Joseph Schratt is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Futramo, a manufacturing automation company. His family immigrated to the United States and settled in the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania area when he was three years old. After graduating High School with honors from in 2011, Joe went on to attend Central State University with a full scholarship. He graduated summa cum laude, receiving a dual degree in Business and Engineering. While working as an industrial engineer, he developed a knack for implementing robotics to improve quality assurance outcomes and increase overall efficiency. This led to the founding of Futramo, located in Canonsburg, Ohio. In addition to the passion he brings to his role as CEO of Futramo, Joseph Schratt is also a dedicated philanthropist. He currently lives in Canonsburg, where he devotes his time and financial resources to several organizations, including The Global Food Initiative, The Global Poverty Project, and the Canonsburg Educational Foundation. He volunteers his time as a coach for the Youth Football and Cheer Program. Joe Schratt is an avid traveler and has been to over fifty countries on four continents in his lifetime. He enjoys road biking, wakeboarding, sailing, hiking, and learning new languages.
Where did the idea for Futramo come from?
I was working as an industrial engineer, and I saw a need for improvement in the manufacturing processes I was overseeing. I have a background in robotics so automation was a natural solution to that problem. I realized I could help improve more businesses with the tech I had developed by starting my own company, and Futramo was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start every day by walking my dog. I find that the physical activity gets my blood pumping and sets the tone for the rest of the day. I wear several hats in my role at Futramo, so I couldn’t function without the help of calendar notifications and many, many lists.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I may have a moment of inspiration, but it pretty much always comes to fruition through collaboration with others. I make it a habit to turn to the trusted people around me to get their feedback whenever I’m working on something new.
What’s one trend that excites you?
While my field is manufacturing, I’m also very excited about automation in the residential space. I think any technological advancement that frees people of the burden of menial tasks like housework has the power to change society, allowing more time to focus on the bigger issues.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s basic, but I diligently get eight hours of sleep per night. Sleep is very important for learning, which is something I’m doing constantly as I work to improve my business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Your mind and body are intimately connected, so make sure your physicality is balanced with mental health. Take time to breathe.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Success as an entrepreneur is partially luck. There are hundreds of people out there just as smart as you are, and sometimes success is dependent on nothing more than being in the right place at the right time.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I practice gratitude, both with myself and others. I send thank-you notes after meeting new clients, which may seem old-fashioned but I think it’s important in building those relationships on a human level. I try to expressly thank my employees on a regular basis, and I’ll take time out once in a while to take stock of how my life is going and really appreciate it for everything it’s worth.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’m open to building relationships with literally anyone, even if their connection to the future of the business is unclear. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I think the same general mentality applies to business as well. If you have a wide network, it may take you in a direction you hadn’t anticipated.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I launched my business with a single client lined up, which unfortunately fell through shortly after launch. This brings me back to the previous question because my diverse network of connections really came through. It allowed me to rebound and secure another client, which turned into several more clients relatively quickly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I moved recently, and I think if someone made a personal device that automated heavy lifting, it could make a lot of money. Moving is expensive and hard on your body, so being able to buy something once that would help you with that task forever would appeal to a lot of people, and companies. Plus, there’s definitely demand for it in the accessibility market.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently threw a pizza party for some of the kids I volunteer with. We had set some practice goals, and the party was a reward for meeting them. I think celebration is important for building team morale, and is worth every penny.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use the calendar app on my phone almost every half hour. I schedule all my time out at the beginning of the week, including leisure time. This helps remind me of everything I’m setting out to accomplish in a day and also helps me to move on from a task in a timely fashion.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Psychology of Gratitude by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough. They take a scientific approach to the practice of gratitude. Reading it had a profound effect on my approach to life.
What is your favorite quote?
“No duty is more urgent than giving thanks.” – James Allen
- Make time for gratitude, both with yourself and others.
- Creating a strong network and collaborating with others can take your business to the next level.
- Organizing your time helps with focus, allowing you to accomplish more in a day.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.