William Heinecke is one of the richest persons in Thailand. He was born in Virginia, United States on June 4, 1949. He came to Thailand in 1963 following the re-assignment of his father, a marine who worked for the United States Information Services. Bill (William’s nickname) was sent to International School of Bangkok as a high school student.
What are the rich people’s secrets to success?
Be an entrepreneur. This is the suggestion of William. Entrepreneurship was not new to the young boy actually. As a school child in the United States, he put up a juice stand. In Kuala Lumpur where his father worked prior to settling in Bangkok, he helped run a cafe at the age of ten. Then in Bangkok, he earned his own money as student by writing and soliciting advertisements for Bangkok Post newspaper.
In 1967, instead of going to college, Bill shocked his parents by deciding to become a full time businessman. After borrowing US$1,200, (of course, that’s a huge amount during those days) he registered a cleaning business. Then he focused on advertising, a business which he knew very well from experience. In 1980, he entered the pizza business. Four years later, a luxury hotel was under his name. He did not stop there as he expanded into more businesses such as Mister Donut, Burger King, Swensen’s, Dairy Queen, The Coffee Club, and Bread Talk. More luxury hotels were built and luxury brand stores which included Esprit, Charles and Keith, and Bossini were franchized. All of his companies are now under a holding company called Minor International Plc, a public company listed on the Bangkok Stock Exchange.
Various estimates of his networth range from a low of US$1 billion to US$1.9 billion and he is listed as one of Thailand’s billionaires. More than 12,000 people, both in Thailand and overseas, are under his care as the Chief Executive Officer of the company.
In 1991, Bill became a naturalized Thai citizen. According to his book, The Entrepreneur, the first thing an entrepreneur can do is to find a vacuum (things that people need but not yet available) and fill it.
You can buy a copy of his book online below to know more about his exploits as an entrepreneur.
Related: Dhanin Chearavanont
See also: Richest People in Thailand