There was a time not so long ago when I had what seemed like 101 different things going on at the same time in my business. The result in my eyes was pretty mediocre.
Things have changed.
Since trying out the an eCommerce business model with Amazon at the heart last year I have changed things around. My focus is now 90+% focused on Amazon.
Trying to laser in on one thing has paid pretty good dividends. I’ve taken the business from being a few hundred pounds profit in the first few months into generating what will be a 6 figure income for this year.
I took the opportunity to take a lease on a small local business unit a few months back and hired 3 people to work in the business. My focus has been on building internal systems so the Amazon business can grow without me being the central point (road block).
Taking on business premises and hiring staff do have draw-backs though … namely money! Premises and staff do not come cheap. There are additional expenses too such as company insurance, additional utility bills, etc.. But in reality these are not bad things. There is no way the business can grow without investment and building systems to help it grow beyond what I can do myself.
Every business must have growing pains and I seem to be constantly feeling them, but I guess if business was easy we would all be rich, right?
Training new staff has always been something of a love/hate thing with me. I love teaching people and will do anything I can to help, but when they know what to do and start to do the job differently or just don’t do something because it’s not their favorite task, I get really pissed-off and… I can feel a rant coming on…. I better stop. You get the picture.
So what specifically have I been up to?
Side project – Amazon to Excel Plugin
I created a post telling you about a Amazon to MS Excel plugin I was building that will enable anyone with a Pro Amazon account to call up product information at will by clicking a few magical buttons. Well, I have fixed a few bugs and have it working great for me and the team. It’s a huge time saver.
BUT… I haven’t released it. I did ask someone outside the company to run it through it’s paces and tell me if they found it useful but the feedback has been non-existent. It’s funny how people want something and when they get it, they do nothing with it!
Anyway, I do plan on releasing it but it isn’t my main focus right now. I want to grow my Amazon business and not have to give a lot of time supporting software. I will add though, it is really neat and saves a ton of time when running an Amazon business. Think in terms of how often you have to check the Amazon Buy Box price and sales rank of your products. The functions in the plugin mean you can include simple excel functions to bring back what ever amazon product information you like.
Main Amazon Business:
This has been where my time has been spent. Big time. New premises, new staff and new systems has taken a ton of time but this is allowing me to ship lots more product to Amazon and let their sales machine bring in the customers. I’m not going to share numbers from the business like I have done in the past but we are now comfortably doing enough to to bring in good profit, pay people and re-invest further to make it grow bigger. Much bigger.
Product sourcing wise there hasn’t been a big shift in how I am sourcing products. I have moved more to wholesale though, dropping online arbitrage to a lower percentage. In fact online arb only makes up around 20-ish%. Retail arb is just about non-existent. For me it take way too much time trying to find deals in-store. Time is best spent elsewhere.
Importing has become a little bigger, with the focus on sea shipping to cut down costs. This is still an area I need to work on though. I sea massive opportunities to blow away competition on Amazon if I can figure out a good logistics solution to my US buying. I need to figure out more than just shipping by the way. I’m talking product inspection and prep in the US, warehouse space and then onward shipping via sea. Once I have a system in place I’ll let you know what I’m doing. If you know of a solution that may sound similar I’d love for you to let me know.
Private Label – Yep, I’ve dipped my toe into this too. It’s very early days but the first product is in at Amazon and starting to sell. I’m pretty pleased with this as it’s the newest part to the business. It’s a tiny part of the business at the moment but there is huge potential.
As you can see, I’m not one for going all-in in any one strategy with Amazon. If I can make something work I will keep doing it and grow it if I can. I’d much sooner have many different types of eggs in one basket.