Impeccable Rapport: How AKLTG’s Co-founders Built a Successful Company
This interview article was first published in Lianhe Zaobao on 05 March 2020.
Below is a translated version:
17 years ago, Patrick Cheo and Adam Khoo joined hands to build Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group (AKLTG), a local education & training organisation. From a humble 2-man company, the Group has transformed into a full-fledged enterprise with over 100 staff strength and more than 20 million annual revenue.
Patrick Cheo revealed, “Our greatest success is probably that ever since Adam and I ventured into this business in our NUS Business School days, we have never quarrelled. We are very clear of our own roles and responsibilities and we do them to our best abilities.”
Indeed, Patrick and Adam take on clearly defined responsibilities in this business, balancing between “internal” and “external” roles. Patrick oversees the company’s finance, human resource, sales and operations, and focuses on regional business expansion in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. On the flipside, Adam serves as the company’s namesake and icon, promoting the brand through seminars, books and videos.
To Patrick, delivering an inspirational learning experience is key to transforming the public’s perception towards “motivational speakers”. “Our programmes cover investing and trading strategies, study skills and personal development strategies. These topics can be taught in a theoretical or boring manner, but we choose to teach in a way that touches people’s heart and inspire our participants to take action.”
“As digitalization becomes integral to everybody’s lives, learning preferences are rapidly evolving,” says Patrick. AKLTG believes in lifelong learning and offers a suite of online courses to cater to these shifting needs.
In 2019, AKLTG achieved the Enterprise 50 (E50) Award. Winning the prestigious award for the first time has boosted Patrick’s confidence in forging the company’s future. “Looking back on our business journey, our secret to success has always been ‘doing whatever it takes’,” he says.
He also shared his belief in prioritising the welfare of his employees. “There were periods when we had a cash crunch, but Adam and I were clear that the staff must be paid on time even if it meant us taking on personal loans. This has helped us to retain a lot of capable and loyal staff, many whom have been with us for over 10 years and helped us to grow from strength to strength each year.”
According to Patrick, one of his main motivations for overseas expansion is to challenge his employees and give them opportunities to explore and grow with the company. “Expansion also allows the company to have economies of scale and helps to increase overall profitability.”