With $400m in sales on Amazon, if I had to do it all over again what would I do differently?
Last week I was with a group of 100 sellers and I was sharing my experiences and tips for succeeding (Surprisingly, I recommend SmartScout). These are brand new entrepreneurs that haven't even heard of Thrasio or Helium 10. It's refreshing to step outside of the LinkedIn gurus and talk with people that are hopeful to just have their own business. Their questions are honest and sincere as they actually will apply your advice to their new business.
I was asked, "What would you do differently?"
What I answered surprised me. But the answer is clear.
I'd use a prep center.
Having our own FBA prep warehouse has taught me many things. Those things don't usually help me sell more products. Sure, we might make a bit more profits in shipping and prepping. But to no fault of our warehouse or employees, we have to deal with issues.
Issues like if the plumbing is out and we have to send everyone home. Do we pay them?
We're low on cash and we don't want to invest in inventory, do we still buy stuff just to keep them busy?
Are leases and employees and equipment vendors worth the extra money you'd save by "going vertical"? For most people, the answer is no.
One of my good friends is starting a supplements company. He's an engineer by trade and is already thinking about economies of scale. Sure, you can save a few cents per unit. But instead of thinking about how you're going to improve your marketing you're focused on why the latest shipment is delayed or a sick employee or anything that's not the growth of the company. You're better off thinking strategically than working on something that's been commoditized.