Reflecting on 2022

With 2022 coming to a close, and the last working day of the year running out of steam, I wanted to reflect on the good and bad we experienced as a team. Personally, I see it as a way to process what we did well and not so well in the past 12 months and as a springboard to move forward with.

The wins

We turned 10 years young! No unamazing feat given the last few years in economic terms and if you look at business in general a lot of companies disappear well before hitting this milestone. I am really happy to have beaten the statistics and hope for another 10 great years.

Well 2022 held some amazing wins for us, we acquired 2 software companies:

  • My Digital Office – the start of what see as a metaverse for work that we want to make a good place for humans to do their best work
  • MillionMind – a quiz and gamification platform allowing companies to actively attract new leads in fun ways, to which we will add more game formats

The acquisitions were enabled by some people believing in us enough to make these tools shine and return investment for them. Whilst we are still working on the latter, we are grateful for the investment and belief in us to grow the software subscriptions and build them into profitable streams of income for the company.

We welcomed several new clients onto our books, who came to us for the following reasons:

  • Attracting new employees of a very specific kind
  • Engagement of clients in a virtual space with games
  • Encouraging app users to do more and interact with the app more to achieve their client’s goals
  • Strategy work for a variety of clients to incorporate gamification in their app, their onboarding, their recruitment, and their learning
  • Explored board game and digital game creation for a learning organisation
  • Designed several games for brand promotion, recruitment, and lead generation

The sizes of clients varied from mobile and desktop app owners with small teams to multinationals and government agencies.

The losses

Every year has its challenges and this year is no different. We lost out badly financially when a crypto client we were creating several games and virtual space projects for didn’t live up to their obligations. We still have some of their games for sale if you are at all in the market for a drag racing game, a casino metaverse with some games in it, or a series of arcade games.

Due to the financial knock-on effects that have kept on rippling through the year, we also lost some amazing team members and one supplier who we valued working with. As an owner, it always hurts when this happens, but sometimes you really don’t have the means to turn the situation around quickly enough to satisfy some people. Either way, we wish them well in their future endeavours.

I spent most of the year on the quest for investment, $6M USD to be exact about it, and failed to achieve this number. We did attract some investment interest which helped generate some of the wins and some were holding out for a lead investor, which we never secured. We were very close twice with 2 different investors promising to foot the whole amount, only for other reasons to make them pull out. As a knock-on effect of this, we lost out on some acquisitions and I didn’t realise my full vision in one go. Our metaverse vision for MyGNation will take longer to realise than originally envisaged, which I find a shame but given the state of the economy may not be a bad thing in the long haul.

The lessons

When you are ambitious as a business owner and you don’t hit your big goal, it is easy to beat yourself up about it and lose track of the things you did achieve. For me, this is the hardest thing to come to terms with. A wise mentor said at some point, when you aim for the moon and you land among the stars, you are still part of the way there and that also needs to be applauded.

From a philosophical perspective with hindsight knowledge, I wonder if I had put the same effort in chasing sales as I did in chasing investment, would I have been in a better place either way? I obviously don’t know a definitive answer to this, but my hunch is we might be in a better place at the very least financially. In the investment world women still only receive 1-2% of all the money available even with safe business models such as software as a service, so in some way, I knew it was a bigger battle when I started out, but one I worked hard to win. Add to that, that the finance needed was being used for acquisitions adds more limits to the investors. So we are now revising and rethinking our way forward. Either way, I learned a lot of new terminology from going down the investor lane and what investors look for. For next year, I will shift my focus on sales to get to the definite answer to this philosophical question.

From a very practical perspective, we now have a yet again revised payment policy where we look for an ever higher deposit of new and potentially risky clients. We also going forward will stop being a finance company for big multinationals who have payment terms of up to 120 days, which is simply not sustainable on our business model, where we rely on some freelancers who need to be paid upfront. Sometimes I wish that people working for big players understand the impact on a small business of unlimited credit and unlimited changes. Anyway, we have been tweaking this policy every year to ensure we can still sustain ourselves and our people, but 2022 was not the year where we got this right. It is also one of the main driving forces to move from an agency model towards a subscription model so that we can have more predictable revenue and more sustainable work for our in-house team.

As years go, this one has been a challenge, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. So let’s hope and work hard at making 2023 where we turn the ship around and set sail for many happier horizons.

Thank you

I would like to thank all of our customers and investors for the trust and belief you have placed in us in 2022. We will do our best to make the projects a great success in 2023 so we all reap the rewards we deserve.

Most of all I would like to thank the team members at Gamification Nation, who have stuck with me for this rather bumpy year, without you I couldn’t have achieved what we did this year. I sincerely hope to have you with me for a long time to come and to keep building what we set out to do with great rewards to share around.

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