The economic boom in Asia over the past two decades has inspired people to take risks, develop new businesses and tread on unbeaten paths. But as these entrepreneurs set about to do something different in an attempt to capitalize on their region's unprecedented prosperity, they stumbled and fell only to rise again and go on to be successful.
Some of these risk takers spoke to CNBC sharing the mistakes they made and the lessons they learnt. From expanding too soon, to refusing to take advice to failing to recognize market dynamics, many start-ups fall prey to the same mistakes.
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Too Much Too Soon
Sometimes an entrepreneur's risk-taking ability, the very essence of an entrepreneurial spirit, can lead to mistakes.
Terence Swee, who founded video editing software company Muvee.com in 2001, says if he had the chance to go back and do things differently, he would not have gone "too big too soon."
Swee who spends his time between San Francisco and Singapore told CNBC: "Looking back, I think we might have gone a little too big and tried to offer the service for everyone rather than focusing on one specific area, without the right level of funds or experience."
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Swee targeted a global audience from day one, launching his business in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., Spain and Italy in the first month. However, looking back he says it might have been more effective to target one specific market, achieve a dominant market share there before moving on to the next.
"Right now we are well-known across all area and regions, but while we can say we are the 'go-to application' for wedding videos, for example, in some regions, we can't say that for every Southeast Asian market," added Swee.
An important lesson many start-ups have learnt is that in Asia each country requires a unique approach and "on the ground knowledge" is invaluable.
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"People talk about entrepreneurship in Asia as if the same rules apply across the region, but that is not the case, even in Southeast Asia, for example, there is a lot of diversity," said Willson Cuaca of Indonesia's digital newsstand SCOOP (Getscoop.com), who launched the website which offers digital versions of magazines and newspapers in 2010. He has now grown the business to offer over 500 titles in nine different countries.
"Southeast Asia as a whole has population of 600 million, but it is very fragmented in terms of regulation, cultural issues and infrastructure. So you have to penetrate one market at a time and deploy different business strategies," he added.