The World’s Newest Call Center Billionaire

Meet the world’s newest call center billionaire. Laurent Junique is quite the globe-trotter: He’s a French citizen, his company is based in Singapore and he just listed that company, TDCX Inc., on the New York Stock Exchange last week.

Junique, TDCX’s 55-year-old founder and CEO, also just joined the billionaire ranks: Junique’s 87% stake in the firm is now worth $3 billion, thanks to a 34% rise in TDCX shares since the IPO on October 1—an offering that raised nearly $350 million for the company.

Started in 1995 in Singapore as Teledirect, an outsourced call center that handled calls, emails and faxes for a variety of clients, the company rebranded as TDCX in 2019 to reflect its expansion into a range of services including content moderation, marketing and e-commerce support. (CX is short for “customer experience” in the customer service industry.)

TDCX reported a $64 million net profit on $323 million sales in 2020, an improvement from the $54 million profit and $242 million in revenues it recorded in 2019. That growth came in part due to greater use of the services that TDCX offers, including tools that help companies improve the performance of employees working from home. Still, TDCX is highly dependent on two clients—Facebook and Airbnb—which collectively accounted for 62% of sales in 2020.

“Our successful listing reflects the world-class company that we have built and our position as the go-to partner for transformative digital customer experience services,” Junique said in a statement on the day of the IPO. “We are grateful for the support of our clients, many of whom are global technology companies that are fuelling the growth of the digital economy.”

Junique is the second call center billionaire that Forbes has tracked. The first, Kenneth Tuchman, founded Englewood, Colorado-based TTEC Holdings (formerly called TeleTech), in 1982; at nearly $2 billion, the firm had about six times the revenues of TDCX last year. Tuchman first became a billionaire in 2007. Several Indian billionaires, including HCL Technologies cofounder Shiv Nadar and Wipro’s former chairman Azim Premji, offer call centers as some of the services their firms provide.

Junique will maintain an iron grip on TDCX as a public company, controlling all of the firm’s Class B shares, which make up more than 86% of the firm’s equity and represent 98.5% of voting power. He owns those shares through Transformative Investments Pte Ltd, a company based in the Cayman Islands that is entirely owned—according to public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission—by a trust established for the benefit of Junique and his family. While its headquarters are in Singapore, TDCX has also been incorporated in the Cayman Islands since April 2020; prior to the IPO, the firm was controlled by Junique through a Caymans-based holding company. A spokesperson for TDCX declined to comment.

Before launching TDCX as a 29-year-old in 1995, the French native cut his teeth studying advertising at the École Supérieure de Publicité in Paris and business administration at the nearby École Supérieure Internationale d’Administration des Entreprises, graduating in 1989. After a two-year stint at consumer goods giant Unilever, Junique—who had reportedly been cooking up business ideas since he was a child, including a glass recycling proposal he came up with at age 13—decided he wanted a more international career, but struggled to find a gig as a young graduate with little experience.

Armed with a suitcase and just enough cash to get by, he decamped to Singapore in 1995 to try his luck on the other side of the planet. Singapore offered a strategic location as a modern, English-speaking city at the heart of fast-growing Southeast Asia, and Junique started a call center called Teledirect aimed at businesses looking to cut costs and outsource customer service. Soon enough, Junique scored the firm’s first big client, an American credit card firm based in Singapore.

Two years later, in 1997, Junique sold a 40% stake in Teledirect to London-based advertising giant WPP for an undisclosed amount. Since then, TDCX expanded beyond call centers and now has offices in 11 countries across three continents, including locations in China, Japan and India. In 2018, Junique bought back WPP’s 40% stake in the call center business for about $28 million. Three years of growth later, the company now has a market capitalization of $3.5 billion.

With 2020 marking a record year for TDCX, Junique is hoping that the Covid-induced transition away from offices has made the firm’s products more necessary for its clients. “As consumers live more and more of their lives online, the expectation for things to be done simply, conveniently and on-demand will only increase,” Junique said in a statement.

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I’m a Staff Writer on the Wealth team at Forbes, covering billionaires and their wealth. My reporting has led me to an S&P 500 tech firm in the plains of Oklahoma; a

Source: The World’s Newest Call Center Billionaire

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3 Ways to Get Minority-Led Small Businesses Back to Business

3 Ways to Get Minority-Led Small Businesses Back to Business

If the pandemic deepened the challenges of dealing with long-felt issues among business owners of color, the recovery is putting them in focus. Access to capital and racial inequity in America continue to weigh on underrepresented small-business owners.

That was the key takeaway from a recent virtual briefing dubbed “Back to Business: Restarting Main Street in the Wake of Covid-19,” which was hosted by Reimagine Main Street, a project founded last year to lead small businesses toward an inclusive economic recovery. The discussion convened business leaders and officials, who offered their own ideas for how to resolve these longstanding issues so that minority-led businesses can get back to business.

Here are their top three tips:

1. Help people get vaccinated.

As the pandemic fueled much of the recent difficulty hitting underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs, a good first step is to do all you can to overcome the pandemic, which can be achieved by helping people get vaccinated. “You can’t get the economy back on track without beating Covid,” says Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to President Biden. Specifically, he suggests offering vaccine incentives to employees, customers, and the communities you serve.

He proposes offering paid time off for employees to get a jab, and providing compensation for missing work because of vaccine complications as motivation. “So many people can’t afford to lose a day or two of work,” says Richmond, therefore servicing the needs of your employees is a crucial part of getting the economy up and running again.

As for customers, the more people who are vaccinated, the quicker it is you’ll return to normalcy. So consider rewarding consumers who are fully vaccinated. United Airlines, for instance, last week launched its “Shot to Fly” campaign, offering the chance to win a year of free flights to vaccinated customers. “We just appreciate the business community partnering with us to get it done,” says Richmond.

2. Create an inclusive recovery.

Ensuring Black and Latinx business owners continue to receive financial support is vital, says Tammy Halevy, co-lead of Reimagine Main Street. Passing the American Jobs Plan, Biden’s nearly $2 trillion plan to shore up the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and boost green jobs, would be a start, adds Halevy. Additionally, it would be helpful to offer new grant programs and to “push the [Small Business Administration] to process forgiveness applications faster” to Black and Brown business owners, who need help accessing capital.

But you can’t just rely on the government for help, says Richmond. It is important for all small-business communities to help one another. Yes, you need to focus on supply chains and other internal matters. However, intentionally supporting other ancillary businesses, such as law firms, accountants, and even the local car wash, is an important step in getting minority communities as a whole back in business.

3. Demand greater access to capital.

For many minority-owned small businesses, federal relief was not accessible throughout the pandemic, says Chiling Tong, president and CEO of Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce. “Sixty percent of AAPI businesses, who did not apply for federal relief, did not apply because they did not think they were eligible for relief.”

Tong notes that a lack of awareness was a problem. But also, she adds: There was a potential language barrier. She says that information regarding some federal aid programs was not translated into other languages, at least initially.

These technical disadvantages pervaded long before the pandemic, she adds. The government at all levels needs to partner with various chambers of commerce to disband technical disadvantages these communities face, making sure they have the capability to apply for and maintain the same access to capital that other businesses have, says Tong.

Through investments targeted toward an inclusive recovery, vaccine incentives, and expanding access to capital, small businesses will thrive, says Richmond, and “as [small businesses] succeed and flourish, we know that the economy and the country will do the same.”

By Alicia Doniger

Source: 3 Ways to Get Minority-Led Small Businesses Back to Business | Inc.com

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Critics:

Marketing plan

  • Market research – To produce a marketing plan for small businesses, research needs to be done on similar businesses, which should include desk research (done online or with directories) and field research. This gives an insight into the target group’s behavior and shopping patterns. Analyzing the competitor’s marketing strategies makes it easier for small businesses to gain market share.
  • Marketing mix – Marketing mix is a crucial factor for any business to be successful. Especially for a small business, examining a competitor’s marketing mix can be very helpful. An appropriate market mix, which uses different types of marketing, can help to boost sales.
  • Product life cycle – After the launch of the business, crucial points of focus should be the growth phase (adding customers, adding products or services, and/or expanding to new markets) and working towards the maturity phase. Once the business reaches the maturity stage, an extension strategy should be in place. Re-launching is also an option at this stage. Pricing strategy should be flexible and based on the different stages of the product life cycle.
  • Promotion techniques – It is preferable to keep promotion expenses as low as possible. ‘Word of mouth’, ‘email marketing’, ‘print-ads’ in local newspapers, etc. can be effective.
  • Channels of distribution – Selecting an effective channel of distribution may reduce the promotional expenses as well as overall expenses for a small business.

References

Google Advertising Policy Opens Doors To Wider Bitcoin Community

The Google logo seen at the entrance to Google Cloud campus...

Google GOOG +1.5% is revising its advertising policy to let cryptocurrency wallets advertise with them, along with exchanges, starting August 3rd provided that they are either registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or a federal or state chartered bank entity. The new policy will apply globally to Google search and its third-party sites, including YouTube, Gmail, or Blogger..

The expanded policy comes three years after Google banned all crypto-related advertising in March 2018. However, Google walked-back the policy five months later, allowing regulated cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase to advertise in the United States and Japan in September 2018. While expanded to allow cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets to advertise, ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs), decentralized finance (DeFi) trading protocols, or promotions of specific cryptocurrencies are not permitted under the new policy.

It remains to be seen how this reversal in the policy will lead to a further loosening on other major advertising platforms that have placed restrictions on crypto firms. In 2018, Facebook banned all ads promoting cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and initial coin offerings.

A few months later, Facebook edited the policy to introduce an eligibility review process for those looking to advertise certain cryptocurrency products or services; applicants should submit any licenses, listings on public stock exchanges, or other relevant public background.

Twitter, similarly to Facebook and Google, prohibits the advertisement of initial coin offerings or crypto token sales but allows exchanges or wallet services provided by a publicly traded crypto company to advertise with them provided as long as they comply with local laws.

BY: Emily Mason

Source: Google Advertising Policy Opens Doors To Wider Bitcoin Community

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google, the world’s largest digital advertising seller, will let companies offering cryptocurrency wallets run ads beginning in August.

In 2018, Google barred ads for cryptocurrencies and related products, following a similar move from Facebook Inc. But Google soon peeled back that restriction for digital currency exchanges. Starting in August, Google will let wallets run ads on search, YouTube and other properties as long as they go through the company’s certification process.

Google is making the change “in order to better match existing FinCEN regulations and requirements,” a spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement.

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