Smart50 rank: 24
Founders: Hal Pritchard, 41, Natasha Luke, 39
Head Office: New South Wales
Industry: Retail trade
With online commerce being such a vibrant part of Australian retail, Everten Online founder Hal Pritchard says it's disappointing the biggest challenge he faces is that suppliers still don't take the internet seriously.
"Six years on and we are still facing this challenge. Many of our distributors still have not embraced that the internet is a valid and valued market place," he says.
"These distributors have really missed out and it is now much harder for them to make an impact in this market place, which in turn, impacts the traditional marketplace. The result is these companies are gradually losing market share."
The kitchenware business started six years ago, shortly after Pritchard and his wife had their first daghter. With some spare time up his sleeve, Pritchard starting developing Everten and within two years it had cracked the $1 million mark.
"There was definitely a niche for a dedicated online kitchenware retailer. Nobody was doing it even close to properly. We already operated two bricks and mortar kitchenware stores so understood the industry and the potential."
Pritchard is using the online envrionment to his advatange, using the Masterchef phenomenon to spruce up his SEO and gain some more traffic.
The internet is certainly delivering its fair share of problems, however, with more industry participants realising the power of online commerce.
"More and more traditional independent bricks and mortar stores are now coming online. To date they have struggled to make an impact on the current well-established players but they will learn and everybody will have to get smarter and better at what they do to keep market share."
"Margins will drop and only the best will survive. We will need to be innovative just to keep market share."
Operating online certainly comes with its challenges that bricks and mortar stores can avoid, like regularly making sure the site is online 24/7.
"Even a small system crash is the same as shutting your doors, so having very robust systems is a constant challenge for us. The impact of technology issues are so much more exaggerated for an internet company rather than a more traditional set up."
Pritchard hopes to keep growing the business by gaining new ideas from overseas, testing new ideas and experimenting with new product ideas. But he is hesitant of growing too quickly, saying he would prefer a steady pace of expansion the business can handle comfortably.
"I don't think we could grow faster even if we wanted to. Faster growth would put too much strain on our systems and would invite collapse."
As for some of the biggest lessons Pritchard has learned, he says businesses should have a clear vision before they begin, otherewise they'll be easily distracted by competition.
"Have your business plans in place before you start. Have a very well founded vision and keep that in mind when taking every small step. Build towards that vision and don't let small challenges get in the way."