My, oh my, does time fly! It feels like just yesterday we were ringing in the 2018 New Year. Hopefully this year brought you lots of joy and awesome profits in your Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) business!
Now that Q4 is coming to a close and the hustle and bustle of the seller season is beginning to normalize, there isn’t a better time than NOW to start looking ahead and creating your game plan to make next year the best year yet! In this blog article, I’m going to share with you 10 things you should do in your Amazon business in 2019. If you commit and make it a point to incorporate these strategies into your plan of attack, I am confident and can almost guarantee you will experience incredible shifts in your business and life this year!
1. Hire Qualified Help
If you’re a solopreneur – this one is especially for you! As you know there are a number of moving parts in your Amazon business. From sourcing, to packing and shipping, to customer service, inventory management and more… If you desire to grow and scale your business in 2019, it’s imperative that your time and focus is spent on activities that will generate a profitable return and move you forward in creating or maintaining a truly sustainable business.
Too much time spent on maintenance tasks such as: packing and shipping, data entry work, creation of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipments and auditing inventory (to name a few) will merely keep you busy and hold you back from achieving your business’s true potential. Delegate these types of tasks to qualified virtual assistants or an internal team, and shift your activities from busy work to productive work. As a business owner, all of your efforts should be placed on activities that are aligned with hitting your goals. For example, if your goal is to hit your first $1M this coming year, apply 80% your efforts to money-generating and money-saving activities. Spend the other 20% on activities that will sustain your business, such as systemizing your operations and staying on top of compliance.
If you think you cannot afford a virtual assistant or an employee this year, I challenge you to think again. Think about where your time is being spent now. Could it be spent somewhere more lucrative? If your answer is yes, then you can’t afford not to hire! Think about it this way: You can either do everything yourself and accomplish one job at a time over a long period of time OR you can delegate and accomplish many jobs, leaving you the time to focus on areas where your business needs you most. Your pick!
2. Keep Your Books Straight
If you don’t have a bookkeeper and/or an accountant, do yourself a favor this year, and get one! Aside from relieving the tedious task of manually entering your receipts, invoices, and keeping track of all of your purchase orders yourself, there are so many benefits in keeping your books accurate and understanding your numbers with the help from professionals. Staying on top of your numbers will give you incredible insight as to how your business is actually performing. I hate to say it, but just because you see sales coming in and an awesome sales revenue, it doesn’t necessarily mean your business is in good shape. So, instead of guessing about the health of your business, prioritize familiarizing yourself with your numbers. When your books are accurate, it’ll give you the confidence to manage your capital and budget for inventory so that you may realize the true profits that you’re after.
3. Stay on Top of Your Inventory Levels
This is a big one! If you’re like the many merchants who have been hit with exorbitant Amazon FBA long-term storage fees on the 15th of every month, you know how painful this can be! The good news is, if you have been hit, you have the ability to take back control of your inventory and to reduce or eliminate your chances of getting charged these hefty fees starting this new year. Take it from us – we, personally, average an excess inventory percentage of only 0.68%, which has a 0% impact on our profitability.
In order to do this, it’s vital that you master the art of trending your products and have a keen sense of awareness on how quickly or how slowly you can anticipate your products to sell. Software tools, like RestockPro, help tremendously with staying on top of your inventory levels and accurately assessing the sales velocity of the products you sell. It’s also important that you create a strategy around how much to purchase and how you will move your products. This will not only help with reducing the storage fees but with staying within budget and increasing your sales, as well. Craft a solid strategy around purchasing, come up with multiple repricing strategies and know when to aggressively move slower-moving items so that you can reinvest in products that you’re certain will move and add money to your bank account.
4. Plan for More Restrictions Around Arbitrage
As I’m sure you know, this has been an ongoing theme for years. If you’re still in the arbitrage game, just make it an absolute point to stay on top of Amazon’s policies. With Amazon’s ever-changing rules and restrictions and some policies that are actually governed by the law, it can be tough to stay on top of it all, especially when you’re not an authorized seller of the product(s). Thus, it’s imperative that you watch out for product and brand restrictions, stay on top of California’s Proposition 65, acquire the safety documents you need and more. Your Amazon Selling account is a golden goose, so take care of it like your livelihood depends on it – because I know for many of you, it does!
5. Develop and Maintain Relationships with Brands
I cannot stress this one enough! Not too long ago, merely having a wholesale account open with manufacturers or distributors was enough to do well and sell well on Amazon. However, now that many of these brands have gotten a taste of the Amazon Marketplace – good and bad – third-party sellers are starting to become dispensable. Brands are either wanting to catch all of the sales for themselves or they’re simply sick and tired of resellers driving down their prices, which has led to massive cuts in eligible sellers. Thus, developing deep relationships with your brands and adding value to their team is an absolute must if you want to stand out and stay in the game! This will require great communication, Amazon marketing skills and solid effort from you and your team. If you want to see massive growth and feel confident in your business sustainability without having to create a private-label product and experience long turnaround times, commit to large minimum orders or be fully liable for the products you sell, prioritize this.
6. Familiarize Yourself with Your Tools and Software
If you’re an advanced seller, you probably have invested in multiple tools to help with the growth of your business, such as an inventory management system, repricing software, product research and sourcing tools, and marketing software that is specific to increasing traffic and sales on Amazon. Seller Central itself has numerous tools integrated in it, as well. But let me ask you… how well do you know how to use them? Are you using the features to their full capacity? What’s your ROI from the tool – has it been more of an expense or are you happy with your investment? Knowing how to effectively utilize your tools will can be an absolute game-changer in the results you get within your business. So, make it a point to learn the ins-and-outs of your software. Study it. Take advantage of all of the resources made available to you – many software companies, like eComEngine, have incredible support teams. Then, of course, implement it.
7. Systemize Your Business
Everyone desires a sustainable business – one that doesn’t rely 100% on them but can be run on its own by a capable team. However, not everyone is willing to do what it takes to make that truly happen. To make this a reality, you’ve got to prioritize systemization today. Not tomorrow, not a month from now, but today. This is one of the most common activities to get placed on the back burner, but if working smart and time and financial freedom is in your future, then solid systems and processes need to be in place and updated regularly, leaders need to be developed and your personal efforts must be replicated. If you can standardize the operations of your business to a point where you could confidently sell your business and create an exit strategy if you wanted, you are setting your business up for incredible success.
8. Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself is the greatest gift you could possibly give yourself. Far too many pride themselves in their ability to do everything on their own. Now don’t get me wrong, I honor and respect all entrepreneurs who have the ability to create something successful from nothing, but the reality is – we all only know what we know. Investing in and prioritizing your personal and professional growth will be your unfair advantage against your competitors. I, personally, can say my philosophy in business and in life is made up of a culmination of hundreds of mentors and thought leaders, and without their insights and help, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today nor would I have experienced the successes I’ve experienced thus far. With this said, I encourage you to identify the areas in your business or even your personal life that you believe have room for improvement. Whether it’s to develop more business skills or strengthen your mindset or to become a better leader, pick up a book, listen to a relevant podcast, or hire a mentor to help expedite and skyrocket the successes you’re after. Why? Because your future self deserves it.
9. Invest in Your Team’s Continuing Education
Investing in your team is just as important as investing in yourself. If you desire to have a loyal and capable team that you can trust to carry out the responsibilities within your business, they must be equipped with not only the skill sets but the mindset to succeed. Invest your time or hire someone to develop them so that they may be able to become leaders within your company in the future. If you can leverage their efforts and leadership skills, you will open up a world of opportunity for growth and take your business to heightened levels.
10. Assess Your Progress and Visualize a Better Tomorrow
Now that I’ve shared with you a number of strategies that I’m confident will skyrocket your business, I’d like to challenge you to do something incredibly powerful (yet simple and fun!) for yourself right now. This is strategy #10, so don’t even think about skipping this exercise *wink, wink!* Because this is the most IMPACTFUL one of them all!
I’d like you to take out a piece of paper and do the following:
Now that you’ve written these down… Make a commitment to yourself to strive to achieve it because YOU ARE CAPABLE. This is your year to make it happen! Keep this piece of paper next to your bedside, and read it every night. The more you keep your goals at top of mind and know what qualities have made and will continue to make you successful, the more equipped you’ll be to take action that’s focused and aligned with all that you’ve envision for yourself.
Here’s to the New Year!
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.