Mothers basement and $500 loan to Start Coins for Anything

Coins for Anything– Jeff Morin is the founder and CEO of a very unique and profitable small business. Jeff is a former United States Marine Corps Sergeant that was stationed with 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC. Jeff saw the the challenge coins sold in his camp were selling for $2.00 – $3.00 more on Ebay. After doing extensive research he noticed that the majority of available challenge coins were of poor quality and lacked originality. He tested the waters with his creation of the very first Mother of Marine Coin and a $500 loan. With that as a basis, he founded Coins for Anything, Inc. November of 2002 with the goal of providing the best challenge coins on the market. After witnessing the effect a beautifully crafted coin had, he began joint-production with his original rendition of the Marine Wife Coin, following shortly after with the first ever Marine Corps Recruit Training Battalion Coins. With more new ideas everyday, he sets into motion a continuous process of ensuring Coins for Anything’s quality is unmatched by any competitor and have set a standard of excellence in customer service that is unparalleled.

Morin started the company as a hobby at age 22, while serving as an active-duty Marine. He had no business experience , no MBA, and instead was armed with only street smarts and the discipline he learned from the military. So he started small (first operating from his barracks, then his mother’s basement with a $500 loan) selling challenge coins, which serve as reminders of military service. Sales took off, he expanded to all types of customized coins, and before he knew it companies like Target, Google, Delta, UPS and Starbucks were calling.

But the learning curve was steep. In his early startup years Jeff was too nervous to hire outside talent, so he only promoted from within. As Morin’s business expanded, so did his staff, and soon he was suffering from a costly people problem. He was losing clients because of a supervisor — one he promoted, mainly based on loyalty. Morin realized that he hadn’t carefully considered whether the employee had the people skills to work with customers, or manage other employees. He did not, and was fired.

Today, Morin knows it’s about putting the right people in the right seat.

Jeff is now thriving on the Inc. 5000 list and has grown Coins For Anything by 210 percent from 2005 to 2008 with an annual revenue of $2.8 million. Revenue in 2009 is projected at $2.8 million. Additionally, Coins For Anything is number 1,518 on the 2009 Inc. 5000, a list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the country. This is Coins For Anything’s first appearance on the Inc. 5000 list.

Coins for Anything has done work with large corporations including Starbucks, Google, Delta, FedEx, Miller Brewing and many more.

Business Name: Coins For Anything

2009 Revenue: $2.8 million

2009 Profit Margin: 51%

Number of Employees: 7

Morin offers the following advice for other entrepreneurs:

Maintain a personal touch. This shows how much you value your clients’ business. Deliver something a little extra and you’ll have a customer–and advocate–for life. Short and simple handwritten thank-you’s work well.

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