Off hours: Dubai marketing chief on the water when out of the office

Paddle boarding offers marketing company boss a rare opportunity to put down her smartphone and take some time out.

Adriana Usvat, the chief executive and cofounder of FLC Marketing, likes to ber own boss. Victor Besa for The National
Powered by automated translation

Adriana Usvat is the chief executive of FLC Marketing, a company she cofounded in 2009 to help local companies implement efficient marketing campaigns. Ms Usvat, 36, who was born in Romania and formerly worked for Lukoil, arrived in Dubai in 2002. Her company’s client portfolio includes Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, Paris Gallery, Sharaf DG, Al Futtaim and the Landmark Group.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

I like to go paddle boarding, meet up with friends, watch movies – an action movie or romantic comedy that you can relax in front of – and read books. Since we are in marketing and events, there are obviously lots of things happening over the weekend so I always have my mobile next to me, but it does not mean that you cannot enjoy some time off as well.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?

Paddle boarding, especially around Kite Beach in Dubai in the early morning when there are not so many people around. Being in the middle of the water on a paddle board, you do not have your phone with you and it is quite peaceful; it gives you an opportunity to think and plan.

What can’t you live without?

Friends, a good laugh and new opportunities.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

Hard work and a slice of luck. When we started the company we saw a need in the market. It was at the beginning of the recession and what was happening was that the first department to be rationalised in local companies was the marketing department. My business partner and I were able to handle the full marketing activities, including online and digital strategies. We started approaching companies to work for them on an outsourced basis, and were successful. Of course, there was a lot of hard work involved when we were starting out, but also there was a bit of luck.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Be prepared to put in the hard work, and have a proper business plan. When you start up you need to know where you are going and what you are going to do. You need to understand what your niche is and what makes you different from others. If you start a business thinking you are going to do everything it is not going to work. You need to understand what you are excellent at; there are lots of good people in the market and you need to be better than them to succeed. Be confident in your own skills, surround yourself with competent people, have a consistent growth strategy, stay calm, have friends with similar interests and be ready to work hard as well as sacrifice most of your spare time at the beginning.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

Delegate and closely monitor. We only have 24 hours in a day and unfortunately even if we wanted to do everything we cannot. One needs to have a strong team on which to count on and then start delegating. In addition, if you really enjoy what you are doing you cannot really call it work.

How do you relax after the working day?

Reading a book or a newspaper, watching TV, and sometimes meeting up with friends. I do yoga twice a week, and sometimes a bit of running. My phone is always on though. As soon as you turn your phone off you start to get more stressed about what is happening, so it is better to keep it on all the time.

If you were not running your business what else would you be doing?

I do not really see myself doing anything else other than this as it fits me perfectly. Whatever else I would do, I still like to be in charge, I do not think I would go and work for someone else, I enjoy the day to day activities of running my own business. I have got a number of things I would like to do such as opening my own hotel. Maybe 10 years down the line I would like to do something a little more laid back – I would enjoy travelling the world – but I do not see myself being completely outside the day to day running of a business.

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter