Marc Schneider explains why there are no middle managers at Zebit

Marc Schneider created the San Diego-based e-commerce company Zebit for one simple reason.

“Basically, people with bad credit get ripped off,” said Schneider, the company’s co-founder, president and CEO. “They have predatory alternatives like rent-to-own, rent-to-own, payday loans where they end up paying two to four times the value of a product or service.”

Established in 2015, Zebit – rhymes with debit – caters to the more than 100 million consumers in the United States with FICO scores typically below 620 by allowing them to purchase items from over 1,500 leading brands in the marketplace. of the company.

Schneider, whose company employs 58 people and serves customers in all 50 states, is this year’s winner of Top Workplace Leadership in the small business category.

Schneider, 53, married with two boys, says he knows what it’s like to struggle financially.

“I’ve been alone since I was 15,” he said. “I experienced homelessness. I went to primary and higher school. Schneider won a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

This interview has been condensed for more space and clarity.

Q: Before talking about leadership, what does Zebit do?

A: We basically invented Zebit to disintermediate all bad alternatives and provide a fair deal – giving someone who may have low credit the ability to buy what they want at a fair price, pay more than six months without interest, without late fees and without any penalty.

Q: How do you earn money?

A: We source wholesale and charge retail prices. And we have to be very, very good at understanding a customer’s credit risk when we first acquire them and their credit risk over time. All behavioral data gives us insight into which orders we approve and which orders we reject.

Q: What is your leadership philosophy?

A: I’m more of a humanitarian leader with a very strong track record. My part of leadership is making sure everyone understands what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and the results. And I think it’s very rare that you have companies where even the customer service agent understands the financial metrics, how that impacts what they do, what the strategic priorities are, and what we will and won’t will not and why. And they feel like they’re part of the movement of this company and the success rests with them, not just me.

It is a top priority for me to create a sustainable organization where people lead and are not dependent on management. There is no middle management at Zebit. There are a few of us at the top and there are all the others doing the job, and they have the skills, the ability, the training and the decision-making power to do the job.

Q: Like most businesses, you left the office during the outbreak of the pandemic. You told me that staff are still working virtually. How do you make people feel connected when they’re not physically in the same place?

A: We have company meetings about every month where we go over an agenda and all departments talk about what they’re doing, what’s going on in the company, how people are feeling, etc But I think what I really do is I’m accessible to people all the time.

It’s not perfect. But do I feel that our employees still believe they are part of something bigger than them and us? I think they do. Do I think it would be great if we had three or four offices and everyone was together? Sure. Maybe, eventually, over time. But, as leaders, we need to make sure people don’t get lost in the ambiguity of Zoom and Teams meetings.

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