Ask any successful business owner how they got to where they are, and no two stories will be the same. Each path to success is so unique; there isn’t a set roadmap that leads to one specific result. Instead, pathways to success are unpredictable, sometimes unexpected, and are always the result of opportunities seized along the way.
THP is no different. How THP began is quite different than what it has become. Over the years, due to changing government regulations, influential relationships, and a recognition of market demand, THP was choice-by-choice molded into a leading beverage manufacturer in Vietnam and throughout other areas of Asia. At each pivot point in THP’s history, my father and mother took action and embraced changes that yielded great opportunities for this company.
When you look up the word opportunity in the dictionary, the primary definition is: “an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do, or the possibility of doing something.” A frequent synonym is the word “chance.” Each day we have opportunities presented to us, regardless of the situations we might find ourselves in. For example, this past year – while difficult for many businesses – still presented unique opportunities for businesses to explore new approaches and ways to emerge better than before.
That certainly was the case for THP. Fortunately for us, Vietnam fared well in comparison to the rest of Asia and the world. A recent report from The World Bank had this to say about Vietnam, “Given its deep integration with the global economy, the Vietnamese economy has been hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but has shown remarkable resilience. GDP grew by 2.9 percent in 2020. It was one of the few countries in the world to do so, but the crisis also left a lasting impact on households, with 45 percent of households reporting lower household income in January 2021 than in January 2020. Vietnam’s economy is set to grow 6.6 percent in 2021 on the back of successful control of COVID-19 infections, strong performance by export-oriented manufacturing, and robust recovery in domestic demand.”
Opportunity Amongst Difficulty
Opportunities and innovation are often spurred by desperation and difficulty. The reason being, we are forced out of complacency and begin thinking more creatively. An article published by MIT Sloan Management Review, entitled, Looking for Opportunity in the Midst of Crisis, stated, “Most crises create longer-term opportunities as well as threats because they produce rapid, sustained shifts in organizations’ external and internal environments. The implication is that the COVID-19 crisis is likely to generate opportunities to acquire competitors and suppliers, as well as top talent, at a fraction of the price of only months ago. Exploiting these opportunities will, however, require leaders to avoid getting fully consumed by the short-term impacts of the crisis and be willing to take some risks in making investments in a very challenging environment.”
How the Vietnamese responded to COVID-19 presented an opportunity for THP and the rest of our economy to maintain and grow even while the rest of the world saw dramatic negative impacts. As a result, THP has seized this time as an opportunity to equip itself with the best people and technological strategies moving forward. It is always good to remember that one person’s threat is another person’s opportunity. Once the pandemic is gone, THP will be posed to enter into larger markets and scale to greater demand because of the time spent ramping up during COVID.
It’s Not Always Going to be the Clear Choice
If all opportunities that lead to success were presented in obvious, don’t-you-dare-say-no packages, we’d all come by success easily. Instead, seizing opportunities requires a certain amount of risk. Many times, you won’t feel prepared or won’t anticipate what is presented. When we allow ourselves to doubt or dismiss situations that force us to grow or stretch, we end up with missed opportunities.
In an article written by, Jean Case, businesswoman, philanthropist, investor, and author, she shares the result of research conducted by her foundation of what all successful changemakers, entrepreneurs, and innovators share. She said, “What we discovered seems somewhat obvious at one level: transformations start with a commitment to make a Big Bet, not settling for incremental change.” She went on to say, “Invention isn’t ruled by public opinion. ‘If I’d asked people what they wanted,’ Henry Ford famously quipped, ‘they would have said, “faster horses.”’ The visionaries who create new realities must be able to peek around corners and see what others can’t.”
Sometimes seizing an opportunity is saying no to attractive opportunities in exchange for the right one. Many probably thought my father was foolish to reject a multi-billion-dollar partnership offer from Coca-Cola. The executives offering the deal certainly were not expecting his answer. That would have arguably been an offer of a lifetime for many family businesses. But for my father, he saw an opportunity to grow THP in a way that could only be done by staying in control of the company.
He sacrificed one opportunity for another he thought was better. Which brings me to another aspect of this: the opportunities we choose to follow or embrace must align with our core values – even if they are risky in other ways. I learned that firsthand exiting the Coca-Cola offices with my father. Squaring off against a much bigger competitor requires nerves of steel, particularly one that hails from the richest and most powerful country on the planet. But my father taught me a valuable lesson that day: understand our values and what our company stands for, what direction we are heading in, and above all else, do not be dazzled by the power that multinational companies are able to display.
As a result, THP is now a leading beverage manufacturer and distributor that competes directly with the likes of Coca-Cola and other multinational corporations. As my father has always taught us, nothing is impossible. With that mindset, the world is full of opportunities ready to be seized.