“Why Don’t We Build Something Together?”
It was the early 2000s. The young and driven Adam Khoo, then an undergraduate at the NUS Business School, was conducting small ad hoc talks and trainings for students and companies. He knew what he wanted – to transform the lives of others by empowering them with his simple-yet-powerful success strategies. Yet as hard as he pushed himself, it was a one-man show, and Adam was reaching the limits of the number of people he could impact.
It was then that he met Patrick Cheo, his fellow school mate at the NUS Business School. At a young age, Patrick possessed a mind for business, and he admired Adam for his never-say-die spirit in making things happen. Recognising a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity, Patrick said to Adam one evening,
“Why don’t we build something together? If we can train people in your philosophy and techniques, we can help even more people.”
$8000, 1 Staff, and a Whole Lot of Passion
It was an instant click between the duo. They shared the same vision and passion and were determined to make things work. Yet luck was not on their side. Still undergraduates, they had no money, no contacts – just one great idea and their entrepreneurial spirits – but they figured that was enough. With much research and hard work, the Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group was founded in 2002, in a humble office with one admin staff and a telephone. They could not afford a training centre, and for 2 whole years, the training and talks had to be conducted at hotel seminar rooms.
“You Are Too Young.”
The first training programme created was Patterns of Excellence™ (POE™). It was a personal development programme built around Neuro-linguistic Programming™(NLP™), which was getting very popular in the States, and Adam wanted to share this set of amazing success conditioning techniques with Singaporeans. The first advertisement was put up in the newspapers, and much to the duo’s amazement, 106 people turned up for their first introductory seminar. Adam was elated and gave his best during his presentation.
Yet this happiness was short-lived – only one person signed up for the programme at the end of the 3-hour talk. “You are too young,” they remarked. “Local trainers are not convincing.” Indeed, Adam was only 28 and he was presenting to a crowd that was older than him on average, and there were virtually no local trainers in the personal development training scene at that time. Unwilling to let this setback deter him, Adam thought,
“I can’t control my age and race, so why blame myself?”
There Are No Failures, Only Learning Experiences
Determined to find out what went wrong, Adam personally rang up each person who turned up for the seminar and asked why they did not sign up for the programme. That was when he collected a load of useful feedback. The people had been intrigued by his presentation, but were unsure how they could apply NLP™ to their work.
Taking these into consideration, Adam changed his strategy. He rewrote the content of the seminar to make it more applicable and relevant to working professionals. And his efforts paid off. At the next seminar, 6 people signed up. By the time the first POE programme was run, there were 42 eager participants in the room. Testimonials came pouring in.
Having made a mark as one of the pioneers that spearheaded the public seminars training industry in Singapore, Adam and Patrick knew they could not remain stagnant. By that time, Adam had already made a name for himself amongst the Singaporean youth, riding on the success of his best-selling title “I Am Gifted, So Are You”. Their next step was to engage the youth training industry. That was when they came up with the radical idea of introducing the SuperKids™ programme to schools.
It was an idea that no one had dared to dream of, for a simple reason – no school would be willing to give up their precious curriculum time plus spend money on a 3-day camp for students – not in those days at the very least. Yet no mountain was too high for the duo to scale, and with a sincere proposal in hand and a willing heart, they travelled to various schools to speak to the principals. It was an offer with too much value to resist. There and then, Adam and Patrick knew they had created a new industry.
Leaps of Faith
By then, the business was expanding and the training intakes were growing. Yet the company still had no overheads, no training centre. Adam and Patrick were faced with an impending decision to make. Were they ready to make an investment on a training premise? Was their business stable enough? In their hearts, they knew the answer. Both men understood that for the business to reach greater heights, they had to take risks. A unanimous decision gave life to the first AKLTG headquarters and training centre at the ground floor of 10 Hoe Chiang Road, Keppel Towers, where many participants experienced their fondest life-transformational experiences.
Simultaneously, the duo took another leap of faith: To diversify the business. The Wealth Academy™ programme was developed to cater to POE graduates who were inspired and fired up, but lacked the financial know-how to manage and grow their money. The Outdoor Education branch was set up in the Youth Division to provide students with life skills other than academic mastery techniques. The company also engaged in partnerships with associate trainers to create a wider variety of programmes for its growing customer base.
While Adam worked day and night to enhance the quality and content of their programmes, Patrick tirelessly studied and developed systems to replicate and expand their training business. Patrick had the vision of bringing the business overseas. The seeds for AKLTG’s overseas expansion were sown when the first Malaysia subsidiary was set up in 2004. The overseas venture was not a walk in the park – some businesses ran smoothly, others posed real challenges. Yet, Patrick and his team relentlessly sought to perfect AKLTG’s strategy, listening to the customers’ needs and understanding the difference of each new market.
Their efforts were not in vain – the I Am Gifted!™ programme became an instant hit in Indonesia, garnering more than 100 sign ups at its first introductory seminar. From then on, it was a smooth sail and AKLTG’s training soared far and wide – touching the hearts of people in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India and the United Arab Emirates.
“Transforming Lives Everyday”
When Adam Khoo and Patrick Cheo co-founded AKLTG in 2002, never did they fully comprehend the enormous transformation it was to impact on their lives as well as the lives of thousands around the world. From the simple vision of bringing enrichment and empowerment to people, the modest company in the humble office has metamorphosed into a full-fledged training & education organisation with staff strength of over 100, providing cutting-edge learning programmes for people from all walks of life.
AKLTG has come far in our rocky journey to success. In the next 10 years, our challenges will be very different from what we have faced in the past. In order to touch the hearts of more people and adapt to their shifting needs, AKLTG will continuously enhance itself and innovate. Change is the only constant and we are ever ready to take on more challenges in the years to come. The future is uncertain, but one thing is for sure – we will always be at the forefront,