Use the Month of January to Give Your Online Business a Tune Up

By Skip McGrath 

Well, it’s that time of year again. The holidays are over, and although the holiday selling season is still going, it is slowing down and sales will be back to normal by the middle of January.

Here are the steps I take every year at this time to renew and rejuvenate my business:

  1. Clean out excess or non-performing inventory. Inventory sitting in closets, warehouses or garages is like money under a mattress. It doesn’t earn any dividends and it loses purchasing power every day. For reasons I just don’t understand people get attached to their inventory. To me a vegetable peeler or a belt buckle –or any piece of inventory is an inanimate object. Unless something is a collectible I have no attachment to it. If it’s not selling, it’s just sitting there wasting storage space, collecting dust and tying up capital.So go through your stuff. Put it up on eBay, Craigslist or Amazon at a steep discount (even if you lose money on it) and get rid of it. Then take the money you get from blowing it out and put it into something that is selling at a profit.
  2. Review, revise and update your website, eBay and Amazon listings.  Just before Christmas I went through my eBay listings and changed them to 3-day listings so I would get more sales and it worked. So now I am going back and changing them and removing the words “Great Stocking Stuffer” and “Great Christmas Gift.” Some of my product listings are two years old and as I am reviewing them, finding other errors and things that are out of date.

    I am doing the same things with my websites. I was looking at an article I wrote about digital photo tips on my EZ Cube Website and saw references to companies that are no longer in business and removed them.

    So my plan is to set aside one-hour per day for the rest of this month just going through listings and website pages and bringing everything up to date.

  3. Expand into multi-channel selling. If eBay sellers learned anything over the past three years of eBay’s incredibly inept repositioning of their business model, it’s that you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. eBay is finally starting to get things sorted out –but this has been mostly to the detriment of small sellers and favoring large and corporate sellers. Yes, eBay is still a good venue to sell on, and I hope to still be selling there for years to come –but there are other places to sell that are just as profitable.

    I started selling on Amazon in 2006 and continue to expand my business there. The advent and incredible success of Amazon’s FBA program has been huge for sellers. In addition to eBay and Amazon we now have three websites and I also sell on and am looking at

    I still believe eBay is the best place for new online sellers to start. It does have the traffic and the lowest startup risks and costs, but once you master eBay you want to start looking for other venues like Amazon or your own website.

  4. Look for new ways to make money online. The online business world is continually changing. If you become complacent it will simply pass you by. A good example is Facebook. I was very late to Facebook –but now I am seeing good revenue from it by using it to promote my eBay and Amazon listings. Had I paid more attention earlier I could have been doing that all along.
  5. Look for new products and wholesale sources. Just because something sold well for you this year, does not mean it’s naturally evergreen.  I am always on the lookout for new products.  Many of the best wholesale trade shows take place from January to March, and trade shows are one of my best places to find a new product.

    This is the time of year to search Global Sources for that new “killer” product that will carry you through the year and into next years highly profitable holiday selling season

Lastly, let me mention that as you are looking around there is a risk of becoming unfocused.  Don’t abandon any business that is working, but stay on the lookout for new products to sell, look at things like social networking, affiliate marketing, blogging and even offline businesses that might make sense.