Jason Nadaf knew he was going to run a business from the very beginning. His roots were in SEO and website development, and he grew his new successful venture out of those roots. After a friend told him that he wanted a website for his motorcycle business, Jason said, “Sure. Done.” In two week, his friend’s website shot up to the number one spot on Google search.
After that initial success, Jason Nadaf spent another year building the prototype for what eventually became SureDone. From there, Jason moved to New York City to look for investors willing to put their faith in his company. He pivoted to B2B from B2C, and he met with investors from New York Angels. After presenting to them, Jason Nadaf received funding and the company began to grow. And by the way, Jason’s friend grew his motorcycle e-commerce sales from $300k to over $3 million, receiving more customers.
With SureDone, Jason Nadaf invested into growing its technology, and then added integration with eBay. The company improved its platform, which attracted more customers, and gained it more funding.
Now, Jason Nadaf and SureDone offer their clients a diverse collection of software solutions as well as professional and managed services. The company’s largest customer base remains the automotive industry, including resellers and distributors of car and motorsports parts and accessories. While never forgetting that its team and customers are the reasons for its success, SureDone remains dedicated to provide more features and solutions for its future clients.
Read more conversations with e-commerce pioneers here.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Jason Nadaf: SureDone is currently one of the only mobile accessible eCommerce platforms that is free with strategic partnerships with several major tech companies. See news of our recent relaunch: https://medium.com/@trace_cohen/suredone-introduces-suredone-go-f14ec14a6f96
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Jason Nadaf: Take at least 1 day off per week and ensure you are giving yourself time to do visionary work. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday details. You need to build in time to “work on the business” instead of “work in the business.”
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Jason Nadaf: During this journey I learned how to work consecutive 100 hour weeks without burning out. I only do this when necessary. Here’s what I do: Wake up at 5am and go until 1am several days a week, with minimal breaks and zero tolerance for unnecessary distraction. Then, rest on weekends and work minimally. That ensures you don’t burn out and can power through those 20 hour days when deadlines require it. Then, following weeks, rinse and repeat.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?
Jason Nadaf: For eCommerce businesses that are not private label brands, automation efficiencies are necessary to ensure high value growth activities are continued. For example, say you have a seller that historically was having a purchase order manager manually generate orders with vendors for just in time deliveries or stock replenishment. With growth, suddenly the volume of orders and vulnerabilities within the supply chain introduced huge risk for unfulfilled orders or worse, order mistakes. We saw sellers quickly introduce purchase order automations and multi warehouse inventory automation to reduce this overhead. Stitching several systems together to ensure seamless data flow enabled eCommerce teams to reconfigure their headcount from administration to operation optimization and hiring.
Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?
Jason Nadaf: Focus both on standing out with quality listings and creating a flywheel for ensuring both post purchase reviews and fulfillment. If you are a DTC brand, take care with every aspect of your best selling product listings to ensure you rank high in your category and nurture listing and brand reputation. Many of the emerging competitors mentioned are only focused on launching products with low prices vs the strategy of leveraging the features of each platform to generate sales for high quality goods.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Jason Nadaf: The spray and pray strategy of putting products online indiscriminately is so 2010. Now, almost everything that can be sold online is being sold online and has fierce competition. Instead, focus on products that are high value and with which sellers can differentiate themselves. Focus on providing exceptional fulfillment metrics with marketing tactics for repeat buyer engagement and securing a solid supply chain.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Source or make a product and/or category that is solid in quality that your organization can know intimately well. In today’s world, if you are going to stand out you need to be selling something that can a) be well reviewed b) be listed very informationally and c) if possible shared very easily on social channels. We’ve seen great success from sellers that are able to respond well to customer inquiries and that have great reviews. For example, our early clients knew motorcycle parts inside out, which earned loyalty from their repeat shoppers.
- Spend time creating quality listings and product pages. In our experience, the most successful sellers have high quality product listings and pages. They focus on large high quality images, clear calls to action, complete item specifics, and clear shipping details. These listings and product pages convert well and maintain high rankings.
- Focus on being well reviewed both as a business and for best selling products. It’s no secret that in order to sell well on marketplaces such as Amazon, new product lines need to have a minimum number of reviews before ranking well in search. Ensuring product listings and seller rating are top notch is way to ensure your products move and sales continue even when your space becomes more crowded. We know sellers that succeed on Amazon with formula based approaches to launching new lines that have earned them tens of millions of dollars in annual sales.
- Offer stellar support and take advantage of post sale marketing opportunities. For sellers that self fulfill, we’ve seen sales increase when including coupons, thank you notes and other marketing materials in shipping boxes for repeat customers. We’ve seen similar lifts in repeat buying with marketing within tracking status emails and invoice emails that entice buyers with offers. Furthermore, ensuring solid support tends to enforce #3 above.
- Automate everything. Reducing mistakes with automated data flow will help ensure nothing is missed with points #2 through #4 above. We’ve seen brands and retailers alike grow and fail with manual processes that cause critical errors such as overselling on marketplaces and losing seller status. On the other hand, we continue to see sellers grow from seven figure to eight figure eCommerce business by removing all manual friction in their business where possible. Automate connecting disparate systems. Ensure inventory is automated to keep stock levels online as accurate as possible. Ensure your order data is flowing is a normalized way between channels so shippers don’t have to think about where each package is going.
Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Jason Nadaf: With the launch of our free version of SureDone, we’re hoping to enable the next generation of eCommerce entrepreneurs with tools to build million dollars businesses on Google and Facebook/Instagram for free!
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jason Nadaf: I’m on Twitter and Instagram @jasonspalace.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!