Don’t get me wrong I am not leaving Loops and I will be very much involved in the company, but I decided to fire myself as the CEO of the company and let Wasaam Ismail take over from 1st January 2019.
I met Wasaam as one of my first clients while he was working at Hutch and it’s nice to see everything come a full circle when I decided to hire him as our first General Manager 4 years ago. He fits in perfectly with the ethos of what Loops is and has been a driving force at Loops for the past 4 years. He will be taking over from me as the CEO of Loops from January and will run the local part of the operation independently and I am confident that he will do well.
As much as I still treat Loops as a startup we are not one anymore and we have grown from running from a spare bedroom at my house to a 3 storey office space with over 75 people and working with over 150 brands from SME businesses to Fortune 500 companies and MNCs. Over the past few years it has been impossible for me to get personally involved with all the clients and in order for Loops to succeed as a brand it needs to be able to run on its own without me. It’s tough to let go but like with a child growing up I need to see it run independently without me. We have also broken down the company in several SBUs where each head runs the respective SBU on their own with relative autonomy in terms of managing staff, costs and revenue; a model which has worked decently well for us.
The reason I am stepping down as CEO of Loops is that we are at a point in our journey that in order for us to have significant growth we need to look at markets outside Sri Lanka and while understanding that a significant portion of our revenue comes from local businesses, I find myself unable to get operationally involved locally and grow the business as at the same time. Don’t get me wrong as I mentioned earlier I will still be involved in Loops but I am shifting my focus to overseas markets where I feel I would be spending a significant amount of time on building those markets.
We have set up shop in Australia, Japan and Malaysia and are in the final stages of opening up a presence in a few other key markets. These new markets, though relatively small, are very promising for us since most people we meet are amazed by the type of work we have been doing and the brands we have worked and it is opening up a lot of opportunities for Loops to become a truly global brand with its roots firmly planted in Sri Lanka.
Another significant portion of my time will go towards building our brands. Over the past year or two we have started a few associated companies with selected partners to become a truly integrated Agency unlike anything seen in Sri Lanka. We have separate SBUs who focus on SEO, Video, Creative Agency, Filming and Content which have seen significant growth since us getting involved and in order for them to grow would have to get more involved and help with the growth of those arms.
Loops as an agency has also started building startup solutions, I think working with a lot of companies in Sri Lanka has given us a decent insight about what the market needs and the opportunities out there and we are looking at solutions for these spaces. We have already started 3 solutions which are in various stages of launch in Recruitment, Healthcare and Audio and should be out very soon. These solutions have huge promise when we started showing it to people, but need a lot of support to grow but I am sure using the learning from the mistakes we made as a startup we should be able to avoid a lot of teething issues most startups face and have a smooth launch.
I will still continue my workaholic lifestyle and I don’t think anything will slow down as I get more involved in the overseas markets and other projects on behalf of Loops.
Onwards to a new chapter!