Stand On The Ground
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Stand On The Ground
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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try to control the expenses and don't spend in things that is not uh really beneficial and look at stand on the ground don't look at the unicorns and all this now yes this is the target but stand on the ground because this was a mistake that also i did and so much was spent was acting as a startup concept that you read about every day and spend a lot based on that but at the end of the day it comes by steps [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight-figure businesses as well as the ceo and founder of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks so if you have any help with your business uh feel free to reach out to us grab some time at strategymeeting.com now today we have another great guest on the podcast um ahmed all is that about right my gosh all right close as i'm gonna get so to introduce almond just a little bit so finish up high school went into college and was and to get an engineering degree graduate and decided to go into a bit of a different direction and to win into flooring did that for about 12 years and then the last two or years last few years i've been doing flooring as well as a startup rubaidus and then i think about two years ago or you started rebates and about a year ago you moved over to that full-time so um there's a quick summary journey and with that welcome on the podcast thank you thank you darren great to be with you so i gave kind of just a a quick overview of your journey and never does it justice so maybe take us back to a little bit uh high school and kind of going to college going to engineering and how your journey started from there sure sure so i have been living that time in egypt i'm originally egyptian so i have been like there the days of the schools are there and then went to the university but from the high school i have been working with my parents so my parents are traders they do steel business and that so i have been working from a pretty young age with them helping them with stuff and i have been prepared to be an engineer to follow the same steel business so i studied in egypt also in university i got a degree in material science engineering and after i graduated i worked with them a bit but then i found like another company approaching them and telling them we want to sell flooring in egypt and there so interesting and then i started looking into it it was very interesting so i said okay i will get out of the steel sorry guys i'm jumping out and started with a small shop and the shop get bigger until it reached like 200 plus employees biggest company in the market till now and then i moved to uae to dubai i made they had the same business there as an expansion for the middle east for five years i lived there and also until now the business is still there and growing and meanwhile rebate has jumped in so this is like before you jump to robaitis there's one question because you went into engineering in university did that for a period of time and you kind of mentioned you know flooring versus engineering seemed like two different directions so what was it with the flooring industry that caught your interest or helped or helped you to decide to go into that direction as opposed to continuing on to to use the engineering degree yeah so first i like the idea of that every day you make something new so every day you enter a new house or a new project or you do so every single day is something new so this is my biggest part that i like about in this field but also engineering the beauty of it is that it's you learn there a way of thinking like how to think like an engineer but you don't need to work every day with the machines or with the materials for that you just need to apply it in every day so this is uh it helped me a lot actually helped me a lot so maybe yeah what i wish is because i studied this in dvd yeah so so now you go into flooring you did that i think you said for 12 years right yes so now in the middle of that how did you get into rebatas you know because that's again almost a bit of a different area it's not necessarily related to flooring or other things so how did you initially kind of come up with the idea there or kind of get into that area yeah so rebates came from the part of being having a part of to do with the retail in my daily business at the flooring and i have my own retail stores and that so we got always the challenge of how to get to know more about customers how what insights when to know if this the customer is like uh they're preparing the new home they're moving they're doing so all this and also we had some products that we wanted to approach for customers and we didn't know how to make them loyal how to make them like come here and buy it and become a loyal customer and say the words so from there we started to work on the loyalty program and then the authority program developed the elevators and instead of saying okay but this doesn't apply only in flooring it can apply to anything and we took it forward from there and it became like a beautiful creation between fintech and loyalty which is nothing about the floorings with engineering but it's a very very interesting challenge we have been for two years preparing for it and now we are going live so yeah now let's see what will happen now new journey and that's always fun to take on a new journey so so now you kind of have okay you know so it makes a little bit more sense you work with flooring you're also trying to say hey within this industry and a lot of other industries there's an opportunity to do loyalty programs to keep you know people coming back using you reminding you of how it works and so you start to build into that now you know remind me on your engineering did you utilize your engineering background did you have kind of a programming idea did you have bring on other people as you had the idea or kind of you know once you have the idea and start to implement it how did you start to build that and you know how did you start to grow it yup so we are three people who actually are working on debates or as nothing as me so a friend of mine from school also has the same background everything but he studied computer programming i studied actually production engineering and material science engineering so it's not coding and another also like my partner is also my younger sister she has been studying business and marketing and worked with multinational like dell for five years so the three of us we joined forces and we said okay let's build something out of this we were all convinced of the idea and we took it from there so now and so you you guys had the idea you found you know you found the other people that were excited about the idea as well you kind of built the team now you did this for a couple years while you're still doing the flooring business right in the sense i always use i usually joke you know really a side hustle is just a second full-time job so you know how did you balance kind of keeping the flooring business going keeping building that to pay the bills as you were getting uh ribas off the ground it was very very challenging and that's why rebates when it's time now to not when the launch pad came and the lunch time came and then we're going live so then i had to say to the flooring teams okay guys i have to jump now out of the boat so i will still be a shareholder but i will not be doing the daily business i will be a full-time employee at rebates because it needs this focus now and same with my two partners they did the same so we all now are focusing hundred percent on rebates it was assigned housing yes for two years building the thing up but now it's time to go full time so you did that now you know and it sounds like you basically in correct me wrong when you got to the point you're saying hey we've got the product development we're going to launch it it's going to go in the marketplace we need a full-time effort in order to make this successful is that about the time that you decided to jump over and do it full-time or kind of what was that trigger to say hey i've been doing this both you know both the flooring business as well as your betas for a period of time what was the trigger to kind of make you decide that hey now i got to be all in the trigger was that everything was ready and it was really this was really taking started to take a lot of time that i felt that okay i will be like not fair to the flowing business and maybe like uh things might happen or like i feel guilty that i'm not giving a hundred percent maybe if someone else is in my place he will be doing a better job and can take it so that's why this is the trigger is okay give it the full time i really believe in it i really believe in the idea on the hard work on the team so let's give it a shot and this was the trigger so now one other question on that so you know because you've been doing flooring for 12 years that's a good period of time was that a bit of a a scary jump you know to make that over to a business you know one business is you've grown it it has recurring revenue you can you know make it salary and take a step back and move over to rebatus was that an easy decision was it a scary decision was it all the above or kind of how did you balance that decision as you as you were making it no it was not an easy decision at all at all especially like when you look like okay i have a lot of things that be like paying and expenses and then that needs to be covered but also it is a move in the life like i've been doing this for 12 years i reached the point that okay i'm one of the top three in this region doing this job so it will be mainly a repetition of everything every day which is something like i can't live with so much to go every single day and do the same thing this is for me like not me so that's why like a new challenge i think it's the right time for it but it's not an easy decision no it's not so so you you said okay you know it's hard a decision is it's the right decision it's the one that you want to chase after so you now made that you've done that for you know about a year because you made you i think you said you've been doing it full time for about a year you know would you make the same decision has it gone well has it been you know bumpy and ups and downs or kind of how has it been since you made the decision i would do it again 100 like no regrets no regrets yeah still we're thinking of but but i feel that good things will happen so you know so now you kind of you made the decision you're all in you moved over you kind of done that and you're you know taking that opportunity now looking kind of towards the future you know take the next six to 12 months for for your business kind of where you guys are headed where do you see that heading kind of what's the trajectory and kind of what's the plan yeah so now as i said like we have been launched for time now like so now we're going to go for our marketing campaign we'll start and the situation with the covet is getting better now so hopefully soon we'll start to make some meet ups and seminars some meetings that we can explain more what is rebate is what it's about mainly focus on the user journey user experiences we want to hear a lot from them so this is like now the way forward well cool that that sounds like you know it sounds like a lot of opportunity to head and as things continue to open up and hopefully turn back to normal you know the the opportunities continue to even grow beyond that so it definitely sounds like an exciting path so so now as we've kind of taken you know from your where your journey started brought us up to a bit in the the current as well as in the future maybe just before we dive into my uh past or my couple questions i always ask at the end you know help us everybody understand we touched on it lightly but how does rubidius work and how is it a bit different than what's out in the marketplace yes so rebecca has two sides one side is uh we serve retailers and brands and another side how we deal with the consumer phase so rebates is a loyalty program but we reward users like let's think with me loyalty programs you must have a special card or a special membership and you use it every time we try to build something that's really frictionless and easy seamless no hidden schemes nothing so literally we reward users for everything they spend daily from their cards whatever you spend from your bank account from your credit card or debit card you get rewarded on that and the reward is easy it's a cash back reward but instead of giving it to you we share the cash back with everyone so devin you make an account on your business and then you start before even you buying anything you start to receive messages i have two dollars received to my account three dollars one dollar five dollars you're just receiving because this is called the sharing economy you are sharing the cashback of other users in debates but fine you don't know them even but they are just this is how it goes and from the other side for the retailers and brands we can give them really very good insights about the categories for example how users are behaving for buying coffee for example in the age group how much they're spending coffee in this area in this location so then this retailers and brands can reach to the users and tell them okay you're like you spend coffee you spend like 100 dollars a month on buying groceries and this i'm giving you this voucher card to buy from this place and you'll get some deals you'll get some discounts so it's all about finding this link between the users and the brands and the retailers so this is what is related it's shortcut of debate us so it's all about rewards all about offers all about discounts it's free for all users to join for the first month and from there they can go for a very small subscription p a monthly subscription fee oh cool well it sounds like a fun and exciting company definitely uh one that a lot of people can use so well kind of with that now as we've heard a little bit about where you're at today and kind of where you're heading and what rebates is always ask two questions at the end of each episode so we'll jump to those now so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it yeah this is uh this is a good one so the worst decision i ever made is when i started to work in the flooring business and then i started to choose the things that or the colors or the designs that i i like personally and then for example i got stuck with really big stocks in my warehouses because my taste doesn't reflect the marketplace so i didn't listen to the customers i didn't listen to the market i thought that i can choose and whatever these things are like and this actually i applied in everything else so the first thing in rebates when we started something new or of course in the flooring in the last 12 years is let's listen to the market see what the market says listen to the users what do they need not what do we want to offer them and then it will work so this is uh this was it no and i think that that's a good le you know it's an easy because a lot of times you think oh i know what the users want or i know what i want and what i want is going to be the same because i am the customer and those type of things and too often we kind of to infuse too much of what what we think or what we want is suppo as opposed to what the customer will actually want and when we step back and actually listen to them it can have a big impact oh usually for the positive if we're going to incorporate what they want in with what you know what we're doing so i think that's a great lesson to learn so the second question i always ask is so if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them try to control the expenses and don't spend in things that is not really beneficial and look at stand on the ground don't look at the unicorns and all this now yes this is the target but stand on the ground because this was a mistake that also i did and so much where spent was acting as a startup concept that you read about every day and spend a lot based on that but at the end of the day it comes by steps not like on one shot no i think that is you know that that's a great piece of advice and kind of keeping feet on the ground and there's a lot of times you can chase after hey those are fun ideas or cool ideas or they'll be great features or other things and you're kind of keeping centered on that core of what is the value you're adding what is the thing that differentiate you is going to have a big impact in making sure that you deliver on what people want so i think that that's that's a great piece of advice as well so well as we wrap up if people want to find out more about you they want to be a customer or a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out con or connect with you and find out more definitely they can as simple as that rebates.com or the contact there we personally check it every single email or every single message so we don't miss anything so we'll be there all right well rebatis.com as easy as that to reach out connect up and find out more so well thank you again ahmed for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure to hear your journey now for all of you listeners that are out there if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the show and share your journey just go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the podcast we'd love to share your journey two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe and your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two um leave us a review so everybody else can find out about our awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else feel free to go to uh strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat and we're always here to help thank you again ahmed and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you very much pleasure thank you