Mike Maibach is the 27 year old entrepreneur behind the multi-million dollar start-up Lab Society. He gives us some entrepreneurial insight in this interview!
Can you give us some insight into how you came up with Lab Society?
For us, the key was to create a business in which you could not only get all the products you needed, but where you also had the sense of being part of a larger community of like-minded people.
The only way to do this is through freely sharing your information and insights in addition to offering paid information through our business consulting. We’ve always focused on free content on our website and social media channels, creating a lasting relationship with our customers.
These ideas all led us to the name Lab “Society”!
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
The best part of what I do is that I’m in a position where I now have the power and team to big bring ideas to life. I can be on a call with someone one day, and the very next day I can put all the pieces in motion to get that product or project off the ground. We have such a large team of people, including designers, prototype-makers, manufacturing partners and more. We can take those raw ideas and work on them with our marketing team to create marketing materials and then launch the product. Having all the right people in place helps us get bigger and bigger things done, growing our company.
How do you stay productive on any given day?
Sadly I have to multitask quite a lot, and it’s hard to get everything done! I try to take care of all my emails first thing in the morning, so that by the time people come into work I can start solving the bigger problems.
During business hours I spend a crazy amount of time on the phone and, of course, on product development. With vendor negotiations, team and project management, developing products, testing and training, my days are totally packed. In spare moments I have to look for trends to stay ahead of the curve, and I try to improve efficiency in the company wherever possible. These days I have to travel more and more and still serve my clients. Our rapid growth makes it a challenge to stay on top of it all, but I do my best!
What’s exciting in the pipeline?
I’m very excited about the advancement of technology – the future of hardware/software integration and how this will tie in with advances in our phones and computers is something I really look forward to!
Are there any habits entrepreneurs can develop to increase productivity?
I’m constantly (over) analyzing, and I never stop working! Sometimes these traits can cause problems elsewhere in life, especially me not knowing how to to stop working, but they are definitely good for being a successful entrepreneur. The problem is striking a balance!
What’s one piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?
What’s something you believe in that other entrepreneurs don’t?
I think one of the main things is that many companies have an adversarial relationship between their employees and leadership. For many CEOs, their employees are simply a means to an end. I believe in being generous with employees and in being on their side. We have to feel like we’re in this together. Loyalty is a two-way street!
Do you have any recommendations for people who want to start a business?
It’s cliché, but you have to always keep learning. Don’t stop reading. Go to conferences. Immerse yourself in new information. When you are able to empower yourself, you can empower other people and your whole team. If you hide from new knowledge or opportunities, you can’t grow.
How have you grown Lab Society?
We really believe in putting our money where our mouth is. We’re in it for the long haul, and we know the value of long-term relationships. We don’t sacrifice long-term success for short term gains, and that’s helped us tremendously.
How have you overcome any failures?
Thankfully I haven’t experienced a massive failure yet, but I think if anything, I’ve sometimes put the wrong people in the wrong roles. Assigning people to tasks or jobs that weren’t a good fit has definitely impeded our progress occasionally. You can’t force things, so that means you have to be willing to trust your gut and to re-evaluate if necessary.
It’s never a bad idea to focus on convenience – convenience is key! Anything that improves convenience is probably a solid business idea. It’s definitely a good place to start looking, at the very least.
Are there any tools you can recommend?
We love Odoo! And Google Business… Right now our company couldn’t work without them. Having a backbone that can scale as you grow is essential, especially when you are dealing with warehouses and a lot of moving parts. Staying organized at all costs is paramount.
Do you have any favorite books or recommended reading?
I love The Ideal Team Player!
Lab Society is a manufacturer and distributor of American-made laboratory supplies, like vacuum pumps, rotary evaporators, glassware and more, based out of Boulder, Colorado.