"Build" Guide - how to Build your Private Label Business
I am back after a much needed break. It was nice to get away and spend time with my family and reflect rather than constantly being in action.
I’m going to be doing a mini-series focused on the idea of New Year’s resolutions. I will be changing things up this year and I’m going to resolve to not do things rather than the usual resolutions to do something; I’m going to take away instead of adding.
Resolutions tend to revolve around exercising more, going running, learning to cook, starting a business. Just stop. Where are these resources coming from? Where are you going to get the time? The money? The mental focus? Where is this going to come from to accomplish these new things?
My philosophy is: you have to stop some habits first. There is still 24 hours in a day. Your bank account still holds the same amount of money. Your anxieties, your stress, your reservation don’t magically reset with the new year. Whilst it is important to have a plan, I think it’s more important to make the space for these new plans. You have to make time, money, and above all, mental focus. While, for many people, mental focus seems less important than time or money, it’s not. Trust me. I’ve been at this game for a couple years now and your mental focus is your most important asset. All the money in the world won’t make you successful if you don’t have the mental focus.
The first thing I want to stop doing, is trying to pursue too many business models at once. At the moment, I am solely focusing on private label, and I’m basically going to stay with that. I’m trying to do various different things in my life and it’s time to give them up. The most important thing I have given up, is the last of my piano students. I wasn’t enjoying it and it was adding quite a bit of stress. While it’s important to have off-Amazon income, it was taking too much of my focus.
What can you give up from your daily/weekly schedule that will clear up time and mental focus? It might only be a few hours a week, but those few hours can be spent on better pursuits. For me, it means more time helping you out with the podcast, helping my mentees, or focusing on the mastermind group.
I am giving up products that are a disaster. While that may seems obvious, it’s easy to fall into the sunk cost fallacy
. Launching a new product takes a lot out of you. It’s takes time, energy, and money. Once you put so much into it, you become attached to it and it seems like everything is wasted if you walk away from it. So you keep sinking more and more into trying to force it to work rather than cutting your losses and walking away. You have to take into account what the market will bear. The market being your consumers and competitors and the law of supply and demand.
I tried to make one product work and it nearly put my entire business at risk. It was getting many negative feedbacks (NOT reviews!) which could have led to my account being suspended. That would have put other products at risk that were actually performing well.
I have probably spent several thousand dollars on that product over that course of a year and a half. I put time and effort into it, spent some money and time with a designer, hired a photographer. None of that matters because the market has spoken!
Another product I eliminated sold quite well around Christmas 2015. However, when I ran the numbers it just about broken even. I realized that if it’s not going to make a profit at Christmas, then it’s not worth the effort I’m putting into it.
Consequently, this year I had a niched-down version of that product and it sold even better. I sold around 1095 units during the Christmas season, and I only have a few left. I turned my cash over in a about three months. From the time I put the first deposit down until now. It was about 25% margin which, while not exciting, is definitely worth renewing. None of that would have been possible if I tied all my money up in that other product that sold, but didn’t turn a profit.
By giving something up now, you can re-purpose those resources into something more valuable. My suggestion is to be hard-hearted about your products. If they don’t sell, cause problems for your account, or don’t turn a profit when you run the numbers, cut them loose. If you haven’t ran the numbers to find out whether you have been profitable, January is a great time to do it.
Need more personalised input on issues like this? Live in the UK in or near the South-East? You might want to consider joining us for monthly meetings where we can thrash out all the issues like this one for YOUR business. Check it out here.
Forget Trump – Do this Instead!
Following on from my encouragement to move on from stressing about Trump and Politics generally, here’s what I suggest you need to do:
Instead of focussing on events out of your control, focus on what actions are under your control.
If thinking global is stressing you, think local. Do some retail arb, go to talk to a mom and pop shop about wholesaling their goods; there are so many possibilities. Even just do some freelance work and earn some cash to put towards PL inventory.
Keep It Simple!
I saw a YouTube video today that gave me a simple idea for selling some spare stuff around the house which I was going to throw out anyway.
I scanned some of these things, and the stuff that looked it might make a tiny profit, I listed on Amazon.
I then thought I might as well take the next step and buy a few of these products which I might or might not make a profit on but which, according to the app I used, should give me a good chance of doing so.
It’s something I’ve been intending to explore as various people (podcast listeners, Facebook Group members, Mastermind members etc. ) keep asking me about Retail Arb.
Is it going to make me rich? No. But while I wait for 1200 units of PL product to arrive in the USA, some more products (for another business) are being manufactured in the USA, and I’m waiting to see if the USD/GBP ratio will make some specific PL products profitable to have manufactured, it’s a fun and potentially very productive new avenue to explore.
Plus it’s so simple, anyone could get out and give it a go.
Stop using “Research” as an Excuse
It’s completely true that finding a successful Private Label product takes some serious research. So make sure you have find the right formula, and work really really hard to find the handful of products that are worth having.
BUT…keep the momentum going.
If you’ve been “researching” for over 3 months, I don’t believe you’re really researching any more. You’re avoiding the expense, potential disappointment, the potential embarrassment and…let’s call it what it is… the Fear of actually taking action.
Don’t feel bad, and don’t think I’m saying I’m always better – I’ve fallen into this trap myself – and more than once.
That’s why I know how crucial it is to keep momentum.
If you have a product that you think looks good, get samples from 2 or 3 suppliers!
If you’re not sure about the market, why not do some retail arb, buy some products from Aliexpress or other way to verify the market?
The point is – you ONLY get real feedback from the market when you actually try to sell something. And you can only see if a product looks good if you order a sample.
Try something on a small scale. Try several things in fact. If they don’t work, adjust course until they do.
Newsflash: stressing about Trump is FOOLISH!
If you’re an Entrepreneur, you have 3 main resources.
In reverse order of importance:
3rd most important.
Obviously, Money is crucial for any product based business, especially if you’re going to do Private Labelling. That said, it’s possible to start Retail Arbitrage or Online Arb with a tiny budget and wholesale with a few hundred pounds.
Having a budget of several 1000 can still easily lead to business failure without the most important resource.
Sadly, I’ve been there.
2nd most important
It is so important to spend enough time working in the right direction. Not working for money hour by hour; learning your craft, staying up to date, connecting with the right people; working to find the right niches, the right markets, the right products; making informed decisions.
Investing time can make up for lack of capital if you invest it wisely.
But it’s still possible to spend hours, days, months and years (even decades) with a lack of the last element and get nowhere.
I was there too – for way way longer than I want to admit.
Most important resource
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were once asked at an interview which quality they most admired in a person. Their answers were unanimous: focus.
Not coincidentally, these were at one point the richest two people in the world.
If you have focus and put in even a small amount of time each day, week, month and year, over time, you can build some real momentum. If you add serious time, you can build serious momentum. Add some real money, and you that’s when massive growth can happen.
The thing is, one reason why focus is the most precious resource is because it is in the smallest supply. It’s a biological fact that decisions and self control both diminish blood sugar and there is a limit to how many decisions you can make a day and how much focus you have to spend.
If you allow your precious focus to be dissipated and taken over by events out of your control, you won’t have enough left to drive forward actions that are in your control.
If you have to follow politics, only follow that which is directly going to affect your business. In my case, that includes:
HOWEVER – Bitching, anger, resentment, trying to convince others of your politics – that’s all an indulgence and a waste of precious mental focus. Just leave that to other people. Be the focussed person and win out over the people who are wasting their energy.
Having just played piano for music auditions in London recently, it struck me that the Main mistakes made in auditions are the same as those made by many beginning Amazon entrepreneurs. mindset strengths or mistakes and doing it well – needed for auditions for peak performers are the same as those needed for Amazon
Mistake #1 Failure to prepare
Solution: Prepare! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Xmas sales are big in retail. Plan your inventory accordingly. Plan your cash accordingly. If you’re just launching a Private label business, plan your capital needs upfront (hint: £1000 isn’t enough for private label! Don’t believe the hype – it’s designed to sell courses, not make you money!)
Mistake #2 Getting put off by mistakes
Solution: When you have a basically sound plan – keep going! Mistakes are not reasons to lose focus or momentum. Or rather, they can be – but don’t let them! Stay focussed and learn fast!
Mistake #3 Expecting to be great first time out
Solution: Practise! The best way to do a great audition is to do several – some good, some bad, some mediocre – and to learn from the experiences. The best way to do pick an Amazon product or do an Amazon launch is the same. Plan accordingly (don’t put all your money into one product, for example), start manageably and scale up with experience.
A great bit of advice is to start with Retail Arbitrage (retail arb or RA) or Online Arbitrage (OA). I haven’t done it this way so I can’t guide you properly, but if you are US based, Jim Cockrum is your man. Check out his site My Silent Team.
Mistake #4 Not getting training (or just learning from Podcasts and Facebook group aka “Drinking from a firehose!”)
Solution: Get the best training you can afford. Yes, podcasts and Facebook groups are free and an excellent place to gather info. But it’s too much to absorb and nobody can really structure it to be step by step in those formats.
I would get training from someone who knows what they are doing, preferably geared to your particular finances, circumstances and experience.
Above all, I would get myself a group of peers who you can grow with (find out more about the Amazing FBA London mastermind- on waiting list only at the moment). For me personally, this has been the single biggest success factor so far, hands down.
When you work on your own, it can be easy to fall into bad habits and drift or even go backwards.
Ideally, one key thing is to be sure you aren’t on your own too much – you need to connect to fellow entrepreneurs. Join a Facebook Group, get a mentor and or join a Mastermind group.
But there are inevitably weeks and days at a time when you’ll need to get and keep yourself going.
For me, that is simply taking a walk first thing in the morning and making phone calls to fellow entrepreneurs (nowadays I also often make a call to my business partner).
What are your rituals? Let me know in the comments below.
This episode is one of the **Summer Series** of bite-sized chunks of Amazon Strategic Goodness!