#008 - Planning to succeed

They say that a goal without a plan is just a dream

BFFs is a bi-weekly email for Asia’s female founders around resources on growing a business, cultivating friendships, and funding opportunities. Brought to you by Chief Best Friends, a podcast helping women succeed in work and business through meaningful friendships.

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I’m in quite a bind this week as I try to navigate a few paths ahead of me. As founders, we’re constantly managing between decisiveness and ambiguity. That’s all part and parcel of building and growing a business. For some, you might thrive in ambiguity, while others may feel paralysed. I fall somewhere in the middle.

To manage ambiguity in business and in life, I always found making plans as a good salve to the monkey mind. I realise that my brain goes on overdrive and I end up worrying for no good reason.

For founders, planning can help you lean into a path you’re about to take. It helps create a framework for success, minimising potential failure.

Right now, I’m trying to be more organised with my content and marketing and vow to have a content plan in two weeks. For help, I always refer to this planning process by Kelsey. Sometimes, I think that I’m failing because maybe the growth has slowed or I’m not earning as much revenue as I hoped. But I always remember that if I fail to plan then I plan to fail.

So ladies, how about let’s make a plan to succeed? 😉

— Niki

A post shared by @hellocrazycat
October 23, 2020


  • Learn the value of competition. During my earlier years as a wantrepreneur, I worried about competition. When I had an idea and saw that someone was already doing it, I would crumble and say, “what’s the freaking point?” I realise that was shortsighted. Nowadays, the presence of competition is a good sign. It tells me that there is a market need for the problem I’ve identified. I also can use the competition as a way to see what’s working and what’s not, and then build a business that fills the gap.

  • Find your signature move. In startup speak, that’s your unique value proposition or USP. In fact, there’s a guy who discovered and advised some of the famous comedians we know of today by helping identify their signature move. It’s not only a lesson in sticking to our strengths, but it’s also a lesson in finding that someone who would hold up a mirror to ourself.

  • This is how you become a founder. In this five-part series by Mercedes Bent, she shares how founders are made, not born. Sure, you can start a company, announce that you’re open for business, and put Founder as your title on your Linkedin profile. But to truly be and act like one? That takes a bit more work and a whole lot of heart.


  • Ways to reclaim friendship. As an introvert, I thrived during the lockdowns. Being alone wasn’t lonely for me because I had things to do, books to read, and lots of solo activities tucked in my sleeves. But I also noticed that this didn’t mean I didn’t crave for connection. The global pandemic helped me rekindle friendships and even build new ones. It’s one of the silver linings of this crazy year we’re in.

  • How friendships change in adulthood. I come from the camp that believes that there is a time for everything, including the friendships we keep. Perhaps that’s why one of the things that troubled me about social media is that we’re forced to keep ties that no longer serve us. Then again, I also know there are enduring friendships but those are few and far between. Still, it’s good to know how to keep and hold down a friendship as we age.


  • How to pitch to VCs in a virtual world. When you’re pitching to people in a room, it’s easy to feel out the mood, make eye contact, and hold the attention of those around you. Virtually? Not so much. Which is why this event by Tech in Asia is worth a watch.

  • Hey look, all the VCs in one place. This is the kind of tool that I wanted to build and I’m so happy to see Felix Wong bring it to life. Venture List is basically your one-stop-shop to making your first funding round a success.

  • Sometimes you just have to sell. One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is: why build a business from scratch when I can (maybe) acquire one. That’s how I came across MicroAcquire, which is a startup acquisition marketplace. And if you’re not looking to buy, you could also see this as a way for you to “exit” your business. I love that there is an option for us to earn something from our passion projects and side-hustles, and maybe your first sell could help you start your next big venture!

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Chief Best Friends Radar 📡

Since 2011, I have been a huge advocate for clean cosmetics and ultimately made the switch to less toxic, organic, and safe skincare brands. Which is why I’m very excited to have Nerissa Low, Michelle Tan, and Stephanie Lee, of Liht Organics in the podcast to talk about what it’s like to build a clean beauty brand in Asia and the appetite for organic makeup in these markets. 🎧 Listen to the full episode here

✨Shine Board ✨

  • Holy smokes, coaching is great! I had a 90-minute coaching call with Georgina Halabi this morning and it was transformative! Think about it, the world’s best athletes have coaches. The best knows that they need all the help they can get in order to be the greatest of all time. So why shouldn’t you? Good thing Georgina’s holding free group coaching calls for the whole of November. Get in there!

  • Let’s celebrate jobs like we celebrate engagements. Congratulations to my former colleague and BFFs subscriber, Sam Chui, who joins Revolut as Senior Marketing Manager! 🎉 She will lead marketing initiatives and explore opportunities and campaigns to meaningfully engage with new and existing customers.

  • Sharing the spotlight. Sarah Bagharib of Crazy Cat and I appeared on The Homeground Asia to talk about what diversity means in our industry.

📲 Something to celebrate? Tweet me your wins @nikipaniki

👉 Got tips, news, content, data to share? Email tips@chiefbestfriends.com.

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