- In 2012, he lost almost 80% of the business and struggled to bring back revenue.
- ZY Phyto have created several millionaires entrepreneurs who started from zero.
When WargaBiz approached Zaidi Yusoff to feature him in the magazine, he was taken aback and jokingly said: “Why would you want to interview me?” I’m just a regular guy.” His playful and witty character broke the formality of the interview session and made it more enjoyable to get to know deeper about his business, ZY Phyto Holdings Sdn Bhd and some intimate stories of his life.
With the competition getting stiffer, Zaidi Yusoff the founder of a top OEM company, ZY Phyto decided that now is the right time for him to expose himself and let the public know who is ZY Phyto. Referring to his company as the “people behind the scene”, he believes that he needs to do something instantly to continue growing the company – and it involves a guerilla marketing strategy. Despite his humble personality, we were impressed to know that ZY Phyto has been manufactured hot-selling products for a few major players in the industry. They also have created several millionaires entrepreneurs who started from zero.
Electrical engineering guy who found love in creating herbal products
Zaidi Yusoff who hailed from Kota Bahru, Kelantan wasn’t exposed to business let alone how to manufacture products. He obtained his degree in Electronic Engineering from ITM Shah Alam in 1990. As a regular guy, he started his first job in the electronic field right upon graduated. “I was in the electronics industry for 10 years. Most of my experiences were as a production material planner.” Who knows, his experience as a production planner will be an added value for him in setting up a business.
ZY Phyto: When one door closes, another opens
The idea to start the business came naturally without he planned it. After quitting his job in the electrical engineering line, he was involved in multilevel marketing business (MLM). During that time, he was heavily exposed to health and beauty products. “I started to learn and love the herbal industry. I socialised with dieticians to learn more about it with a mission to create my product,” he said. Surprisingly, a friend of him approached and asked him to create a product. Without having a proper factory and equipment, he sealed the deal hoping that it would be a starting point. “I told myself that I’ll find a way no matter how. So I went to several government agencies to learn about herbal. Not long after that, I somehow managed to create a product.”
“For me, success is the ability to help people grow from nobody to somebody”
In the earliest day, ZY Phyto was fully operated in a small rented house with a few equipment due to very limited finance. “Renting a shop was so expensive. So the only option that I had was to rent a house and do my own setup like McGyver (laughs),” adding that he spent almost 2 years operating in a rented house. What fascinated us was he had no team during that time. He formulated, mixing, bottling and delivered the products – all by himself.
ZY Phyto started at the utmost right time
Zaidi was grateful to start the company at the most right time. Circa 2006-2007, natural products especially herbal-based were starting to grow. He could see that the industry would be booming in the next few years. He also emphasised that there were less Bumiputera manufacturers in the industry. After a few years in the industry, ZY Phyto is proud to call themselves as one of the pioneers in the industry.
Providing A-Z services
Asking what makes ZY Phyto Tech Industries different, he immediately replied “Are we different?” in a humorous tone. For Zaidi, he believes that their ability to provide all-in services adds more value to their company. “At ZY Phyto, we have an ecosystem. We are not only manufacturing products, but we control our supply chain too. We have a design team, chemist, fully equipped factories with printing facilities, bottling facilities and lab too. These are a few pointers that make us different.”
The struggle to build an empire
ZY Phyto proved that they were able to do anything even without any access to financial support. In 13 years, the company has grown into having five major facilities – cosmetics factory, printing factory, supplement factory and a new one is a food factory. “We barely had nothing when we first started the business. One thing that I want to share is we built the empire without depending on bank loan nor grant – all by cash.”
“Once we stop growing, the current will push us back”
In any business, there must be a challenging period and ZY Phyto couldn’t run from it. “2008 and 2012 were a challenging year for us. Due to some reasons, we lost almost 80% of our business and we struggled to bring back revenue. We lost our major customers that we helped build from the beginning. I believe, in any downs there must be ups, so we managed to survive during the critical time despite had to bear a great loss,” he said.
Successfully creating millionaires
ZY Phyto has plated their role in making young entrepreneurs millionaires. “We have created around 10 millionaires who started from nothing. We are the one who has been by their side since day one.” In comparing the market trend now and then, as an entrepreneur, he pointed out that many things have changed especially in term of marketing. “The major changes that I could see is the style of marketing. Previously, we relied on conventional marketing mechanism – newspapers, TV and radio. Now, everything can be done via digital marketing!” he further elaborated that previously, even having RM100,000 wasn’t enough to create a product but now entrepreneurs can customise their budget according to their preferences.
The future of ZY Phyto
For now, they are fully focusing on readjusting their compass. They are adding a new line under the business which is food manufacturing. “We are now producing fish skin snack and they are available in selected local hypermarkets. Due to the positive response, we decide to bring the cottage industry to the international level and we are trying to penetrate into the Brunei market.”
“Be thankful for all the hardships and experiences. They taught us to be stronger and shape us to be who we are today.”
As a great entrepreneur who has been long in the industry, we asked him for a piece of advice. He jokingly answered “I’m not really a good businessman. I don’t know how to give good advice,” he said in a modest tone. “For me, if you have a dream, just do it. Don’t hesitate to do it. If you want to wait until you have mastered all the skills, it will take forever to initiate the first step,” he ended.