Founder of Moxie bares the good and the bad in the business industry
Ahmed Yousry, 27, the founder of Moxie, a restaurant offering sophisticated international cuisine, bares the good and bad when it comes to building his own business as a new and young entrepreneur. He takes us through the steps that he took to calculate his risks to make Moxie happen. Yousry opens up about the difficulties of being in the business industry and on how to cope with the obstacles that are thrown your way during it.
“We grow up in a bubble regardless of social class. Everyone around you is walking in the same direction” is what Yousry said when he was asked about his upbringing. After graduation there is always an outlook on what is the ‘normal’ path that someone should take and there is always the pressure from family to get a job in the field of your expertise, which is what Yousry in fact did for a short period. Starting a business however is always looked at as a huge risk that may not be worth it.
When Yousry was attending The American University in Cairo (AUC), he explained that his outlook on life completely changed. AUC has provided an environment where he was surrounded by other young and ambitious people who have worked hard and started their own businesses, taking the risk often discouraged by society. “Some people failed and then succeeded because of their failure,” he said. This gave him the motivation and courage to start a business of his own. Yousry credits a huge part of his success to AUC and the education he acquired there.
Despite Egypt being saturated with food businesses, with Moxie, Yousry wanted to create something unique that would fill a gap in the market. The idea was an everyday restaurant where you get the lush experience of fine dining even if you are just going for your casual lunch. As a university student, he found a lack of restaurants that he could go to for casual dining with friends that still had the atmosphere of fine dining restaurants found in hotels. His goal was to create a place consisting of quality food, service as well as appealing designs.
Yousry explained to us that to make that happen, there were many steps he had to take, studying the market, preparing a business plan and securing the investment. Even though he had a business background he realized that the knowledge of the everyday operations of the food and business industry is something he lacks; Therefore, he hired a consultant to help him bridge this gap. Drawing up the business plans and hiring the consultant was a very crucial step but when it came to the actual execution things were different.
Yousry opened up his restaurant during the pandemic which put many complications in his path. He had to learn things hands on and cope with the situations he was reluctantly put in. “COVID does not only affect your business it affects your mental health and the other generating income businesses of the investors which places an extra strain on the business.” Thus, this forced him to constantly update his business and financial plans to be able to help his business survive this difficult and unanticipated time. “Adapting and quick problem solving are two essential components to any business and are skills that you learn as you go” Yousry added.
Then comes the hard part of any infant business which is how to be able to stabilize the operations and enhance your initial offering to cope with the targeted customers. This required him to take a step back and make sure that he built a solid system to be able to monitor the quality of service that he wanted to offer.
Answering a question about the importance of networking, Yousry said that people often overlook or belittle the importance of networking and how it can help you immensely during one’s business journey. He added that looking back today he regrets that he did not do more networking at university.
One thing that Yousry emphasized on was the importance of listening to constructive feedback and networking. “People do not understand the importance of feedback when it comes to enhancing new businesses,” he said. “Constructive feedback can change the shape our lives” He explains that if we started giving new businesses constant feedback and the business owners took that feedback seriously, those businesses will grow and thrive and eventually have a positive life changing impact on the numbers of jobs created every year, the education of the children of those hired and eventually our whole society.
A milestone that would make Yousry feel like he reached a small level of success is to have 500 employees that are secure and safe. He wants to be responsible for their families as he thinks that the only way that the economy would improve is to be able to provide more job opportunities for people. Finally he said that he believes that the sky’s the limit and that the food industry would be only the beginning of himself getting into more diversified fields.
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By: Shahd Sameh