Luck can only take you so far
If you want to grow your business consistently, you have to take things into your own hands. There is only one force that can make you fail and that force is you. Let’s look at some tips that can help you strengthen and grow your business in the face of any adversity the market can throw at you.
1. Take Risks – All businesses are inherently risky. You will never grow or prosper if you only take small safe risks. Don’t go crazy –it’s always good to be prudent, but there is just no way to succeed in business without taking risks. And once you take a risk, stand behind it. Don’t go all wimpy too soon. I have made buying decisions that at first looked very shaky – only to eventually pan out and become very profitable. Just try and avoid taking any one or two large risks that could totally decimate you if they did not work out. (If I lose a few hundred –or even a thousand dollars –I can survive that. But if I were to lose $10,00 or more on a single venture, I may not be able to recover from that.
2. Love What You Do and Do What You Love – If you are selling something online that you just don’t care about, take a look at doing something else. I try and find products to sell that are fun and relate to my tastes and experiences. That is one of the reasons we sell cookware, cutlery, kitchen gadgets and gourmet food. I love to cook and those are things that I enjoy so it’s fun to shop for them and write about them. I always test new products out for myself first to be sure of the quality and value.
3. Get Help With Taxes – The new tax bill took effect in 2018. If you haven’t done it yet, this is the year to incorporate or form an LLC. Once you do that, find a CPA and sit down with him or her and learn some strategies to reduce your taxes. Last year I learned to fix one small mistake I had been making for years that caused me to overpay my taxes. Just this year alone it will save me over $1400. Over the last five years I have overpaid almost $5000 because of that.
I now use My Corporation to form corporations and LLCs (and I did my will with them also). I used to recommend Legal Zoom who you hear advertised all over the radio and TV, but two of my readers complained of delays, bad customer service and constant attempts to upsell them. So I now work exclusively with My Corporation for most of my legal needs (including trademarks).
4. Manage Not Just Your Time But Your Goals as Well – Having a plan and setting some goals will help you get through the year profitably. The key to setting goals is that they must be both measurable and achievable. A general goal such as “I am going to increase my inventory this year” may sound good, but how do you measure it. But if you say, “I am going to double my inventory this year,” that is something you can measure at several points along the way. You would constantly monitor your inventory numbers to make sure they are always increasing and you are on track to double your inventory in any given month.
As for time management – goal setting works here too. I make a list of everything that is important for me to accomplish at the beginning of the week. Then I prioritize the list. I put the things I dislike doing the most, at the top of the list (such as paying bills). By getting those out of the way first, the rest of the week goes smoothly and I usually accomplish 100% of what I set out to do that week.
5. Go Multi-Channel – If you are still selling on just one venue, that is a huge risk. Not only are all your eggs in one basket, you are missing a huge part of the market for your goods. Folks who shop mostly on eBay are different than those who traditionally shop on Amazon, but they buy many of the same things. Why would you want to ignore one group of people, when the one thing they have in common is green? And today, many people are using Walmart.com
6. Avoid Negative Influences – Negative influences can be anything from friends and family to stories or blog posts you read. I get email from people who tell me they read a message board post from several eBay sellers who said it’s impossible to make money on Amazon today. Well if you think that way, then it will come true. In the meantime folks like me, who don’t bother reading that drivel, are quietly making nice sums of money –and yes we are doing it on Amazon too, as well as other sites.
Most importantly, avoid negative people. There will always be people who have no imagination or self-confidence and believe the world has stacked the deck against him or her.
When those people talk to me I smile politely and let it go right over my head. The last thing you want to do is argue with them. And unless they are your close relatives, just avoid them in the future. This is your business. You are in charge and you are responsible for the outcome. And that means if it fails –it is your fault –not the fault of big corporations, eBay, the government, zombies or some unseen outside force that had it in for you.
7. Be Excruciatingly Honest – the best way to be honest is very simple:
Do not lie, cheat or steal and don’t associate with people who do.
This is one of those policies that is good to follow in both your business and personal life. It will cost you money occasionally, but in the long run with pay huge dividends that far exceed any losses you suffered.
8. Be Generous With Your Customers – Offering a no-questions-asked money back guarantee and a liberal return policy may sound risky, but it’s not. Yes, you will have the occasional person who takes advantage of you, but in the long run you will make far more money because people will trust you and want to buy from you.
9. Work Hard –There really is no substitute for hard work. There is no such thing as a business that runs on autopilot –that only works from boats and airplanes, and even then you have to turn it off when you dock or land. Karen and I work very hard at our business. The important words in that sentence are “our business.” It’s all ours. We take full responsibility for it and we enjoy the fruits of our successes. Between us we put in about 100 to 120 hours a week. That sounds like a lot, but we don’t have to commute, we don’t have a boss, and we decide when to take a coffee break, go on vacation, or when to buy a new office chair.
Now that you have read this you realize there were no specific “how-to” tips to improve your sell through rate, but general tips that will help you build a successful and profitable business. The other advantage of following this advice is that you will be happier –I guarantee it!_____________________
Learn to sell on Amazon with The Complete Amazon Marketing System by Skip McGrath. The Complete Amazon Marketing System has been our best-selling course for the past ten years, and has the lowest return rate of any product we sell.