The Coffee Connoisseur

An excerpt from our new book, Born to be the Boss.

Learning from the bottom up, Jennifer confesses to having had to overcome challenges associated with growth and expansion and even says there were dark periods when it really was touch and go. All things considered, she is disarmingly frank and down-to-earth for someone who has achieved such success.

“Like for so many business owners, ours has not been an easy road,” admits Jennifer. “Frankly speaking, the period in which dramatic growth saw Caffé Habitū expand from one outlet to multiple stores was a time of great turmoil. We experienced great highs and lows, as well as a number of setbacks.”

One of the lowest points came when a commercial landlord decided not to renew Caffé Habitū’s lease in one of its most lucrative locations in Causeway Bay. “The landlord increased the rent and we were willing to pay. However, they decided not to lease us the space as they wished to house luxury brands in order to attract Chinese tourists.”

chp1This unexpected diversion hit the company’s financials hard. It was the sort of thing that would make any budding entrepreneur lose their nerve, but Jennifer courageously persisted even though the entire episode, which illustrates how Hong Kong businesses can often be at the mercy of landlords, proved emotionally stressful, frustrating and draining.

“Over the years, I have found that managing one’s emotions is a key element to success, as when things are not going well it is so easy to be derailed by them,” says Jennifer. “Admittedly, you cannot always control your reactions, but you can use them to help you make the right decisions.”

When negativity or loneliness ever sets in, Jennifer says she acknowledges her emotions and then tries to remind herself that she can get past them, stating, “You cannot always change conditions but you can change the way you deal with them. It is part and parcel of learning how to handle stressful situations in business and to adapt to the environment around you.”

This is where persistency and belief can pay off. Jennifer’s approach to overcoming setbacks is to focus on the positives. Once again, this requires an open mind, energy and an appetite for hard work, not to mention a willingness to explore new solutions and to push the boundaries.

This excerpt is one of six from our new “Born to be the Boss” book which is available here.

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“It is important to keep going even when things are not going well.”
Jennifer Liu, Founder of Sir Hudson International