Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on the year and a look forward to 2011.

As 2010 comes to an end, I wanted to summarise what transpired in the past 12 months, and what my expectations are for the coming year (personally, for the family and for business).

This was my second full year in charge of the business, and after a tumultuous 2009, 2010 felt more settled. We enjoyed some significant business growth and I felt I was managing our geographically diverse business much better. My travel (remaining extensive) comprised of a number of shorter trips, and I avoided too many weekends away from home. I have to give great thanks to all our country MD's for this also, as they took up their respective challenges and made my job much more manageable.

Significant issues during the year included our move to a new office in China. A culture shock at first for those who moved over from the HK office, but it has proven to be the right move and I am excited by the promise our new enhanced China office is already showing.

The purchase of Freeplay was also a significant event in the year. I felt swamped in August and September immediately post acquisition, but things settled down as we grasped control of what we had taken on (which includes some really great people). It's a business that has given us a different distribution model to what we are traditionally used to, and brings us into the USA for the first time. It is also fulfilling to know that there is some great humanitarian work being supported by this business and I am keen to see how we can expand on that as we move forward. The Freeplay year ended with some significant developments which keep us poised for a very promising 2011.

On a family front, the kids turned 9 and 11, and Reena insisted she is still 21 ;) We had our first skiing holiday together, and it was a blast! It was immediately confirmed as an annual tradition for us.

Summer saw our usual exodus from the Dubai summer, and a lovely holiday in the USA.

Back to school in September saw Shaan start a new school (which we feel very comfortable with) and Tia continues to excel in her gymnastics and netball.

For Christmas and New Year we ended up staying in Dubai, after planning to be in London. At some point in November we decided there is no point to leave our beach front home when the weather is at it's most perfect! I only just made it back in time for the holidays after being stuck in the snow in London. It was the right choice to be at home. We had a great relaxing time with some friends visiting, and I managed a few rounds of golf :)

For me personally, I feel satisfied. I feel it was a year of accomplishment in work and I kept my family time in balance throughout. I took care of my health, lost a lot of weight and have been playing football 2-3 times a week (when at home). I feel good about myself. Relaxed and energised to start again in 2011!

2011 … What will that bring?

The business has growth plans, which needs to balanced with a knowledge that the global economy remains unpredictable. We have to be ready to capitalise on any growth that may appear, but our conservative culture keeps us keeps us "cautiously optimistic".

The UK office(s) are due for a move. We will consolidate the Magic Box and Freeplay offices into a single premises early in the year, and Binatone Ghana will move into a new purpose built facility.

Shaan and Tia will get a year older, and I struggle to hold on to memories of my "babies". We have planned skiing in Flims in February (as tradition now dictates), a Caribbean cruise in the summer, and already thinking of Orlando for next December.

I need to keep my weight off (there are enough friends who have challenged me, and that's enough motivation), and I have to finally break 100 in a round of golf. I will continue to try and minimise my travel and get as much time at home as possible, and most importantly I will continue to do all I can to keep myself and my family happy and healthy.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading and supporting my blog … I wish you all a great 2011.

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