Car firm boss shifts gears on money

Car firm boss shifts gears on money

A few years ago, it wouldn't be unusual to find Ms Valerie Tan shopping in high-end stores, driving flashy sports cars and living the high life in general.

Entrepreneur turns 4-car business into car empire

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    A few years ago, it wouldn't be unusual to find Ms Valerie Tan shopping in high-end stores, driving flashy sports cars and living the high life in general.

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    While fast cars are still a favourite of hers, the 39-year-old entrepreneur now takes a more austere approach towards her finances.

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    "I used to be a spendthrift... But now, I always tell my two girls that shopping is restricted to window shopping and we have to save money.

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    "Financially, we're quite comfortable but I think it's important to teach them the value of a dollar. They need to know money doesn't come easy and if they want to spend it, they have to work for it."

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    Her financial situation now is a far cry from what she went through as a child. Growing up in a single-parent household, Ms Tan was always aware of how tight the family's finances were.

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    Fuelled by an urge to find a better way to support her family, she started a used car business at 21, with start-up capital of $100,000.

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    "I remember competitors coming up to me and telling me I wouldn't survive. I had only four very old cars at that time and I was up against other firms that had 50 cars.

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    "I also had staff who left me because they didn't believe my business would make it. I don't blame them, there were times I didn't think I would make it either but I still stuck with it."

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    Starting off with just four used cars in 1996, Ms Tan has grown her firm Pinnacle International, expanding the business into car workshop maintenance, vehicle export and the sale of new and used cars.

While fast cars are still a favourite of hers, the 39-year-old entrepreneur now takes a more austere approach towards her finances.

"I used to be a spendthrift... But now, I always tell my two girls that shopping is restricted to window shopping and we have to save money.

"Financially, we're quite comfortable but I think it's important to teach them the value of a dollar. They need to know money doesn't come easy and if they want to spend it, they have to work for it."

Her financial situation now is a far cry from what she went through as a child. Growing up in a single-parent household, Ms Tan was always aware of how tight the family's finances were.

Fuelled by an urge to find a better way to support her family, she started a used car business at 21, with start-up capital of $100,000.

"It was a rough start... because of the limited capital, we didn't have many cars to sell.

"I remember competitors coming up to me and telling me I wouldn't survive. I had only four very old cars at that time and I was up against other firms that had 50 cars.

"I also had staff who left me because they didn't believe my business would make it. I don't blame them, there were times I didn't think I would make it either but I still stuck with it."

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