What we’re talking about today is strategy. What does it mean? And why does it matter to Amazon Power Sellers?
“Vision without action is a daydream;
Action without vision is a nightmare.”
This is very common with people who are starting out or want to start out. Often, they end up staying wannapreneurs, meaning they never actually make any revenue. Revenue is how you can tell if you have a business! Even spending money is a good sign.
Most Amazon power sellers seem to get excited about the idea of the business opportunity. And, as I confess I did, they even get seduced by the idea of passive income and the fact that you don’t have to exchange time for money.
So the would-be entrepreneurs at this stage have an idea of what they can have for themselves, but here’s what they don’t have: they don’t have a vision of what they’re going to give to the world. In fact, they’re very, very vague in most cases about that. They thrash around using tools and other people’s systems to try and substitute for imagination.
When I’m working with clients – whether mentoring clients or in the Private Label Process course – I also try to get entrepreneurs to start by having a vision of a particular person with a particular pain. In fact, vision is a rather general word for that; they need to be very specific.
If this is you, ask yourself: what is it you really know about? What do you really care about? Let’s get very, very specific before you go out and rely on tools to do stuff for you.
In a way even then, rather than saying that vision is wrong, it’s not about vision is wrong, is that their vision isn’t strong enough. Sure, they have a vision for themselves, of sitting on a beach using their laptop (which is an absurd idea, by the way, I’ve never done it, they have sand on beaches, it’s not a good mix!). But they don’t have a vision of what their business offers the world.
The second level is the Amazon power sellers who are doing stuff! They’ve had the chutzpah, the courage, to be part of the small percentage, who actually sell anything on Amazon. It’s probably the 80/20 of the 80/20 of the people who have the idea of selling on Amazon.
They actually do sell on Amazon, but then they’re stuck in the nightmare. They did their market research; they’ve ordered the product; they’ve tried their best to ensure product quality; they did their branding work in the sense that the superficial aspects of the brand, the visible aspects, meaning they have a logo that looks nice and have good packaging. And, you know, maybe they have a nice strapline or whatever, on the packaging.
Sadly, they’re struggling.
And I think the reason they’re struggling is because they’ve taken a lot of action, which is great, and they’ll learn from that. But what they need to learn from that is, okay, now I’ve tried selling a “me-too” product. Let’s not do that.
Again, they’ve learned a lot of the mechanics of how to do something on Amazon, and how to order from China and so forth. Now, mechanics really matter. Having a system to really read the marketplace and crunch the numbers are critical. You need to use tools for ordering from China; getting proper negotiation systems and principles in place. practicing proper Supply Chain Management including quality control; measuring financial numbers; having a launch strategy and a very precise set of tactics.
So this is not a vision versus mechanics fight.
The advantage the second set of people have is they understand the mechanics because they’ve done it what they need to do.
I’m working with a couple of clients right now who are doing about $10,000 a month, something like that ￡10,000 and they’re struggling. The profits are struggling because they’ve got “me too” products. And we’re going to work now on maybe looking at a parallel niche, one that’s not too far away from what they are already selling.
But you should start with who you are, is my big hint.
If you’re wondering what to sell, look at who you are, what you buy a lot of what you’re an expert consumer in at least if you’re an expert producer of it, even better. If you have a supply chain management experience. Some people do, or you made something yourself, fantastic. But if you’re an expert consumer, in the sense that you buy a lot of stuff, and you’re very passionate and knowledgeable, and you’re obsessed with the detail, which is really where the details are so important when you’re getting a good product and differentiating it.
The third level up is the classic 10k collective and Million Pound Mastermind member. This means have had the vision, got going, sold on Amazon. In fact, some people have been selling for generations, but they’ve only come on to the e-commerce space when the last few years or even a few months. Some Amazon power sellers came from completely different backgrounds but have come into the e-commerce space. Comparing them to the “vision without action” camp, it has to be said it helps to have some kind of business background because you’re more likely to pull the trigger and take action and therefore you’ll learn by experience.
What’s fascinating to me about those Amazon power sellers is the discussions are getting more and more what you might think of as abstract. Except that these guys are making real revenue, a million pounds just before Christmas, £170K in December, £80,000 pounds etc. So real money is being made here; it’s not a separation between vision and action; these guys are big on both.
Richard Koch explained a lot of the right principles of market domination in his incredible “The Star Principle”, which is becoming a bible for the 10K Collective and Million Pound Mastermind. He also wrote a more complex book called “Simple Strategy” back in the mid-1990s. So my take on strategy from that is the interaction between vision and where your marketplaces are or what you’re talking about.
For example, one member of the 10k collective has been working on creating incredible Instagram marketing for their business and they’ve done some of it but they realized what they were doing.
But business thinking is a very, very clear vision. If I say the word vision means a blueprint, if you are Michelangelo making a sculpture, you see very clearly when you look at a block of marble you see in your mind’s eye precisely how the end statue looks like. That’s not a vague idea. It’s not a kind of cloud field, blurry vision, it’s a crystalline crystal clear vision.
Now, that’s easier, because it’s just him. I don’t personally know about marble sculpture, but business is equally fascinating to me because it’s more interactive. I guess that’s why as a musician that I’ve always tended towards interactive modes of things. I’m no solo pianist, I was never good enough. But I’ve done a lot of accompanying singers and when you’re working with other people who are conducting orchestras, there are so many moving parts is never quite what you think it’s going to be. And for me, that’s what makes it fascinating, that interactivity.
That’s why I love the 10k collective mastermind and the Million Pound Mastermind. That’s why also businesses so fascinating because you have your vision, you find your team, they have a slightly different vision, sometimes better, sometimes worse.
When you put a product in the marketplace, sometimes the customers hate what you thought was going to be great. And sometimes they love some random little feature that you didn’t think was important. And that’s what makes it fascinating. It really is a fascinating game. I love it. It’s intellectually stimulating, but it’s you with skin in the game so it’s not abstract. It’s like sport meets chess. For me, this is why business is exciting for me. And this is why I think that tension between vision and mechanics between vision and action is ultimately creative tension.
And you’ve got to love that. The 10k collective and Million Pound Mastermind members are really, really up for the game, they enjoy the game, they love it, they want to get in there. It’s like a great rugby player or a boxer.
They want to get in there and be amongst it. They are competitors. Of course, they want to win but they enjoy the game itself.
As the Victorians said, “The game is the thing.”
The last thing I’d say is: if you’re not enjoying the game, play a different game. I was forced to play rugby at school. I haven’t played it since because it’s not my game; I’m not built for it. But I go jogging. I really love it. And it’s a great way to listen to podcasts for me. It’s time to listen to some exciting business input and get inspired and enjoy the feeling of using my body at the same time.
So everyone has their game. If Amazon isn’t your game, don’t play the game. It’s fine. Amazon is not for everyone. But whatever it is, find the game that you enjoy playing it.
Get a clear vision of who you’re going to help (and that takes time to develop that is in itself is work). Develop a vision. Then get in there, take action, enjoy taking action, enjoy the game. Life’s too short to either fantasize it away or to be working miserably; either to be stuck in the daydream or stuck in a nightmare.