Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
Mark Steiner: We have had constant, steady growth, but we have had different points where there appear to be spikes because of different business models or different methods, like a new way of billing people. In 2017, for example, we started taking full payments as opposed to just taking balance payments, so that increased revenue pretty steadily. Over the years, we have had a lot of repeat customers and we are in a marketplace that we dominate in. It is a niche marketplace, and we have had very few competitors. We also just gained popularity. The more people know about us, the more people use us, and those people use us again and again.
SBJ: What is a top issue you consider when it comes to managing growth?
Steiner: I have learned that when we make more money, it doesn’t mean we have to spend more money. This has been key to managing our growth. Back in 2018, we actually started banking money as opposed to spending it and saying, ‘It’s OK to just let the money sit there until we have a real need or a real desire.’ By doing that, and because 2019 was so good and we had really scrutinized our spending, we had enough money in the bank to get our team through (the coronavirus) period. We were able to keep everybody employed and hire two new people over the past two months because we had enough money there and we needed developers. We have a lot of future projects a lot of current projects that we’re working on and want to get through.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Steiner: Yes, it is sustainable. I believe that people are just chomping at the bit to be social again. I know that there’s a segment of the population that is still wanting to be cautious and be careful, and I really respect those who don’t want to move too fast and jeopardize the good numbers and have another spike in this again. But I know that there’s a lot of people that want to get back to some semblance of normalcy and what once was – and that is celebrating kids’ birthday parties and doing things we’re in the business of. They might be smaller parties, but they are still going to want to celebrate. I believe not only is our fast growth sustainable, but I think that we could very well see another really great spike this year. We’re already seeing bookings for as far out as Santa Clauses for Christmas, and we’re already seeing things starting to get booked for June and July.
SBJ: Have your goals changed as your business has taken off?
Steiner: I think my goals have become more realistic. I am a dreamer, and I shoot really high. But if I miss the mark, I don’t get terribly disappointed, especially if we’ve still done good things. Ultimately, the goal is still to grow and to stay healthy. My goals are a lot more profit-oriented. When we began, I wanted to run a successful business, which to me meant I would always be able to pay my bills. I wasn’t necessarily as concerned with how much profit we made. Figuring out how to make more money and save more money would be a goal at this point.
A pair of area medical colleges that received state grant funding in the fall are now investing the funds toward technology and new programs with the intent of attracting more students to the nursing profession.