A week in the life of… Nithul Lakshman, managing director of PAL Auto Garage

Lakshman details a week spent managing his company’s garages with a healthy dose of exercise inbetween



Sunday

The first day of the week starts with an hour at the gym followed by breakfast at home. The garage is at its busiest on Sundays so I try to not schedule business meetings; most walk-ins happen on the first day of the week so I try and keep myself available at either of the branches in Deira or Al Quoz to meet a few of my customers. A personalised service is something that is of utmost importance to me.

Monday

Today starts with some early breakfast meetings. I have an introduction meeting with a new insurance company in the market and then a prospective corporate dealership meeting. At 10am I head back to the Deira office to catch up on emails and calls and also use my time in the office to meet customers at the garage. I spend the afternoon doing market research, which includes walking into competitor garages, experiencing their offerings first-hand and analysing their price points. This helps me understand the market better. No amount of online research can give this kind of in-depth knowledge of the market – it’s how we remain so competitive.

Tuesday

I try to hit the gym at least three times a week and Tuesdays are usually one of those days. After an hour there, my morning is spent in meetings with the project and technical teams from both the garages. A mid-week analysis is done to get an overview of the new and pending projects and address any other matters. In the evening I have a casual meeting about a potential business prospects. I prefer hosting meetings in causal surroundings to ease the atmosphere, as I believe business deals are more likely to close when not in a conventional, formal setting. It helps both parties to relax and more creative ideas come about during such impromptu gatherings.

Wednesday

I spend this morning reviewing my marketing and communications plan with my PR and social media agency, AllDetails Middle East. The team and I go over the weekly strategies, interviews and potential feature story opportunities. The afternoon is spent planning for the following week and scheduling pending meetings. In the evening I enjoy a round of squash. For me, exercise is the best way to unwind.

Thursday

I start the day checking reports to ensure deadlines are met and to highlight customer files that require special attention. Some cases need more attention than others and the team is briefed on handling special cases. At the end of the working day I spend some time catching up with my friends.

Friday

It has been a ritual growing up to spend Friday mornings with the family. My dad practiced the same and I have been continuing the tradition. Today we have brunch at nearby Dubai Festival City. Everyone needs time away from work at least once a week and unless there is an emergency that needs tending to, I do not go to the office on Fridays.

Saturday

I start my day with an hour at the gym followed by a quick breakfast with my team heads from every department. This time is used to address grievances, share research findings and competition studies and discuss tough experiences faced with customers. Receiving feedback from the team is very important to me as this helps me understand if my staff and customers are happy. At noon, I spend an hour catching up on emails. In the afternoon I catch up with close friends for lunch followed by game night – I’m especially glad the Premier League football season is back once again.