Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in manufacturing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tino Go, Founder and CEO of Baru, located in Cleveland Heights, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Baru is a gig-economy marketplace for underused manufacturing machines. Baru sells custom cabinetry and furniture and uses idle machines to manufacture locally to remove freight and warehousing costs that waste 40% of a $35 billion industry's revenues.
We're selling to apartment property developers and through dealers to homeowners. Apartment developers prefer competitively priced Baru over the long lead times and supply chain risks of imports. Homeowners get custom-designed, locally-made cabinets for significantly lower prices with faster delivery.
Tell us about yourself
I have an extensive history of entrepreneurship, starting my first advertising production company after high school. I advanced in the industry over 12 years to operate in Europe and the United States. I also have 21 years of experience in corporate finance experience, comprising investment banking, turnaround consulting, and executive financial management. The Baru journey started when I looked for a bookcase and couldn't find one that fit the space in my house. And when I tried to get one made, I was frustrated that modern manufacturing technology hasn't improved the medieval processes of getting custom cabinetry ordered, made, and delivered. That inefficiency also arises with large building construction projects where design is disconnected from manufacturing.
But manufacturing is becoming digital. We're building a marketplace and digital manufacturing platform to leverage current technology to create a new supply chain that cuts costs by 40% by eliminating freight and warehousing costs. We do this by tapping into $500 million of installed but underused manufacturing equipment nationwide.
We're starting our marketplace sales and production of cabinetry and furniture with annual industry revenues of $35 billion. Baru's method avoids distribution activities that waste $15 billion of the industry's revenues.
We've built a software link between a customer's desires and the code that drives manufacturing robotics for on-demand custom manufacturing streamlining the design-build construction industry. The platform will eliminate the soft coordination costs that typically account for a third of the cost of commercial construction. The chance to reinvent how our industry works motivates me every day!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Bootstrapping Baru into a viable business based on a disruptive idea. We have had sales and local manufacturing partners in 30 metro areas nationwide. We already have a sales production pipeline in the millions of dollars.
Baru earned two patents for using augmented reality to control the manufacturing code for custom manufacturing. Change the picture in AR or VR and change the manufacturing instructions.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a tech startup leader is managing our cash flow during the early years while recruiting and motivating early-stage colleagues who are willing to work for equity in the company without a salary. But at the same time, the colleagues that have built Baru with me were believers in the business's potential and mission to de-globalize manufacturing to support local businesses, create jobs, and save the environment. I've got some awesome team members!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure that you love the idea and the business. Starting a business is hard. Without a passion for the business, it's just too hard to maintain the drive, enthusiasm, and grit to keep going.
- Develop a skill for recruiting, delegation, and leading colleagues who are better than you in the activities that you cannot or aren't the best positioned to do. Leverage your colleagues' expertise, love, and strength in the needed business activity.
- Get continuous feedback on your ideas from every chance you can and backtest them against your business, operations, and financial model.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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