Flavio Maluf’s Guiding Career Principles

March 22, 2019 - By 

Success and more specifically sustainable success is what people are after.

All the hard work poured into studying, the long hours spent at the office, and all the free time used just to get more tasks completed is all done in the service of trying to obtain the kind of success that will last for a lifetime. Only a few members of present-day society have managed to achieve that goal, and one of those individuals is entrepreneur Flavio Maluf.

Maluf has made his mark on the business world through the work he’s done as the owner and CEO of the Brazilian building supplies company Eucatex and as the president of the pet food company GrandFood Group. Unlike many other successful entrepreneurs, Mr. Maluf has not shied away from sharing his own secrets to success. Over the years, he has spoken openly about the working principles that have enabled him to obtain the level of success he currently he enjoys.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Maluf’s guiding principles and how they can be used by others who are aiming to join him in the ranks of the successful entrepreneurs.

Commit to Your Family

Family comes first.

Quite often, because many of us pour so much of ourselves into the work we do, we tend to sacrifice other things that should hold greater importance in our lives. It’s hard to recognize this as a real problem early on, but if left to fester, it can surely cost people dearly later in life. After studying at the Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation and New York University, Maluf eventually took up jobs with companies such as Citicorp and the GrandFood Group.

The time he spent at those companies proved incredibly valuable. He was able to pick up the type of insight and experience that he needed to further hone his skills. So, what did he end up doing with all those improved skills and the additional experience he accumulated? Mr. Maluf ended up using what he picked up at the two aforementioned companies he worked at to better prepare himself for taking over the family business, with that enterprise being Eucatex.

It’s true that many of us are not fortunate enough to have a family business to work at, and that has clearly helped Maluf a great deal. However, focusing merely on the fact ignores the work that Maluf put in to earn his role within the family business.

Work Your Way to the Top

Flavio Maluf worked outside of the family business so that he could better understand what it’s like to fend for yourself in the working world. He took it upon himself to study and learn how to be a better worker so that he could then take those lessons and leverage them to the benefit of the family business.

Through his actions, Maluf showed that he was not content to just coast on what being part of a privileged family entitled him to.

He wanted to show his level of commitment to his family and to his soon-to-be working family by earning his position at the top of the company and not just taking a handout. Maluf began working at Eucatex back in 1987. His ascent to the top of the corporate ladder did not happen overnight.

Maluf started by working at the company’s trade and industrial branches. He then transitioned to the administrative side of the business, but even then he had to earn his keep. It took 10 years of working at Eucatex before Flavio was eventually elevated to the position of company president. Maluf also showed his commitment to his family and the family business in other meaningful ways.

Keep Up Family Tradition and Improve Upon It

Even before Flavio Maluf took up the reins of Eucatex, the Brazil-based supplies company was already well known within the country.

Back in the 1940s, Salim Maluf, the great grandfather of Flavio, ran a thriving sawmill that was considered to be one of the biggest in all of Latin America. It wasn’t long before Flavio’s father and uncle took notice of the sawmill and understood the potential it possessed.

Two decades after the establishment of the family sawmill, the Maluf men then began using the lumber it produced as well as the wood provided by the surrounding forest to create other items. Examples of the items they came out with included wood fiberboard. Not long after the establishment of that new business, the Maluf men expanded upon its offerings. Along with wood fiberboard, the newer company began selling pieces of furniture, paints, and paper products.

The members of the Maluf family wanted to do more than just make money with Eucatex. They wanted to make a real difference in Brazil, Latin America, and in the world through the work they did at Eucatex and they went about doing so by following environmentally-friendly practices.

Among the nature-first practices adopted by the company included building a recycling plant that worked in conjunction with their factory. In addition to recycling waste materials, the plant was also responsible for supplying energy through the usage of scrap wood.

It didn’t end there. To this day, Eucatex remains as one of the leading eco-friendly companies in Brazil. The building supplies they sell to consumers today are made using sustainable methods.

Flavio Maluf has played a huge role in Eucatex retaining its status as an environmentally-friendly force in the country. Instead of veering away from the building principles that the company used in the past, Flavio sought to improve upon them. He has done so by utilizing more technologically-involved processes and newer machines.

Take Calculated Risks

At a certain point, companies and their leaders will come to a crossroads. They will be faced with the prospect of playing things safe and venturing down the already known path. Doing so will make it easier to continue enjoying an already established level of success, but anything greater may prove elusive. The other option is to take a calculated risk – one that can put the company in a deep hole or one that can lead it to greater heights.

There are several notable instances wherein Maluf was presented with the opportunity to take a calculated risk. He has taken those chances and thus far, those gambles have paid off. With many companies all across the globe incorporating more environmentally-friendly practices into their operations, the idea that being green was ever looked at as “novel” now seems silly. However, when Eucatex was first established decades ago, there was no real pressure placed upon the company to be environmentally-conscious. It was simply something that the founders of the company wanted to do and the move paid off.

When Flavio took control of the company in the 90s, continuing with the green practices was also not the obvious decision to make.

More recently, Maluf took a risk by investing heavily in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. With construction projects set into motion in preparation for the Olympics, Maluf’s goal was to position Eucatex in such a way that it could benefit directly from that initiative.

There was no guarantee that Maluf’s plan would work and the amount of time and resources the company needed to commit to those projects could have placed them in a worse position long-term if things didn’t work out.

Make the Most of Those Calculated Risks

With regards to those environmentally-conscious practices, Maluf decided to stick to his guns and that decision has proven to be an incredibly wise one in hindsight. The company has developed a reputation for being a true ally of the environment and that was only made possible by Maluf’s decision to keep those previously established practices and policies.

Eucatex is one of the most successful companies in Brazil and that has not happened by accident. Customers have long been drawn to them due to the way they handle their business. Many companies are still getting adjusted to working under green practices these days, but that is not the case with Eucatex.

The company also benefited immensely from Maluf’s decision to get involved with the Olympic projects. Eucatex received a lot of positive press from being involved with those Olympic projects and the company quickly became a brand that people around Brazil could easily recognize.

Maluf’s decision to involve the company in those projects that were related to the Olympics not only helped Eucatex gain greater visibility. That move also eventually led to the company becoming a part of the World Cup soccer stadium project. That’s the kind of press that any company would love to have. Had Maluf not taken those calculated risks, there is no guarantee that Eucatex would be as well known throughout Brazil and the world as it is today.

Eucatex was already a successful company before Flavio Maluf took over. Thanks to the moves he made though, Eucatex has grown into a world-renowned brand.

Expansion Is Not a Bad Thing

Eucatex is still a family business at heart, but its revenue numbers indicate that it is very much an international powerhouse. The company has clearly grown a lot under the leadership of Flavio Maluf.

Eucatex currently has subsidiaries in several other parts of the globe, and currently, the company exports its products to around 40 different countries. The company also counts more than 2400 people as employees, which gives it the distinction of being one of the largest employers in all of Brazil.

Eucatex has grown well, but Flavio Maluf has not shied away from further expansion.

In 2017, Maluf made what was arguably his riskiest move. Under his orders, Eucatex acquired the building panel manufacturing company Duratex.

Maluf knew that the move came with plenty of risks.

For starters, mergers are not always viewed in a good light. Customers fear that the quality of the products and/or services may deteriorate following a merger and the employees tend to wonder how the move will impact their current roles within the new and larger company.

Thus far, the acquisition has proven to be a huge gain for Eucatex. The company’s roster of employees has grown significantly following the merger and its business operations have also increased dramatically.

The merger has allowed the company to increase its rate of production. Eucatex is now even more capable of meeting the public’s demands for their high-quality paints and paper products.

Along with significantly improving Eucatex’s current standing, the acquisition of Duratex also positions the former better for challenges that may be coming in the future.

It’s unclear if Eucatex would be as well-equipped to deal with upcoming challenges had the merger not taken place.

Broadening Your Horizons Is a Good Move

Flavio Maluf has enjoyed an incredible amount of success at the helm of Eucatex. If he wanted to, he could have just focused on that job and be considered one of the most successful businessmen in Brazil.

However, Maluf was not content with just being known as the leader of one hugely successful Brazilian company. He wanted to show that he could do more. Eventually, Maluf was named as the president of the GrandFood Group, one of the companies that he worked in before climbing the corporate ladder at Eucatex.

Eucatex and the GrandFood Group are vastly different entities. While the former is focused on the production and provision of different building supplies, the latter is in the pet care industry. Specifically, the GrandFood Group provides pet food to animal lovers all over Brazil. There’s a huge gap between the type of work those two companies do and yet, Maluf has managed to successfully lead both enterprises at the same time. He was able to recognize early on that there was a growing demand for high-quality pet food among Brazilians and he wanted to capitalize on it.

Yet again, Maluf’s gamble has turned out to be a profitable move.

Under his leadership, GrandFood Group has increased sales numbers while also gaining better brand recognition. The marketplace was already full of pet food suppliers before Maluf took over the GrandFood Group. Thanks to the work he’s done, the company has managed to compete directly with those more established brands and still enjoy a significant amount of success.

Entrepreneurs looking to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Maluf can take cues from how well he handled the operations of the GrandFood Group. By focusing on a niche market in the pet food industry, Maluf was able to connect better with buyers and earn their trust.

More Lessons from Flavio Maluf

His success in the business world speaks for itself, but for those who want even more guidance from Mr. Maluf, he is more than willing to share his secrets.

According to him, one of the most important things that people can learn to do is to spot business trends. That ability is one that Maluf has cultivated throughout the years. It is what led him to decide that continuing to stay environmentally-friendly was the right move for Eucatex and it is also what allowed him to see that there was a market just waiting to be tapped into when he assumed control of the GrandFood Group.flavio maluf eucatex facilities in sao paulo brazil

Maluf does acknowledge that not everyone has the stomach to take on the risks he does, but that is why he also emphasizes the importance of developing a different perspective. Becoming successful is tougher to pull off if entrepreneurs simply go with the flow. If one is able to see things in a different light though, then those untapped markets may reveal themselves more easily.

Maluf is also cognizant of the fact that failure is just an inevitable part of life as an entrepreneur. Though his level of success now may not hint at it, Maluf also experienced some failures earlier in his career. However, he learned from those mistakes and used those lessons to set himself up better for future opportunities.

One more thing that Maluf wants other entrepreneurs to know is that there should be no limits placed on ambitions. Even when a company is already considered an industry leader, there is still an opportunity for it to expand further and become even more successful. Following this guiding principle is what allowed Maluf to further grow Eucatex.

Eucatex would have been fine even if Maluf never took those risks, but because he did, the company is now bigger and it has truly become one of the most influential brands in all of Brazil.

Giving Back Is Important

As important as it is to grow a business, Flavio Maluf also does not lose sight of the fact that giving back is something you must do once you have become successful.

Mr. Maluf is more than willing to share his time with other entrepreneurs eager to hear his teachings. Beyond that, he has also taken an active role in the communities of Sao Paolo and Salto County. He has provided healthcare for many Brazilians in need of it and has donated to local hospitals so that they can then serve members of the community even better.

Maluf is also a champion of social equality and he devotes plenty of his time and energy to worthy causes.

Being a successful entrepreneur may be the reason why Flavio Maluf is a recognizable figure in Brazil, but he knows that he needs to give back to others if he wants to make a real difference in the lives of people who require the most help.

Find more information on Flavio’s business principles on his Twitter.

Posted In:  Business Advice
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