Have you ever been approached to invest in or manage an online operational business? have you thought about the challenges alongside it? Part-Owner & GM of Nogogo Online Groceries, Glenn Ball, speaks of his leap of faith.
The inception of Nogogo Online Groceries began in the winter of 2008 and is currently Guangdong based, with a main distribution warehouse and office in Shekou, Shenzhen, and a smaller office and dispatch center in Guangzhou which was launched before Glenn Ball started with the company in 2015. The online company offers a personalized service aimed at expats and families.
“I officially started as General Manager of Nogogo Online Groceries on August 10, 2015. I became part of the business after my current business partners approached me in the restaurant I was General Manager for at the time. They liked the way I worked and interacted with the staff. The journey began there,” said Glenn.
With over 25 years’ experience in F&B in four countries, Glenn was also a well-known Chef in Brisbane, Australia, for a period of time. He gained a wealth of experience with front of house operations and overseeing business operations within the retail industry.
I knew I was leaving my comfort zone taking on this role and that it may not work out for me, but I wanted to challenge myself and do something new within the industry.
“I was skeptical about the offer to join the business since it was just the second time I had met the owners. I explained I wanted to know more about Nogogo Online Groceries before I made any decisions. After seeing the process, a few days later we finalized the contract and conditions and I handed them a huge list of questions regarding information I thought was essential to know. I knew I was getting out of my comfort zone taking on this role and that it may not work out for me, but I wanted to challenge myself and do something new within the industry,” Glenn explained.
“Even though I have a lot of experience, what I do now at Nogogo has some relevance but much of the work has been a huge learning curve and I am still learning things about the business as it evolves,” he added.
It seems that leading a proactive lifestyle and immersing himself into his work are two of Glenn’s philosophies, vital for anyone running a business. He mentioned, “I live about three km from work and most days I will walk to work and think about how I can make overall improvements with the business.”
Glenn’s duties range from going to trade shows to meeting suppliers, carrying out the marketing and branding for Nogogo, writing the content and preparing products for promotion through media, to so much more.
“One key thing about having a business is having to always try to be one step ahead of your competition and keeping up with new trends and being able to capitalize upon it,” Glenn added, “we maintain consistency with our products and customer service care as this is crucial. As is insisting on developing ways to leverage your business and in what ways it can evolve and diversify, before using that to engage customers.”
“What’s great is that I get to learn constantly about this business and the industry we are in and how quickly the dynamics and parameters related to e-commerce keep changing and evolving. Of course, investing in a business also means you can essentially be your own boss!” he commented.
Admirably, Nogogo also collaborates with local charity fundraisers and organizations holding events in conjunction with ANZCOM, an Australian and New Zealand community group, founded by Glenn himself.
“Unfortunately, with the job also comes a fair amount of pressure, stress and some sleepless nights. I must admit, sometimes it’s difficult to switch off and stop thinking about the business and at times even my loved ones see this. Similarly, on occasion I won’t be able to have a day off for a while due to certain circumstances. However you have to remember that this is part and parcel for any business owner that operates a 365-day-a-year business,” said Glenn.
“Looking back on my journey with Nogogo, the one thing I would change would be to take more time to assess more thoroughly some business decisions we made when I first started with the company. It took me almost two years to be really able to understand the business and what our strengths and weaknesses are. This all comes down to experience within the role,” he continued.
Looking toward the future, within five years the company aims to have grown and expanded Nogogo Online Groceries into at least another two major cities, having diversified their business into related industries that complement them.
According to Glenn, “This is by far the most demanding and challenging position I have had in my career. I sacrificed a lot and actually moved backwards in my career to be able to go forwards in the long run. It has been highly rewarding. I love what I do, I am very fortunate and I try to remember this even on the bad days!”
He added, “I would say this is a result of working hard, believing in yourself and never giving up.”