Saul Mishkin is a business developer, inventor, father of six, and founder of NEX-XOS Worldwide. Originally from Lima, Peru, Saul studied at the prestigious Universidad de Lima where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. He founded his first company, Green Leaf, while still in school, and developed it into one of the biggest multi-service landscaping and cleaning companies in Peru. After travelling around the world searching for new technologies and equipment for his business, Saul Mishkin began to act as a Latin American trade representative for some of the companies he was buying supplies from, which ignited his interest in international trade, commerce, and distribution. Later, he applied this knowledge to creating networks in different sectors of the economy, such as mining, construction, security, and commodities in countries all over the world.
In 2006, Saul Mishkin immigrated to the United States with his family looking for new opportunities. After several setbacks, he founded NEX-XOS Worldwide in 2011, which has grown into one of the leading companies in shelf-stable food manufacturing and meal kit assembly in the US. He currently serves as the company’s president and CEO. Saul is fluent in four languages: Spanish, English, French, and Hebrew.
Where did the idea for NEX-XOS come from?
All my life, I’ve been putting things together and creating opportunities. In Spanish ‘nexo’ means contact—to put something together. So, NEX-XOS is like two parts being put together by a dash where the dash represents my life, my time in this world, and my journey. Long story short, I’ve been putting things together all my life and making opportunities.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m constantly evolving in many aspects of the day-to-day, so I get pulled in many directions all day long. The way I make my day productive and get important stuff done is by working late when everybody’s gone and when the phone doesn’t ring. I do the same over the weekends. This is to combat what I call justified distractions, which are the distractions I get nine to five, but are the worst for productivity. So, when I need to get things done and be productive, normally I do that stuff late at night or over the weekend when everybody’s gone so I can give those tasks my full concentration.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In a unique way—by executing them without fear and sometimes with a lot a risk. Because if you keep ideas in the idea form, then they are only dreams. So, basically, I jump into the water.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Recycling and creating value with what people dispose of.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Exercise early in the morning before sunrise. That’s how I leave all the bad energy behind.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to read more books, surround yourself by people you admire, and spend more time with your family.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That I’m a great cook.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Fail, fail, and fail. Because when you don’t fail in what you’re doing or trying to accomplish, it means that you’ve mastered it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Always listen to your gut. It’s always right. And don’t be afraid to try and execute your ideas even if you don’t think that they are totally ready or perfect. You will learn more and discover more with practice and execution by trying than by not trying.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early on, I think that my biggest failure was not learning to say no to certain things and suffering the consequences from that. I overcame that problem by learning how to step back, analyze every situation individually while prioritizing my overall well-being. As opposed to simply saying yes to every single request.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Actually, in the past, my business has had a shortage of many things, but I never believed that we would have a shortage of pallets—wooden pallets. We just finished a project involving thousands of pallets and there was a shortage. Pallets that would normally cost $4 all of a sudden cost $12 and were very hard to find. In the past, I’ve thought about building pallets from something that isn’t wood—even though wood is recyclable—but something that is in abundance and is also versatile and recyclable. So, my idea is to make pallets or pallet holders from tire scraps. There are companies that use a lot of tires and end up with extra tires after usage and they don’t know what to do with them. Most of the time they end up shredding them. But if someone could devise a way to use them as a raw material to build a pallet-like structure that would last forever—it would be washable—I think that’s a good idea. I don’t know if that’s crazy, but I’ve always thought that. Early in my career, I used to sell tires to companies in the mining industry, and let me tell you: the amount of tires that are in this world, truck tires, mining tires, car tires, is astounding. After they get used, they’re just put in piles. Some of them are shredded, some are recycled, but there are so many and the rubber they’re made of is a strong, durable raw material. If somebody could convert those used tires into pallets, I think that’s a no-brainer.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought meat and poultry and had a barbecue with my little girls last week. I have six daughters and three of them are very little. We had a lot of fun.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Can I give you two? NetSuite and Dropbox. NetSuite because it integrates all the parts of my business in real time from the early planning stages to delivering finished goods to our customers so that it’s all in one place, and Dropbox because it’s the most convenient and secure way to keep files.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s by Chan Kim and Reneé Mauborgne. The book says you don’t necessarily need to compete to win in life. You can make your own competition irrelevant. The only way to do that is to discover your blue ocean, and not fight in what they call the red ocean which is full of blood because companies tend to fight for customers and fight for markets. I think the blue ocean strategy can be applied to business and life. It’s very interesting and I highly recommend it
What is your favorite quote?
“In the end, everything will be alright. And if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.”
- Execute your ideas so they don’t stay as dreams.
- Surround yourself with people that know more than you and that you admire.
- Exercise in the morning.
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.