Ismatullaev is looking to grow the business in South America, the Far East and Europe in the next ten years
What’s the story behind your business?
Since 1998, I have managed multiple business units in my homeland, Uzbekistan. I identified an opportunity to expand the business in the Middle East, so I relocated to Dubai and launched the company in the UAE with a new name to reflect my global vision – Worldwide Distribution Center (WDC). WDC supplies hair and body care products, perfumes, soap and baby care items.
Where do you see it going in the next five years? The next decade?
I would like to grow WDC into the largest FMCG distribution hub worldwide. Over the next 10 years, we are looking to expand our services to areas including South America, the Far East and Europe. We have a strong growth strategy and over the next decade, we will be looking to differentiate ourselves from the competition in many more markets.
What’s the single biggest challenge facing your industry today?
The cost of manufacturing and raw materials are increasing so manufactures are facing issues of rising costs. If they increase their prices, retailers reduce the quantity that they buy. Retailers face passing on these costs to their customers. There are now more manufacturers, meaning there is more competition. This doesn’t impact the retailer as they have a wider product selection to offer consumers, but it does impact the manufacturer as there is more competition and they have a smaller slice of the pie.
Where do great ideas come from in your organisation?
From my entire team. In the early 2000s I had just three staff and we now have a team of more than 50 based in Business Bay, Jebel Ali Free Zone and Deira. From day one, I set out to build a company that had a positive and ethical culture at its core. I prioritise ensuring my workforce enjoys the working environment of the company. Creativity comes naturally from people who feel valued at work and when the company has a positive and encouraging culture.
What is your decision-making process?
I focus on prioritising the most important matters. There is always an endless number of things we could and should be doing but you can only succeed if you focus on the most important items on your list. You have to be clear on your goal and vision, always link your daily actions with your long-term goals. Prioritise, plan and focus – it always works for me.
Who has had the most impact on you?
My father is one such person for me. I have become what I am today because I always saw him working hard for the good of our family and he is the one who helped me to set up certain work ethics. Through his hard work, determination and achievements, my father has shown and taught me that nothing in my life is impossible.
What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
We have a positive and ethical culture at our core. We support employees and I expect them to work hard but they are rewarded for their dedication.
When faced with two equally qualified job candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
I look at their enthusiasm, creativity, professionalism and if they have a positive attitude.
What are three characteristics that you believe every leader should possess?
Charisma, professionalism and competence. Charisma is always a great asset to have for any person who is involved in negotiations or the final decision-making process. Professionalism is a key skill that should be expected at any position. Finally, competence, I believe, is the major ability which allows you do your duties successfully and efficiently.
What advice would you give to someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Believe in yourself no matter what anyone says.
What’s your greatest fear in business?
For our business, it is customer dissatisfaction and currency depreciation. Both of these issues may lead to a downward trend and could cause an irreversible negative impact on the business. We all depend on meeting and exceeding customer demands, so their experience with us – same as financial ability – has an important relationship that determines most of our strategies.
What’s one productivity tip you wish everyone else knew?
Plan your to-do lists. As I said earlier – always prioritise. I always analyse and evaluate which tasks are the most important and which ones I can delegate to somebody else. In other words, set a certain amount of time or a certain amount of work on the most critical projects that require your attention before moving on to anything else.
What is your most prized possession?
Photographs of significant moments. The best thing about memories is the process of making them but for me the reminders of the past times are also a treasure. When you take a photo of a happy occasion, you can recall in your head the events and the emotions you have experienced at that time and go through it again and again.
What is the biggest luxury in your life?
Quote to live your life by?
Success is the sum of small works repeated day in and day out.
Finish this sentence, “the world would be a better place if only….”
There was peace and unity and harmony between the nations.