Mr. Mathieu Chailloux and Mr. William Scheffer, Co-Founders and Managing Directors at Greyys Pte Ltd, shared their entrepreneurial experience with students at ESSEC Asia-Pacific as part of a series of professional talks organised by Career Services.
Greyys Pte Ltd provides to the food service industry full service distribution to fulfil the demands of the Singaporean F&B market, offering leading quality brands such as Monbana Chocolate, Teisseire Syrups, Fruit Republic and Pomona Beverage Ingredients.
Mr. Chailloux and Mr. Scheffer shared their vision for the company, aiming to be identified as a leading Beverage Ingredients company – offering Innovative, Healthy & Functional Drinks in Singaporean F&B Market - with the ability to offer innovative services, such as sharing and implementing signature recipes using the wide range of products supply by Greyys. Through the introduction of such services, the company is able to provide added value on top of just supplying products to customers.
Mr. Scheffer introduced the company’s three development axes, including food distribution, online and offline retail distribution channel as well as F&B Concept Development. In 2015, the company will focus on 4 major activities, namely:
- Gourmet Distribution
- Lifestyle and healthy drinks
- F&B Concept Development
Given that the company distributes products from a range of brands, when expanding the business, they explained that it is crucial to ensure that the new brands added to the selection of products do not cannibalise the business of existing products, trying to bring in complementary brands instead of substitutes.
They also shared their experience of working with customers and partners from different cultures. Mr. Chailloux emphasised that putting in place contracts is extremely important to ensure that the company is not exposed to risk unnecessarily.
Mr. Chailloux and Mr. Scheffer also shared key learning points from their entrepreneurial experience, including the importance of diversifying the business risk through different products and distribution channels. They explained that as a distributor, it is important to build healthy relationships with overseas suppliers and have a contract for sole distributorship. Optimisation of the supply chain in terms of transportation and handling costs is also a key element which should not be ignored. Although it might seem cheaper to order small quantities each time, the handling and transportation costs saved from ordering large quantities could be quite substantial. They also spoke about focusing on fast-moving ranges, bringing in items with a longer shelf-life as perishable products often bring greater risk. It is also important to implement a minimum order quantity to ensure that transportation costs are not wasted on a small batch of goods.
From the point of view of an entrepreneur, Mr. Chailloux and Mr. Scheffer continuously stressed the importance of being careful with the cash flow and focusing on spending on what is truly necessary. To them, it is key to be on the field and establish relationships with clients. They also added that you should not diversify the business unless the company is sustainable, and it would be better to focus the attention on one activity and ensure it is sustainable before diversifying the product range, and to always focus on the clients.
Students were curious about whether Mr. Chailloux and Mr. Scheffer still enjoyed being entrepreneurs even after encountering numerous challenges while running the business. They explained that you will be able to learn a lot, but it is tough. To Mr. Chailloux and Mr Scheffer, as an entrepreneur, you get to do a bit of everything, and they enjoy the process of working with investors and convincing them about Greyy’s products and services. They explained that being an entrepreneur is never easy, but if you like challenges and would like to do something different, it could be a fulfilling role for some.
The practical tips shared by Mr. Chailloux and Mr. Scheffer allowed students to have a glimpse into the important factors to take note of when starting a business, and how it is like to be an entrepreneur.