For Kenny Davies, CEO of Peak and November’s Gimme 5 Spotlight Customer, entrepreneurship is a way of life.
After deciding to go into business for himself, he and his wife started selling a wide range of products — from cosmetics to shoe trees to Baboochi, an educational children’s toy based on drawings his wife made as a child.
Managing four totally different brands hasn’t been easy, but Davies says he saw results almost immediately: “We really started growing fast. Within the first nine months of starting our business, we went from zero to a million dollars a year in revenue.”
Growing fast meant big changes for Davies and his wife: three years ago, they were able to quit their “day jobs” and work from home full time. But the more successful they became, the more time they spent on a task Davies calls a “nightmare”: sales tax.
“I put my wife in charge of finances, so she ended up being the one to take care of sales tax,” he recalls. “She was very, very, very unhappy, very stressed, and hating it. It would just be her at her desk, with multiple screens open on our computer, papers and notes everywhere, and hours of frustration.”
As manually filing became more and more onerous, taking five or more hours every week, Davies realized he needed a better solution. “When you are trying to build a business, you’re trying to factor in: what’s my time worth? What’s an hour of my time, or my wife’s time, worth, and what could that time be better spent on than sales tax filings?”
After deciding a solution must exist to their problems, Davies found TrustFile, Avalara’s automated small business filing solution. Since then, things have changed: instead of spending time on filings, Peak’s social media accounts are getting more attention and its marketing efforts have increased.
“Switching to Trustfile hasn’t just saved us money, it hasn’t just saved us time,” he says. “It’s actually made us money if you really look at it. We’ve been able to spend that time we had to spend on sales tax to build our company and increase our sales. Since we started using TrustFile, in the last four months, we’ve grown at least another 20 percent.”
Chosen as November’s Spotlight Customer after Davies submitted his winning video, Peak received $5,000, as well as a free year of TrustFile.
If he could do it all over again, Davies says he’d have started using Avalara much sooner — probably within “six to eight months” of starting Peak. “It’s kind of a no-brainer,” he says. “Save yourself that time and spend it on things that will be remunerative, don’t be silly, don’t torture yourself.”
For the Davies, using TrustFile has made work easier — and for a small family business, that means things are easier at home, too. “The amount of time we’ve saved, the frustration we’ve saved using Avalara services, it’s outstanding,” he says. “Happy wife, happy life.”
It’s easy to become the Avalara Gimme 5 Customer Spotlight winner: all you have to do is visit, then submit your short video or essay detailing who you are, where you work, what you do with the five hours each week you save by using Avalara, and what you’d do with $5,000 for your business. Winners receive $5,000, a free year of their choice of AvaTax or TrustFile, and a featured customer spotlight story on Avalara’s high-traffic website. Enter today for your chance to win!