To support his growing family, David built an online business selling tech supplies and has been able to donate time and money to charities near and dear to his heart.
Q: What inspired you to take your business from something that would make money into something that would make money and help families coping with long term illness, something for good?
A: The day we discovered there was eBay for Charity was the day we made an easy decision for our business: Incorporate charity into our business model, create our mission, and use eBay for Charity to help us help others in need. We were already active supporters of the Ronald McDonald House after a family loss, now with eBay, we have the power to help other families going through difficult times. The Ronald McDonald House provides free rooms, meals, and entertainment, for families with children in nearby hospitals often seeking life-saving treatments. We also proudly support the Make A Wish Foundation, and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. All trusted world class organizations.
Q: At what point did you recognize that your business had grown so much that you needed more resources/hire staff?
A: Our business started with eBay five years ago. It was at first a hobby to sell and earn extra money for our family, but very quickly turned into what it is today, a full time expanding business. In order to keep pace with orders and provide quality customer service, fulfillment help and inventory software was needed. I also had to make the bold decision to leave my career of 23 years to pursue my entrepreneurial dream. I love what I do today and have never looked back!
Q: When is your peak selling season, and how do you prepare for it?
A: We have two peak seasons, back to school and the holidays. Preparation for both begins in April so that we are ready for it in early July. Inventory, space, hot selling items, slow selling items, supplies and materials all need to be properly evaluated in order to project out with what the consumer will need and what new items they will want. We make it our mission to not disappoint with out of stock or slow-moving shipments, and pride ourselves on a fulfillment system in place that brings the order from our store to the buyer in 2-3 days time. eBay brings us millions of potential buyers worldwide and we always need to be in stock and ready.
Q: When you were starting out, what were the top two (or three) resources you maximized to help you grow your business?
A: Capital, space, and time management. Building a working relationship with our bank for capital was key to our growth. We were able to use our bank credit to fund our inventory, supplies, marketing, and grow the business through its revenue. Space is a vital resource when you are experiencing growth. We started selling on eBay at our dining room table until it grew into our entire basement, and now into a fulfillment center warehouse. Another important resource is understanding time management and how to properly schedule your day efficiently. From morning until end of day, you need to progressively build a consistent routine for success.
Q: What has your experience been with using tools available on the platform? How have they helped to streamline your selling process?
A: eBay’s seller hub is central to our day on eBay. We use it for shipping labels, customer service, returns, sales data, listing templates, as well as promotions and marketing. We can move inventory quickly or even get it off the ground running by using the markdown manager tool. Using promotional tools like volume pricing provides the buyer progressive discounts for multi quantity orders. We can market our products with promoted listings that help drive traffic to both our listings and our eBay store. Sales summary and business performance tools are great for your daily, weekly, and monthly business report card. Explore all available tools provided and see what will work best for your business model.
Q: Do you have advice/ tips for entrepreneurs starting out on eBay?
A: My advice is to start small, learn eBay rules and policies first, and read as much as possible by utilizing the eBay community board, join the Facebook eBay for Business page, and listen to the eBay Seller Podcasts. Be engaged and ask questions, many times senior management are even there to help guide and assist sellers as well as provide valuable insight. eBay has the very best community of sellers that are quick to help you with even the simplest of questions. And always remember, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, it’s how you learn and how real growth happens!