From day one, Moshe revealed in his thick Russian accent. From way back I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. When I thought about choosing a career path, every kid has ideas. ÔÇÿI want to be a doctor' or ÔÇÿI want to be an architect.' Me, I just knew I wanted to do business. I wanted to deal with many things, in many industries. I figured that business is something that changes over time and gives you variety in what you do. So I think probably when I was 13 or 15, I really knew this is my path in life.
Growing up in Israel, Moshe developed a strong background in computers ÔÇô so much so that at the age of 17 he started his own business, M.n.B. Computers Ltd. To his surprise (and a great deal of luck, he adds), his business grew over three years to generate annual sales of approximately 3.5 million shekels (approx. 750,000 CAN).
Now, while finishing up his economics degree in Canada, Moshe decided to start a new venture, Max TV. For Max TV, Moshe programmed and built a new television screen system for condo elevators that will show building messages and advertisements to riders; it will even have Twitter integration so that building tenants can discover and chat with each other. The key innovation however, is that he created a cost effective and innovative solution to place screens inside the elevator (exact details are a trade secret). This means smaller residential buildings can now afford to install these screens in their elevators, thereby creating a business niche of his own. And for advertisers, this provides them with a new and very local advertising medium that ensures a captive audience made up of a specific demographic. There are plans for an expansion to office towers as well, Moshe adds.
After running Max TV for more than a year and a half, Moshe relates the challenges he's overcome. Well, a lack of initial capital is a challenge for any entrepreneur. But then there's another obstacle: it's called a business plan. We spent so much time planning things out in the beginning. But once we hit the streets, we quickly learned how nothing turned out the way we planned. You realize how much the business plan is just a piece of paper. Real life forces you to plan on the go.
I'll give you an example. When I planned out our entire expansion, I believed I could get building owners to accept my screens easily. I would tell them, ÔÇÿListen, I'm going to put a TV screen inside your elevator free of charge; it will enhance your building's appearance; and it will allow you to more easily communicate with your tenants.' Who would expect them to say no?
Well, it turned out that because I didn't have an established name starting out, building owners weren't comfortable taking a chance with my product. I heard many stories of people who tried and went belly up, and left the building owners without the expertise to maintain such monitors. And here I thought getting advertising would be the difficult thing. So getting those first few buildings, that was a big challenge starting out.
When asked how things have progressed, Moshe seem optimistic. Well, today is a whole new situation. Sometimes you just have to stick it out. I mean, after I was able to get the first few buildings to take a chance and install my screens, I was able to start selling ads, which allowed me to afford to install more screens in more buildings, and sell more ads, and so on. Today, the amount of buildings we have is allowing me to start negotiating with larger brand advertisers. It's not easy, it's a hard process that requires a lot of dedication, patience, and a great amount of persistence.
With all this development, it can be difficult to find balance. When asked about how he balances work with his personal life, Moshe sighed. Listen, it's a challenge for sure. You obviously want allocate as much time as possible to your business. It's your baby. But at the same time, your friends, your girlfriend, your family, they want to spend some time with you. So in order not to lose everyone around you and remain sane, you have to actually allocate time to (your personal relationships).
This is something I really recommend to all those starting out. In my business life, I have days and evenings where I force myself not to work and schedule it with a friend, or I have specific days that, no matter what, I will see my girlfriend, and so on. This is important because work never ends, but relationships can, so you have to be careful to keep the ones you care about.