The first rule of starting a business, according to Fergus Fung, is never expect an easy ride. If your friends or former colleagues appear to be having an effortless time launching their own venture, take heed - it is not as easy as it looks, he says. Last year Mr Fung embarked on his own walk on the wild side, ditching his investment banking job with Lehman Brothers in favour of something that would leverage his Oxford language training. In December he launched Oriental Path, a company that provides evening language training in partnership with the Delia Memorial Evening School. The company also operates an unrelated business providing tailor-made language classes for corporations. 'Obviously the more experience you have the better,' he says. 'You really have to look into every aspect of launching a new business before jumping in.' Mr Fung's first nine months piloting his own business came with a few rough-edged learning experiences, but nothing close to derailing his ambitions. He is comfortably in the black, able to meet the operating expenses of his Wan Chai office and cover the salaries of his 10 contract teachers. His biggest outlay is in marketing materials to raise awareness of his evening language courses, and spread the word of the corporate services. The programme offers courses in English, Putonghua and Cantonese at www.dmec.com.hk . Mr Fung says his inspiration came during his work as an investment banker in Tokyo during the dotcom era, when he was exposed to the difficulties of cross-cultural communication. 'I discovered that people generally have communication problems, not just in work, but in day-to-day operations,' he says. Mr Fung completed Japanese-language studies at Oxford and was recruited on campus to join Lehman's Tokyo office. During his university programme he spent time studying in Tokyo and Osaka, an experience that taught him communication can involve cultural issues well beyond grammar. With this in mind, he has introduced some focus on body language, mannerisms and other non-verbal communicators into the language classes. He plans to bolster his range of education seminars by introducing business skills topics such as negotiating and how to give public presentations. 'Everyone has room for language improvement. Our courses focus not only on language, but also communication,' he says.