Paddy Tan
3 min readJan 6, 2020


How to be THE business founder

I am a strong believer in having a face to face meetings with clients, partners, and associates and usually, in these gatherings, you get to understand what they need, the challenges that they face, and how everyone can help each other too over time too.

However, it is getting more common these days where you see new folks not knowing what to say or behave in such settings. It is like they do not know what is required of them, lack social etiquette on what to talk about, how to express themselves, and likely all these due to minimum interactions with business people.

I came to the conclusion that since the birth of the Internet and adoption of smart devices, with more people interacting with each other almost instantly via Telegram, Zoom or Slack, we minimize actual face to face interactions and some may have just lost the ability (or never even been exposed to) on how to behave or react when put them into a physical gathering.

This is a bigger problem if you are going to be a founder of a new business or startup where you need to know how to pitch, close a deal, identify co-founders, hire staff and plenty of things that will help you make it in the hyper-competitive business environment.

BlackStorm Consulting (Singapore)

Being an investor and owners of a few businesses myself, with the latest one, BlackStorm, a consultancy firm that assists founders to scale their businesses into South East Asia markets, there are some fundamentals that many of these owners should pick up on how to communicate better, behave confidently, position themselves in a tech event, put themselves out there and not hide behind the fact that they are ‘Engineers’, ‘Technical trained’ or never has the need to talk to ‘Non-tech’ people, to name a few common excuses.

Having seen more than my fair share of new business owners who do not know what to do in a social setting, standing there awkwardly holding that glass of Coke not knowing how to react at all. Even a self-introduction, handshake, topic to build interests amongst the groups of people will usually fail miserably. After a few tries, many will just leave the event quietly missing out on many great opportunities to help grow their contacts and business.

I hope to demystify this ‘fear’ of many Tech Guys that it is very difficult to get out of their mancave and interact with others with some sharing of the personal notes over time, which I recorded myself over the years, prior to becoming a ‘Businessman’.

Why personal note? Because the Internet was not available when I was less than 10 years old (Born 1975) and I just keep updating those lessons to keep it relevant till today.

So what’s next? I am just going to clean up those notes and kick start by sharing over here in Medium starting from something very basic from a handshake to getting into the heads of an investor for them to come to chase after you then you going after them for the money.

  1. HELLO

The first impression counts and that means making contact with some folks in an event that you be meeting with a firm handshake, that you are confident and assertive.

Someone that knows what is going on, and can be counted on to work with and rely on.

  • Make direct eye contact
  • Put a step forward, bend your body and tilt your head in front
  • Stretch out your right arm and offer your hand with your palm facing sideways (Make sure that your hand is not wet)
  • Smile
  • Say ‘Hello’
  • Give a firm shake with the web of your hand wraps around the other party’s. Hold onto the handshake for a few seconds to get his full attention
  • With the other available hand, briefly touch the other person’s elbow to show sincerity and warmth.
  • “How are you?” etc
  • While breaking away from the handshake, continue to maintain eye contact and that smile