Smart50 Awards 2016

35 Booktopia

Revenue

$80.6 million

Growth

105.2%

Founders

Tony Nash, 53, Steve Traurig, 49, Simon Nash, 51

Head office

Lidcombe, NSW

Year founded

2004

Employees

125

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

www.booktopia.com.au

Winner

Top Retailer Award

Booktopia_NashMaking it into this year’s Smart50 won’t be the first award the founders of online book retailer Booktopia have won this year.

Earlier this year, the retailer took out the Best Mobile Website Award at the Online Retail Industry Awards thanks to its 16-person in-house IT team, which wrote all software for the website and stock management systems by scratch.

Booktopia began in 2004 with a $10 a day budget as a side project to the founders SEO business. Today, the business sells an item every 7.6 seconds with over five million products on offer.

With annual revenue in excess of $80 million, the business has jumped 15 places up the Smart50 rankings this year, after sneaking in at number 50 in 2015.

The business’ continued growth can be attributed in part to its acquisition of one of its main competitors, Australian online bookseller Angus and Robertson in 2015. At the time, co-founder Tony Nash told SmartCompany the acquisition would give the retailer’s revenues a substantial boost.

While the business has grown substantially over the past 12 years, the founders were careful not to grow too fast early on.

“We kept it to 40% maximum growth so we could keep up with orders and manage our moving from bigger to bigger premises. That was one of the keys to our success,” Nash says.

“We did let customers down but we kept them to a minimum. It could have got a lot worse if we were growing too fast.”

For other business owners, the Booktopia founders recommend keeping focused on sales over anything else, saying “just get up and get going”.

“You don’t need to beat yourself up if it is not exactly the way you want it. You are selling and you are using that money to get better at what you do everyday. That is more critical,” Nash says.

Booktopia’s next big move will come in the form of product line expansions and more acquisitions, as the founders continue their quest to become the market leaders in the sector. An initial public offering may also be on the cards.

Nash says new ideas for the business are never in short supply, as long as the team has maintains a well-defined “horizon point” and continues to ask great questions.

“The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask great questions and you are never short of ideas,” he says.

“The definition of an entrepreneur is someone who makes the invisible visible.”

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