles. Not forgetting Patrick Grove, who encouraged him to think even bigger and show him why we have to stretch our imagination beyond our own self-imposed limits.

My wife, Azreen Pharmy is another role model, who showed me how be aware of how I affect other people. Also, the power of silence.

#5 Focus on being purposeful, not just profitable

Of course, we would all like to be financially successful with our ventures, but Azran provides a sustainable and big-picture view on what success should entail, “Ultimately, long term success comes when we focus on how we can make a meaningful, positive differences to other people’s lives. When we put others ahead of ourselves, we gain an incredible perspective on life.”

#6 Be humble with each successful step

When asked why some entrepreneurs thrive while others fail, Azran shares three common trends which he observed:

1) Luck. Never discount it.
2) Persistence to persevere.
3) Humility to challenge our own beliefs, especially when we are successful.

Elaborating on the importance of humility, Azran stresses the need to constantly improve ourselves and be better in this dynamic market, “Don’t fear failure but more importantly, be humble with each success. Don’t rest on your laurels, but focus instead on what you learnt from current successes so that you can do it differently the next time.”

Azran will be one of the speakers at REAConnect. Organised by iProperty.com.my, Real Estate Agent Conference 2019 – Changing the Way You Sell is a conference specially catered for real estate agents. It is a meeting place of thought leaders to raise the game of the industry. If you are new to the property industry or even a seasoned professional, this conference is for you. Gain insights from experts in the fields of data, personal branding and entrepreneurship that will take your career to the next level. Register here and we shall see you there!

Edited by Reena Kaur Bhatt

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