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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

How to Grow a Business

From its humble beginnings, Balkowitsch Enterprises has become a very big small business. The business hit $1 million in sales in 2004, doubled that to $2.2 million in 2005, and doubled again to $5 million in 2006; it's on track to hit $6 million in sales in 2007. That's remarkable growth for any business, let alone an eBay business.

How did Shane and Sharon achieve this level of growth? By "focusing on sales and creating the systems to handle the volume we currently do. We plan every day for the future and we are always looking for new exciting and quality products to sell."

When you're moving $500,000 worth of merchandise every month, efficient merchandise management is important. Balkowitsch Enterprises represents more than 165 different brands, and the company's sales growth has been fueled by adding new products to its mix. "Finding new product is the key," Shane says, "and not only finding product that sells, but finding product that has profit in it."

Fortunately, as the business has grown, Shane has found suppliers eager to work with him: "As we have been become more of a name in the market place, you would be surprised at how many companies come to us now to ask us to sell and promote their products."

Rapid growth required an investment in systems to manage that growth. Shane notes that before he went into nursing, he was an MIS director and credit manager for a microfilm company in California for nearly 20 years. "This experience has given me the knowledge to develop systems and grow the company," he says.

Growing a business also requires a commitment on the part of its principles. Here's how Shane tells the story:

"I do not want you to think this was part of some master plan of mine, that I had any idea that we would take $50 in inventory that Sharon found at a garage sale and turn it into what we are today. I would be totally dishonest if I told you I once thought that.

"But at one point in the past eight years, I did identify that we could do much better. What we had to do is quit our jobs, and a charge nurse job here in Bismarck is a very good job, pays about $40,000 a year, which is a nice salary. But we decided to build the building, quit our day jobs, and focus full-time on what we needed to do to become independent.

"That gamble has paid off in spades. The company has grown three times in the past two years and the future is very bright. We have our struggles, but so far we have been able to adapt, change, and work our way through any problems. My family and I have won the lottery with this company."

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