Father of two boys // Owner of Skytek
Written by Jessica Gedge // Photographed by Joelle Segal
We don’t typically think of executive office spaces as being inspirational but that’s exactly the feeling that was invoked after meeting with Muhammad Kermalli at Skytek. Though he originally started with the intention of providing executive spaces for businesses, the concept evolved into becoming a complete ‘success centre’ for his clients. Upon our arrival we were met by the staff with smiles and multiple offers of tea and coffee – we felt like we were being hosted at a good friend’s home. This authentic ‘good vibe’ feeling, coupled with the array of professional services, makes it easy to understand how Muhammad has built Skytek into a true success story.
What has your journey as an entrepreneur been like?
I started in finance, moved to IT and realized that I was just hitting too many limits. Limits with how I could service my clients, limits with ideas and innovations. I guess you could say I discovered that I may be an entrepreneur when I just couldn’t seem to “fit in” with a “job” where I constantly ran into limits that unreasonably curbed the growth and joy I strive to experience every day.
I wanted to create a specific kind of culture and a community and this is where Skytek came from. Skytek provides industry leading solutions for flexible, furnished office space layered with more support options than any other. We’ve brought paradigm change to convert what was once referred to as a virtual office or executive office centre to a true Success Centre that clients can rely on to help them navigate all cycles of their business. We give our clients everything they need to succeed – whether it’s virtual services, physical space, technology, or any backoffice support.
It feels like you’ve built up a really tight-knit community here.
I believe in making people feel at home – that’s why one of our ‘fireable offences’ is not smiling at guests or offering them a drink! We want people to feel welcome when they come here. We’re also selective with our clients. We’ve built a great culture here so we don’t just accept anybody – there has to be a fit in terms of how they treat our front staff, how they treat other clients, their culture, and their vibe.
How does Skytek differ from a co-working space?
What we found through research and talking to business owners and entrepreneurs is that they want to be close enough to others to collaborate, but when it comes down to buckling down and getting work done, reaching goals and making things happen – they need focused space. So while we do offer co-working solutions, our private offices enable people to really ‘do vs. talk’. We don’t serve beer every day at 4pm!
But on the same note, we encourage the relationships and community through offering regular meetups and networking events. This way the folks here have the option to get together whenever they want, when it makes sense for them, but not to the detriment of reaching their goals.
You mention networking – in this day and age it seems there’s a networking event happening every day! What are your thoughts on how to build true connections?
People can get very one-dimensional with their definition of networking. Deep relationships don’t usually happen if you go out there with the mindset of pitching your business at every chance you get. The best way to network is organically, let the relationships happen naturally and talk about anything other than business! Often at networking events it’s like one big pitch-fest or speed-dating session, with people basically exchanging verbal business cards and it’s very fabricated. I think most of my network has been built up by just being open to conversation – whether it’s someone sitting beside you on a plane or someone in line at a coffee shop.
Absolutely. Connecting on a human level! With everything you’re doing, how do you stay motivated?
Easy. I love what I do, and I only do what I love to do. When it’s such a pleasure, motivation comes naturally.
What advice have you received that really resonated with you?
There’s so much, and they all connect. All related to the fundamentals – Integrity (be true), Compassion (be kind), Courage (never give up), & Balance (work hard, and have fun).
Do you have a mentor?
I have many mentors. That’s all I try to surround myself with. It’s not just people who I can learn from, but people who inspire me. What’s amazing is just how “ordinary” they can appear to be.
What is your favourite part of your business and why?
People – I’m fascinated by how diverse we all are, yet how we simultaneously have so much in common.
Challenge/Change – What we do is not easy and we’re constantly offered opportunities to raise the bar. It’s never boring!
Has parenting changed the way you run your business, or vice versa?
Absolutely – parenting affects business. After all, your business is like your baby! Patience is probably the greatest element. The kids are a big part of the day (person to professional balance), and a big reason when I’ve chosen to work the way I do.
What are the challenges you face as a parent and entrepreneur?
Parent – The biggest challenge is making the kids independent of me while still keeping them close. It’s the ultimate paradox.
Entrepreneur – The only two real challenges: 1. Getting the vision across correctly to minds that may filter based on limits. 2. Navigating across various industries where objectives are often not aligned and we need to build enough common ground to bridge the distance to our goals.
Describe your typical day (or if you don’t have one, describe your ideal day!).
My day, every day, has two parts:
- Offer/Accomplish something: Could be anything. Talk to a new prospect/client; Moving a project forward; Meet new strategic partners; Overcome or help someone overcome a hurdle.
- Stop and smell the roses: Introduce amazing people to one another; Play; Learn/Teach; Family/Friends; Pray/Offer thanks.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
This is a tough one. I already meet everyone I want to meet – primarily my family/friends; and there’s no one I’d rather spend more time with than my mother (God rest her soul).
However, amongst the mere mortals…if I could turn back time: Ghandhi, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee.
Today: The Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie, Roger Federer.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
Read the book Essentialism, and then like Nike says, “Just Do It”! There’s a saying, “Everyone dies, but not everyone lives”. Say that enough times, and is not a question of, “how do you….”, it is “how MUCH do you”.
What is your go-to dinner recipe?
Anything my wife makes, otherwise I’m making eggs.
How do you stay organized?
Since I’m very forgetful, I use prompts and triggers; and set them all up from the start. One just leads to another until the task is complete.
Do you recommend any books/podcasts/social media accounts that you’re inspired by?
The Alchemist – The first book I read that got me to really start thinking.
The Magic – A great read on how to make things happen.
The Qur’an – I’ve never seen a book that offers great insights every time I read it, no matter how many times I read it.
What are your favourite tunes to listen to, to get motivated?
I love listening to the sound of water, any kind. Rain (calming), streams (inspiring), waves (motivating).
What are your favourite – office tools, software, restaurants, things to do with your family?
Office tools and software keep changing…I simply rely on much smarter people in this area to guide me.
I don’t have a favourite restaurant since they all pale in comparison to my wife’s cooking. The Cheesecake Factory has my favourite desserts though!
As family, we do just about everything together – meals, boardgames/sports/walks, travel, humanitarian work.
If it were always up to me…golf and being on a boat.
Where do you see Skytek in 5, 10 years? What are your goals with this business?
I totally expect Skytek to make more of a global impact, we’re now well on our way. What’s exciting is that we may just be able to become the “game changers” we aspire to be. Skytek has been the basis for a new project I’m working on, Lavita, that combines the concept of ideal working space with ideal living space and providing life experience. It’s a passion project that will enable people to travel and have a life while growing themselves independently.
It’s fitting that Muhammad’s business is called Skytek – we see him as a unique combination of being a ‘blue sky’ visionary with the determination, mentality and skills to execute and move those big ideas into reality. To learn more about Skytek, check here. If you’re an entrepreneur wanting to connect with others and solve business challenges, Skytek offers a very cool event BlindSpot, that you can learn more about here. To learn more about Muhammad’s new project, Lavita, check here.