I got a little distracted after running the business for close to a decade. Last year, I sorta took a sabbatical year to explore other opportunities, leaving my staff to handle most of the day to day activities at work.
It was an eventful year filled with excitement. For the first time in my life, I was dealing with preschool kids and avid gardeners. One thing led to another, kids knew me as Ms Greenfingers. I made my appearance at school carnivals, bazaars and garden shows. I even found time to volunteer at a school garden.
As the year came to a close, I found myself at the crossroads. While the new business was fun, it wasn't very profitable. Instead of mucking around, why don't I put my passion back into my core business, the one that has been keeping us alive and well all these years.
When I started the business ten years ago, it was my life, my everything. I stayed up all night emailing customers in USA and dreamed of shipping containers in my sleep. The sight of a brand new container would make my heart beat faster. I traveled across the world to meet customers and attend trade shows.
Then as life got comfortable, complacency set in. I wasn't quite as earnest anymore. The industry became more competitive as new players surfaced. Then there was the financial crisis which brought the maritime industry to its knees. That was when I began looking elsewhere. The grass is always greener on the other side.
This year, I decided to put my energy back into the container business again. I should harness my sound reputation and strength to grow the company instead of exploring the unknown.
Instead of sitting in the comforts of my office, there will be more travels to visit customers and vendors near and far. The timing is quite right as the kids are more independent now.
I'll be flying to Penang tomorrow to visit a client. It has been 15 years since my last trip to Penang Island, also known as "Pearl of the Orient". While I'm eager to meet my customer, I'm just as keen to see how much the island has changed over the years. And of course, I can't wait to eat all the famous Penang specialties - char kway teow, prawn mee soup, rojak, chendol, hokkien mee....