Richard Gurewitsch is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for helping connect the people of the Caribbean islands and Central America with the rest of the world.
In 2010 Richard Gurewitsch started LLAMACUBA after the United States laws changed and opened telecommunications to Cuba. With a team of highly trained Cisco Engineers, they obtained Federal FCC Licenses to comply with all US rules and regulations. LLAMACUBA developed a VoIP platform with discounted prices on phone calls from the US to Cuba to serve a sector of the market that has been traditionally under-deserved. After 2010 they were very honored to expand services to Cuba from all European and Latin American Countries to help even more families stay connected. Then as technology became more scalable, Richard’s company started providing phone top-ups (mobile refills) and went onto become one of the largest providers of top-up in the United States, with a massive presence on all Social Media channels.
Following the success of LLAMACUBA, Richard Gurewitsch founded HAITIPHONE in 2014 to serve another niche market that had been ignored by many other major phone companies. He and the team at Haitphone applied the same concept and in a few years, they were able to place Haiti Phone as one of the top-tier providers for Haiti as well.
In 2012, Richard Gurewitsch went on to found the SBG NETWORK GROUP LLC a well-recognized entity that encompasses many of the same services that he had created over the last 20 years in the telecommunication, internet, and virtual travel industries. SBG currently has offices in Miami, Florida, Mexico City, Cancun and Merida, Mexico, Santiago de Chile, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay. Richard Gurewitsch is very excited that SBG Network is in the process of opening in Barcelona, Spain in March 2020, thus continuing the trend of connecting immigrants with their families still back at home in Central and South America.
After experiencing such rapid growth in the telecommunications industry, Richard realized there was another way to serve the same clients – travel. That is why in 2018 they launched HOLIDAYS CARIBE leveraging a Florida Travel Seller License to offer excellent prices for superb hotels and air tickets around the world. With an emphasis on the Caribbean and beyond, Holidays Caribe has offices in both Miami, Florida and Cancun, Mexico.
And now during COVID he launched another venture to help those in need. To help mitigate the effects of Economic devastation in Cuba and the other Caribbean and Central American countries, his team of engineers and marketers were able to develop in record time a new service. This new service is called ENVIOS305 and sends non-perishable Food, Cookware, and Electronic items to Cuba and other Countries directly from Panama via Ships with fast turn around. Richard is excited because it has seen exponential growth over the last 3 months. Due to such rapid growth, they have to double their number of full-time Associates in the Call Center and Administration to accommodate the growth in demand.
Where did the idea for ENVIOS305 come from?
To help mitigate the effects of Economic devastation in Cuba and the other Caribbean and Central American countries, my team of engineers and marketers were able to develop in record time a new service. This new service is called ENVIOS305 and sends non-perishable Food, Cookware, and Electronic items to Cuba and other Countries directly from Panama via Ships with fast turn around. I always keep the names simple. Envios translates from spanish to english as ‘Shipping’ and 305 is the area code for Miami where we are based, so ENVIOS305 was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is not the same as it used to be. For the latest venture, we made sure we followed all the Health Officials guidelines by providing remote access to all our Staff working from home. So having a productive remote team takes training, hiring people with a strong work ethic, discipline, and then lots of follow up across departments to maintain a high standard of quality in Customer Support for our many ventures.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Planning, studying, listening to Customers, and dedicating quality time with all and each of our Associates to come up with and coordinate the idea.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Helping people in need. During my entire business career, having been an immigrant myself, my focus always was to help underserved immigrant sectors in both the USA, the Caribbean, and Europe. The current world crises provides entrepreneurs with a lot of opportunities to help others.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Start my day every morning with a positive outlook.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start saving at least 10% of your earnings for a better tomorrow
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That even under the most dire situations, there is always a way to turn the bad into something amazing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Stay persistent, persistent, persistent. NEVER give up
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Be true to yourself, recognize your failures, and provide leadership by encouraging others to share without limitations
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Taking too much time to feel sorry for my mistakes, instead of acting quickly. Once I realized that formula, I was able to liberate myself from procrastinating.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Pay attention to what people need the most at one certain time
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
As a Company, we donated Free International Calls for 7 days to the entire Emergency Nurses Staff helping COVID19 patients at the Central Policlinico (Hospital) in La Habana, Cuba.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Since I run multiple companies, keeping my emails organized is very important. https://tryshift.com/ helps me run multiple email accounts for each company all at once, keep them all organized, and keep myself very productive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“What You Do Is Who You Are: How To Create Your Business Culture” by Ben Horowitz. Culture is king in business and this helped me to understand how to set that tone for my companies.
What is your favorite quote?
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
- Find a mentor to gain a new perspective.
- Learn that neither rejection nor failure is the end of the world.
- Use data to help you set goals and expectations.
- Read “What You Do Is Who You Are: How To Create Your Business Culture” by Ben Horowitz.
- Do things right the first time, even if it might take a long time.
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.