Soegiandi, MM (MME SM 13) is one of the alumni of Master Management of Universitas Prasetiya Mulya who have successfully established entrepreneurial careers. In 2001 he started a game center business and that has since become a trend-setting success in Indonesia. Have a peek on his inspiring story, which he shared to the Alumni Network team of Prasetiya Mulya.
Earlier professional careers
Soegandi’s started his professional career by working in some big companies in Indonesia. An economic graduate, he has amassed enough experience in managing a few game centers since 1994. “I got involved in game centers right when they first came to Indonesia,” Soegandi said. Back then, the types of games in Indonesia were ones that still used joysticks, and were usually located in shops giving them some slummy impressions. By the end of 1994, Soegandi and his team turned a game center modern and located it in one of Jakarta’s shopping centers.
When the economic crisis struck in 1998, Soegiandi decided to take a master degree program in strategic management at from Prasetiya Mulya. Studying there improved the way he thought and saw things. He felt that he could then analyze the [game] industry with more clarity and ease, before deciding on strategies. “So, when facing bigger competitiors, I could analyze their weaknesses and strengths, and used the right strategies to fight them,” Soegiandi said.
The Beginning of Amazone Group
Soegiandi’s professional career and experience enabled him to see that many concepts could have been used in game center businesses but couldn’t. For example, he wanted to introduce the concept of one-stop entertainment services, but that couldn’t happen as it needed a big scale. Finally, by the end of 2001, he decided to start his own business, the Amazone Group, based on his professional experience and management knowledge from Universitas Prasetiya Mulya.
Working together with a big retailer in Indonesia, the group’s first outlet was open in Medan carrying the “Amazone” brand. Knowing that many big competitor had outlets in several big cities in Indonesia, the strategy Soegiandi selected was to introduce Amazone in small towns first. Some big retailers in Indonesia that did not have game centers were asked to work together as branding partners and to build portfolios. Two years later, Soegiandi brought in different thematic concepts--a different theme for a different game center outlet he opened. As the first game center business that used thematic concepts in Indonesia, Amazone earned him an award.
Soegiandi’s successful strategy made Amazone brand a trendsetter in the game center business. “In today’s game center trend setting, we are a leading player,” explained Soegiandi. Sometimes the Amazone Group’s innovation was copied by many of its competitors, for instance its thematic concept trademark. Despite that, the group has almost 80 one-stop entertainment centers under the brand of Amazone now, which were amazingly spread all over Indonesia, from Banda Aceh to Jayapura; all of them located in shopping centers.
Challenges in the Game Center Business
Of course, Soegiandi has faced many challenges in developing the Amazone Group. Tough competititon in the industry has meant that he must keep innovating to stay leading. The macroeconomic condition in Indonesia, which affects the people’s consumption, does affect the game center business, which concerns tertiary needs. “Fulfilment of the need for entertainment usually comes much later after satisfying the main needs such as food and clothes,” Soegiandi explained.
Moreover, changes of condition in the international economy, such as reflected in exchange rates, also carry their own risk. “We purchase game machines in dollars, but we make money in IDR,” Soegiandi added. Business condition nowadays has undergone a natural decrease, whereas costs do go up with inflation every year. Smart solutions are needed for businesses to survive such condition.
Differences in being Professional and being Entrepreneur
Anyone building a professional career, according to Soegiandi, a needs to specialize, sharpen the skills in one particular field, and become the best in it. To be a professional one can depend on education and learn from good companies that can support one’s career. On the other hand, entrepreneurship requires one to be generalist rather than specialist. “As generalists, we don’t need to be good at one specific field, as long as we understand it as a whole,” remarked Soegiandi. Besides that, he believes a business should not be run as trial and error; it needs thorough preparation and calculation.
Amazone Group has become leader in the game center business. However, as days go by, competitions happen not only within the industry, but also with other industries. For example, nowadays techonological advancement has allowed us to download online games for free. That’s why Soegiandi keeps innovationg; he is always on the search for new things in his business to bring sustainability through differentiation. “So, with the game center business character being like this, I still have to focus on preparing new strateges for the future of this business,” explained Soegiandi.