Alaric Tan is the driving force behind The Project Crew, a new force in Singapore’s event management industry. And if you’ve been in that industry, you’ll know there are easier jobs out there. Like being a Commando. To find out how Alaric thrives and succeeds in his pressure-cooker world , we do some catching up.
Who Are We Talking About?
Alaric Tan started The Project Crew in March 2010. Since then, he’s been involved in over 100 local and regional events. The Project Crew is full service: they provide event producers, technical directors, and stage managers. When they move in, they cover every last detail of an event. They must be doing it well, because they’ve worked with Bloomberg, CNN, SMRT, Mediacorp, and other names that leave their competitors in a deep shade of green.
Trial by Fire
Alaric worked his way up. He was in the event management industry for five years. If that doesn’t sound like much, then you don’t understand events.
Remember when your colleagues were in charge of the last dinner & dance? Remember their hapless frustration, their desperate e-mails, and their hysterical, gibbering arguments about the lucky draw system? That’s just a typical morning in Alaric’s world
In his five years, Alaric has managed more than 150 events. And 20 of those events were mega-events. And he made the best of it:
“The experience I gained over the years, as well as the industry relationships cultivated, were integral to my business being a viable concern today,” says Alaric.
Starting All Over Again, is Gonna Be…
Simple. If your name is Alaric Tan that is. Ever since starting The Project Crew a year ago, Alaric has established himself as a successful freelance events consultant.
“Since then,” he tells us, “due in large part to the support of my old clientèle as well as referrals, things have been going uphill.”
There’s an important lesson for entrepreneurs there: good networking and relations are key to success. It certainly helped Alaric to save costs during his start-up. Oh yes, speaking of which, Alaric started with the incredible sum of…$500.
Still, it was enough to establish a corporate account. Beyond that, Alaric secured 30 day terms with his suppliers. He says that:
“This helped me weather the early days when I first started. In fact, it was solely the relationship with my suppliers that helped me get to where I am today”.
Alaric has a strategy. And like all the best plans, it’s a simple one:
“To register a business in Singapore takes you about 15 minutes, via an online portal. It is getting a viable source of income from the business that is the challenge.
With the number of competitors in any given industry (more than 3000 in events itself), a business would have to either have an ‘in demand’ product that no one else has, or innovate constantly to provide a higher level of service for their clients.
In the words of Sam Walton: ‘There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.’”
His Own Two Hands
Alaric agrees that he made more money working for others. And like most of us, he found comfort in a regular paycheck. But there’s something in the entrepreneur’s path that attracts him more:
“It is like taking care of a child. How much the child grows (indirectly how much you will earn), depends completely on yourself”.
Alaric sees value in a sense of ownership:
“To me, the advantage is that you can see and plan clearly where you would like to take your business…the satisfaction of its growth, seeing the fruits of your labour in your profits, and establishing your company’s reputation in the industry.”
But even then, Alaric admits that:
“Starting your own business is never easy, and requires even more work then being employed. As such it is not for everyone.”
Jobs: Great for Your Social Life
Running his own business has actually helped Alaric’s social life. Which is possibly the most unfair thing we’ve ever heard. He explains:
“With proper time management, I believe you can juggle both personal and business lives effectively. As I like to meet people, starting a business in fact has allowed me to meet more people, of which some have in fact enhanced my social and personal life.”
Alaric believes that knowledge and building relations is the key:
“Research, knowledge of the industry, and the market for your product is essential. Whether you start small or big, a point most people always overlook is the choice of your partner and associates. You are only as strong as your team, and while a good partnership can make you, a bad partnership will break you.”
Alaric would also have us acknowledge the risk factor:
“There is always risk in everything, from investing in shares and stocks, or even putting your money in a bank. Nothing is ever confirmed, but I believe if you think positive, positive things will happen.. It may not be true, but so far I haven’t been proven wrong yet.”
“Do your homework, be realistic, know what you want and which direction you have to go to in order to achieve it, and believe in yourself.”
Got any thoughts on Alaric and The Project Crew? Give us a shout in the comments box!
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