I’ve spent several years building my business and it’s taken literal blood, sweat and tears to establish Chab Events. Over time, there have been people who made this experience worthwhile and lessons that were bitter but necessary. As an entrepreneur, from a foreign land, it was a gamble that began alone on my sofa — it sounds dramatic and sad but it was the most strategic way to build the foundation and an exciting period in my career.
Today, I no longer sit on a sofa alone. I have my own office, two partners globally, a headcount of over 55 employees and offices in Singapore and Paris. But none of this came easily. As 2019 comes to a close I sat down on a rare, quiet evening in the office with my Marketing Manager and reflected on the lessons I would impart to my younger self if I had the chance.
Cash Is King
I enjoy observing and people watching over simply diving headfirst into the next big thing. I enjoy a good adrenaline rush but worrying about how my employees or my business will run for the rest of the month is not how I go about getting that high.
One of the first lessons I learnt from observation and conversations from fellow entrepreneurs is to always be careful with how you manage your cash flow. You should make sound investments and be wise in your business expenditures.
If you want to go fast, go it alone. If you want to go far, go together
I’m thankful that I met likeminded individuals such as Alexis Lhoyer and Louis Bommelear who have proven to be reliable business partners and co-founders.
I’ve never had to worry about them having my back. It also helps that they are my voices of reason in terms of growing the business. Chab Events would not have grown the way it did without their help and support. I don’t mean to sound sentimental about it but when I look back at the growth of this company, I know that it has been and always will be a team effort.
Never take things for granted
There is a time and place to lower your guard but you cannot be complacent for too long or you risk losing everything. One thing I’ve learnt over this period is that trust does not exclude control.
Even when everything seems perfect, you have to be mentally prepared for something to go wrong. Having a backup plan for your backup plan means you are prepared for any scenario that is thrown your way. Being open to changes no matter how set your mind is on a task or idea allows you to adapt and that has been served me well more times than I can count.
Value of the company lies not in the clients or the money
When we started this business, it felt less like a company and more like a family business. Over the years I have seen business treat their employees as mere cogs and not as valued team members. I make it a point to focus on the people who work at Chab Events.
The company, no matter how large the workforce may be in future, will always be about the value of the employees and not the clients or the money. If you focus your attention on the portfolio and the money, you will lose sight of the very thing that makes your company work. The people you trust are very important so if you don’t have faith in your employees or have their back, then you will stumble across more teething issues.
That being said, you also need to learn how to compartmentalise professional and personal relationships with your employees. Be ready to have the tough conversations and know that fairness and empathy are good values that will foster the growth of your teams. You only learn this with age and experience.
My favourite definition of success is the cumulation of all the experiences gained from your past failures
You cannot react to every situation with a drastic response. This has been a tough lesson to digest. You can let your setbacks keep you down or you can use them to do better than before. Failure never has to be the final nail in the coffin. And making a mistake will not mean the end of the world. We’re human and without making these mistakes, we would never have achieved this level of success. It’s how we learn and how we are able to impart knowledge onto the younger generation of creatives and event planners.