Understanding our digital future

Teen Brothers Strike it Rich with Bike Tires

Posted by: In: Blog, Get Rich Click 26 Oct 2010 Comments: 0

One of my favorite Get Rick Click stories is of Zachary and Nathan Doctor,
two brothers who started a business in their dad’s garage when Zachary
was 10 years old and Nathan was 12.

The Doctor boys were your average pre-teens. They went to school,
played sports and found all kinds of ways to have fun. They also lived in
an entrepreneurial family. Zachary and Nathan did the typical entrepreneurial
businesses kids do, from setting up lemonade stands to finding
other ways to make a few bucks. Their dad is Lou Doctor, a successful
executive living in Silicon Valley. He runs a boutique investment banking
firm called Arbor Advisors.

Lou Doctor enjoys cycling. His sons also adopted the sport early on.
All three learned that in the world of cycling, special bike tires are the
equipment of choice. You must have the right tires for the right application,
from paved road to mountain path.

One day in 2002 Lou and his bike club ordered tires online from a specialty
firm in the United Kingdom. To get the best price, they had to order
in quantities of ten tires per type. When they received their first order, Lou
and his bike club were not thrilled. The tires were an odd color. No one in
the bike club wanted them on their bikes.

Lou Doctor struck a deal with his sons. He gave the boys the tires and
suggested they try to sell them on eBay. They could sell them for whatever
price they wanted, but he needed $30 a tire to cover his costs. Above
that, the boys keep anything they got above that as profit. The sons went
into action. They snapped digital photos of the ugly-colored tires, posted
them for sale on eBay and waited.

Not only did the boys sell them in quick order, but they sold them for
$35 each. Lou got his $300 investment back and the boys pocketed $50
for their efforts. The boys asked their dad to order ten extra tires next
time. The same thing happened. The boys sold the ten extra tires and
again made a tidy profit.

Zachary and Nathan wanted more! They were making money and having
fun at the same time. Soon there were more orders, more sales, more
customers and more profits. They went from ordering 10 tires to ordering
50 and as many as 500 at a time from the retailer in the United Kingdom,
who eventually gave them discounts for large volume purchases.
Then the boys opened an eBay store. They got up each day at 5:00 a.m.
and pulled the items, packed the orders, filled out the shipping labels,
and got to school at 7:30 a.m. When they came home, they went to work
printing out the orders and getting them ready for fulfillment. Every day
at 6:00 P.M., they took the packages to the local post office, where they
became known for pulling bins of boxes and placing them directly on the
back of the post office truck before it left for the distribution center.
It wasn’t long before the brothers launched BikeTiresDirect.com, their
own e-commerce website. The business kept growing — and in the Get
Rich Click spirit, Zachary and Nathan pursued online marketing, learning
how to buy the right keyword combinations to get higher rankings in
the search engines. They attribute much of their success to buying traffic
via keywords … thousands of keywords and keyword combinations
which increases the number of “free” hits they get on Google, Yahoo and
other search engines.

Thanks to the Doctor family, their tire supplier became the largest supplier
of specialty bike tires in the United Kingdom. Today Zach is 17 and
Nathan is 19. They have less time to work at the company, but they still
help with buying keywords and work during the summers. The company,
with over $8 million in annual sales at last count, now sells everything for the serious
cyclist. And it’s still growing.

Order Delivery Time in Five Minutes
Customers in virtually every country in the world order from Bike-
TiresDirect. Occasionally an order comes from a Silicon Valley customer.
For fun, Lou Doctor would drive his kids to the customer’s home, ring the
bell and deliver the order — allowing the boys to meet and get to know
some of their customers.

One day, they received an order from someone who lived only a few
streets from their home. They quickly fulfilled the order, jumped in the
car and drove to the customer’s home, arriving five minutes after the order
had been placed. When the customer answered the door, ten-year-old
Zachary and twelve-year-old Nathan were standing there, order in hand.
Needless to say, the boys had a new customer for life. Word of mouth
referrals from the delighted customer generated even more business for

(The above excerpt is from the book, Get Rich Click!, due out May 2nd, 2011.)

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