It’s a good time to be in the e-commerce business – but not exactly an easy time.
“We didn’t think a global pandemic would be good for e-commerce, but it’s been fantastic for our business,” said Eric Weisser, senior vice president and majority owner of Weisser Distributing.
From its warehouses in Tea, Sioux Falls and Las Vegas, Weisser has seen pandemic-driven sales skyrocket. It primarily sells through e-commerce giants Amazon, eBay and Walmart.com in a variety of verticals, from auto supplies to outdoor games.
This article is part of the Policy and Taxation Groups ongoing series showcasing how family businesses are helping their employees, supporting local communities, and giving back during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Anything that fits the stay-at-home lifestyle is selling, Weisser said.
“It’s everything from a kit to play limbo to playground balls and ring toss. We have a line of beer-making supplies that’s really taken off,” he said. “People are just looking for something to do. And our main auto supplies business is growing as well, as people have time now to work on their cars.”
But making it work as a business has forced Weisser to draw on an approach that has been guiding its growth for the past five years. That’s when the company implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System, or EOS. What then was a 40-person business now exceeds 150 people and has continued to hire during the pandemic.
“It’s a democratic way to prioritize your goals as a business, and it definitely has become our playbook,” Weisser said. “While we typically look at 90-day goals, with COVID we had to change so often we established 30-day goals. That involved everything from figuring out how to be a virtually hands-free workplace to making the adjustments needed for many of our team to work from home when we’d never done it before.”
He has seen the approach lead to solid improvements within his business that go far beyond revenue. Hiring has been robust, as Weisser expanded its business hours, which allowed team members with day jobs to pick up part-time hours at night. Allowing some employees to work remotely has generated best practices and in some cases improved time management.
“This isn’t the CEO saying here are the goals and I’ll tell you how to get there,” Weisser said. “There’s accountability throughout the organization and goals established through a vote of the leadership team, and that can get hairy sometimes, but ultimately it’s a good thing.”
Weisser plans to further hone his EOS expertise at the upcoming annual conference of the Prairie Family Business Association, which will be Sept. 10 and 11 and feature a leading expert in EOS in addition to the chance to learn from other businesses that have successfully implemented the system.
Read the full “This approach helps e-commerce company thrive during COVID” article from Prairie Family Business Association, an outreach center of the University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business. Prairie Family Business Association publishes the “Headlines in the News” monthly email available for subscription.
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