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From Employee to Entrepreneur, Anis Rahal Shares his Experience Print

Image Anis Rahal is an entrepreneur at Berytech. He was featured in the Top 20 Lebanese Entrepreneurs list for the year 2012, chosen by the magazine Entrepreneur Levant. His company B.A.S (Box & Automation Solutions) provides cash management, audit and treasury solutions to companies, supported by technology and innovative features. It enables businesses to control and manage its cash-flows and cash positions in real-time. It is currently operating in both Paris (for Europe and North Africa) and Dubai (for the Middle East).

Berytech: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Anis: Well, before founding B.A.S, I was an employee at a company in France just like any other guy my age. But, the idea of B.A.S crossed my mind and I liked it, so I decided to just go with it, and start a different journey towards entrepreneurship.

Berytech: Interesting. So, how did you come up with that idea?

Anis: While I was living in France, I got the idea of starting my own business for cash solutions. I actually realised that there was a demand from companies concerning cash management, so I seized the opportunity. I remember it was in 2008 when I first started the company in Paris, and I started to get clients for my business. Then, after a year and a half, I have signed my first client in the Gulf region, it was Majid Al Futtaim Group in Dubai; It was by coincidence, by the way, how I signed with this client. After closing this deal, I decided to expand my business to Lebanon. This decision turned out to be a wise one, since I signed many clients there, starting with MIDIS Group. Since then, my business has grown.

Berytech: Your company was operating before you came to Berytech. As an SME, how is Berytech environment supporting it?

Anis: When I visited Berytech for the first time and learnt about the facilities and the support provided there, I was encouraged to get an office at Berytech and to expand my business to Lebanon. From the first moment I stepped into my office, everything was ready for me to start my work, from infrastructure to the vibrant environment, to the great energy, in addition to networking opportunities with my neighbors, fellow entrepreneurs. So, to me, joining the technology pole was a good decision.

Berytech: What is the biggest challenge you have faced or are facing now with your company?

Anis: The biggest challenge for me is finding a client. This is 10 times more challenging than managing the company in my opinion; Building a software is also 10 times more challenging than managing a company. The main challenge is to get a client sign a deal with you. This is also the risk part; We are investing money to get new clients. For example, a few days ago, I had to fly to Jordan to meet with potential clients because they weren’t able to come to Lebanon considering the current situation. When it comes to management, all I can tell you is that it is unpleasant when it comes to paperwork.

Berytech: If you go back in time, would you do anything differently?

Anis: No. In fact, mistakes are very important in management. I think that mistakes are inevitable, and mistakes are the reason behind our success. You can and must learn from your missteps for future decisions, and this will enable you to grow more and more. Nobody is perfect; So if I go back in time, I would do it all over again without changing anything because, if we think logically, you cannot know if you’re making a mistake or not, since if it is a mistake, you will not do it.

Berytech: Exactly, mistakes are made to learn from them. Finally, what piece of advice would you give to entrepreneurs?

Anis: We have a problem in Lebanon. Lebanese people often build their businesses based only on the Lebanese market. In my opinion, Lebanon represents a micro market, if not a nano market. I do not mean that Lebanon is not a good market, but it is a small country with only 4 million citizens. Nevertheless, what does actually drive the economy in a country? It is its population, the consumption. If you take Egypt, for instance, whatever you produce, it will sell because you have a market of 80 million Egyptian living in the country. The problem here in Lebanon is that businesses grow a bit, and then stabilize. Another thing is that you have some people who are employees, yet they run their own businesses aside. This is not how it should work. You should choose between the two. My advice to entrepreneurs is then the following: If you have an idea or a project and you believe in it, go for it and execute it, since between the ages of 25 and 35, the risk you are taking is considered as a minor risk. In fact, if you have failed at that age, you will always be able to find a job and be employed. The major risk relies with the older people.