Twenty years ago, I joined ECi as their 32nd employee and the Director of Sales. Of course, it wasn't called ECi back then. We were known as OnlineOfficeSupplies.com and we had zero customers and $0 in revenue, I filed my taxes Single Zero and had zero gray hairs.
It seems like only yesterday that we became eCommerce Industries, then ECi2, then ECi Software Solutions, and today simply ECi. We've gone from one office to 20 locations around the world. With almost 30 acquisitions, we've grown to well over 1,000 dedicated employees serving approximately 13,000 customers with revenue exceeding $240M.
Core to our success is the “CODE” which we at ECi live by every day. Crave Greatness, Own the Outcome, Deliver Awesome, and Embrace Community are the four pillars by which we conduct our business and professional lives.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in my years with ECi is that employees don't work for companies, they work for people. Think about it. You probably spend more of your waking time with your colleagues at work than you do with anyone else in the world. ECi would not be what it is today without the contributions of every person who has worked with us over the years.
It is important for employees to feel appreciated and respected for their hard work, their ideas, and their overall commitment to our success. When employees feel empowered to make suggestions, ask questions, and own the outcome, they reinvest themselves in the company. It shows up in their dedication to their jobs, their managers, their peers, and, most of all, our loyal customers.
The second thing I have learned centers around the treatment of customers. I have found over the years that you don’t always have to solve a customer’s problem immediately or deliver an ideal solution every time. What our customers really want is acknowledgement and responsiveness. They want to know that we are there for them and that we are doing your best to deliver awesome. If you respond in a timely manner and, even if you don’t have an answer yet, let them know you are working on it, the customer’s frustration is alleviated.
I am proud to think that I have played a small role in the professional growth of many great people along the way. When I look back on the amazing employees that have been on this journey with me over the last 20 years and see how much they have grown, I can’t help but get a big smile on my face. I really feel we have made each other better and that is a great feeling. I am proud of the positive impact that ECi has made on numerous dedicated people and their families.
But let’s be clear, we’re not done by a long shot. As we celebrate ECi’s 20th birthday, know that we will continue to add customers, acquire companies that will extend our portfolio for small and mid-sized businesses, and ultimately be known, without question, as the best, industry-specific, SMB-focused software provider in the world.
Thank you to everyone—employees and customers---who have helped to build ECi into what it is today.
Don't miss out!
Stay on top of the latest business acumen by subscribing to the Big Ideas for SMBs blog.