With seven businesses under his belt, FIRDAUS NAGREE is a master juggler of the work/life balance. CDClifestyle discovers how he manages to multitask and maintain a fulfilling family life.
For Firdaus Nagree, multitasking is something that has always come naturally, and with the launch of his seventh business (and first in India), ParcelFly, an online courier system offering live quotes from dozens of competitors, he is showing no signs of slowing down. Based in the UK, he jokingly refers to his childhood as “a street urchin, playing cricket in the dusty streets of India, with a stick and rock”, and his background is as diverse as his business portfolio. Relocating to the UK with his family at age nine, he completed a degree in Management Sciences at the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology, joining Andersen Consulting before taking over his father’s furniture business and undertaking its management in 2001.
Since then, Nagree has since developed FCI from a small retail furniture store to one that now includes 40-50 large projects in Africa and India each year. However, rather than focusing on only one business, Nagree has developed a diverse portfolio that covers a range of sectors. From Cavendish Banqueting, an events and catering business, to Serious Media, specialising in SEO marketing, for Nagree, operating in a number of different markets (and different business seasons) keeps him on his toes, and ensures each day is interesting. “All my businesses are at different stages of maturity, so some require less time than others,” he explains. “I also have good strong management teams that have been running the businesses for some time.”
For Nagree, the key to it all is multitasking; he has a desk at each office and is available on his most prized gadget, his Blackberry. Strong business practices and communication availability allow him to make it home in time each day to bathe his son. Rarely taking time off, with the birth of his son two years ago, Nagree has started to slow down. “Ironically, the less I now work, the more successful things are. When I was younger I used to run after everything. Now, less is more.” This recent shift in his work/life balance strikes a similar chord with advice he still uses today: “To think things over and not make decisions on impulse. I felt I needed to be mentally agile and very aggressive with my approach to business and new ventures/opportunities. Now I sleep on decisions, always more optimum as it allows you time to think things through. I often find now that my best ideas come at five or six o’clock in the morning when I’m in bed and just waking up.”
And what advice would he share with aspiring entrepreneurs? “Look after your customer! Always make sure you provide quality service and understand the quality of giving good service. It may be very expensive for a start-up to do, but it will stand behind you”.