If you’re searching for business growth, you might run through a checklist of growth starters that lit the flame of growth for Everything But the House, an online estate sale auction marketplace.
At one time, this was a quiet local business in Cincinnati. Now it’s in 22 U.S. markets with buyers for the items they auction off in more than 150 countries. President and CEO Andy Nielsen and his brother Jon, Chief Business Officer have fueled heart stopping business growth. Listen to how they identified a market opportunity and invested in the fundamentals to make themselves the preferred service for estate auctions.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM ANDY & JON NIELSEN OF EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE
WHAT GAVE YOUR INVESTORS THE CONFIDENCE TO PUT UP MORE THAN 84 MILLION DOLLARS INTO EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE? (1:36 in)
In Andy’s words – We discovered that the industry was entirely fragmented. The industry was ripe for consolidation. Nobody has built a brand (in the local auction space) that can ignite global demand.
Insight – Investing in behind the scenes technology and logistics gives EBTH a first mover and competitive advantage. Creating global demand drives value for local goods.
WHAT HAS BEEN MOST IMPORTANT IN YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH? (4:00 in)
In Jon’s words – Untapped opportunity is what we started with. We made a decision very early on to invest in our own technology. We’ve become as much a logistics company over the last 2 years as we have an ecommerce company.
Insight – By shipping the auction goods at scale efficiently, the sellers are happy because they’re relieved of this burden and the customers buying the goods are delighted to receive them in a timely fashion.
IS THERE A BUYER FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU SELL? (6:58 in)
In Jon’s words – There is a buyer for just about everything.
Insight – Sellers engage Everything But the House because they dispose of items that don’t sell via donation or dumspter in addition to those that do sell.
FOR FUTURE BUSINESS GROWTH, HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY WHICH MARKETS YOU ARE GOING TO ENTER? (7:44 in)
In Andy’s words – We look at whether the audience we are targeting is present. We look at the competitive landscape. We look at how easy or difficult it is for a city to navigate. We look at cost of media. We look at the transients in the market.
Insight – Having a clear understanding of the characteristics and habits of their ideal customers coupled with actionable data on the marketplace gives them the information to make good selections.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL PROFILE OF AN EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE EMPLOYEE? (9:39 in)
In Jon’s words – We’re looking for folks that want to change the landscape, leave a mark, leave a legacy and push the boundaries.
Insight – Seek to hire people with purpose and interest in the company beyond just earning a paycheck.
WHAT PRINCIPLES DO YOU HAVE TO MANAGE BUSINESS GROWTH? (10:25 in)
In Andy’s words – You have to be willing to stretch outside your comfort zone in order to produce the growth we’ve achieved. You also need to be willing to say things are going to break along the way. But as long as you communicate, you can manage through the growing pains.
In Jon’s words – We’ve been very successful in hiring for attitude over aptitude.
Insight – Having a team that challenges one another fosters growth that doesn’t get out of control.
HAVE YOU CHANGED THE WAY YOU MANAGE PEOPLE NOW THAT YOUR EMPLOYEE RANKS ARE OVER 1,000? (12:51 in)
In Jon’s words – We need to ensure that our local markets are running like local markets.
In Andy’s words – We use a messaging tool called Slack. We use video chat a lot. Old fashion face to face to make sure that we are in touch with the employee base as much as possible.
Insight – The use of personal touch communication methods offers transparency and the opportunity to balance corporate directives with local execution.
WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OTHER COMPANIES DO TO IDENTIFY BUSINESS GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES BEYOND A LOCAL PRESENCE? (16:21 in)
In Andy’s words – Listen to your customers. Where are they physically located? Do they have a desire for this service?
Insight – Feedback from customers through the internet or in the local market provide a benchmark for careful evaluation of expansion possibilities.