As we sit down with Plan C ICT Sdn Bhd’s chief executive officer Edmond Panir Selvam, the first question that popped up is Why Plan C? Why not Plan A, B or D? “The candid answer is Brad Pitt has plan B, so we have to go by plan C,” says Edmond jokingly, him and his brother themselves being fans of the celebrated Hollywood actor.
“But the proper answer is we use the letter C to connote “communication” and it complements the company’s direction in the IT industry. The business is so diverse now, yet, communication is still a big part of it. So that’s the whole idea of Plan C.”
Edmond began his career in early 2000 when he joined a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company for about 9 years. Over the years, he grew from a normal customer service agent to become a team leader and eventually a manager. He then resigned and went to another company where he had the opportunity to form his own team. He took it boldly and set up a contact centre all by himself.
A candid opportunity to set Plan C ICT
It was in 2014 when acquaintances wanted to outsource their contact centre. “I was still full time employed and they were like ‘would you like to take up the opportunity?’ With all sorts of experiences working in this field, when the opportunity like this came, my brother and I were certain that we can run it as a business.”
“It’s true that our passion to grow a business triggered our decision to take up the opportunity. We thought that why don’t we start with something small and grow from that?” adding that his brother takes care of finance whilst he’s more focused on the execution of the operations and business as whole.
Achieve big things with a small team
Ultimately, it may have proven a wise decision. Throughout the operation, Plan C ICT grew rapidly and they switched from an enterprise to a private limited company. The startup that first started off with only 8 people now grew to have over 160 staff offering diverse services.
“We want to dream but we don’t want to dream too far”
Since 2014, Plan C ICT has been a provider of IT services, business process outsourcing, IT management services and recently they have expanded to the app and web development – servicing clients across the nation.
Talking about the key features that make the company stands out in the market, the 44-year-old CEO shares that Plan C is very focused on serving SMEs. Therefore, they are focusing on two factors; pricing and quality. “We have to complement their affordability. So, in term of pricing, we are quite competitive. Second is quality, and we take great pride in ensuring quality work is delivered.” Both these elements help Plan C ICT to secure a few huge clients like Tune Talk and National Cash Register Co to name a few.
Growing together with the team
Ever since he started the company, Edmond shares that he had experienced many ups and downs. The first 2 years saw more on loss. “Financials were a bit challenging. As a businessperson, I took a few personal loans, and we had some personal savings that went into the business. However, the company has continued to perform well economically.
“The last 2 years had been profitable. In 2019, our revenue was close to RM 12 million. For this year, despite the pandemic still happening, we have achieved our target for Q3,” he said.
One thing to note is, Edmond keeps on emphasising how blessed he is to have a great team in supporting the business. For him, the team that he currently has have helped in growing the business.
Asked about the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the business, Edmond is fortunate enough to have an exit plan when dealing with emergencies. “Before the pandemic, we always talk about how we need to have finances that can sustain us for the next year and we need to be ready for any circumstances.”
More projects coming in
Plan C ICT is constantly looking at innovating. In fact, they are in the process of creating their own products – one of them is customer relationship management solution and it should be ready in the Q3. The company is producing a system that is aimed to be affordable and customisable according to the clients’ needs.
He also talks about developing startups. “We have a project that we think will bring in more business for us. The startup is currently in progress and we are looking to launch it in Q3.”
Edmond believes that as a businessman, you can’t depend on one side of the business alone. “You need to be constantly thinking about how to grow and diversify the business. So, whenever opportunity you see out there is related and you feel like you can do it, go for it” he says.
“The best piece of business advice I could give is to do your research before you get into any business. Confidence is the key, but don’t be overconfident. That’s an important learning in my experience thus far.”
“Long term goals are nicer to have but it’s not a need to have. Focus on creating and achieving short term goals”
“I believe that if you want to run a business, go for it. Don’t be afraid to commit to a business decision. However, make sure you always have a backup plan in case something challenging comes up.”