Mike Salem – CEO of Vorex

Being curious. I am not sure if you can classify this as a habit, but it often helps me find new ways and ideas.

Mike Salem is the CEO of Vorex, which was founded in 2007, and is one of the company’s original founders. His career as a visionary business innovator spans more than 20 years. He has extensive experience in cloud computing, professional services automation (PSA), project management, small business IT solutions, and risk management. Mike has directed the company’s growth, while developing and implementing Vorex’s vision and business strategy.

Under Mike’s leadership, Vorex has grown to become a leading provider of cloud-based PSA solutions. The company provides cost-effective, user-friendly software solutions to help small- to mid-size businesses streamline operations, automate time-consuming tasks, and improve the bottom line while focusing on their core business.

Mike is recognized for his expertise in conceptualizing, planning and developing specialized solutions for professional service industries. He provides both strategic and tactical direction at Vorex. His leadership and determination has enabled Vorex to consistently develop and implement solutions that create value for business organizations.

Prior to founding Vorex, Mike was an assistant vice president for Bank of America, managing the development and maintenance of several critical areas such as financial transfer systems, credit bureau and credit card production. He was also responsible for managing a workforce, located across multiple states and countries. He also held positions at Sprint, as well as ExxonMobil Corporation.

Mike earned his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), with an emphasis in Management Information Systems (MIS), at the University of Oklahoma and attended George Washington University for Continuing Education in Technology Management.

Where did the idea for Vorex come from?

Vorex was a backward process driven by what we perceived as a demand or a gap in the software industry: An enterprise solution that is made for small businesses. Easy to use, inexpensive, and simple to install … yet, has the power and functionally commonly found only in expensive solutions.

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

My day starts with a cup of coffee and a quick read on the latest technology news. I also like to read a couple of quick positive pieces of news to add a touch of positivity for the day. But my biggest productivity booster is my daily workout at the gym, it does magic for my day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Once an idea comes along, I visualize it in action: How it will operate, how it will impact people, etc. I simulate it in my head on how it will function day by day. What are the ups and downs? In other word, I live it.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

In one word, technology. But if I have to think of a single trend, I would say the cloud movement. We are barley scratching the surface, but this trend will completely change our lives in the next 5-10 years.

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

Being curious. I am not sure if you can classify this as a habit, but it often helps me find new ways and ideas.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I was always selective in finding jobs, even when I was a broke student in college. So I was blessed there. However, if I have to choose the worst, then it would be my years as a Librarian. Talk about silence for hours upon hours.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Invest every dollar I had in the dot com boom.

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

Continue to find better ways. I am not saying that we discovered or manufactured everything possible, but if you look around, the majority of success stories belong to a ‘new’ or ‘better’ way of doing an existing product or service. We were fine for decades using mail, until email came along. Bookstores were fine until Amazon came along. And walking into the bank was OK until online banking was introduced.

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

Thinking things through! Many ideas sound great at the beginning, but it’s only a dream until you look under the hood. And it is good to study the idea from every possible angle. Suddenly, you have a great way to filter great ideas from ones that have a true potential of becoming the next big thing, from ones that are simply a nice idea.

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

I would say trying to do everything. This could very well be the end of your business idea journey. We all like to think we are the smartest … and we might very well be very smart. But we really don’t know it all, or at least, we do not have the time to know it all. I overcame this by surrounding myself with people who know more about specific aspects of the business than I do. For example, I now have a social media person and a finance person, among other specialist.

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

One idea that crossed my mind is to bring a very clean and structured open market for businesses, where different businesses can buy and sell physical products to each other (Office furniture, restaurant ovens, bar stools, computer screens, etc.). New businesses keep trying to save money when buying equipment for their establishments, yet many existing businesses are trying to sell their used ones. A website could bring them all together and can be organized by region, industry, price, etc.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

Not many people know this, but I played hockey for many years and I was trying to make it as a pro.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I would say Amazon is my favorite place to go to. Easy to use and a clean interface; plus, you can find everything there.

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

I would recommend Cosmos. Yes, it is an astronomy book, not a business one. But I believe reading such books open a person’s mind into thinking big.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group. This person is not only an icon in the business world, but his out-of-the-box thinking, creativity, and, yes, craziness are simply amazing and works like magic. He makes me realize that there are no limits, and there is nothing called crazy! I also like to follow Marc Benioff, one of the founders of SalesForce. I believe he is a visionary man who knows technology well, and I also have a lot of respect for his human side.


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