Maurice Harary on How To Bounce Back Stronger in Business
Maurice Harary is the Co-Founder/CEO of The Bid Lab and knows what it takes to face challenges in business and bounce back stronger. They took some time out to share their insights with The Industry Leaders.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your journey as an entrepreneur, focusing particularly on your experiences with setbacks and challenges? How has this shaped your understanding and mastery of resilience in business?
As a middle child in a family of six children, I draw parallels between my upbringing and my love of the bidding process: both require being an expert navigator of complex situations and contrasting personalities. I attribute this ability to the experiences I had growing up. Born and raised in New York City, I attended New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and graduated with a degree in Business and Political Economy. I knew, however, that I wanted to see, learn, and experience more than what one city had to offer. So I committed to spending semesters in both London and Shanghai. Living in foreign cities taught me about the intertwining nature of business, politics, economics, and culture, which has been invaluable in my career thus far.
In the world of entrepreneurship, failure is often seen as a stepping stone rather than a dead-end. How do you perceive failure, and can you share an instance where a failure led to an unexpected growth or success in your business?
In life, and especially in business, we are destined to fail. So many of us when we fall are simply too stunned to get back up again. We remember the pain and we strive to avoid it again at all costs. But we shouldn’t be surprised by failure, we should accept and plan for it. Failing teaches us so much about ourselves, when we risk failure, we learn resilience. Remembering those times you got back up again, even when it was painful, creates a repository of positive memories reminding us of when and how we turned a setback into a success. This resiliency is the key to building the belief in yourself to know no matter the obstacle, you will keep going, and you will eventually succeed.
What strategies have you employed to cultivate a culture of resilience within your organization? How have these strategies made your team more adaptable and innovative, especially during trying times?
Mental wellness is vital both to sustaining yourself personally and sustaining your business. You really do have to schedule self-care the same way you would a business meeting. Put that time to work out on the calendar and treat it like an important meeting with your health. It can’t be canceled; it has to be given attention. As for me, I like to take the time to organize my space; no one can work effectively in clutter, and by taking care of my environment, I take care of myself. Self-care has to be a priority. It’s just like if you want to help someone in a plane crash, you have to put on your mask first. Schedule and prioritize time to care for yourself if you want to be able to care for the people and things that matter to you.
You've spoken about bouncing back from failure, but I'm curious to know if there is a methodology you follow to analyze what went wrong and how to correct it. Could you describe your process for assessing and learning from mistakes?
It's so critical to be realistic in setting KPIs, goals, and improvement rather than just hitting an arbitrary number that you think should be hit or met. Have them be a part of the conversation when discussing these goals for the future. Their input/feedback could provide insight, allowing much greater success for everyone involved. Studies have shown that people are more likely to complete tasks assigned to them and lead by example when they feel they have been part of the decision or plan. Furthermore, seeing and identifying mistakes are often the hardest part of accountability. Once this has been established, avoid playing the 'blame game' and find the courage to own it! This will help allow you to solve the issue. Lastly and most importantly, DO IT! As it's been said - "it is better to offer no excuse than a bad one"!
Many entrepreneurs fear failure to the point that it paralyzes them. How do you balance taking calculated risks with the fear of failure? What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who struggle with this?
A recession is a time of anxiety for everyone, especially those that have lost their positions through the financial crises in 2007. When people hear the word ‘recession,’ it causes fear for their jobs, loss of income, and ability to find work. Considering that people work for most of their days, and their work impacts their non-work lives, having a stable and secure position is the bedrock for an individual’s success both for their career and their personal lives. As an employer, it is critical to be transparent about the risk of losing or retaining a position through tough economic cycles. If you are able to grow during a recession, explain how and why to employees so they feel your confidence. And if you are anticipating a negative impact on your business, work with your team to be aware of the challenges you are facing so you can all work together to overcome them. Either way you’ll garner trust and confidence from your team when other employers may be holding back!
Sometimes, resilience requires knowing when to pivot or even walk away from an idea. How do you recognize the difference between a challenge that requires persistence and a situation that necessitates a change in direction?
Behind any good employee is a great trainer or coach. Providing ongoing training and coaching can help associates develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. Leaders can use feedback from coaching sessions to identify effective techniques and strategies that can be shared with the team-- and the best part about coaching is that both parties are guaranteed to exchange ideas and learn new things. It's important not to allow success to go to your head. You're never "too successful" to teach someone and you're never "too successful" to learn. This attitude is the point of all new innovations and industry events. Keep learning, keep teaching, keep growing.
The global economic landscape is always changing, and recent years have seen some extraordinary disruptions. How have you adapted your business to overcome unexpected global challenges? What were the key factors in your successful navigation of these waters?
While there is plenty of valuable information out there about best practices to increase lead generation, we've come to realize that real growth always circles back to knowing your target demographic and how they might receive and interact with your product, service, or message in a meaningful way. We want to communicate what we do effectively so we drive in the clients that can really benefit from our partnership. We spend our time tailoring our social media posts and focus on engagement instead of conversions. If you cannot pay attention to your marketing strategy or effectively communicate to your target demographic, hire people who can. We pay attention to SEO, but we are more focused on producing high-quality content that inspires confidence and trust in our brand. Generating marketing leads that lead to real growth isn't something you can do on auto-pilot. Marketing really is all in the details.
Resilience in the face of failure is often linked to personal growth as well. How have your business experiences shaped you personally? Can you share a moment where your professional resilience translated into a personal transformation?
Going the extra mile is always worth it, if for nothing else, than for personal growth. If you don’t give it your all, you will never know what you can achieve. It’s an old adage for a reason - if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. If you don’t put your full effort in as an employee you might miss out on opportunities for advancement and you are far more susceptible to layoffs (a major concern in the current climate). Small ways to go above and beyond include showing up early, presenting thoughtful ideas, offering to lead or jump on new projects - and above all, bringing a positive attitude.