Maurice Harary is the CEO/Co-Founder of The Bid Lab and took some time out to speak with Rob Barratt from The Industry Leaders about how they stay ahead of the game in their industry.
Can you introduce yourself and share a little about your background?
Back in 2017, my wife and Co-founder, Jordan, was climbing the ladder in the automotive industry while I was working at IHS Markit. Jordan was tasked with completing an RFP for her business and hired an outside consultant for assistance. When we saw the final work product, we were shocked by the subpar quality that seemed to be accepted by the industry at large. The formatting was off, the writing was shoddy and the information was not even compliant. She called me and we worked through the night putting together a proposal she could stand behind. It was then that we realized combining her writing talent with my RFP knowledge was a winning formula for success. Since then, we’ve created the world’s leading RFP company, had two daughters and recently launched our own RFP search engine, Bid Banana.
As a forward-thinking professional, how do you identify ways to stay ahead in your industry?
As people evolve, they become more sophisticated in their understanding of when and how they are being marketed to. This is why it is more important than ever to be authentic and honest in your advertising. Much like the de-influencer trend on TikTok, many people are looking for more authentic examples of how to live their lives and thus respond to more genuine, human, and even “messy” marketing. Don’t be afraid to add the imperfect or perfectly human into your advertising approach. People make lifelong connections to brands that are relatable and your honest humanity in marketing will be your greatest asset in a world craving more authenticity and less perfection.
How often do you reassess your competitive landscape and, as I know you're very busy, I'd love for you to share any tips you have on carving out the time to do this?
More than half of our leads are from people reading our articles. It’s a long-term investment because our 100+ articles have taken us years to develop and refine, but they pay huge dividends. Plus, we’re constantly refreshing our content with new information. In our article Why Should I Search for RFPs Online we provide multiple options for updated, online RFP search engines.
What have been the most significant challenges you've faced when striving to stay ahead in a rapidly changing world, and how have you overcome them?
Fear is the number one aspect that holds people back from being authentic and vulnerable. And for good reason. Being vulnerable and authentic takes work and it is scary. It’s been said many times because it is so very true, you can’t let fear win. Often, we are afraid to be who we are in the world because we fear rejection, but it’s far better to be rejected for yourself than for someone you’re pretending to be. And every failure, every rejection just gets you one step closer to success.
Can you pinpoint a defining moment or experience where your innovative strategies led to success or a competitive advantage in your business or career?
We recently launched our new RFP search engine, Bid Banana. We wanted to make searching for RFPs both easy and accessible, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. I am beyond proud of what we have been able to accomplish. We’ve created a search engine that pulls RFPs from all over and puts them into a user-friendly interface. You can search by RFP due date, keywords, location, etc. We even added a favorites feature so you can save multiple bids and compare them to see which one is the right option for your business. Allowing small and medium-sized businesses access to RFPs in an easy to comprehend format really emphasizes what we are most passionate about - helping businesses grow to achieve their full potential.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients of an effective strategy for staying ahead in 2023?
Utilizing failure to create resilience: 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.
In your opinion, what role does continuous learning and personal development play in staying ahead, and how do you incorporate these practices into your own professional journey?
Marketing approaches can vary across different cultures; what works in one culture may not necessarily be effective in another. Straight-forward marketing strategies employed in Japan might not work as well as they would in the United States, for example, because Japan is a high-context culture. In high-context cultures, communication tends to be more indirect, and marketing messages may rely largely on visual imagery and symbolism. Meanwhile, in low-context cultures, communication is more explicit. Marketing messages may focus more on the specific features and benefits of a product. The differences don't stop there. Japan has a more individualistic streak, whereas a country like China values collectivistic messaging. Companies will do better marketing personal benefits on an individualistic level than they will in China, where a company would want to think about promoting benefits to society as a whole.
Looking ahead, what emerging trends or technologies do you believe will have the most significant impact on businesses or ambitious professionals, and how are you preparing to leverage them for future success?
I, too, used to go into a 52-story skyscraper in New York City in a full suit every day. But, when I founded The Bid Lab, I remembered that the people I worked most closely with on my previous team worked out of the UK and India. Why couldn’t I work closely with people who weren’t located geographically nearby to me? The Bid Lab is, and always has been a remote company. While there are myriad reasons why remote work is worth championing (environmental impact, productivity, work/life balance, etc.) one of the reasons why I think it works best for The Bid Lab is because it allows us to hire from a unique pool of individuals. I’m looking at you, an amazing writer, living 3 hours outside of Albuquerque who needs to be available to her elderly mother in the afternoons. And I’m also looking at you, a sales superstar who wants to homeschool her kids but can also sell ice to an Eskimo. I’m proud of the fact that The Bid Lab is made up of a team of individuals who have individual needs but also a common ability to log into work wherever they may be.