End of a year and beginning of a new year, is a good time to reflect on the year that has just ended. It may seem as a cliché to stop up, but I see it as an absolutely free opportunity to ask your self the following four powerful questions;
– what should you do more of?
– what should you do less of?
– what should you stop?
– what should you start?
… all this; in order to navigate the company to meet the goals you have set to achieve in 2011 and onwards.
Ouch, this post could easily become a very long to-do-list, so the Executive Summary would be something like; With a few words, I, personally, would define 2010 as the year where MYC4 ‘rediscovered the melody’ (end of Executive Summary).
With ‘the melody’ I don’t say that everything is just the way it should be, no! There are many things that we are constantly prioritizing and working on to improve, which is also what makes the MYC4 heart beat, but when suddenly the feeling of being on top of the wave arrives, well then you know that you are doing some good stuff and that you should somewhat continue in this direction.
Let me give you some highlights of the year that supports my ‘melody-statement’ above. 2010 was the year when:
…we implemented a ‘risk sharing agreement’ with our Partners. This was a vital step in the implementation of the MYC4 model, because of course our Partners must be responsible for the businesses they vet and upload to MYC4! Yes, it would have been extremely nice to have cornered from the outset of MYC4 in October 2007, but the Partners we started out with simply did not have the resources to live up to this. We also changed the fee structure for the Partners, so that they minimum would get ¾ of their revenue on repayments of loans. Both the risk sharing agreement and the fee structure is part of the calculation of the risk rating (the five star rating) we also introduced on our platform during the year. Said in a few words: All sails are set to incentivize repayments as this, after all, is what makes the wheel spin.
… where many IT improvements were introduced – of special character, as it took nearly two years to develop, is a completely new repayment processing that puts us in a new situation regarding what is now possible with our backend.
…Steven Thomas was announced as Deputy CEO. Steven had at that time been with us for a year and had already in this short period of time proved to be instrumental in building and scaling MYC4. Other key people to be recruited during the year were Eric and Titus who are responsible for the entire ‘engine room’ in Africa. On the other hand we had to let go of some good colleagues, which is never fun.
…where we made a successful due diligence on a potential new Partner in East Africa.
…where you and me, after years of planning, finally could buy the mango yogurt in FDB/Coop’s shops across Denmark AND invest in the farmer who produced the mangoes that went into the yogurt.
…where other innovative initiatives saw light of day, such as the opportunity for businesses in Africa to apply online for a loan, hence become a lead at our Partners’ desks.
…we proudly could document a positive Return On Investment to our Investors and proudly (again!) managed to keep the default rate very low.
…where we got the pad on the shoulder from BBC, who nominated us as a finalist in the World Challenge.
I could go on and on, but I think the above supports my Executive Summary and gives a picture of what we have accomplished.
Going forward, we now realize that the ‘dip’ we took where all growth was abandoned now has a positive effect. As a high standing person in the financial sector in Europe wrote in a mail to me the other day: “I have been impressed with MYC4’s philosophy, learning process from teething problems, creativity and commitment” – THIS is a nice mail to receive!
Large players that have been following us for years and now show interest in doing something actively with MYC4 are contacting us – here is a snippet of what is taking place 360 degrees in our model:
– A large institutional investor is currently conducting due diligence on MYC4 in order to find out whether MYC4.com lives up to the expectations as an investment vehicle to invest in SMEs in Africa
– A global company that wants to run a pilot with us in East Africa in Q1 – when/if the pilot proves to be prosperous for all involved parts, an enormous potential of businesses to invest in opens up
– A large financial institution sees it as a natural step to front fundraising for MYC4
– A large potential Partner in Africa has turned to us to explore avenues to corporate
It is going to be interesting to see what comes out of this during 2011…
Well, happy New Year – I look forward to invest, work, develop, innovate, implement,… with all of you!