“Having a good system, embracing technology, having a great team, and being prudent in spending is the key to building a strong business foundation.”
Possessing a regional presence with 14 offices in ten countries, AIMS has come a long way from its infancy back in 2006. As a specialist in immigrations, the company focuses on helping individuals and corporate professionals migrate and relocate to a destination of their choice — these include skilled migrants, business migration, investor migration, family visas, students’ education solutions, as well as corporate immigration and relocation.
Founded and owned by Elsie Liow, AIMS carves for itself a niche in the immigration sector. By partnering and engaging with locals, and amassing vast experience from dealing with numerous countries and thoroughly understanding their immigration policies, the company is able to distinguish itself from its industry peers, says the 40-year-old.
A second-time WEA award winner in less than three years, Liow is not one to rest on her laurels — she understands a lot more work has to be done to scale the business even further, and she is determined to increase AIMS’ presence in more countries around the world. To this end, she is steadfast in her journey, uncompromising in her ethics, and continuously find ways to overcome new market trends and challenges through brainstorming, embracing technology, and reviewing improvements from client experiences and feedback.
My partner, then-boyfriend and current husband, wanted to understand the kind of work I did as an employee, and during those times, he was very fascinated by how some foreigners came to Singapore, parked five million dollars into a policy, and obtained Singapore residence. Through his exposure in the finance industry and my exposure in immigration for more blue-collar workers, we decided to venture into our own business. We wanted to have a professional firm that offers these services ethically, and only accepts clients when they qualify.
Prudence, positivity, and perseverance. I continually broaden my vision, and quickly adapt in order to take the business to greater heights. But it’s also important to maintain stability while moving forward.
To be able to build and rebuild with a relentless attitude is what every budding aspiring entrepreneur must possess. Compartmentalise your emotions, find solutions to problems, and stay focused on efforts that increase the bottom line.
We are truly inclusive and enforce that like-minded people stick to our core values. We cannot choose our parents but we can choose our bosses, so if AIMS is not for you, then it’s probably time for you to move on. Part with a smile, and never forget to remind each other how to improve.
I start my day in the office at 8 am after dropping my son off at school, and I grab a quick breakfast. I enjoy the quiet part of the morning when the team is not yet in the office. By the time the teams come in at 9am, I go into short discussions with them. I usually grab a quick lunch in 15 minutes, thereafter I attend meetings on rebuilding and improving the CRM, and then have more meetings with my regional MDs as well as Consulting Directors. After 13 years of doing everything, the current team of managers have indeed helped me to offload a fair bit of my work. I now can focus on bigger things. After meetings, I either have a quiet dinner or go for a jog with my colleagues, then head back to the office for some time alone or to go through my emails, or simply have more conference calls with our overseas vendors or partners.
First is to wrap up our expansion plan in the Asia Pacific region, and continue to strengthen and systemise the company. After that, I’d like to take the company to IPO, perhaps some time in 2022.
I believe that “great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.” Having a dependable team has always been the key definition of a successful business; they are the core strength of the company. With people who are willing to take responsibilities, collaborate effectively and go above and beyond, we get tasks accomplished effectively and efficiently. This is one of the fundamental reasons behind our rapid growth. We take pride in our company’s values and commitment to give our clients more than what they expect by making every experience memorable and credible. At AIMS, we abide by our “PUSHED” values; Professionalism, Utmost Integrity, Sincerity, Human Touch, Empathy and Dedication. These values are not only ingrained in the company but are also extensively exemplified in each and every staff. It is this trust and mutual understanding between our clients and us that allow us to expand our global footprints to 14 offices across Asia Pacific.
I chose to reapply in WEA as I want to share that the WEA platform has allowed me to gain more brand exposure and collaboration opportunities. WEA is a great platform for women to showcase their capabilities and flaunt their strengths, which essentially opens up an entire new world of business opportunities. This incredible platform serves as an engaging platform where women can share their business resources and provide support to one another in their respective business initiatives. WEA is indeed a meaningful association as it provides motivation for other women who are starting to craft their own entrepreneurial journey to look up to exemplary figures.
Our business is vulnerable when it comes to legislation changes as they could be disadvantageous to us. Some of our competitors shuttered when Canada decided to close their immigration visa option. To prevent that from happening to us, we diversify our product range by ensuring different programmes are available for all the different markets we are in. In every business, there is always a bottleneck. We need to assume high risk to go beyond our comfort zone and have the courage to spend more money for expansion. Marketing and expansion always involve huge investments.
On a quarterly basis, the whole company is activated to do CSR activities such as cooking for the poor and needy. At our upcoming quarterly meeting, we would be delivering basic necessities to 2,500 poor families in Singapore.
I hardly get enough sleep, so I’d enjoy a good massage, and I love spending time with my family, especially my husband and my four beautiful toddlers. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey and I do not have much life as I am very focused, so outside of work I also try to catch up on sleep.
I believe when one starts a business, it’s really about the health of its cash flow. I only started to expand the business when I saw that the cash flow has gotten into a healthy zone. Of course after each expansion, our financial health takes a dip, and so does my knee. Having a good system, embracing technology, having a great team, and being prudent in spending is the key to building a strong business foundation.
Choose good people and set good values and principles. Have a good system in place.