200 How to Grow Your Business on Amazon with Aaron O’ Sullivan of Systems Culture Impact
This is Part 2 of the interview with Aaron O’Sullivan from SystemsCultureImpact.com. In part one Aaron covered the ways you can build out the systems in your life and business that will allow you to grow your business on Amazon. In this episode, we’re focusing on someone who’s already live and has at least 20 products.
High-Level Planning and Eye Level Training
It scares people and it sounds boring. However, when you start to map out the high-level points of a system, you can then start to build yourself the structure to remove yourself from it.
When you delegate to somebody, you need to be able to give them the big picture vision of your business as well as the specifics of the tasks and processes you want them to do.
It’s important to give team members the high level as well as the eye level. That way they are inspired by the big picture and vision of your business and to create some buy in for them as being part of the team. Having a WHY is very important. Both why we’re doing the business but also why they need to do that particular step or task.
Having clear systems at the eye-level also helps with accountability and it saves time in the long run. It helps ensure tasks are done right the first time. Aaron likes to apply the US Navy Seal saying to systems in business: “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” If you don’t delegate smoothly and correctly with systems and processes in the early phases, it can cause problems down the line when you’re trying to grow your business on Amazon.
The 7 Steps Aaron Teaches His Clients
- Create your high-level workflow by mapping out your vision, documenting the way you do things and why. Then create the documents and templates you will use to show new employees what to do.
- Create a training video of you doing the task. Or get on a Zoom or Skype and screen share it with the employee to show them how you want it done.
- Clarify for that person how the success of that task is measured. This includes any quality, speed, and costs KPIs. Show the staff examples of what success looks like. For example, give them previous emails showing your expected level of customer service.
- Block the tasks into the calendar of relevant staff members. Schedule when the tasks occur and reoccur, e.g. hourly, daily, weekly, monthly. Do they need to set up reminders to check their inbox hourly?
- The leader needs to block a time in to inspect and coach the new staff if what they’re doing is not good enough.
- Get the staff members to create the standard operating procedures. These are step-by-step guides of exactly how to do the task. Use your team members to create the document. It can be used for anyone new coming into the business as a training guide.
- Celebrate and recognize the team members in an email or group chat, or in some other way. It’s important to show them your appreciation for what they’ve done and give credit for the growth they’ve helped achieve. It gives them significance and there is a real power in that recognition.
Aaron’s company has the whole business broken down into verticals of the systems. This enables it to grow to work correctly. There will be a few core revenue-driving processes, most important of which is the main product launch system. This includes the sourcing or products and suppliers, analyzing products, creating listings and launching. That process can take anywhere from one month to six months to launch a product.
There are other systems that will be important to help grow your business on Amazon. For example: PPC (everything to do with advertising), customer service (email responses, reviews votes, review comments, seller feedback etc), listing optimization (conversion rates and visibility or listings) and financials, including reporting.
Depending on where you’re at in your journey, you just take what’s most relevant for you now. You might only have one person on each system. However, it will give you all you need to make sure you have systems that move the needle forward in your business. As long as you’ve got rhythms around the core things in your business so you know each week those tasks will get done without fail. That’s the desired outcome.
Aaron’s Preferred Tools for Systematizing and Scaling to Grow Your Business on Amazon
Aaron and his team have spent years working with various different apps and tools, and the one they like the most is Asana. It’s a really beautiful platform that can be really easily adapted for this model. Others that offer similar options are LeanKit and Trello.
Asana is great for bringing alive SOPs and workflows that you’ve mapped out in documents stored elsewhere, such as Google Drive. You can assign tasks and due dates to relevant people once the series of steps in the SOP has been copied and pasted into Asana. You can also add the outcome and the purpose for the task, a description, and links to the training video that you’ve recorded, and the original SOP document. It’s great for accountability and helps people move forward on tasks.
Asana has an amazing Calendar view as well and can be used in a KanBan visual format too. Templates can be created for tasks and systems that repeat. Each time you want to launch a new product, for example, you can just duplicate the template and remove anything that’s not relevant (e.g. finding a new supplier may not be needed).
Stay tuned for episode 3 for the steps to take if you’re scaling up to larger numbers of products.
Check out Aaron’s cheat sheets for this episode at AmazingFBA.com/Aaron