Bryan Loo, CEO of Chatime, shares about both parenting and entrepreneurship, and which is harder.

Anna Lee  |  MY
Published 2016-06-28 14:59:30

When he spoke of his wife and two girls, his body language changed instantaneously. So did his facial expression. He was warmer, had a sparkle in his eye, a smile that was bigger, brighter—not that this wasn’t present before. But it’s evident when a person speaks of their passion. They become far more animated, alive even.

So this, among other things, is Bryan Loo’s passion.

Sitting in his office, Bryan is surrounded by awards he has garnered throughout the year, with Chatime being a leading force in the food and beverage category. He’s also spearheading 2 other food kiosk brands known as Llao Llao and Gindaco.

Being a man who juggles many entities, he was surprisingly pretty modest about his first love—and it’s not business.

Fatherhood Vs Livelihood

Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram
Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram

“Frankly speaking, I think I’m not a very good father because time is a scarcity to me,” Bryan sighed. Being a father of 2 girls, Kylie and Hayley, his Instagram account automatically becomes a visual shrine of his daughters—and food, but the latter is a given. His family, on the other hand, was a choice he made.

It’s no secret that Bryan found love early in life. He relayed to Vulcan Post, “Me and my wife have been together since we were 13 years old, we grew up together, and we’ve been together for the past 17-18 years.”

Bryan’s wife was there with him through the hardest of times, and she’s seen him struggle even when he was still under employment.

Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram
Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram

Interestingly, she was also the spark to the fire which ignited his passion to start something of his own. “We got married at 23, and when we were married, we’ve been together for 10 years already. We’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary soon,” Bryan beamed.

He noted that ultimately, it’s just about taking a step back and knowing what we want out of life. Like business, if we start early and fail, we have plenty of room to start again. If we were older, the chances of restarting is slimmer and the process, no doubt longer. It takes time after all, to grow any relationship.

One And The Same

Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram
Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram

One would think that when it comes to business and relationships, they should be handled separately. After all, what does the world of business know about the hardship and sweetness of love?

Bryan begs to differ though, and this lesson was something he had learnt, from years of being an entrepreneur.

“I think what I learnt in business is the ability to renew ourselves. Love and business are the same, and you have to find a way to renew both. If you’re able to renew your love, you’re able to have a love of 80 years. Or else it becomes a routine. When I look at it, I try to manage my relationship, like business, by trying to understand the language of love, like understanding the language of business. I apply what I learnt in business in my relationship. There is no certainty, but I think in love, we have to find time to constantly renew our relationship,” Bryan shared.

Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram
Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram

He is a man of practicality and knew that the only way he could juggle both relationships, whether corporate or personal, was to have a bigger picture of things.

Travelling is one way he can see his family more, so that is what he does, but there is more.

He said, “The only way I can see my wife more is by bringing her in the company. She is my finance head, and I have a nursery where I also bring my children into the office—just like how I grew up in my father’s office.”

Bryan’s father is clearly a role model of his and a man who leads by example. “Many fathers would provide you financial support, but my dad is the kind who will provide a little financial support on the things you want to do, and then walk side by side with you so that he’s not supporting you from behind, but instead he’s walking with you at the same pace,” Bryan said.

Second Generation Businessmen

Being a second generation businessman, Bryan knows that it isn’t by any means easy. He owes it to his father who gave him space to fail and learn from each failure. Bryan said, “Entrepreneurs having the freedom to make decisions is a privilege, and the reason a lot of second generation entrepreneurs fail to take on their father’s business is that they don’t have that opportunity to call the shots.”

Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram
Image Credit: Bryan Loo Instagram

“I am able to do this because in my family, we had the freedom to make decisions. Hence we are able to be more resilient today. If my father was very protective, we would not be tested on how to overcome failure. In my journey, we came across many failures, and this gave us insight on how to deal with crisis.”

When we asked him which is harder—parenting or entrepreneurship—he was frank to admit that parenting is a whole lot harder as it requires patience. He joked that unlike his trade, parenting cannot be automated.

He hopes that his girls will become entrepreneurs themselves; however, he knows that they will grow to to be their own person with their personal passions.

Bryan said, “You can command with business, for it to be slow-moving or fast-moving. But for parenting, it’s about pure consistency and patience. That is a huge area that I’m trying to learn, which I think my mom and dad did a super great job as they were super patient. So I have a whole lot more to learn on that.”

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