I believe in receiving input and then putting ideas into action quickly. There is a saying “the worst decision is no decision,” so I like to act with urgency.
Guillaume Vidal is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of GREEN CREATIVE, an LED lighting manufacturer that shook a lighting industry dominated by long time household named companies. Vidal started the business with Cole Zucker in 2010 following their chance encounter in Shanghai. Guillaume is focused on developing and manufacturing award winning innovative products from their China-based R&D center while Zucker is in charge of US sales and distribution.
Originally from France, Vidal landed in Hong Kong for a semester exchange program with Skema Business School in 2004 and has called China home ever since. After working for a local lighting manufacturer, Vidal and Zucker recognizing that an LED technology revolution was approaching so they decided to get ahead of the curve and build a brand for the US commercial LED lighting market.
When not thinking about new product or marketing concepts, Vidal spends time with family and plays with his daughter and son or can be found on the track riding dirt bikes. Vidal is also an active member of Entrepreneur Organization and enjoys mentoring fellow entrepreneurs.
Where did the idea for GREEN CREATIVE come from?
GREEN CREATIVE actually stands for Guillaume and Cole and the idea for starting the company came from when we met and were both looking at starting a business. LED was clearly headed towards revolution for the lighting industry. We witnessed it from an insider’s perspective knowing what was transpiring and at what speed and we decided to capitalize on the opportunity.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Making sure the company always has an innovative, competitive and relevant product line from inception to production is the best way to define my role. To do so, each morning I catch up on emails to see if there is anything that would require communication or immediate action before end of business on US side since I’m 16 hours ahead in Shanghai; I use it as an advantage. My morning is also a good time to conference call with Cole my co-CEO and other US colleagues. The rest of my day is focused on product development and product management including road map brainstorming, product launches, pricing, and reviewing R&D project specific milestones.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to run ideas through a few key people relevant to the matter. I believe in receiving input and then putting ideas into action quickly. There is a saying “the worst decision is no decision,” so I like to act with urgency.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am quite fascinated how social media and technology has taken hold in our society and how it is now possible to spread new business ideas and brands with such speed. Today’s entrepreneur skill set must include the ability to leverage those tools.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Scheduling and allocating time slots, not just for meeting but also time for myself and my own tasks. I find it very easy to get distracted and delay important items because we are all focused on the urgent things that pop up. Having time slots for yourself with specific task forces you to find the time to work on more mid and long term tasks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If you don’t feel you are moving forward, you are actually regressing because everyone else is moving forward. For instance it took me too long to realize I wasn’t developing myself anymore in my first job. I could have switched jobs a year earlier or so. That’s huge! You can’t buy time.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Celebrating is very important and often overlooked. Lots of managers are focused on hitting the goal but as soon as it’s completed, they move on. It is important to take time to acknowledge a milestone has been reached or a sales target achieved and spread the news. Something as simple as a high-five to all attendees during our product milestone meeting goes a long way.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Review company and team goals. I started doing this more recently and it empowers people around you while making sure things get done.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being quick and nimble. We entered an industry with very large corporations and were able to compete thanks to our speed of execution in product development as well as in business model adjustment.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We have had many. One of our most costly one has been the system transfer. We opted for a lower end ERP and the migration was just a nightmare. It was very poorly managed on our side and had a huge impact on the business and our relation with our customers. We got it up and running by empowering an internal team to put a plan together and stopped relying on consultants. As soon as we were done we went back out shopping for a more robust one. That last migration was a lot smoother thanks to what we learnt.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I believe in customized goods in general and with online shopping there are opportunities to create nice niche areas from clothes to food to cars.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Books for my daughter. $100 for books goes very quickly because they are imported. Reading books together allows me to spend quality time with her and develop her knowledge appetite.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Podcast. I consume lots of material on the go such as self development, entertainment and finance.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Shoe Dog, story of Nike”. Quite inspiring to see how focus, innovation and perseverance paid off, even in a fight against the giants.
What is your favorite quote?
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable” — Seneca
Guillaume Vidal on Linkedin:
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.