Rania Hoteit is a multi award-winning entrepreneur, expert judge on global startup competitions, international speaker, adviser, author and social impact leader in gender equality, education, and industry innovation with recognition from the White House, United Nations, UK Parliament, and other prestigious awards. She is the CEO of ID4A Technologies, a global technology company that was recognized by the White House for fostering the development of advanced manufacturing in the US as in the world; named as one “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” on the 2016 Entrepreneur 360 List, honored on The Elite 2018 Inc. 5000 List of “America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies”; and recognized on the 2019 RL100 ranking of the ‘Most Impactful Companies in North America’.
Throughout her executive career, she turned technologies into viable startups, transforming markets, and creating radical changes within her industry. As an innovator and entrepreneur, Rania worked in cross-disciplinary collaborations with leading global companies in design, technology, and business innovation, and she pioneered proprietary R&D and innovative processes in advanced manufacturing, Ai and robotics. With her depth of expertise and success record, Rania is a sought-after adviser who guides innovation transformation and business growth for startup companies around the world, contributing to the development of new products and facilitating investment opportunities for the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
Rania received the “Ambassador of The Year” 2016 Award by Blossom Wealth Management for propelling entrepreneurship and innovation. She was recognized amongst 55 global leaders at the United Nations Global People’s Summit where she spoke on human rights abuses in the global production pipeline, and how automation, Ai and Robotics can be deployed to reduce the global exploitation of labor. Rania has been featured in the Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, The Economist, and other notable publications. She was named by Thrive Global as one of the ’50 Most Prominent Influencers’, and was recognized by Inc Magazine amongst “America’s Top Entrepreneurs” who are leading the “Most Inspiring Companies of 2018”.
Rania is one of the only 50 global women leaders from around the world who are featured in “50 Inspiring Voices of Migrant Women: From Struggle to Success”, an inspirational book that showcases successful migrant entrepreneurs as role models. The book was launched at the UK Parliament where she was awarded “outstanding achievement in her career and her contribution as a migrant woman in the USA”. Most recently, she was nominated for the 2018 Lebanon Impact Awards and was honored under the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a private ceremony at the Headquarters of the Prime Minister of Lebanon.
How do you personally define success? What does it mean to you?
Rania Hoteit: Success is subjective and should only be measured within each individual’s framework of self -progression, and not in relation to the progress or achievements of others. In other words, what I want to achieve is unique to my own vision, talents, standards, and expectations that I set for myself, not to anybody else’s. This applies to everyone. Of course, there are universal guidelines through which we all recognize what success looks like. But you must understand your motivations and set intrinsic goals. It’s very easy to set extrinsic goals and slip into disillusionment by what success means and how to achieve it. When you depend on external symbols of what defines success, you’re already taking the wrong motivational path, and you have no ‘real’ metrics to measure your own. Real success can only be achieved when you embody who you are and follow what is true to you; otherwise you’re building one big lie of a life. Because as soon as external symbols dissolve or get replaced by new trendy ones, you become irrelevant along with everything you built on such faulty basis. It’s critical to recognize this early on to live with integrity, have a fulfilling human experience, and achieve true success in the long run. I believe that nothing can be more fulfilling than the success that is backed by tangible results, and empowered by a vision, unwavering commitment to excellence, and uncompromising moral standards. Because in spite of any validating results, when your morality fails, you fail.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success? And how can entrepreneurs reach such success?
Rania Hoteit: I don’t believe that one particular factor can solely contribute to the success of any business. It’s about consciously orchestrating a set of skills, leveraging opportunities, adding value, creating a positive impact, strategizing and executing plans, investing in people, nurturing networks, and constantly evolving. At the heart of it was my ambition, determination, and a strong belief in my vision and how to consolidate my multi-disciplinary expertise into a cohesive, operational business entity that can add value to customers with the solutions that we provide, and our deep understanding on multiple fronts: exponential technologies, product development workflows, as well as manufacturing processes and production pipelines. Creating value-added innovation as well as strategic thinking and agile execution were critical to the expansion and sustainable growth of our business. But definitely the most influential factor was always my genuine desire to succeed in everything that I do. Without that desire, I wouldn’t have arrived to where we are today. In 2016, we ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 360 List of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” for mastering impact, innovation, growth, and leadership; and we were recognized by the The White House for fostering the development of advanced manufacturing in the USA as the world. This year, ID4A Technologies is honoree on the Elite 2018 Inc.5000 list of “America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies”, now sharing a pedigree with dozens of companies that have gone to become household names. And our latest recognition on the 2019 RL100 ranking of the ‘Most Impactful Companies in North America’ will be officially announced by Real Leaders Magazine on January 7, 2019.
Such success is attainable for any entrepreneur who is willing to do what it takes. No achievement happens by luck overnight, it’s years of persistent work, with all kinds of sacrifices, mistakes, turmoils and losses. Generally, the one simple formula that gets any entrepreneur to success is the following: ‘Competent entrepreneur with a valid idea + Capital = Products + Customers = Profitable Business’. However, from a leadership standpoint, I can’t emphasize enough the inseparable connection between personal development and business growth. The level of success that you can reach with your business will never surpass the level of your personal growth. When we encounter entrepreneurs who are dissatisfied with their status, they often don’t realize that they are not vested in their personal development to reach higher levels of growth- and as a result, they are incapable of reaching higher levels of success in their businesses. It’s not about developing on area or two, but rather committing to the development of all aspects of the self whether that is intellectual, emotional, physical, or spiritual for some. Investing these efforts is fundamental for entrepreneurs to remain focused on their vision, elevate their competencies, drive results and reach the next level in their businesses and in their lives.
What advice would you give to someone asking for advice about becoming an entrepreneur?
Rania Hoteit: Starting a new business is not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurship is the riskiest, toughest, and most challenging journey at every level. It can also be the most fulfilling experience that opens new possibilities for success and propels you into incredible heights of growth both professionally and personally. However, there is an extraordinary gap between reality and common perceptions of what it truly means to be an “entrepreneur”. By definition, an entrepreneur is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise” or “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.” In other words, you’re not an entrepreneur if there’s no real business, no real risk, no real expertise, no real product or service, and no real prospect for return on investment. If someone wants to become an entrepreneur, they must have a clear understanding of these fundamentals. My first advice is to be introspective with yourself to answer critical questions, identify the true potential of your new business idea, assess your skills realistically, determine the actions that you need to take, and evaluate your mental and emotional readiness before stepping on an entrepreneurial path. Because the journey will be full of mistakes, challenges, and setbacks. It will require a clear vision, absolute commitment, undying drive and an unshakable willpower, along with an ability to adapt, learn and implement quickly. Many new entrepreneurs spend too much time planning that they never really learn how their business is going to run. In the early stages, I advise that you divide your time 25% for planning and 75% for testing and executing.
My next advice is to round out the skills necessary to excel. In order to succeed, you must become proficiency on multiple fronts. Making confident, effective decisions is the most valuable skill you can learn when starting a new business as it relates to stockholders, boards, employees, vendors, customers, the media, and the public to ensure the success of your venture. Business is heavily dependent on your ability to build relationships, instill trust, and inspire cooperation with others. Be ready to work on building your reputation and networks. Your reputation is one of your biggest assets and your real business card. Lastly, it’s impractical to think of work-life as a complete separation between professional and personal worlds when you become an entrepreneur. There will be no distinct boundaries. You’ll have to focus on work-life integration to incorporate the different areas of your life in ways that are conducive to your personal development, as well as the growth of your business.
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