Published: Jul 28, 2021 by Annie Pilon In Small Biz Spotlight
Small businesses often don’t have the same buying power as large firms. But Legacy Purchasing Group aims to change that.
The company’s founder took a concept that she learned in her earlier career in the medical field and applied it to even more businesses. Learn about the journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers group purchasing opportunities for businesses.
Founder Ashley Stuhr told Small Business Trends, “Legacy Purchasing Group is a fast-growing group purchasing organization (GPO) that helps businesses realize savings and efficiencies related to office essentials, technology, shredding services, credit card processing, HR solutions, and more by leveraging the collective buying power of our members to negotiate significant discounts. Our company now brings these savings to thousands of businesses from coast to coast. And unlike other business discount programs that may assess several hundred dollars annually, we NEVER charge fees or membership dues. Our business members work directly with our supplier partners. So it is usually a product/service already being used but just not at the discount and service levels that we can get for them.”
Offering both savings and service.
Stuhr says, “Most businesses also pay a “membership fee” which can range from $50 – $500 to get access to deep discount solutions and business perks while we do not charge a fee at all. We carefully vet out and choose our supplier partners based on their values and customer service. Every member has our direct contact information so that they not only communicate with our supplier partners, they have us to contact when necessary.”
How the Business Got Started
To bring the GPO model to new industries.
Stuhr explains, “As the founder, I spent nearly a decade as a sales leader within Office Depot’s business division, much of which involved working with GPOs across the US, focused in the healthcare industry. I enjoyed my job, but with three kids and plenty of weekly travel demands, it was my time to step out on my own. Before leaving my corporate career, I spent about a year talking with business owners and C-level executives beyond healthcare. When I realized the majority of them had never heard of a GPO or how to access their benefits, I knew this would be my way to impact the business community, especially among smaller businesses!
“In 2017, I took the risk and quit my steady corporate job to launch Legacy Purchasing Group (LPG). It certainly was not a success overnight. I spent my first few years networking with business owners, consulting with successful GPO’s, interviewing prospective vendors, and listening to the community. This was in addition to building out the LPG business model.”
Growing a successful social media presence.
Stuhr adds, “During a pandemic, we focused our time and efforts on doing something that our competition wasn’t doing: social media marketing. One of our highlights is our Do Good Business Mini Series where we interview industry leaders within our community. We share relevant topics that provide education and insight to other business owners, leaders, entrepreneurs. In 2020, our memberships grew by 126%, which was due to becoming a trusted business resource to our community. We are one of the very few GPO’s that reach businesses in this way. It takes time and creativity but it’s worth the effort!”
Leaving a steady career to pursue entrepreneurship.
Stuhr says, “Forgoing a well paid position, losing full healthcare benefits for my family, dipping into my savings with the unknown was by far my biggest risk. You have to work hard and take risks in life but make sure they are well thought out risks.”
Stick to your values.
Stuhr explains, “Now that we are in full growth mode, I can say that we would have loved to have raised capital from the initial phase of starting LPG to hit the ground running. Having equity and cash flow can certainly propel you to the next level. However, looking back at our process, the route we took to get to where we are today was perfect. LPG was able to focus on branding, getting processes in place, and connecting with other businesses that we felt necessary to reduce our risk in those first few years. Every business should make sure they are scalable and not grow so fast that they cannot hold true to their core values and lose their customer base. Be passionate about what you do, work hard, hire the right people, have patience and your business will succeed.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Hiring, marketing, and giving back.
Stuhr explains, “10% we would immediately use for multiple Legacy Purchasing Group charity events that allows us to give back to those in need. This also allows us to meet others within our business community and stay connected with our local members.
“25% would go toward hiring 1-2 college internships: I am a big believer that hands-on education is how young professionals can succeed. This would give us the opportunity to be their mentor in all aspects of business and teach them how this can flow into their personal lives as well. We want to set them up to be a positive business leader in their community.
“20% would go towards our marketing/business development efforts which would include items such as print/media advertising, networking events, joining additional chambers and exhibiting at business conferences (nationally). We want to reach as many businesses as we can and help significantly lower their costs on products/services they already purchase. We love helping others!
“45% would allow us to jumpstart our hiring of another full time position focusing on account management and business development. We pride ourselves in having great service and having the same expectations from our supplier partners. This person would primarily focus on building a strong relationship with existing and prospective members.”
The 8,760 rule.
Stuhr says, “There are two types of worlds when it comes to “working”: The 2,080 and The 8,760. Do you know the difference? There are 8,760 hours in a week. The entrepreneur never see’s a “clock out”, they are dedicated and passionate and build their career into their lifestyle. There are 2,080 hours in a typical work week. This is the 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. work shift where you “clock out” when you leave. Where are you? Do you show up to work at 8am and then shut down at 5pm? The 8,760 gives you more flexibility, unlimited access to accomplish your goals and the opportunity to have that work/life balance. Create the mentality of always being available. If you have not started your own business yet, take note that business owners ARE looking for the 8,760 person and it’s a question we always include in our interviews!”
“Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Just take an opportunity and make it as perfect as you can.” – Mark Sanborn.