The entrepreneur graduated as a dental surgeon in 1996. His dental training instilled a crucial life skill in him: being analytical when solving problems. This helps enormously when you are managing different departments within an organisation. His knowledge in F&B was gleaned from his time as a franchisee earlier in his F&B journey, as well as learning from his peers and collecting daily experience on the ground. He also learnt valuable insight by listening to his team who are at the front of house, and just as importantly, by listening to his customers.
With his feet firmly planted on the ground and experience guiding him in the right direction, Goh also found inspiration and guidance in his admiration of Tony Fernandes, another Malaysian business magnate. “He [Tony] started a business model at a time where most business people thought it would be impossible to work and he built his business up and became a leader in the aviation industry,” says Goh. More importantly, adds Goh, Fernandes had done it by thinking out of the box, innovating with marketing strategies and business operations, inculcating team spirit and the all-important practice of listening to your team and to your customers.
Goh admires the Air Asia founder’s unflagging determination in the face of obstacles, and hopes to emulate those same traits of perseverance and persistence in his managing of Morganfields.
Doing well financially is a wonderful result of being successful in business, but Goh also believes that success means a leader must be able to create more leaders and inspire others to be leaders, especially within his group. He also wants the company to be the choice employer for would-be staff. Success also means responsibility, and a duty to give back to the community and to contribute to society, which aligns with his personal philosophy that success is also defined by having a good life filled with friends, family and quality personal time.
His leadership style is characterised by his willingness to listen properly to his team, whether they are at the front of house or in the back-end operations. He is receptive to new ideas from marketing to operations and he is not reluctant to learn from other successful business models. Being a good leader, he feels, also means a willingness to admit one’s mistakes and to take full responsibility for the team. “All the above, I think,” he shares, “inspires my team to go the extra mile especially when the going gets tough.” The fact that his employees feel as if they are part of one big family rather than just mere staff, and believe that they are all together on the shared journey is also a key contributor to the group’s collective success.
Given his decades of experience, Goh has meaningful advice and insight for anyone wishing to make that journey as an entrepreneur and for those who wish to make the climb to true leadership. A good entrepreneur must have “commitment, determination, leadership, an obsession with opportunity, a tolerance of risk, creativity, adaptability, self-reliance and the motivation to excel, as well as humility,” he says.
And the advice he imparts to a young person looking to start their own business, is to “start with a plan, start modestly but think big and always surround yourself with the right people.”
This is sound advice from the man who loves what he is doing now and hopes that in a decade he will still be leading the company in a more strategic fashion. In time to come he also hopes to occupy the role of mentor to his flourishing teams.
Presently the group is 500-employees strong, with many staff expressing their pride that a Malaysian brand could achieve a presence regionally in the short span of four years, to the point where their reach encompasses 24 outlets. Goh has taught his team the importance of thinking out of the box, to be resourceful and innovative especially when there are challenges.