When the Corona crisis struck the institutions, I was, unfortunately, one of the most affected. A large number of my activities are linked to the tourism and hospitality sector in Bahrain, Dubai and Lebanon, which is the sector most affected by the crisis, to the extent that it was almost completely paralysed.
But, as a businessman in the market for nearly 60 years, I have developed a strong anti-shock autoimmunity. I learnt how to maintain my balance and mental and psychological stability no matter how strong the wind and waves were, that hit my ship, and how to keep holding the steering wheel until I reach safety.
One of the main lessons that life has taught me is the necessity to stand by each other in general and in crises in particular and to do good along the way. Doing good is like a ‘boomerang’ that you throw in the air towards something and it comes back to you from another direction.
Based on this, with the beginning of the Corona pandemic, we launched an appeal to all employees in the various companies that I own. It was simple and clear: ‘We are now in a crisis and you have the decision on how to confront it; but I think that it is better for all of us to suffer a little, than for some of us to suffer a lot’. So, I suggested, that maybe we should all reduce our salaries and privileges a little bit while the crisis passes so that we can keep all the employees. They all agreed and that’s what happened.
Another situation I witnessed in one of my companies in Lebanon when the explosion disaster occurred in the port of Beirut. The workers and employees in the McDonald’s branches, of which I own the franchise right in Beirut, distributed meals to the affected people and they paid for it from their salaries. When I learned about the matter, I asked the management to give double the meals and also gave them a bonus salary in return for their initiative and loyalty.
The global pandemic has caused great difficulties for most business owners in the world, and their fears of losing their teams, their competitive advantages, or even the business altogether, have increased. Some businesses have responded to these concerns by taking quick and decisive measures. They are determined not only to survive this crisis but to come out stronger than ever.
After a series of bitter struggles since I was a child working after school to save my expenses, I was able to find the path of success in the seventies of the last century when I founded Promoseven for the first time in Beirut. I began to make an excellent income and I thought that I had finally earned my rest, and the road ahead was clear. But the Lebanese civil war that broke out in 1975 blew about 15 years of success in a few weeks. I left my country, with my wife and two children, empty-handed. I had nothing but safety and the chance of starting from scratch again.
I started again in Dubai, and quickly came and settled in Bahrain, where I launched Promoseven again. I stumbled a lot, before I matured psychologically and emotionally, and learned how to grow business until Fortune Promoseven has become today the largest advertising company In the Arab world.
If there is a secret behind my ability every time to overcome obstacles, it is the fact that I can weave constructive and fruitful trust relationships with a wide segment of friends and acquaintances who have stood by me every time I needed them or even took the initiative to do so on their own.
This was the boomerang I mentioned earlier in the article, all of this would not have happened if I had not taken the initiative to provide help and support for those around me, even when they did not ask for it. Ultimately, we either live together as brothers or perish together as fools.