Getting to know you: Tom Curtis, Director of Syrup Events

What do you currently do?
I am the Director of Syrup Events, an event bar company operating throughout the U.K and Europe. Covering all sectors from private parties, corporate events and our main focus of festival bars in the current booming market.

After working in Bars and Restaurants for a few years throughout university I developed an awareness for the industry and what can be achieved. Along with this, I became increasingly frustrated with chain and franchised operations where staff and quality of service was not the primary focus.

I moved to a well established catering and party event company and learnt the industry quickly, through many angles. With my knowledge of drinks and events now combined I set up the company to offer a higher level of drinks service for events.

Growing mainly from word of mouth and basic advertising, the business enjoyed steady increases and diversified the operations to focus mainly of the larger scale operations, but still maintaining the small functions attention to detail.

From this mainstream success we have had the pleasure to work with brands, developing drinks and set design, this is where my focus of the business lies, to increase the consultancy strand of the company.

What is your inspiration in business?
This is a very simple one for us, to do things bigger and better. I have never intended to just be another supplier in the industry, but to be recognised for the quality we produce not only through the drinks service, but the staff and the way our bars and areas are produced – this is what makes people want our company at their events. We want to be seen as different and to work with the event, not simply to make drinks, but to create atmosphere and add value.

Who do you admire?
Im a big fan of anyone who gives it a go! the world thrives on people with ideas, push themselves and who dont just ‘accept’ the norm. Someone in the media focus I admire would be gordon ramsay. A guy who spent years working hard and perfecting his craft not just enjoying the benefits. Still pushing himself and exploring new avenues of business, and heavily involved in a business which revolves around his name.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
There are lots of things I would have done differently, not a total overhaul, but I would have approached things differently. The main mistake I made was a few years ago, we took on way to much work and stretched ourselves too thin. This meant our quality suffered and the end result was not our best. I got very excited by a couple of large contracts and in short, we grew to quickly. It is hugely important to grow steadily and within your means, luckily for us the market continued to improve and we came on top, but this could have crippled us.

What defines your way of doing business?
Its not a traditional ‘business’ term but, we are good at what we do because we like it! The day I stop enjoying my job, I will do something else. We are good because we care about the delivery of service, whether its for a regular customer or just a one off event, our reputation is of huge importance to just not me, but my staff. The event industry is a big big world, but its very small too, its important to never drop the ball, if you do people know about it very quickly!

What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Research and learn. Nobody will ever know everything about their industry, so everyday should be a learning day. This could be from people, past experiences or theories. If what you do is all figured out, there is no point doing it!

You will need to work hard to succeed and achieve your goals, but you have to create a balance in your life. Most driven people in business of course need to work hard, but life is their to live, make sure you dont miss it!