"The most important thing in business is not money, but genuine sincerity."

December 8, 2023
Lim Seung-hyun, the CEO of QNI Co., Ltd.

"I wanted to live a life different from others. Despite a challenging period, I aspired to start my own business. Unable to avoid the difficulties, I began working as a designated driver. I couldn't comprehend the silent drivers. Executing a strategy based on the perception of 'designated driving as a service industry,' I ventured into an unconventional path that others were not pursuing."

"Designated driving became a valuable opportunity for me. I sought business advice from every customer who rode in my car. Lim Seung-hyun, the CEO of QNI reminisced, saying, 'Every person I met was the best opportunity to gain inspiration in life.' The business, which started as a designated driving company, evolved into QNI distributing hygiene, safety, and eco-friendly products.

The key to entrepreneurial success: 'Capture small market niches' and 'genuine sincerity' QNI Co., Ltd. is a company founded by CEO Lim with an initial investment of 5 million won. Specializing in producing its own branded hygiene, safety, and eco-friendly products, the company also handles the distribution of related items. Achieving a sales revenue of 500 million won within the first year of entrepreneurship, QNI has sustained its business for 15 years.

The secret to success was monopolizing the 'small market niches' that others overlooked. CEO Lim emphasized, "When starting a business, you need to understand 'customers,' not just have a good 'item.'

"QNI also based its entrepreneurship on thorough customer analysis. They first identified what customers didn't know, what they wanted, and what inconvenienced them. 'Hygiene' and 'safety' products turned out to be the blue ocean.

They devised a unique marketing strategy by introducing UV cup sterilizers and conducting hygiene education lectures. Despite initial skepticism? 'Who would listen to that? 'they now continue to provide lectures for public institutions, daycare centers, and kindergarten staff. CEO Lim stated, "Through lectures, we can secure new business partners.

"The experience of designated driving was also immensely helpful. I sought business advice from each customer who rode in my car. The most common advice I received from over a thousand customers was that 'the most important thing in business is not money but genuine sincerity.

'No matter how much money you earn, without trust and sincerity, you cannot sustain for long. I approached both customers and business partners with genuine sincerity. Gaining trust allowed me to receive assistance later on."

"Even for promotional items, we meticulously adorned each one with a ribbon and thoughtfully packaged them.

This commitment to 'genuine sincerity' extended to QNI's sales strategy. We delved into small details that could impress customers. Ribbons were individually attached to product packaging, and customers' names or business names were engraved on pens, which were then offered as part of the service.

CEO Lim remarked, 'Although it's just a pen worth 2,000 to 3,000 won, the impact it has on the customer is substantial.' He explained, 'By providing the best service to first-time customers, we encourage them to place second and third orders.'"

"Even when I closed a business, I never thought of it as a 'failure' but rather as a 'lesson learned.' There's no easy way to make money; it may come by chance, but it won't last long."

CEO Lim Seung-hyun has experienced various businesses over the past 20 years. Even when he decided to close a business, he didn't see it as a failure. His experiences could be applied to any other venture. It wasn't about saying 'it failed' but rather 'I learned.' This mindset, not differentiating between success and failure, has been his approach.

He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to "take on challenges quickly and gain as much experience as possible." Learning from experience is crucial to sustaining a business in the long run. Sudden success is often a cause for concern.

He also emphasizes the importance of 'capturing customers.' Find an uncontested 'small market,' dominate it, and grow the business based on the secured customer base. Without customers, you'll end up investing money in advertising from the product launch. Lim mentioned, "Even on a small scale, it's essential to secure and manage customers, putting effort into suggesting what they need."

His ultimate goal is not just to expand the business and make quick profits. Based on the marketing know-how he has gained since his twenties, he plans to engage in full-fledged entrepreneurship consulting. Publishing the book 'Lim Sa-boo's Entrepreneurship Notes:Revealing Survival Secrets' containing honest business experiences and know-how is part of that plan.

CEO Lim Seung-hyun stated, "Everything learned from 20 years of business experience becomes teaching content." He added, "While others learn and then teach, sharing the know-how learned directly from running a business will be an advantage."

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