Back in Beijing – but still away from office

Returned yesterday from trip to Thailand.  In Thailand didn’t work an awful lot.  Finished interesting book “The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships” and started another “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom”.   Interesting topics – much in the tone of Malcom Gladwell – who just released a new book (I’m happy to say) – and I’m waiting to read “What the dog saw”.

Overall on the holiday did mostly cash flow management.  The holiday was actually a ‘image7 day cleanse’ meaning no eating for 7 days (actually turned out to be only 5 due to schedule) but nevertheless it was nice to do something good for the body during Xmas.  

Now that I’m back in Beijing, I’m starting to re-focus back on the business and look out for 2010.  Looking out at my schedule I have a strong start first day of 2010, with much work to be done on corporate restructure plan.  Meetings already lined up and consultants scheduled.  

The financial results for 2009 came in nice and strong.  Overall volume of sales was lower in terms of absolute $, but the number of customers has increased as compared to previous years by 30% and margin has increased as well (more margin on lower end items).  So, in terms of gross profit, 2009 turned out to be decent year.   At this point,  all short term debt and nearly all of long term debt has been cleared off.   No investors on board yet and the company is flowing very solid returns.   So, I think my position for 2010 is very strong.

In 2008 the Vested Contributors plan that I ‘fathered’ didn’t get paid out – so now this year I have a chance to thank the team for waiting and catch up on that outstanding commitment.   Over next couple day will write a summary of the year to all the staff and will frame out the years to come.

So, overall, even though the economy has been tough we have managed to adopt so quickly – and where able to refocus our product line and offering to deliver solid results.  Pretty cool.   If its possible for us to to that in THIS type of economy, image what would be happening if thing where even slightly better!    

Anyways, when I arrived back in the office our RedStores sign was now on the door.      Looks cool.     But, just as we settle in, we are running out of room and pretty soon we will need to add floor space to accommodate more staff.

While away we hired a few more people – I didn’t even know since of the notification emails from Eileen ended up in spam.  They where approved before but still – nice to see me being able to step away more and more and focus on the big picture.

Oh, another thing – the startup story of “PearlsOnly.com” – the 1st year will be published in the book – book out in May 2010.   Good start to a new year.