How do businesses grow? Very slowly, then all at once. David Sasson can tell you first-hand what it’s like to watch your business grow rapidly.
In 2002, David and Stacy Sasson opened overstockArt.com. In their own words, “It was a modest beginning. We were newly married and financing our start-up with a $5,000 loan from a local Wichita bank. As the sole employees operating out of our suburban Kansas home, our first art collection offered only a handful of unframed oil paintings for art lovers and decorators.”
The company grew quickly and within a couple of years relocated to a converted warehouse on the constantly busy Rock Road, just outside of Bradley Fair. By 2005, the company had a handful of employees
and stood on the verge of amazingly rapid growth.
Busy with growth David knew that to take the business to the next level he would need additional resources. So in 2016 he joined the SBA Emerging Leaders program to learn from peers, presenters, and mentors in the program. At the program, he met Alan Badgley, a small business advisor with the Kansas SBDC at Wichita State University (WSU).
Wichita State University on behalf of WSU Ventures, Kansas SBDC, and Kansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center is a co-sponsor of the program and provided Alan as an expert presenter on financial benchmarking. Identifying a need for analysis of profitability and cash flow, David began working with Alan as David progressed through the Emerging Leaders program.
For David it was a great connection. “We have seen five areas of improvement thanks to our advisor and work with the Kansas SBDC: 1. We found areas to cut cost and increase profitability; 2. We’ve increased our GM in both dollars and percentages; 3. We reduced our inventory; 4. We hired a B2B sales person to develop a B2B market focusing on hospitality; and 5. We’ve gotten financing offers from a bank but have chosen not take them at this point as our cash flow has improved.”
What’s been the most helpful to the Sassons as they continue to grow overstockart.com? David points to some of the key areas where the SBDC advising made a difference in his business. “First by analyzing our financials. Next, by comparing our performance to the industry. Third, by advising us from a financial perspective, for our areas of focus, and finally, helping us to present the impact of refinancing our debt to banks in a very clear way.”
Today, overstockArt.com is a successful art gallery. The company has over 20 employees on two continents and remains headquartered in Wichita, Kansas.
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Kansas SBDC Advisor
Alan Badgley, WSU