Business Journal GULF Interview with Aziz Baroody
Interview with Mr. Aziz Baroody (CEO of iBaroody LLC)
In 2002, IBAROODY LLC was created by one person and succeeded in entering the Middle Eastern and Lebanese markets while maintaining business as usual in the USA, as a highly experienced professional web solutions company with best records of achievements and clients’ testimonials. In its local and international expansion, the company proved a high degree of credibility. Behind its achievements, past and present successes stand a young and ambitious businessman Aziz Baroody, who knows very well how to invest in the technological realm and to make great profits out of technological advances. The Business Journal interviewed him:
*How much was the iBaroody a one-man creation? A one-man professional commitment and specialty? Since when the dream turned into a reality? When you transferred your company from the U.S to Lebanon?
We are still in the USA, the story is unbelievable. I was an airline captain at 29, my first day at work after vacationing for a few weeks in Lebanon, was September 10th, 2001 at night Tuesday. I reached my hotel room I watched the World Trade Center on fire, I saw the 2nd plane hit. I am a Lebanese Christian, within a week I was fired, I am the first pilot with the courage to fight against discrimination legally caused by the Patriot Act. It is documented with the ADC.org. I was on Al Jazeera, 7min live on TV, I fought Bush’s policies against the Arabs and Muslims, and I am a Christian, they took my case out of the 216 Arab Pilots in the USA, since I was the only Christian in my 20’s. What happened, is that the CIA, FBI, and private investigators investigated me for 3 years. I sat at home scared, had a computer, Internet, and a small idea. And a small website and asked me how to make money? Within a year, with luck and obsession, I learned SEO, the science behind ranking websites and web pages in the Google Search Results.
*What is the specialty of iBaroody? Exact nature of its services? Who are your clients? Who needs most web designing? Web development? SEO Services? Website Solutions and applications? Software Development and programming? How much is the Lebanese public aware of your technological progress and how much it seeks your services aiming to acquire the latest of your technologies?
Businesses, companies, any individual who wants to make money, has to have Internet exposure, throughout the way the business sectors do in the U.S. We built our company based on that, in reality, we are 6 companies in one, to be able to serve our client from scratch to success, we offer all the services possible from A to Z, and realize success, and everything iBaroody does is based on profit-making. We don’t just sell websites, but something that allows you to make profits. If you don’t succeed in making additional dollars and profits from the Internet, so don’t touch the field thus also iBaroody failed in what we do.
In Lebanon today, there is still a weakness in understanding how powerful the Internet in generating profits is. We have 60 case studies of 60 Lebanese Companies, where every dollar spent wisely generated them thousands of dollars and they are profiting every single day because that little investment they spent with iBaroody Web, SEO services, Software, and Internet Marketing.
*A word about each of your services
Everything we do is to generate you more business and for you to run and manage a company almost automated, plus making more profits by reducing the number of employees as one software now days can replace 10 employees with proper training of the use of the software and system we specifically build and customize for each company as each company has different types of the organization how to run and manage each. Everything we do is for our clients to profit. While the world in the 70s started to have logos and to appreciate its importance. Today, everything starts with a website! And it has to be a World Class website with the highest level of effective SEO Services to succeed and compete and a MUST to overcome your competitors.
*What about your expansion on a local level? How many branches do you have in Lebanon?
*What about your Middle Eastern and International expansion?
Dubai- Toronto-Houston-Columbia-South Carolina. But literally I can sit home anywhere in the world and run the entire business and that is what the Internet did and changed the whole world. Now you can communicate with anyone in any part of the world for free.
*How do you assess the desire of your Middle Eastern clients to acquire the latest of your technologies?
We have tried several ways, still deciding to adapt yearly as of 2016/17. I probably have figured out the best way to do it, still, we faced serious business issues. It is so hard to teach people what is a fact and what is not subject to debate and negotiation. What other people say is sometimes inaccurate, there is the conflict between businesses selling products versus what we do, one example: we are the number one e-commerce system developers. What we use, and the iBaroody way and how we customize it and still we are the only company using Magento is one example.
*What about the costs of your services? How expensive are your services? Can anyone acquire these services?
Anyone can acquire our services. We have something for everybody. $3000 is a minimum payment one should spend to start with a modern website, and it includes everything. We don’t do anything less than this. That’s a start. In Lebanon, they sell websites for $20,000 that are not better or more modern but equivalent to our $3000 websites. With iBaroody, you are guaranteed better, faster, more technology, and this is the basis to succeed later on.
*What makes you unique and efficient?
The technology we use daily, it advances. We use it first, we learn from it. We have been pioneers for over 10 years even in the USA and leaders in using every type of software in the world. What can be used in the U.S can be used here the same exact thing regardless if you paid hundreds of thousands or ten per se. An iPhone7 is an iPhone7 regardless of what you pay for it and where you buy it from! It is that simple. Yet in Lebanon and the Arab countries, we are having a very hard time presenting the facts and science vs. how and what others say and do. Everything else others do? It is based on SALES and SALES ONLY! If a company knows how to sell something worth $1000 for $10,000 clients literary still believe the $10,000 project is better? I have never ever in my life seen such mentality and even after 7 years in Lebanon still cannot believe my own eyes how other companies get away with it. BUT such sales is impossible to go on the way it is as every year the delivered work speaks for itself. And companies and businesses are starting to see the truth! They have to!
*You are accused of dealing with / and serving only class A companies in Lebanon?
No, but we have come to a point in Lebanon where we faced a lot of difficulties with people who don’t pay or appreciate the work or have nothing to do with why iBaroody wants them to own the best of the best. I figured out that most companies’ employees do not say the truth to their employers, because they seriously lack some of the basic knowledge, and tend to blame iBaroody for everything and anything instead of admitting their weaknesses to their employers who have to trust their opinions. Most have serious IT or programming background and/or advertising or marketing master’s degrees? CEOs, Chairman’s, Owners are the decision-makers. I know for a fact if any or all of them knew the facts and truth about what we do and want to do for them? I know every class “A” company will become an iBaroody client. Because Class “A” companies are the same companies spending hundreds if not millions already on advertising campaigns that from day one I know it is wasted money. And the same class “A” companies are the same companies that pay hundreds of thousands for famous software licenses when a fraction of that same money spent gets them the same exact software functions, features and results if not a lot more! How can any decision maker who cares and wants his or her company to succeed not want to make the decision to why spend much much less and make much much more? This is why it appears that iBaroody only cares to work for class “A” companies. BUT it is not about the class “A” companies in reality it is about the class “A” projects we want to build and promote for serious effective results and realistic success.
*Degree of professionalism of your staff? Are they offered seasonal workshops and training sessions? What about the work ethics required in IBAROODY?
We are 48 full-time employees and we deal with many freelancers such as translators. Nobody can learn this business anywhere they have to start from zero. As a matter of fact, I personally sit with future project coordinators. I literally teach them how to open browsers, minimize their outlooks, and use the ability of wide screens correctly and keep their computers clean (to maximize productivity) all the way to how to satisfy multimillion USD company's demands and requirements. Everything has a procedure written down. What we do is we cut all our work procedures into stages and steps. Out of 350 active clients we deal with in Lebanon alone, nobody ever complained, 120 of them even took time and wrote letterhead testimonials from Abou Adal Group, May Khalil, Central Bank, to Sanita and BCCL and Engineers’ Syndicate. We take pride in these testimonials.
*What about your consulting services? And your specialty in the SEO field?
I know people paying tens of thousands of dollars for digital marketing so-called experts or consultants many from the U.S (digital marketing is about 15 % of Internet marketing). I don’t know how to charge for consulting, yet everything I say is way more advanced accurate based on serious experience than any of these people who anyone can Google and read the same exact things they tell you. But I don’t know how to sell our consulting services, this is a problem for iBaroody the business. BUT in return, our clients save tens of thousands of dollars and even potential clients learn so much valuable information from us and for free!
*What is your vision for the future?
In Lebanon, We can really and easily dominate the Middle East, not Dubai. This country will become the hub of the best tourism, IT web-related software and related software industry. If our government invests and allows us to have faster Internet, we will have millions of dollars coming from the U.S and other countries to Lebanon, from the Lebanese to do the work for U.S companies, because we are way better than Indians, Chinese, Ukrainians, etc.. If we know how to use the right technology as a nation? Specifically the Internet? Even Microsoft will invest millions in Lebanon to use our Lebanese educated multilingual young talented people. I wish I wish our government understands how powerful the Internet alone is for our entire economy. I wish!!! Even I who has nothing to do with the Government know over 20 different ways how to get the biggest companies to come to Lebanon. Starting with Google who opened an office in Dubai in 2009 and just last year they admitted they failed and I believe they shut it down. I know Google will come to Lebanon to serve all the Middle Eastern and African countries in support and to promote their moneymaker Google Ads. 70% of all Google income is their Ads. Who is best to explain all this to all the Middle Eastern companies and all businesses in 30 countries? People hired by Google based at their Ireland office? Or people like myself and others here in Beirut and Lebanon? I myself opened a Google Ads account since the early days it went public? Who in Dubai can Google hire when we Lebanese dominate the Arab world with our education and degrees? I know for a fact Google would be the first company to open offices in Beirut! Because they care about one thing. MONEY & PROFITS. Google actually announced that the Middle East Internet demand is 3 times more than the USA and 2 times more than China. Because we are that far behind but finally recognizing what the future of business and advertising is all about!