Meet Cindy Adong, an Events Manager and the Founder of Splendor, an event planning company in Uganda.
We spoke to Cindy about her journey growing her business and the lessons she has learned along the way.
how she got started
Cindy describes the work she does in a few words: she solves problems.
She takes away the stress that comes with event planning by making the entire process as smooth as possible, both in the lead up to the event and on the day itself.
In July 2015, she left her job with Spedag Interfreight, a logistics company. She had worked with them in administration, procurement and customer relations, for close to three years. As she notes, managing the day-to-day of a busy logistics company is a lot of pressure and a high stakes game.
“It teaches you to be sharp because it’s one of those businesses where time is literally money,” Cindy says. “This was training ground for me as I ventured into the events management space.”
the big leap
Cindy finally decided to pursue an idea that had been brewing inside of her for years – wedding planning!
But, starting wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
As she pieced the idea together, she sought advice from someone with experience running a décor and wedding planning business.
“He discouraged me from going down this path, especially if I didn’t have the start-up capital to offer a complimentary service that would get me into the market. Otherwise, in his opinion, Ugandans wouldn’t appreciate the services of a wedding planner alone.”
she was discouraged by this
While she understood that he was saying her dream wouldn’t work, she also knew it was a case of timing.
Surely the market would eventually warm up to the services of a wedding planner. (Spoiler Alert: they did!)
In the meantime, she had to figure out how else to make a living while still being involved in the events space.
“I did a bit of décor and offered makeup as a service to bridal teams – something I still do to date. But I always knew planning was where my heart was and every time there was an opportunity to do it, I would.”
The market eventually warmed up to the services of a wedding planner. During the pandemic, when some of the restrictions were lifted, her client list grew steadily.
It has been close to two years since Splendor really took off. What started out as a wedding planning business has evolved into an events management company.
Reflecting back on the past two years, these are some of the biggest lessons she has learned along the way.
you are your biggest advocate
It doesn’t matter if people believe you can do something or not, what matters is what you believe of yourself.
“I learned that I need myself so much. I am the driver of this thing. If I slip, it slips.”
She learned the importance of being kind to herself and protecting her mind. She is particularly careful about the way she talks to herself.
you can’t do it alone
One of the biggest lessons she has learned is the importance of people, processes and systems in the operations of your business. As a small business, you are oftentimes the face of the business or the only point of contact for your clients.
This can be physically and emotionally draining. This leads to burnout for many small business owners. You need a team of people to support you and take some of the load off.
stay open to change
When she started Splendor, she thought the main service she would be providing would be wedding planning. For a while, this was the case.
However, this has evolved over time.
Cindy now plans and manages larger events ranging from concerts to conferences. She has grown from organizing weddings for about 500 people to events for about 2000 people.
While she is now managing much bigger events, she relies heavily on the network she grew as well as the experience she gained as a wedding planner.
“No experience is wasted. It’s all training ground. I have to deal with many more people now and the stakes are so much higher. But I probably wouldn’t be able to do this, if I hadn’t started out by planning weddings.”
be tenacious and persistent
Growing a business has a lot of ups and downs. There are many challenges that oftentimes look like opportunities to throw in the towel.
It’s hard to think about solutions to the problem when operating from a place of fear, anxiety or panic.
“Staying strong doesn’t always mean being resolute. It’s the ability to keep going even when trembling. It’s being tenacious and persistent to keep going even when you don’t have reason to.”
Interested in learning more? Reach out to Cindy at email@example.com or on Instagram at @cindyadong
over to you
What are some of the lessons you have learned from your experience growing your business? Share with us in the comments below.