If memory serves me correctly, Emad Gharzuddine was the youngest of our class at the American University of Beirut. Only 16 at the time, we constantly joked how he shouldn’t have been with us and how our conversations were too grown up for him. Naturally, he’d respond saying “I am simply ahead of my time.” An Economics Degree, a minor in Psychology, an MBA and 7 years later, he’s finally opened up a business with another fellow classmate and best friend, Antoine Yammine, who also holds an MBA degree.
What is Main LB?
Together, they noticed a significant gap in maintenance services in Lebanon. With that realization Emad and Antoine opened their business eight months ago; today, they are maintaining corporate offices, supermarkets, restaurants and residential apartments, houses and buildings. Their business, Main LB S.A.L, short for Main Lebanon S.A.L, works on a per visit request or yearly contractual agreement. Main LB focuses on providing plumbing services, electrical and HVAC needs. Emad, being Lebanese himself, says that the country’s mentality should change when it comes to maintaining your home. “It’s a new concept in Lebanon for residential clients; the norm in our society is that you call the concierge or the previous engineer that has always been working in the building.” Emad points out that this habit is causing unnecessary headaches for households and they can easily avoid this problem, “the downside is the most “freelance” technicians never come on time, are overpriced and not trustworthy; the list goes on.”
Clearly, when Emad and Antoine set up their business, they did not set out to simply maintain corporate offices & buildings like existing maintenance companies, but rather maintain individual homes, while changing a recurring mentality in the country and the reputation of maintenance industry in general.
Go big or go to your poorly maintained home.
Emad shared a list with me about the things he found to be the most difficult when running a company:
- Change the mindset of people who have been accustomed to an old & outdated way of contacting technicians.
- Positioning the company in manner that people perceive you directly the way you want them too. One word put in the wrong context can really affect the reputation of the company.
- Internally coming up with the right operational flow; we offer a professional service and our contact with the customer should be professional from the second he calls our call center, to getting the job done in his house.
- Building the right Customer Relation Management software that has all the details we need about the customer, which contracts he picks, how many times we visited, what were the extra parts used, a follow-up protocol to assess our visit & our people.
- Finally, hiring the right people for the job and creating a company culture that everyone feels comfortable in. We do this to maximize employee productivity.
Parting words of wisdom:
Emad leaves us with a few words of wisdom, and from an entrepreneur who’s in the thick of it. “The complexity and hardship of opening a new company is definitely an experience every person should attempt as it exposes you to many different fields.” Finally, Emad touches on a recurring theme we’ve learned on our journey with the Y-oung Entrepreneurs: “To succeed in your business, you must have patience, and self-motivation. Why self-motivation? Because there will be times you’ll want to drop everything and leave. That is the point where you have to find the will and courage to keep going knowing it’s worth it in the long run. Suffer now and relax later, that’s my motto.”
Follow Main LB’s journey here.