People and prosperity

Tips from the top – failure can teach you how to succeed

Hillary Pinto, owner of one of the largest crane companies in the UAE, explains why success is all about determination

Adversity can make you more driven  

Aged 23, I worked as a welder in Dubai and tragedy stuck. A life-threatening accident left me hospitalised for months with severe burns. It was a difficult phase in my life – I needed surgery for my burns, I lost my job, and medical expenses piled up. Amidst all this I had a young family to support, but the doctors said I was unfit to work. I was determined to prove them wrong. That was the first step in getting to where I am today,  running one of the biggest crane companies in the Middle East, with sales in excess of USD140 million, and more than 5,000 employees.

Sometimes you must fail before you can succeed

As no one was offering me a job after my accident, I decided to invest the little savings we had into a business, and so I opened a supermarket. This was my first mistake in business. I had no experience in retail. It failed, but my ambition to run my own business was unwavering. I knew I had to find something I was passionate about. I tried my hand at several small ventures and eventually launched Al Faris, with just one construction crane, in 1991. Today, we have almost 500 cranes supplying the construction and oil and gas sectors across the UAE.

Determination is everything

Don’t listen to those who say you can’t do it. Aim high and never stop trying, even if you meet with obstacles and difficulty. Challenge is a normal part of life in business. Never give up on your goal, don’t be afraid to take risks, and eventually you will make it.

Your business is only as good as its people

I believe that my employees should know me as more than the man at the top. I frequently have lunch with them in the canteen and celebrate their birthdays in the office. If you want your staff to have the drive and determination that you have, it’s important to take the time to listen to them and share your experience.

Don’t forget those who helped you reach the top

My wife nursed me better after my accident. She supported my ambitions, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. You will go through tough times when running your own business – it’s inevitable. But having the support of people close to you will help you stay motivated.

Standard Chartered has been providing banking services to Al Faris Group since 1998.