Ep455: Chatchai Unrasmeewong – A Shareholder’s Agreement Will Save Your Partnership

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Quick take

BIO: Chatchai Unrasmeewong is a financial advisor at FINLAB, a financial advisor group that helps clients reach their financial goals.

STORY: Being a board game enthusiast, Chatchai decided to partner with a friend and open a board game cafe when he was in university. His target was students at local universities, so he picked a location next to one of the universities. The cafe did well but after one month schools went for a 3-month holiday break and the business could not withstand such a long break.

LEARNING: Always sign a shareholder’s agreement when getting into a business partnership. Research your market thoroughly before launching your business.


“Spend enough time studying the market if you want to run a successful business.”

Chatchai Unrasmeewong


Guest profile

Chatchai Unrasmeewong is a financial advisor at FINLAB, a financial advisor group that helps clients reach their financial goals.

He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Thailand’s Kasetsart University. For two years after graduation, he worked as an assistant to the president of a private company. Then he pivoted to pursue his dream job of being a flight attendant. At that time, he also started his first business, which was a board game cafe.

His passion is to apply his experience from past careers, knowledge, and abilities to advise people to understand their finances of life and achieve their financial goals.

Worst investment ever

Chatchai has always been very passionate about board games, and when he was in university, he decided to make money out of this hobby. He approached a good friend and asked him to partner with him and open a board game cafe. Chatchai borrowed about $2,000 from his mom to fund the partnership.

Chatchai did some market research for a month and found a location near a university that he felt would be perfect for the cafe because he wanted to target students. The first month of business was great, and the students loved the cafe. Schools were then closed for three months, and it was a struggle. When schools reopened, Chatchai had to market the cafe all over again, and it was a struggle for him to keep the business afloat. His business partner had gotten a full-time job, so he wasn’t helping much.

After a few months, Chatchai’s business partner suggested closing the business because they were making losses. Chatchai agreed, albeit reluctantly.

Lessons learned

  • Do thorough market research to understand the market first before you launch your business.
  • Have a shareholder’s agreement, especially when partnering with friends.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • There’s nothing wrong with writing down a shareholder’s agreement between partners and agreeing upon what to do should something happen to one of the partners, as well as your plan for your shares.
  • When opening a retail business, choose your location wisely because it could make or break your business.

Actionable advice

Before you make any investment, you need to spend enough time studying the market because you won’t run a successful business without that knowledge.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Chatchai’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to use his knowledge to educate and encourage other entrepreneurs.

Parting words


“Learn from our worst investment mistakes, and you’re going to be better.”

Chatchai Unrasmeewong


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community we know that to win in investing you must take risk but to win big you've got to reduce it to join our community go to my worst investment ever.com and receive the risk reduction checklist I created from the lessons I've learned from all my guests and get my weekly email to help you increase your investment return also in the community you can get a super special podcast listener discount on my six week valuation masterclass boot camp. This boot camp is for those who want to learn exactly how to value companies and like a pro and advance their career in finance go to my worst investment ever.com now to join our community for free followers tigers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests. Chat Chai oon razza. Me Wong, Chai Are you ready to rock?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 01:02
Yeah, already? Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 01:04
You know, when I came to Thailand, I realize many years ago, I came to Thailand in 1992 Thai people have such long names, that every Thai person has a nickname. So tell the audience your nickname.

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 01:20
Yeah. Good morning, everyone. My full name is their own resume is very hard, very hard to call in for the internationally so but you can call me In short, fair, my name Nick my sphere. Yeah, that's

Andrew Stotz 01:36
a great, that's a great name. And, you know, I think a lot of the nicknames in Thailand are quite fun. My one of my best friends in Thailand. He was so good in Excel. And over his years of working with me, he's my business partner. so on, that he named his son, his nickname for his son is Excel, Excel. So a little story about nicknames. So I want to introduce you to the audience. So ladies and gentlemen, Chai Chai is a financial advisor in fin lab, which is a financial advisor group that helps clients reach their financial goals. Yeah, he has a bachelor's degree in finance from Thailand, because said sod University. And for two years after graduation, he worked as an assistant to the president of a private company, then he pivoted to pursue his dream job of being a flight attendant. At that time, he also started his first business, which was a board game cafe. He has a passion. And his passion is to apply his experience from past careers, his knowledge, and his abilities, to advise people to understand their financial life and achieve their financial goals. Church, I take a minute and affiliate for the tidbits about your life.

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 02:56
Yeah. As you heard from Mr. Andrew Stotz, I'm graduated and graduate from society diversity in our interview of finance, and after that, I will, as a assistant to the president of the one of the private company, and that is the place very, very good place to, to study and to, to gain experience and work and to gain more are very, very, very important. Investment feel, because after my graduation for two years, it's very good place for for newbie in, in the in the working life,

Andrew Stotz 03:32
right? And maybe you can tell us a little bit about what you do at fin lab and like, how, what do you see when you see the customers or the clients or the people that come, you know, in Thailand to fin lab, and just that you experience? What are the troubles that they're facing? And how do you help them?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 03:51
Yep. In Thailand, are they there is a few people that understand financial goals. And I think they want to plan their financial goal, but they don't know how to start. And they don't know how to get the asset, and how to invest and how to protect that. The future, something like that, but they want but they don't have something like that. They got the problem that they don't have enough money. But the money is not the point. I think if you don't have the money, you need to plan. Yeah. And so in tight in Thailand, just 30% that people know about the financial. And is I think my strong point is the I graduate from the financial, financial, financial faculty. That's why I know, I know earlier. I know I know before them that's why I think I want to bring my knowledge to To give to the people as much as I can in Thailand

Andrew Stotz 05:04
fantastic. Yeah, I know there's a lot of young people they want to invest. Yeah, but they don't have the knowledge some of them they rely on the wrong people and they get ripped off or they lose their money yeah and some of them just get sold a lot of products that create high priced products yeah and and then they just bounce around unfortunately and they never I've seen this in Thailand I've seen this around Asia in particular that it's really a challenge so I think what you're doing is a great service to try to help guide people you know to build their own financial independence so that's great. Yes, well, now it's time to share your worst investment ever and since no one goes into their worst investment thinking take a little bit of time to tell us about the circumstances leading up to your story and then tell us how it went

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 05:58
yeah I want to share that my hobby my favorite hobby is the board game I am I'm very very lucky in in board game I I played board games when I was young since I just three years old and when I grow up I when I when I when I did study in the university I have some friends I have the group that played a board game with me so I'm I'm loving it very much because I because what game can can teach me anything can can teach me how how to how to manage to resource and how to win and how to how to last yeah and so I'm very very loving board game and they have been the the atmosphere in in in the in the cafe. So I can say that my game is my passionate and I want to gain more return and more income from the one that is very patient on it. So I I try to I try to talk with my with my university friend that very close very very close to me and I in in white invite him to invite him to invest together with me to be the partner please something like a 5050 share something like that and be because in his home there was many many board game so we so we if if we would like to start we don't need to invest much because we already have the resource yeah so I think we can we can just walk around and to find a place to to find a good place to rent or to buy something like that and to and to start the cafe but and on that time I don't have any more any much money any much money and so I I come to talk to my manager to something borrow borrow her money about 70,000 bucks is is is same as the same thing 3000

Andrew Stotz 08:09
roughly 2000 us a little bit yeah do that yeah yes dollars that's a lot of money.

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 08:14
Yeah, it's a lot of money for for for the 25 years old guys in in Thailand and but I live in board game and I want to try on this so i i i came to talk with my friend to be the partner and I borrow my money from my mother and they just walk around walk around that wall where where where can they rent this space where can I rent a spare to to put the table to put the table is Rob three feet three feet long and the table at three feet long and around five to six tables just put in it and we already have two board games that's why I want to try on this and looking for the players that need to be close to the university and is under under school because from my experience when when they play board games with my with my friends in the cafe I need to go to to the place that arou the next to the dude next to the university so I have the idea that oh if I want to invest if I want to be the board game cafe owner I need to organ the board game cafe around the university something like that.

Andrew Stotz 09:37
So was it difficult to find a location

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 09:41
are a bit difficult because the big university in Thailand there there were many boardgame cafe already so I need to I need to go to the second tier of the of the university that not big enough that that does that the students It's not it's not it's not more and more so I need to go to the second tier that school are smaller smaller than the university that I I study yeah

Andrew Stotz 10:13
so then it was you your plan then had to change a little bit because you maybe weren't going to get as many students or what was it like once you went to the second tier or to that location

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 10:26
yeah smaller or something like that

Andrew Stotz 10:28
then were you able to set up the location and get it going?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 10:33
Yeah, I already got the place I already got the place and they signed a contract around one one year contract let's say took 12 months and they need to pay in advance around three months deposit something like that and but when I sign a contract I check the information I I stay around there for for one month to shake the how many people around there how many students are out there and after an after the after the that's true time that university time what where they go and what they and what they did after after the study time so I tried to study I I try to I try to talk with them out after after your school day what you're going to do something like that and i think i think it's it's very quite challenging with me because the smallest I have the the university and nature of the people are out there after the after this to live and after their working day they come back to their home and to to be to spend that time with or not to hoppy so i i think it's very challenged to me to to persuade them to to to be to bring them to be my my customer to to join the board game cafe so i think i think i think it's very challenged

Andrew Stotz 12:08
and you did this let's call it market research. Yeah market research before after you sign the contract

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 12:15
Yeah, I yeah, I did it but just only one month hmm yeah, I joined a cafe abroad I sit in the restaurant and see the people and talk to them. Yeah, and they do the I did my research for for one month

Andrew Stotz 12:34
so then what happened

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 12:37
after my market research I think I can I can do this because that there was no board game cafe right and so i think i if i if i if i want to invest if I want to go I think maybe I'm the first one I am the first one I I can take the the top of the cake or something like that.

Andrew Stotz 13:01
Right? And so you started and then what happened? Yeah,

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 13:05
after after my first deficit and first initial investment in in the route in in the first month I think it's very very quite interest interesting to me because the student very excited because there was no good board game cafe Raja and many many students come to my cafe and it's very peaceful in the first month, which is very very big food off the table and yeah, I am very try have a really tight because I I can a need to operate by myself first. And my partner, my friend. He got a job already. He got a permanent job eight to five. That's why he cannot he cannot take at the cafe much. So I need to be the one rude. Boo would take care on either coffee. And the first one is very big. But the second man is the nightmare. What? Yeah, because on the graduation, the semester, the semester period, when I sign a contract in Thailand, the semester period is going to be taken off for months. But when I started the contract, the time already passed for two months. For the first month I peek and and they say can man that would be the last month of the semester, the student need to study more and more after that school, like they need to come back to their home and study to read a book to reveal the lessons something like that. So it's very hard to to to go to board game and to spend that time and yeah, that they can It's my nightmare and it's very goal very very to the to the worst because after after the semester is a holiday right and the holiday is going to be taken out three months wow it's like the winter for me so the the summer come in for the first month and the fall the fall come to the third come to the second month of May and the next treatment is really worse for me it's like the winter that's why whoa How can I survive on on this because I just can the income there's only first month is very paid to me and after that oh I How can I survive because my my major my major clients my major customer are they didn't go to the university and to spend time around that they just come back to their home and to stay in their home so I oh three months is very very long but I try to be online to post to post your Facebook to to to broadcast to to sponsor the Facebook to launch the project on Facebook to invite the people that that didn't stay around there to joy to be my customer from there another another place and to the next area something like that because the student already caught on and tried to be on the Facebook and to pause and to bring the promotion but you know it's very very tough to me because it's winter and I didn't spare my my my food enough

Andrew Stotz 16:39
Hmm So how long did you last what happened in the end?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 16:44
Yeah, ah and I can stay for for three months after that that would be my my fifth month rice and after after the semester end the semester come to start again and oh and spring come back to me spring come back to me but it's quite hard for me as well because I I need to I need to I need to go to the to do the physical advertisement to bring to bring the customer and to bring their student and to bring the one who want to play the board game to come back to me after after the semester and when does the minister start the sub i feel that they enjoy they enjoy on the on the new new class and everything like that but oh okay it's fine but I think it's when the people come back again I go to do the physical Li advertisement to go to the intersection something like that and to to to to give to give the flyer as much as as many as I can to to to notice them that oh the boardgame cafe come back and you already come back the boardgame cafe come back and you you can you can enjoy your time after you used to yeah and yeah very very it's very quite interesting to me to to to come back to to your to the university

Andrew Stotz 18:17
and what happened when when was the moment that you knew you had to let it go

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 18:25
first I I try to find as as strong as I can as many many as I can I I tried to go to to the intersection and and to get the flyer right and I try very hard to bring back come back again but it's five months and this Pete will do one month and my partner my partner that already got the job they come to talk they came to talk he came to talk to me that oh where are you? I saw you very try because and I didn't support you enough and but I I know that you you do try very hard to to to bring the customer back to the to the cafe again but I think it's time it's time to something like stop loss something like something like two because I I can I can share more time with you because I I already got a job and I need to come back to an after my after his working working time but work working period he cannot afford any more something like that he need to come back to the home and to read something like that. And

Andrew Stotz 19:40
how did you feel when he said that? Do you feel relieved like okay you write or did you say no no, we can fight?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 19:47
No, no, no, no, I think I think we can fight because it's just five months. I believe that five months is too short, too long. Something like that. And in the shareholders is 50 feet. Right. Yep. Yeah, it is 5050. But in fact, he got he, he has to go friend. And, and the girlfriend, his girlfriend come to talk to me and maybe when we have the meeting on our new meeting, she always joy and I think it is. It's good that we got more often from the lady. Yeah, and maybe in more detail, something like that, but in fact 5050 but wow, when we start the meeting, and when we want something is three people. So my voice just 33% right. Yeah. And another 66% is belong to my friend and, and his girlfriend, but I, I first I feel okay, because actually, the girl, she was my friend as well. But when we work together, I think my wife is less so when, when another 66% come to talk to me to stop. I I cannot say anything more, because my wife is the Yeah, it is smaller than them.

Andrew Stotz 21:16
So how would you describe the lessons that you learn from this? Yeah, no, this is important, because there's a lot of people in Thailand that want to set up the cafe, the coffee shop, the board, you know, game cafe. It's a dream bakery. Yeah. You said it's it's much harder than what people think. What lessons did you learn?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 21:36
Yep. Oh, the lesson that I learned is, I think you need to make sure to make sure that you are information you got before you investment is very, very important. I think for, I did the market reserve for one month? I think first I think it's enough. But actually, it's not. It's very good. I think it's very, very big gap that i think i think i need to I need to spend more time before in resonators, maybe three, three months or six months to to study more to, to know the people more and to gain more information before I make a decision to to sign a contract to rent the to rent space. Because the space contract is very, very long for me because it's 12 months, but I did the market research just one month and they cannot calculate anything more precise. And, and the then a natural part is I think, the shareholder. The shareholder benefit, you need to you need to sign a contract something like that. Because you cannot believe that Oh, is my friend. And we believe in each other too. And we cannot. We don't need to say anything. But after his girlfriend bottom up, I think the contract is very crucial given We are the friend. Yep. Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 23:19
Um, so maybe I'll share a couple of things. From what I learned. I wrote down a lot of notes from that. And there's a few things. First of all, I want to congratulate you on doing some research. Any people who set up this type of business do no research. Yeah, they just find a location and then they just start. And the lesson that you taught us, I think for everybody listening is that do more research than you think. Yes. And you know, the idea is like, when you want to buy a house, go there at nighttime, go there when it's raining, you know, see if it's getting, you know, easy. If you really want to be successful, you got to do a lot of research. And also, you know, I set up a company together with my best friend in Thailand in 1995. And he and I now I've known each other for about 40 years. We knew each other when we were young. And we set up that business 5050 also in Thailand, he came to Thailand to live and run the business. And now it's 26 years later, and he's still running the business while and we never really had any other major shareholders we have, you know, some friends and family and stuff like that. But he and I always, you know, kept the relationship. And I think what I learned as a shareholder that was not I wasn't employed by the company, the company called coffee works my coffee business in Thailand. But I always knew that as the outside shareholder is better is not it's not good for me to push him too hard. It's my job to give him some advice. Not to push too hard, because I don't know all the things that he's dealing with. And it sounds like your friend is actually pretty good. Because just the fact that your friend came and said he saw that you were working so hard. Yeah, he recognized that sometimes people just get mad in this type of situation. But I think, you know, my best friend Dale and I have managed to have this friendship and this ownership in the business. But I think the point that you make is a shareholder agreement. And it's a critical point. And nothing wrong with writing down an agreement between you and even in our case, what we wanted to also agree upon is that as the business now got bigger, what happens if something happened to one of us? What's our plan for our share? Yeah, yeah, and so that type of thing we can put into the shareholder agreement and we don't need a lot of lawyers or anything like that we can just say, this is what we want and agree upon it. And believe in our case is a little different because let's say our families are in the US and we're in Thailand. You know, a lot of times if something happens to somebody, their ownership or their shares would go maybe to their family we agreed that our shares would go to the other person between the two of us if something happened to us so I think that that's the second thing is this making it clear amongst shareholders

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 26:29
Yeah, you know, I

Andrew Stotz 26:30
think that that's that's a major thing there's a there's a third thing that I just want to mention and I think you know, you did a pretty good job of doing some research I've seen a lot of cases and I see it particularly in the coffee industry where people say that they're going to set up a coffee shop and I asked them because they want us to supply them with the machine and the coffee Yeah, we asked him where is your coffee shop? He said well my uncle has other massah Yeah, my uncle has a building and we're gonna do it in there and I just know that it's gonna fail in most cases because location is so critical. Yeah, location is critical. And so I think the lesson you know, in this case you already had to go down to you know, the second tier location you talked about Yeah, but I think you know, I just want to reiterate to everybody listening that when you're looking at doing any type of retail thing you really really really need to do that research and particularly look at the location don't get tied into any one location is there anything that you would add to that my takeaways

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 27:36
gotten back my I just want to share something that after the separation my partner he saw all the board game out a very very surprised that Oh, why are you so what why you sold the board game because my fault I cannot I cannot operate the cafe good enough and I'm very feel guilty because we were laughing board game board of us learning board game very much and and invite him to invest and to open the board game cafe and something like we collapse and after our separation you saw the board game oh and feel guilty because he needs to so the the the one that he loves and these are and right now I think four I just checked out the the boardgame half a foot for three to four years something like that and a high IQ came to talk to him that or am I the one of the reason that you need to sort of what came out when and he he answered me that all you need to worry if it's not about you is not it is not about you. I just want to solve it now because I'm sick of it something like that. And yeah, yeah. Yeah, yes. But I do feel guilty as you should really.

Andrew Stotz 29:06
Yeah, well, maybe he just needed to get away from it and start a new chapter in his life. So based upon what you learn from this story and what you continue to learn in your life, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 29:22
Yeah, I think investment in anything is very, very good. And very, very important on this time and for the and for the future as well. But before you do any investment, you need to spend more time to study more and more because you cannot, you can gain the benefit and the income as much as the knowledge that you have. Great great and I've been in in an auto site. If you want to invest, if you want to invest and You make sure you can go. But if you unsure and if you feel unsecure, but you still want to invest, you should not lend or borrow the money. Because on for my experience, the good, the good side is I borrow but I, I borrow for my mom that she didn't charge me any interest. But if you go to the bank, if you go to maybe the loan loan or something like that, you need to pay the interest.

Andrew Stotz 30:31
Yep. Alright, last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 30:37
Yeah, for my next 12 month goal is the two I think I want to, I want to plan the financial goals. For my experience, from my knowledge, I want to bring my knowledge to bring my ability to be by experience to the, to the people, and to then to protect them and to and to guide them and to maybe to sit around them to, to share to share him up to share them up as much as I can. Because at the initiation in Thailand is very, very hard and depressed. I want to I want to talk to the people to share them that to talk to them that is every people all people meet this situation but I want to be the one to to sit around them to to to talk to them that I think is going to be better than after the COVID-19

Andrew Stotz 31:46
great and that's part of what you're doing here on the podcast. Yeah mother my mother said in the past that tough times never last while tough people do huh yeah, so let's make sure that we're tough.

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 32:03
Yeah, this is gonna be better hear

Andrew Stotz 32:07
well listeners there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener reduce risk and increase return in your life to achieve this. I've created our community at my worst investment ever.com so join and get that special discount to my six week valuation masterclass boot camp. As we conclude fair, I want to thank you again for coming on the show and on behalf he starts Academy I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 32:43
I'm sorry, I can't do this.

Andrew Stotz 32:45
What would you say to the audience?

Chatchai Unrasmeewong 32:47
Yeah, I think is this my worst investment ever? And I knew you already got my experience. And I think you can learn from this and you're going to be better.

Andrew Stotz 33:01
Great, fantastic. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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