Customer Spotlight: How May Silvers made her business dream come true and helps others do the same
May Silvers is founder and owner of M2 Hospitality, an event planning company, and Events4Anyone, a coaching business to help event planners start and grow their own businesses. She shared with us how she made her dream of running her own event planning business come true, and how she helps other event planners realize their dreams too.
May’s dream started in her teens
“When I was 13 years old, I had that entrepreneurial spirit,” said May. “I wanted to be a tour guide. I wanted to have my own tour company because my family traveled a lot when I was young, and I enjoyed the whole perspective of tourism and hospitality."
“But in my adult life, as I was building my career in the hotel business, I never felt that I could be number one. But after working for other people for so long and sacrificing my time with my family – I’m from Singapore and I don’t have time to go back to visit them as much as I want – I said, I really need to start thinking if I want to continue working for other people. So at the beginning of 2012, I went into action and in April 2012, M2 Hospitality was born.”
The beginning of a business dream
May went into business with a partner, but is now the sole owner of both businesses. “When I started my business, it was with another person. I had a business partner, and I bought out my partner last year, right before Covid,” said May.
Running two businesses is a lot for one person, but so far she has resisted hiring full-time employees. That may change soon as she is considering hiring an employee for her coaching business. “When I was in the hotel business, I was in a position where I managed people and handling employees is a totally different set of skills. I have virtual assistants, I have contractors. I don’t feel the need to have employees at this point in time for M2 Hospitality. For Events4Anyone, I’m on the path of hiring a full time employee. So it all depends on the nature of the business.”
Unique corporate events are her specialty
“I love planning corporate events, and the ones that pique my interest are the ones that focus a lot on the experience. It could be any kind of interactive experience – just not your cut-and-dried corporate event,” said May. “Anything that people can walk away from and say, ‘How are they going to surpass this years’ experience?’”
“I had a client in the financial services industry. This group is very intense, and the client is very food and beverage-driven. So I planned a team building competition, like Top Chef or Iron Chef. They had to scramble to go to the marketplace and get the theme ingredients, and then work together as a team. And they had to barter for additional ingredients they didn’t manage to grab from the marketplace. Then they have to present their dishes. It was a great icebreaker, and helped show the dynamics of the attendees, like who is the leader, who is a good negotiator. We achieved all the goals the client wanted, in a format they didn’t expect. That was probably one of the most memorable experience events I have done.”
Starting is easy, but growing is hard
“Starting a business is simple. Growing and maintaining the business is hard. It’s hard work, and a lot of commitment. You need to make sure that your environment is a conducive environment. The people around you have to have the same vision as you. If you don’t have a positive environment, if you don’t have a support system - running the business is already difficult. Now you have to deal with those who do not understand why you’re working so hard in your business, and that will create additional stress when you try to grow the business. So evaluate your environment and talk to the people in your closest circle, so they understand what you are doing. They don’t have to do it with you, but they should not be disruptive or distract you from your path in building the business.”
The power of positive thinking
May has some good advice for those who are thinking of pursuing a business dream. “Stop thinking of what you cannot do and start thinking of what you can do,” she said. “Stop thinking of what you need to have in order to start your business and start thinking of what you have now that will enable to you start thinking like a CEO. Start making decisions as your future self instead of making decisions as your current self. I know it’s not easy, but you have to think as though you are already successful. What are the decisions you will make as a successful entrepreneur? Make those decisions now, not later.”
Protecting the dream
With all her years of experience in the hospitality industry, May knew that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and it’s important to be prepared. “I knew I had to get insurance, so I had to find a company that would give me coverage,” said May. “And I had no idea what coverage I needed. So I did some research, and Hiscox Insurance kept coming up. So I called the company and spoke in detail about what my company does - first for M2 Hospitality and then Events4Everyone. I had a very detailed conversation with the representative. They asked me exactly what kind of service I provide, and they explained the risk and the liability I could face in my business. And they knew exactly what type of insurance I needed to purchase at each stage of my business. Hiscox truly understands my business needs and grows with me as my business grows. So I’m very happy.”
The million percent commitment
May has one last piece of advice for those with a business dream. “Business has its ups and downs. It’s not what you do when you’re up that’s going to determine whether you’re going to succeed. It’s what you do when you’re down – how you think, how you take action and how you derive learnings. Every time you don’t get the desired result, that’s going to determine how much grit you have, and how successful you will be. If you truly, truly believe that this is the path that you are going to take, give it your million percent commitment and don’t let anything or anyone tell you that you cannot do it, because you absolutely can. Just take every step as a learning process and you will get better.”