I think that being generous with your employees (and being on their side) is something that we do that very few people do. I believe that loyalty is a two-way street.
Mike is the 26 year old founder of Lab Society, a laboratory manufacturer and supply company based in Boulder Colorado. He is an expert in the field of technical development of laboratory equipment, with over 3 years of laboratory operational experience, method development, and technical training.
He’s developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for multiple commercial facilities, and he’s pioneered development methods for distillations, isolations, separations, and the refinement of various compounds.
Where did the idea for Lab Society come from?
We wanted to create a business where not only could you get all the products you needed, but where you felt like you were part of a community. For us, advancing the industry means sharing information – not only paid information (like our business consulting), but also free content with our website and on social media. So the name Lab “Society” was a logical choice!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Unfortunately it requires a lot of multitasking! I try to come in early and get all my emails done in the morning, so I can start solving problems once everybody else comes to work. I spend a lot of time on product development and a lot of time on the phone! Between vendor negotiations, team management, product development, testing, and training, my days are completely packed. I keep looking for trends, and I try to increase efficiency wherever possible. I still work with clients, and occasionally I need to travel as well. Expanding as we are is a constant challenge, but I do my best to stay on top of it all.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The coolest part of my job is that I GET to bring ideas to life. The other day I met with someone, and immediately after speaking with them I made a call to start all the pieces in motion that would get that product done. We have designers, manufacturing partners, and then we’ll execute with our team. From there, we’ll build our marketing materials internally, launch the product, and it all comes to life! The team is key. Without the team, it wouldn’t be possible.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The advancement of technology – integrating devices with computers and phones is a particularly exciting development.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Over-analyzing things – and I never stop working! I over-analyze everything (sometimes to my disadvantage), and I truly don’t know how to stop working. These are not necessarily good things, but they certainly help with being an entrepreneur.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
A lot of entrepreneurs I’ve talked to have a strange relationship with their employees. They have an almost adversarial relationship with the people who work for them. I think that being generous with your employees (and being on their side) is something that we do that very few people do. I believe that loyalty is a two-way street.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I constantly try to improve myself and keep learning. Don’t stop learning. Go to conferences. Go empower yourself. When you empower yourself, you empower your whole team. The worst thing you can do is shy away from new knowledge and opportunities.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being a good businessperson. We put our money where our mouth is, we treat our customers right, and we build that reputation. I also value people. It’s surprising that this is a “novel” approach, but it seems to be…
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’m very fortunate that I haven’t experienced a massive failure yet, but I think if anything, my mistakes have come from putting the wrong people in the wrong roles. Putting the wrong people in roles that weren’t right for them has certainly inhibited our progress at times. In the end, it’s all a good learning experience. Trying to force things has never worked out… Sometimes you have to trust your gut, because the longer you wait to solve your problem, the worse it gets.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Everybody knows that convenience is key, so creating a business around making some part of life more convenient will probably be successful, whatever it is!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Mother’s Day flowers!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Odoo! And Google Business… Right now our company couldn’t function without them.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Ideal Team Player“.
It’s always good to think about the overview of my business, and of course re-stating your guiding principles is never a bad thing! It will help me focus on what’s really important. Seeing my answers to these questions is a strong reminder of my priorities and our mission statement!
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.