Wei Leng Pointen is the founder of Headstart Financials Ltd and Finance Director for a portfolio of small businesses and start-ups. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
Commercially minded and motivated, she has a high level of personal interest and passion for growing and developing businesses. She left corporate life in 2014 to pursue a more commercial career ambition.
With 17 years of experience in finance and accounting behind her, Wei Leng has a deep knowledge of finance operations in all shapes and sizes. She draws on her knowledge of business process redesign and outsourcing gained from FTSE 100 companies such as Standard Chartered Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland and applies them to smaller businesses and start-ups. The result is an approach to business process design that is a rare combination of start-up innovation and large corporate project discipline.
Her first entrepreneurial venture was a bootstrapped venture in casual games apps development. It was through this venture and the necessity to deal with rising user acquisition costs, that she developed and honed her knowledge in unit economics analysis, funnel testing and financial planning. She subscribes to the “Build-Measure-Learn” school of thought – the basis of her current work with start-ups and small businesses.
Wei Leng enjoys building structure out of chaos. She gets tremendous satisfaction from analysing, simplifying and then automating business processes.
Wei Leng loves talking about entrepreneurship in a way that combines the passion and pizzazz of a start-up founder and the logical, rational mindset of an accountant. She blogs when inspiration hits on her Medium publication, The Introspection.
5-Minutes Q&A with the Founder
Q:HAVING HAD PERSONAL VENTURES INVOLVING PRODUCTS (A MODEL THAT IS WAY MORE SCALEABLE), WHY ARE YOU NOW PROVIDING SERVICES?
A:Maturity comes with recognising that we can't be great at everything, and that business is a series of experiments. For me, it's a recognition that I'm not great at product development, and have yet to come up with a solution that solves a real problem. Maybe it's a left-brain, right-brain thing. Maybe it's a lack of empathy. But having bounced off a series of ideas with a few people, I started recognising the deficiencies in my product ideas, and acknowledging the super-powers in others to come up with a solution that solves a real problem. When you create a product for the sake of creating something to sell, you create a problem to fit your product. You don't solve a problem. I figured I'll have a better chance of solving a problem others care about, if I go about living and experiencing life and noticing problems that need solving, than just sitting around, racking my brains for ideas that I can turn into a product. With product development, it could be one long and costly experiment until you find something. Additionally, over time, I have become ever more convinced that when it comes to building a business for the purpose of wealth creation, aka maximising shareholder value- "boring is beautiful."
Q:FROM HAVING A COMFORTABLE JOB IN CORPORATE, WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN THE PATH OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT?
A:Whilst I have always liked the idea of self-employment, I didn't have the guts to jump right in. It took me years to decide that it's the best option for me. I would burn bridges so I wouldn't have anything to go back to, but then kept looking back anyway - because the path ahead looked too treacherous. For example, when I left my corporate job, I thought about starting my own practice, but after entertaining the thought for a few months I decided to contract for a few years. But nothing was ever lost, it was a maturity process and I learnt a lot about myself in the process. So, it was more of an evolutionary process, rather than a revolutionary one.
Q:WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST IN BEING SELF-EMPLOYED?
A:I particularly enjoy self-employment because for the person that I am, it's better for my psychological and emotional health. I like to be in control of my own path. So for example, when I decided I wanted to do financial modelling, I wanted to do it right there and then. I picked up some books, researched like crazy, tell people I needed a "guinea pig", got a "guinea pig" and was off with it. I didn't like to have to spend the next few weeks/months persuading someone to let me do/train me up on financial modelling. Inevitably in a job, there are tasks that comes with the job description. Growth and learning is second to the day job. So if you are in a busy job, there's very little room and time to learn new skills on the job. As much as they'd like to support you, your manager has their own deliverables. With self-employment, you're in a better position to align what you do on a day-to-day basis with your area of intended growth. It's intentional living.
Q:WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK?
A:I love "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life" by Mark Manson. Whilst the title sounds completely delinquent, irresponsible and immature, it's designed to be a "hook" to get your attention(and the first few chapters of the book come to think of it). The short version is this: Caring too much about what the world thinks causes anxiety and stress. But at the same time, you can't not give a f*ck about anything. It needs to be something. Pick the something you care about, focus on it, and ignore everything else. My take on this after reading the book: Life is one big "Make-Your-Own-Adventure" book. Whichever page you turn, will come with it, its own set of challenges. It's really a case of which set of challenges you would rather deal with this lifetime.