Reflecting on 2023: Setting goals and objectives for the New Year

Our CEO, Natalie Bellis, provides a look back on 2023, specifically looking at the lessons we learnt over the course of the year and what we are taking with us moving forwards.

At the start of a New Year, it’s so important to take a look back and reflect on the previous twelve months. By celebrating our successes and acknowledging our challenges, we can get ourselves ready to tackle the year ahead.

Here at the Seventy Ninth Group, this time of reflection has been really important for us. 2023 was an absolutely momentous year for our team. We achieved so many key milestones and continued our rapid global growth.

In this article, I’d like to take a look at our big wins, as well as the things we struggled with. That way, we can begin the first quarter of 2024 knowing exactly what to focus on.

Looking back, moving forward: Setting realistic goals for 2024

Whether you’re running a business or just tackling your own to-do list, objectives are essential. Sounds obvious, but trust me – if you don’t know where you want to end up, getting there is going to be a whole lot harder.

And in a year like 2023, lacking direction could easily prove disastrous. From historically high inflation and rapid interest rate hikes to geopolitical tensions running rampant, we’ve been through some seriously stormy weather. And that makes setting a clear course more important than ever.

But goals alone aren’t enough. Make them too vague or unrealistic, and you’re basically planning to fail. In a business, it’s also important that everyone understands the goals you’ve set and shares the same vision. At the Seventy Ninth Group, we’ve expanded rapidly and have team members all over the world. If we’re not all working collaboratively together, it’ll be hard to maintain our recent success.

As we move forwards, it’s time for some honest reflection. To make smart goals, we need to revisit the past year’s successes. Understanding what worked well will help us build on those wins and set an even stronger course for the future.

Delivering results: Our 2023 success story

This time last year, I wrote an article in this very journal reflecting on the experiences of 2022 – my first year as the Seventy Ninth Group’s CEO! At the time, I could never have imagined that 2023 would prove to be even more transformative for the Seventy Ninth Group. And yet that’s exactly what happened.

Looking back on our successes in 2023, I am so proud to see that we didn’t just match the amazing work we did in the year before – we exceeded it, and then some!

Going global: Our year in events

The first thing I need to highlight is the massive success of our second Golf Invitational at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. As our Digital Marketing & Events Manager, Phil Hayton, outlined in his fascinating article for the Seventy Ninth Journal, our aim was to build on the excitement of the inaugural event in 2022 and continue to raise the stakes.

This wasn’t just about celebrating our growth, but also about sharing that success with our amazing clients and partners. We wanted to give them a sneak peek of our new Resources Three (RS3) offering, and create a day they’d remember – one that really showcased the special vibe of our brand.

Thanks to the marketing team’s incredible efforts, the invitational was a resounding success. It seamlessly brought together our Directors, our Dubai team, as well as staff from the UK and Guinea – alongside our valued clients and partners, of course! And the feedback from our clients speaks for itself:

“one of the best golf days I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to them all over the world.

This event was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our ongoing collaborations and build anticipation for an exciting future. We look forward to making this an annual tradition.

Unearthing opportunity in Guinea

A picture of work men and woman wearing high visibility jackets

2023 also saw major steps in our ongoing work in the Republic of Guinea. We began our drilling operation in Lusso South, in Guinea’s mineral-rich Siguiri Basin, with the support of our long-term partners SRK Exploration and Ore Search.

This huge achievement is the culmination of more than a decade of work on behalf of our Chairman, Dave Webster. And understandably it put us right in the spotlight, earning high-profile features in The Telegraph, The Times and Raconetur.

I’m proud to say that this attention from major publications wasn’t just about our innovative approach to natural resource investment. It also reflects our unwavering commitment to partnering with local communities and making ESG central to all our work.

As part of this, Dave and I travelled to Guinea to see our projects first hand. In a Journal post published last summer, I discussed how this kind of direct, face-to-face engagement is vital to building lasting relationships with local people and delivering ambitious projects the right way.

And it’s particularly important in places like Guinea. As I’ve written previously:

“If you take the time, in the beginning, to invest in relationships, the rewards can be well worth it. This is particularly true in countries where personal relationships play such an essential part in business relationships.”

Three continents, one vision: Our new offices

A picture the owners of 79th group posing for a photo in front of balloons

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that maintaining those personal connections becomes more complex as we grow. And the success of our Guinea projects was just one of our many global undertakings in 2023. Ultimately, wherever our ambitions take us, our goal is to maintain the deep relationships with partners and clients that have been a hallmark of our work from the start.

That’s why 2023 also saw the launch of three new regional offices in Dubai, the US and Japan. What better way to make sure we could still build those collaborative, trusted relationships with clients and partners that can only come with in-person interactions?.

Our new Dubai office marks the next step of our growth in the region. Our team here has grown by more than fifty percent in the past year, with an amazing 25 members now working in Dubai. The new office is based in the prestigious Emaar Business Park and sits in the same building as real estate giants Sotheby’s and Hamptons International.

Our Japan office, meanwhile, boasts a four-member team based in Tokyo. This team is an extension of our Capital Markets division, servicing our growing number of Japanese clients. The team are fully fluent in Japanese, and all come from a Wealth Management background.

Levelling up: Our latest property acquisitions

It wasn’t all about our global growth, of course. Closer to home, we also expanded our offerings in the property sector with two major new acquisitions. We agreed terms to purchase two holiday parks for acquisition and subsequent redevelopment. The parks are both located in Scotland, and will ultimately boast up to 700 holiday lodges, alongside on-site dining and modern health and spa facilities. .

A picture 4 wood cabins in the sunshine

These new investments form part of our longstanding engagement with the UK’s burgeoning staycation market, as discussed by our Managing Director, Jake Webster, in a Journal article in 2022. And staycations have continued to boom in 2023, with Britons still choosing to holiday at home in historic numbers. We couldn’t be more excited to be offering new entry points into this thriving market.

As I’ve said before, staycations and luxury leisure properties are an unsurpassed investment opportunity for investors looking to diversify:

“For me it’s about investing smart, recognising value where others don’t and keeping an open mind (and an eagle eye) on the opportunities that the market presents.”

And with plenty of signs that the UK property market is on the path to recovery and investment in office properties set to increase substantially later in the year, our innovative real estate projects are poised to reap the rewards, too.

Powering growth: Our path to the TSXV

Last but not least, 2023 saw one of the most exciting and significant announcements in the history of our natural resources division, Seventy Ninth Resources.

In April, we announced our plans to expand into Canada by pursuing a listing for our securities on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture Exchange (TSXV). This will increase the visibility of our offerings and provide greater access to capital to support our drilling projects.

When plans change: Reflecting on unexpected outcomes

However, our plans for expansion have meant that we have come across some hurdles in our journey to listing. Our ambitions to list on the TSXV exchange were bold, no doubt about it. But that’s how we’ve always approached our goals at the Seventy Ninth Group – and what can I say, it’s served us well so far!

Nevertheless, sometimes bold ambitions have to be reconsidered. Sometimes other, more pressing priorities need to come first. If it’s a choice between doing something quickly or doing it properly, we’re always going to choose the latter.

And it’s this willingness to change course that’s allowed us to continue to grow, even as unprecedented turmoil hit the global markets. Few could have anticipated the effects of Liz Truss’ mini-budget or the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But what’s important is not being able to predict what’s going to happen – it’s being able to adapt to it.

In our case, we found that achieving our goal of listing on TSXV in 2023 was simply not feasible. Given the speed and scale of our growth, it was important to ensure we were not overstretching ourselves and that each of our projects could get the attention it needed.

As a result, we had to accept that our TSXV listing would have to move back to 2024. It’s important that we don’t rush the most crucial steps. This was a key lesson to learn, that sometimes, things don’t always work out how you’d planned and you have to be able to learn to take a step back, assess what’s most important and achievable, and reprioritise.

Redefining our focus for the future

A picture 2 members of the 79th team shaking hands with an african delegate

Moving into 2024, we want to learn from both the successes and challenges of the year gone by. That means setting objectives and priorities that take into account what went well in the past twelve months, and what didn’t quite go to plan.

For 2024, we have two key business objectives that are going to shape our activities and realign our efforts:

  • Listing on TSXV. This remains the key next step for our global ambitions, and it is our top priority for 2024.
  • Launching our Exchange Traded Instrument (ETI). We are aiming to open up our offerings to retail investors through our ETI, enabling them to invest in our regulated fund which will boast high yielding real estate projects.

We have focused on two objectives to help us to build on our previous successes, to ensure we achieve even more in the coming year.

1. Creating realistic timelines

Reflecting on the experience of having to push back our TSXV listing, it’s clear that creating realistic timelines is key to maintaining our ongoing growth. Rushed projects aren’t just likely to deliver disappointing results – they’ll also potentially put undue pressure on your teams.

I’ve written previously how investing in your people is key to success in business, and this extends to ensuring they have manageable deadlines that let them perform to their very best. It is important that going forward, we reassign focus, which enables us to remain agile, when priorities may shift internally.

Ultimately, success means keeping our goals tied to our fundamental values, including the respect we show our staff in supporting them to do their best. As I said in an article for forbes last month

“Company values can make or break how well your overall strategy is executed and how your team members feel about achieving your goals.”

Forging global connections for continued growth

Our many successes in 2023 shared one key factor – our commitment to building our global growth on strong connections. From opening our new offices to holding events in Dubai and Singapore, as well as our trips to visit local communities in Guinea, we’ve tried to ensure that our global reach doesn’t dilute our relationships with our partners and clients. As Jake has written recently in the Seventy Ninth Journal, we truly believe in the value of meeting our clients face-to-face, and this is a key part of our ongoing ambitions.

The best is yet to come: Our 2024 outlook

A picture a team stood infront of a small private plane

2024 is shaping up to be our biggest and best year so far here at the Seventy Ninth Group. We’ve got a huge range of projects lined up – the TSXV listing and the launch of ETI are just scratching the surface of what we’ve got in store.

I am immensely proud of everything we have managed to achieve here at the Seventy Ninth Group over the past twelve months. It’s been a busy, challenging, exciting time, and our team have done amazing work in keeping the momentum going for another unprecedented year. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next twelve months will bring.

I want to finish by trying to take all the highs and lows of 2023 and boil them down to just three key words that sum up all the excitement and challenge of the year. And when I thought back on everything we’ve accomplished, the words that come to mind were growth, opportunity and connection

Growth is an obvious choice – there’s no better word to describe what 2023 has meant for all of us as the Seventy Ninth Group. And as for opportunity – it’s what we want to offer our investors, but it’s also what we see, wherever we look: opportunities for new investments, new offerings, and new projects.

And finally, connection. In the end, that’s what we’re all about. From our beginnings as a family firm to our ongoing commitment to getting face-to-face with our clients, it’s about putting our relationships first. It’s about getting to know our clients and their goals. It’s about more than just investments, it’s about building a partnership. And that’s what connection means.

With these three words – growth, opportunity, connection – we’re forging ahead in 2024. And we promise: the best is yet to come.

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