Worry less, there is always a solution. Maybe an opportunity can even be derived from a problem!

 

Chady Tawil revolutionised the Lebanese business market. After recognising a love and talent for creating mosaic art, he attended the Mosaic Art School of Ravenna, in Italy, where he graduated and returned to Lebanon and entered the world of retail. Combining these two passions, he created the first ever ecommerce business in Lebanon in 2003, Mozaico. Paving the way for new ecommerce businesses to emerge within the country at a time when ecommerce was relatively unknown.

Mozaico is the industry leader in making handcrafted mosaics available to customers all over the world. From what was a small ecommerce business started in Chady’s home, Mozaico has grown to serve more than 10,000 clients ranging from homeowners to Religious Institutions, and selling and shipping products to more than 100 countries. Headquartered in Illinois, Mozaico’s operations are all centred in Beirut, Lebanon, a region rich in Mosaic culture.

Extremely ambitious, Chady continues to develop new ideas to expand Mozaico further, making these beautifully handcrafted mosaics available to customers all over the world. Additionally, he has developed a true appreciation for technology and is always seeking out methods that technology can improve the processes for entrepreneurs. Understanding the obstacles faced by entrepreneurs starting out, he is keen to provide advice to budding entrepreneurs starting out in their journey.

Where did the idea for Mozaico come from?

I knew that ecommerce was the future and I wanted to be involved in this evolution in the early days. My biggest challenge was finding the right product to sell. I experimented with many different products before I discovered that there was a demand for mosaics. I had a strong vision for the future, but it took a considerable amount of trail to error to direct me onto the right path.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I oversee almost every area of the business, therefore on a day-to-day basis, I carry out a diverse range of tasks. Typically, I would start my day with answering customer emails, assigning tasks to staff and freelancers, either by email or on Asana the project management tool we use across the company. I tend to have one-one 5 minute meetings with certain staff who are working on specific tasks that require my input. Due to the nature of our business, the workshop is central to our operations. So I would pass regularly throughout the day to ensure production is running smoothly. I monitor the website analytics and social media engagement across all of our online platforms.

I’m constantly looking for ways we can improve our processes to increase efficiency overall.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I constantly record new ideas on my phone, as they come to mind, then process these ideas while running or taking a shower. After I have digested the idea and continue it something that’s worth pursuing, I’ll break it down into actionable tasks to put its development in motion.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Ecommerce has enabled consumers to find truly unique products online, from all over the world, rather than a continued reliance on mass-produced items from China or elsewhere. This gives talented artists the opportunity to market and sell their pieces to consumers who are actively searching for unique pieces.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

It’s all about the perfect morning routine for me. Every morning I go running, this kick starts my day and leaves me feeling energized and my mind alert. This energy passes off onto my team too!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Worry less, there is always a solution. Maybe an opportunity can even be derived from a problem!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I don’t believe in business plans and long meetings, I think they can waste a lot of time. Instead, I use trial and error, learn from my mistakes and grow by implementing the solutions. I keep all meetings short, no more than 5 minutes. I find this to be most effective, people tend to be organized with what needs to be discussed, we don’t get overwhelmed with information and it’s an efficient use of time.

I believe success in Business is a combination of luck and hard work. The luck comes down to the mistakes you make, which is inevitable. You just need to hope that the mistakes you make won’t be fatal for the business. Each mistake provides opportunities to learn and grow.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Respond to customer requests fast, this improves conversions significantly. I have been known to respond to customer enquiries within two minutes of receiving a request. Managing customer relationships should always remain the number one priority in running an ecommerce business.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

I focus all strategy for growth on online activities. Mozaico has achieved much higher ROI from online efforts such as paid ads and organic growth compared with attending Trade shows or physical offline advertising methods.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges I faced as Mozaico began to grow was managing orders. I struggled initially with juggling several different areas of the business, for example, the workshop and training new staff on how to make the mosaics was time-consuming and extremely important to our business. Dealing with orders quick enough was something that was affected and we experienced some delays in getting orders processed and dispatched. Eventually, we put practices in place, delegated responsibility to certain staff, which ensured that all orders were processed on time.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

With privacy concerns dominating the headlines at the moment, a solution to protect data privacy which allows users to remain completely anonymous online would be a valuable business idea.

A second idea is to discover new talents and provide guidance on how to become social influencers. In return for this guidance, the influencer could pay a percentage of their profits. There are many potential stars that need guidance in this area. It could be a mutually beneficial exchange.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently hired a blogger to write an article for us about how to install a mosaic. We agreed a $100 fee and that we would send them a free mosaic. She did an excellent DIY article, that would have otherwise cost us 20 times more. She also had a considerable number of followers who might be potential customers.

Another instance when $100 was well spent, was signing up for Karmabot, which is an app integration for Slack. With this app, I give immediate points/bonuses to reward my staff. Every three months my staff receive the cash equivalent of these points as an additional bonus. It’s an additional incentive to increase productivity and has proven to a valuable addition.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Slack is utilized for just about everything within Mozaico! We exchange tasks among staff, and we can quickly discuss topics relating to the completion of a task across the organisation. I use it to organize articles and designs that I like, these designs can be inspirations for new mosaics. It also acts as a platform to showcase successes such as sales records, or creative work in progress in our workshop, which is another way to maintain motivation across the team.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

It’s not so much a book, but a compilation of Letters by Jeff Bezos to shareholders from 1996-2017. This collection of letters are incredibly thought-provoking and are packed full of advice for business owners. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, writes a letter to the shareholders every year between 1996-2017. Just some of the advice outlined, very clearly, in these letters, he encourages you to think of the long-term, to remain customer-centric, and make decisions quickly. This advice has guided me through my journey of creating and developing Mozaico into what it has become today.

Although, the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” has also been a huge influence on my desire and drive to become a successful entrepreneur.

What is your favorite quote?

(KISS) Keep It Simple Stupid

Key learnings:

  • Follow your vision but don’t be afraid of trial and error.
  • Develop a morning routine that works for you, daily exercise such as a run will improve your productivity.
  • Keep things simple and cut on long unproductive meetings
  • Artists around the world should be embracing the opportunities derived from the increasing number of people who actively seek unique products.
  • Act quickly with customer queries, this significantly improves conversions.

Connect:

Mozaico on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mozaicoart
Mozaico on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MozaicoArt
Mozaico on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.es/mozaico/
Mozaico on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mozaico/
Mozaico on Google plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MozaicoNet