4 Traits Every Young Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed

Today’s young entrepreneurs face an even faster paced business world than their predecessors, and often, one without borders. So what does it take for a young businessperson to achieve success? Maurice Bouri has learned a lot about what it takes to lead and to succeed, as he helped steer Seament from a small family business to a multi-national contender. Here are four traits that he says you can’t do without:

  • You have a vision – No matter what sort of business you’re pursuing, and whether it’s your first endeavor or your fifteenth, you need to have a vision. Yes, all business is driven by the quest for profit, but to succeed you need something more than that. You need something you can share with others that will make your enthusiasm contagious. And most of all, you need an idea that truly makes people’s lives better. This idea is your vision.
  • You refuse to give up – Even with the greatest vision in the world, there will be setbacks and there will be times when you’re sure you’re going to fail. The business leaders who end up succeeding don’t do so because they never had these moments, nor because their ideas were beyond criticism. They end up succeeding because they refuse to give up during the darkest times. Learn to embrace failures as learning experiences and move on.
  • You constantly educate yourself – Knowledge is an entrepreneur’s greatest weapon, and there will never come a time when you can stop educating yourself. This takes many forms, and it rarely means formal education: you can learn from the employees you hire, from partners and funders, from blogs and magazines, and from hands-on experience. But everything you do and everyone you meet should be, on some level, a learning opportunity.
  • You take time to make friends wherever you are – Many an entrepreneur has found themselves on the verge of collapse and only made their business succeed because of some well-timed help from a friend. No matter what country you’re in or what your industry is, constantly meet and help those around you. Not only will they one day do the same for you, you’ll also make some of the best friends of your life.

Of course, succeeding in business takes a lot more than just these four things, but they are touchstones that will help you over and over, as Maurice Bouri has learned firsthand. What other traits are indispensable for success?

Advertisements

3 Ways that Being an Entrepreneur Helps You Outside of Work

Maurice Bouri has been an entrepreneur all his life. He knows it’s a path of uncertainty and risk, but also of reward. Some of the rewards go far beyond the business world. Here are three key entrepreneurial traits that are valuable both in and out of the office.

1.  You learn to listen to other people – This is one skill that almost all of us could probably benefit from using more often, but if you’re an entrepreneur, you already have a leg up. The reality is that being an entrepreneur means you’re always trying to learn from other people’s expertise, knowledge, and perspective. This is the only way to get the intellectual resources you need to create a new product, fill a need or find a way to do something better than other companies. It also involves being wrong sometimes. Most people are terrified of being wrong and, even worse, of having their wrongness pointed out in front of others. But if you’ve had success creating businesses, you’ve probably long since come to terms with the fact that sometimes it’s good to be wrong. In business, growth often comes from those moments when someone expands your perspective or shows you that the way you were going after something won’t work. In your personal life, the same applies. Everyone likes a good listener and it’s when you’re willing to truly listen to other perspectives that you finally start to connect with people and grow as a person yourself. Plus, you’ll learn more. It’s a win-win.

2.  You know how to make decisions reactively – Entrepreneurs can sometimes be risk junkies. We forsake the usual clock-in, clock-out workday to create our own path in business and in life. But that also means we can seldom predict all of the challenges we’re going to face as we launch a business—and that means learning to make decisions on the fly and make them well. This “reactive” decision making is also key to success in many other areas of life. Think of how many unexpected surprises we all face every week, or every month—and how they can easily ruin a person’s day. If you’re ready to react in the moment and change course, you’re going to be a lot happier in life.

3.  You know there’s always another way – Perhaps the biggest truth in life and in business is that things don’t always work out. But entrepreneurs know that there’s often a second chance, a back door, a loophole or just a better approach that can completely change things. We tend not to give up, and that means we tend to get what we want (eventually).

How else does being an entrepreneur help you outside of work?

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Repeat Customers

Maurice Bouri knows that the key to a strong business is happy customers who come back over and over. As the son of Seament founder Alex Bouri, and with a key role in the cement company and, indeed, in the industry, Maurice understands better than anyone the importance of customer satisfaction. Here are four of Maurice’s tips to help get more repeat customers for your business.

1.  Have a loyalty program

There’s nothing that people love more than getting freebies, and a loyalty program is a great way to do that. Not every type of customer will want to take advantage of this, but that’s okay. There’s a good chunk of consumers who understand the value of a reward program, whether it’s in the form of points, discounts or specific free items. According to Maurice Bouri, the best kind of reward program has the least barriers to entry—for example, a “punch card” where 10 purchases gets a reward (a free coffee, $10 off, etc.) is easier for people to dive into than a membership card with a lengthy application form. On the other hand, signing up loyalty program members is a good way to get data on your customers, so it can be worth it; just keep the signup form short and sweet.

2.  Seek out feedback

Not all businesses have the resources to run large-scale surveys of their customers, but every business will benefit from getting direct feedback. There are several easy ways to get it. One is to simply have a suggestion box and an easy-to-use form; no outside research company needed. Another is to be actively involved in review sites like Yelp and see what people are saying about you. And still another is to make sure customer service staff members are asking direct questions about customer satisfaction. But with all of these methods, remember: feedback only turns into more repeat customers when you put it to use and act on insights.

3.  Trust your staff

Feedback doesn’t just come from customers. If you have well-chosen, well-trained staff they will have firsthand observations on what customers want. That means there is valuable business intel in the minds of your sales reps, floor staff or customer service staff. Ask them what they think will improve the customer experience and bring more people back a second, third or twentieth time.

4.  Throw a contest

Similar to a reward program, contests get people excited and bring people through your doors. A contest should have a variety of big and small prizes, and it should be obvious to customers that more purchases mean more chances to win. That translates into happy repeat customers.

What else do you do to get repeat business?

4 Habits of a Successful Business in the Construction Industry

In his work helping to lead Seament, Maurice Bouri has seen both the highs and the lows of business in the construction industry. Over time, he noticed that there were certain traits that always seemed to correspond to successful companies. Here are his picks for the four habits of success for any company in construction:

1.  Only produce the highest quality materials – There’s no substitute for quality, especially in construction. That doesn’t mean you have to produce only luxury materials—there is definitely a market for budget building materials. But the point is to go above and beyond the usual standards for quality in whatever your price bracket is. If your product is economy doors and windows, be the brand that doesn’t break down in just a year or two. If your product is luxury bathroom installations, be the brand that convinces the end customer that the extra money was worth it.

2.  Treat the deadline as a bible – The entire construction industry has a bad reputation for missing deadlines and that reputation is unfortunately somewhat well earned. However, you do not have to be part of that bad habit of running behind schedule. Your goal should be to never be the company that puts a client behind; get everything completed ahead of the promised deadline, no exceptions.

3.  Make pricing crystal clear – The construction industry often runs on estimates rather than hard prices. The problem is that there’s usually an information disparity between one party and another. For example, you might know that your bid only includes a certain number of electrical outlets per room but the client may not realize adding more outlets is a big extra cost. When you take the time to explain what is and is not included, you stand out as one of the “good guys” who is looking out for the client.

4.  Easy to get ahold of – Nothing is worse than having an urgent development on a high-pressure project and not being able to get a hold of a key supplier. When you make yourself easy to get in touch with, and make a point of rapidly replying to all e-mails and phone messages, you earn the client’s gratitude.

These are just a few of the ways to go above and beyond other companies in your industry, but each of these steps will help you distinguish yourself and become more successful than your competitors.

3 Must-Know Tips on Running a Successful Family Business

When it comes to a family business, there is a fine line between personal and professional that is easily blurred. For this reason, many family businesses fail, and subsequently tension occurs within the family. While some would recommend keeping family and business separate in order to reach success, there are a quite a few ways to effectively mix the two. Maurice Bouri, the owner of a successful family owned and operated cement company, has managed to turn his family business into a financial gold mine. With frequent communication, strict guidelines on professionalism and structure, any small family business can morph into a huge legitimate corporation.

Communication is Key

One of the biggest downfalls of a failing business is lack of communication. This causes disorder, stress and sometimes even double work. To avoid being redundant and to also ensure everyone is clear on their role in the company, you must first establish a business model together. After that is confirmed, implement mandatory weekly meetings and processes to keep everyone aware of the inner workings of the company.

Strict Professional Guidelines

Nepotism in the workplace is frowned upon in a general business setting and the same applies for a family business. Although you may have a close personal relationship with your family, it’s important to treat each other as professionals while on the job. This will bring security to other non-familial employees and create an equal platform which is necessary for a company to function properly. In the same stride, it is crucial to respect your family members as business partners and take their suggestions seriously to keep the lines of communication wide open.

Maintain Your Structure

Be sure that everyone knows their role in the company, is educated on their responsibilities, and trained on how to fulfill them. This will not only increase productivity but will also provide accountability. Without structure, it is almost impossible to identify and correct any business related issues that may arise. There must be processes in order to avoid double work, confusion, and most importantly, conflict.

Naturally people will want to go into business with their family because family is typically a group of people you respect and trust the most. The secret to success is to keep these morals intact for the duration of your company. Continue to trust that your family has the best interest of the company at heart, unless you are given a reason to think otherwise, and be open and honest at all times. As a founder, Maurice Bouri has managed to incorporate these main tips when working with family and has mastered the art of running a business in the interim providing proof that a little respect and a small dream can go a long way.

The History of Manufacturing Technology

Maurice Bouri may have become a success in the manufacturing industry, but he knows he is standing on the backs of giants. A long lineage of technological innovations precedes our current age of efficiency and prosperity, and the history of these technologies never ceases to amaze Maurice Bouri.

At one time, manufacturing was carried out by hand on a household by household basis. Families in Europe, for example, spun their own wool or cotton and then wove their own textiles, or wove them to provide to a merchant who could sell them. But by the late 1700s, the way that goods were made was about to change, and the textile industry would lead the way, kicking off the Industrial Revolution.

The changes in the textile industry were driven by the invention of several separate machines that greatly increased efficiency. The flying shuttle doubled the production rate of a single weaver, while the power loom increased the rate of spinning 40 times and the cotton gin allowed the removal of seeds from raw cotton at 50 times the previous rate. These technologies allowed nations like Britain and the United States to become world leaders in the production of export textiles.

Other industries also changed. The price of producing iron and steel came down due to coke-fired furnaces. The price of coke itself also fell thanks to an improved pumping system that allowed larger, deeper mining operations. Perhaps most importantly, tools were developed to manufacture precise metal components, allowing for consistent quality and precision in steam engines and industrial tools.

Although we often think of the Industrial Revolution as the age of steam, steam power was slow to take off. This was both because stationary steam engines were expensive and because of unreliability. Most early factories depended on either water power or animal power, or sometimes even human power. Running water was by far the best free energy source, and most industrial centers were located on rivers. Places with natural waterfalls, like Minneapolis, quickly became prominent centers for milling lumber, flour milling, or textile production.

By the late 1800s, steam power was more reliable and large-scale, mechanized production was the norm. But the revolution wasn’t truly over. The 20th century brought almost nonstop improvements in manufacturing processes, with ever increased levels of automation. The 20th century also saw massive improvements in the level of worker safety, with safety features built into most industrial equipment and safety training required by law.

Today, computers dominate the manufacturing industry, but human hands and human know-how remain crucial. Even in the most highly automated factories, human workers are essential to completing production and making sure everything runs smoothly.

What do you think will be the next breakthrough in manufacturing technology?

Maurice Bouri Takes a Look Into Current Trends in Manufacturing

As the founder of Seament, Maurice Bouri has had to stay at the front of both manufacturing and distribution trends for decades. Having helped revolutionize the way cement is delivered in developing nations and around the world, Maurice Bouri understands that even small innovations in manufacturing technology can advance entire industries—and substantially alter the bottom line.

Today is an exciting time in the world of manufacturing, as technology increasingly changes processes both in the plant and from manufacturer to consumer. Here are Maurice Bouri’s observations on some of the most exciting trends in manufacturing today:maurice-bouri

High tech boosts to operational efficiency
As a manufacturer, the cost of producing a unit is key to your success, regardless of the type of industry you’re in. While some costs are fixed or reflect the market, a major source of overhead is the manufacturing process itself—in which greater efficiency translates directly to higher profitability. This can be through a higher production rate, a lower cost per unit, or both. More manufacturers are experimenting with technology on the plant floor to help streamline operational processes and improve efficiency. This can consist of any of dozens of types of innovations, from more automated processes to new tools for workers to digitizing oversight to ensure efficiency at each step of the process. The experimentation with diverse forms of next-gen operational technology is the mark of the current revolution in industry.

Higher capacity through better shipping

In a time of unprecedented global development, the problem many manufacturers face is not a lack of demand, but the struggle to meet an overwhelming demand. This is known as “capacity crunch.” One source of capacity crunch comes from inefficient shipping and distribution. Recently, manufacturers have used new technology to match production centers with available freight shopping to keep the flow of products out to buyers uninterrupted.

Logistics optimization
From tracking inventory digitally to plotting the best footpaths through a busy shipping warehouse, logistics has never been such an important part of a company’s bottom line—nor has it ever benefitted from so much technological partnership before.

Worker safety and accountability
Technology and digitalization also help manufacturers ensure that workers are properly trained and follow safety protocols, with improved monitoring and tracking safety training. This means fewer accidents, a better work environment, and less cost.

These are just a few of the major trends we’re seeing in manufacturing right now. As you can see, all of them are driven by changes in the technology available to manufacturers and the way it is applied to industrial and B2B practices.