For six months it was just me, working out of my living room. At the end of six months I had enough business that I needed to lease space for our operations. I also started adding employees—every part of my business needed people, from copywriting and customer service to packing boxes.
Best Success Story:
My best success story is yet to come. We’re always looking ahead in our company. There’s so much more to look forward to when you have a strong business model and you’re succeeding at keeping everyone—customers, vendors and employees—satisfied.
Biggest Startup Challenge:
As we grew, marketing was our biggest challenge. Despite our fast growth, there were competitors 1/10th our size, outspending us. They were spending literally tens of millions of dollars, and we were philosophically opposed to doing that.
The way we have succeeded in becoming one of the 400 largest websites (without marketing) is by investing in our customers. We bring the “in-demand” items to them at the lowest price possible. In response, our customers respond by spreading the word to their communities through social networking sites.
#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:
I don’t care if it’s your first day in business or your 10,000th — invest for the future, not just the present. Don’t always look for the immediate return. Look at the lifetime value of your customers and invest in them just as you would any corporate asset.
Our belief is: set the value bar high and bring each item to market at the absolute lowest price always. Give your customer your full trust, always. It’s the only way to do it.
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