SIMPLE WAYS TO CUT COSTS AND STREAMLINE YOUR AMAZON (OR ANY OTHER) BUSINESS
[NOTE: The list below is structured from the ‘most obvious money saving secrets’ to the ‘biggest secrets to saving money’ near the bottom so feel free to skim and stop when you see something you don’t know!]
While maximizing conversions and profits is my most well-known area of expertise I frequently step in to help business owners save multi millions every year (because money you spend isn’t money made, it’s money paid…)
Recently one of my favorite clients asked if I realized what a gift this was to his business and if I’m sharing it among our tight knit AMZ community. So here we are 😉
FOCUS ON YOUR HIGHEST PROFIT NETTING ACTIVITIES – OUTSOURCE THE REST TO EXPERTS
Stop pretending you know how to do it all (or expecting someone else in your business to know how) and hire a micro-expert for each task. While you’ll actually spend more time and money up front the results to your increase in profits is exponential, not to mention the time you’ll save which you can redirect towards focusing on your most profitable activities.
Special Note: If the expert doesn’t direct you to information about how much money they’ve made or time they’ve saved other business owners then ask.
REASSIGN WORK LOADS TO THE MOST EFFICIENT PEOPLE IN YOUR BUSINESS BASED ON THEIR TALENT
Today I woke up, walked into a meeting, and in under 2 hours figured out how they could shift 4 staff members into different positions shaving $500,000 of expenses from this entities $5,000,000 yearly budget.
2 hours with me = 10% reduction in expenditure
Most staff inefficiencies stem from boredom or a misplacement of skills – look around and switch it up for a highly optimized work flow.
RUN A CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis) ON YOUR SOFTWARE
As an expert who both sells on Amazon and optimizes listings for top Amazon sellers AND runs other businesses you’d better believe I invest a fair chunk of change on software.
The thing is Amazon and business software creators are constantly adding new features and changing packages/plans so every 3 months I review all of my software’s features and which plan I’m on then cancel or switch plans or upgrade. The average cost savings is usually only $100 to $300 per month but overtime that really adds up!
RUN A CBA ON YOUR SERVICES
Look for smart ways to reduce service costs. Does it make more sense for you to upgrade from an Individual Amazon Sellers account at $1/item and invest just $39 per month? Does it make sense for you to put all of your employees on ONE cell phone plan at $10 additional per line and cut your ridiculously expensive VOIP service or eliminate paying for using their phone? Does it make sense to completely switch cell phone service providers (this saved us over $1000 last year alone). Does it make sense to switch email services? (If you’re using InfusionSoft or another expensive enterprise service we need to talk). Does it make sense to switch website hosts? Website platforms (from WIX or Shopify which nickel and dime you like crazy to WordPress.org which is FREE and offers flexibility in functionality and plugins that makes others look like they’re crazy for charging at all).
RETHINK YOUR TIME….FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY STOP SKYPING, CALLING & HAVING MEETINGS
Seriously, if I had 1 BIG tip it’s to stop asking others to get on the phone, show up on Skype and attend meetings. Talking is rarely productive and rarely cost saving (unless you’re a negotiation master). This falls under the “we do it that way because we’ve always done it that way because my parents/first boss/all the crazy time-wasting people I ever knew did it this way”. You can only listen and process 100 to 135 SPOKEN words per minute. You can easily process 200 to 1000 READ words per minute. Slow typing skills? Get a Speech to Text app or software.
If I’m asked to get on the phone to ‘discuss a potential project’ I explain that it’s $250 per hour.
Because ‘talking about a project’ is just code for ‘I want you to tell me what to do to make more money and what I’m doing wrong but I don’t want to pay your $250 consulting fee’. I have a piece of paper called a copywriting brief / questionnaire you can fill out. I can read it in under 5 minutes. So while smart clients happily pay $250 (with a one hour minimum) to jump on the phone with me because paying me for $500 worth of time nets an additional $500,000 in their business if you already know what you want then ask for a questionnaire and go from there.
Save a bundle on your PPC budget…let’s not even get into how much.
First make sure whatever page / listing you’re sending traffic to is optimized so you stop dumping money into a leaking bucket and THEN try out some of these no to low cost marketing ideas:
- Social media – create a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, et al that focuses on solving the problem your product solves. Be sincere and genuine, provide 4 helpful articles/videos, etc then post one deal to your product, post 3 helpful articles/videos / answer questions etc then post one deal to your product.
- JV Marketing – Ask your Amazon seller and/or business owner friends if they want to promote to your list/audience and vice versa. If you don’t have any Amazon seller / business owner friends please join groups specific to your industry on Facebook and make some.
- Wacky Viral Videos – Anything with zany accidents, funny skits, crazy animals or cute babies goes viral on social media. If you need help conceptualizing how to create a viral video let me know. (Not all of us know how to trigger that humor button 😉
I know, I know.
My super power is writing words that make people buy fast but I recommend you carefully consider before you make any major purchases (I count major purchases as anything over $500).
The number of times I’ve felt so confident that software/coach/other expensive shiny thing was going to deliver me a huge breakthrough that later failed made me rethink where I keep my debit card (as in where outside of my home) so I give serious consideration before every major purchase.
OPTIMIZE YOUR BRAIN
The faster you process thoughts the faster you find solutions and the faster you can ace that profit pulling activity and move on to the next one.
- Invest in nutrient-dense, vitamin rich foods to stimulate healthy cell reproduction and all-day energy.
- Add a healthy dose of probiotics to ward off sick days.
- Kick up your mental processing power with nootropic brain hacking supplements.
- Listen to isotronic or binaural beats to train your brain think faster.
- Workout to burn stress. Watch things that make you laugh.
ALL of these things optimize your brain power. For example, when I’m listening to binaural beats I complete my copywriting projects two times faster which doubles my income. I solve problems and find work arounds that make other peoples heads spin. And I can type upwards of 200 words per minute. So if thinking faster, producing faster and solving problems that make or save you money faster is worth it to you invest in the list above.
9. REDUCE SHIPPING COSTS – GET FRESH QUOTES EVERY TIME
Back in July 2017 I started insisting that we get multiple quotes from multiple logistics companies for both air and freight saving us more than $2000 per transaction. If you need the name of a FABULOUS affordable logistics company let me know – I use one in South Seattle that beats the pants off of anyone else I’ve ever used for both service
NEGOTIATE (or RENEGOTIATE) WITH YOUR SUPPLIER / MANUFACTURER (or find the original!)
Rule #1 of Negotiation: Always ask. If you don’t ask, “Can I get a logo printed free? Can I get you to insert my marketing and instructions free? Can I get you to print a better box design free? If I bundle this with another product will you put them both in the box for me free?” etc etc etc then you never know what you could have saved!
Rule #2 of Negotiation: Invest a few minutes finding the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) instead of dealing with the supplier. Suppliers markups reached ridiculous levels in 2017 and continued to climb. Many suppliers simply use better search engine optimization tactics so they appear higher up in the search engines.
Dig down a few pages and find a better deal with the OEM.
Rule #3 of Negotiation: Find the better deal and flaunt it. Many times you can stick with your same manufacturer by actually providing a contract that shows how much less their competition is charging. (However before ordering volume from a potential new vendor ALWAYS get a sample to ensure quality, specs and performance are the same or better than what you’re already sourcing).
Rule #4 of Negotiation: Ask to see their entire catalog every time. Ask if they have anything new in their catalog. This creates the impression that you’re looking to source more than one product resulting in even more business for that manufacturer (or supplier).
Rule #5 of Negotiation: Contact Manufacturers Reps. My husband used to be an international manufacturers rep in electronic components and electronics (cell phones, computers, ipads, etc). Did you know that he could actually get you a better deal than the factory because they ordered in volumes of millions instead of 100’s or 1000’s? Checkout ThomasNet and see if you can find a better deal on a product you’re already selling. You might feel surprised at what you discover!
ONLY SEND SMALL PRODUCT VOLUMES TO AMAZON
My opinion on this topic has done a complete 180* in the last year. I used to focus on negotiating lower shipping costs into Amazon by shipping more at one time…
Yet right now it seems the only thing growing faster than Amazon’s profits are their fees 😉 Sending in all of your stock can result in huge (surprise) fees that make you look at your Amazon paycheck and cry. Instead of sending in all of your stock find a space in your basement or garage rent a storage unit for $49 to $99 per month. You’ll save a ton over Amazon’s monthly and quarterly fees.
If you already made the mistake of sending in far too many products then consider pulling some out of stock until sales pick up – it’ll likely cost you $0.50 to $0.60 per product but that’s PENNIES compared to what Amazon charges you to let them sit there.
COMPARE AMAZON FBA FEES TO SIMILAR SIZED/WEIGHT PRODUCTS
Did you know you can request that Amazon reweight and remeasure your products if someone selling a similar sized/weight product (or let’s get real here, an identical product)? Be careful about this though – only do this if your product is actually smaller or weighs less than Amazon says otherwise this can backfire.
DROP MERCHANDISING LOANS & GET A LOW INTEREST CREDIT CARD
Many banks offer low interest credit cards for your business that save you upwards of 10% over fees to companies that provide merchant or contract loans to businesses. Start by checking with yours then online – I know a guy who can get you up to $250,000 on a 0% credit line with no income check so if you really get stuck (and you have a credits core of 600 or higher) drop me a line. Always happy to help!
14. ONLY SEND TRAFFIC TO A SALES FUNNEL SO YOU CAPTURE CUSTOMERS BEFORE THEY BUY
If you don’t know what a sales funnel is, that’s okay! Basically it means that instead of sending your traffic to your sales page or Amazon listing you offer a discount or a problem solving ebook or video training, et. al, then redirect them to what you’re selling. (I love helping business owners maximize profits with sales funnel strategy so email me if you need help)
15. NEGOTIATE PACKAGE DEALS for services you know you’ll need to use again
Sometimes you only need one Amazon listing optimized (ahem 😉 right now, or one persuasive email written, or one product photo taken or one graphic created…but you know you’ll need more in the future. Many Amazon Service providers offer package discounts for prepaying for a plan up front. Just make sure you TRUST that person to be there for you when you need the service.