Just like the beginning of any other entrepreneur’s bio, Pham Thanh Tuan was never satisfied working as a Marketing Director with a 10,000,000 VND (about US$500) monthly salary.
Armed with a business plan , he decided to quit his job, leaving his friends and family asking why he chose to leave the comforts of corporate life.
Determined to succeed with his first venture, he invested his savings worth 27,000,000 VND (about US $1,300) and set off for Danang, Central Vietnam, to learn how to make bread. He tried to learn the recipe and technique from Mrs. Lan, whose famous bread store in Le Duan street has been around for 20 years.
“At first, they didn’t want to teach me, and even refused my offer to buy their recipe because I am not part of the family,” he recalls. Fortunately, he was there during Danang’s Fireworks Festival and he took advantage of the event to launch his new business. He rented a place, designed the vendors’ uniforms and practically did everything. Although he suffered a loss of some 6,000,000 VND (about US$300) during this first attempt, he took the incident as a lesson.
Today, Pham’s chain of stores selling “Banh mi ti hon”, or mini bread, is a hit, with each vendor selling around 200,000 dong (US$10) a day. He takes home around 60,000,000 VND (US$3,000) monthly, sticking true to his own adage that earning little by little is easier than chasing after the big bucks.
Through the support of another successful businessman whose name he can’t reveal at the moment, Pham seeks to have 10 vendors selling mini bread around Ho Chi Minh City within the year, earning 200 to 500 million VND (about US$10,000) a month. He sees his business as a reflection of how he thinks as he makes his way towards financial freedom.
When he’s not busy making bread, Pham takes everything in stride, jogging early in the morning and walking by the beach at night, reflecting on how to find that certain balance in life. He takes inspiration from Dang Le Nguyen Vu, the Chairman of Trung Nguyen Corporation, Vietnam’s biggest coffee company. This photography and calligraphy enthusiast also considers Google as his “greatest teacher.” Well, nowadays, who doesn’t?