People often ask me, “You’ve been so successful running Amazon businesses, what’s your secret?” I always answer with a question of my own, what do you think is the most important component of running any business? While I’ve received a wide range of answers there are three that come up consistently; Visuals, Values, and Execution. All three of these important ideas can be summed up into one word, and that word is vision!
You can have the funkiest socks for sale but you’re not selling them unless they are displayed in such a way that sets them apart from all the other designer socks. You don’t need to disrupt the sock market nor do you need a revolutionary driving force to capture a good share of that market. If each line of socks is a piece of art you want to show it like the Mona Lisa, not a museum gift shop poster. Having a quality display does not mean expensive, it means smart.
Having a business philosophy is integral to starting one. Do you want to be known for providing the best service? Value? Quality? All three? More? Each and every brand you sell warrants its own outlook. Are those funky socks the least expensive in the market or are they of such high quality as to earn the high price they are sold for? Before rolling out your product you need to know what your selling philosophy is.
How you execute your business plan is the science of it all. It’s a combination of chemistry, physics, biology, and likely more disciplines. Science is logic; form follows function and so on. The same holds true with executing a business plan.
Having a vision for your business is not a philosophical idea, it is a critical aspect for grounding yourself and keeping you in touch with your finances, maintenance, goals, and scale. A vision does not need to be earth-shattering – It can be a few ideas as simple as where do you want your business to be in a year and how you reach that goal!
Forecasts make things a lot easier! If you own a business, you should implement a forecast as a method for staying on target – and hitting your benchmarks (turning that vision into something tangible). That being said, like your vision, forecasts can and should be updated all the time, your business is a living organism, it’s fluid and organic, but you still always need a clear structure to guide you. Forecasting also gives you a goal that you can hold yourself accountable to. Accountability in turn incentivizes you to continuously study and tweak your plan so that you meet your forecast or come as close to it as possible. You want to focus on inventory and finances. As the owner of the business, those are critical. Being on top of your margins, ROIs, sales velocity, and cash flow is fundamental to your success.
The Amazon ecosystem forces business owners to focus on other important components. Content in the eCommerce sphere is all about the newest marketing strategies, techniques, and hacks. While all those are important, knowing how and when to use them and to what extent, is the quickest path to success. Knowing how to place them into the puzzle that is your business based on your own needs – Now that’s GOLD!
Being creative, sourcing quality products, writing excellent copy, and mastering the newest keyword strategies are all means to an end. Not the other way around! Without the “end” in mind, you are basically driving a fancy car in the dark woods with no lights on, a crash is inevitable.
Vision does not mean revolutionizing a market or creating idyllic groundbreaking dreams. It means having an infrastructure that’s based on the reality of your business. This will guide you in making the right decisions for your business, based on your desired (and realistic!) goals.
Everything else is details, important details, but these details aren’t making or breaking the vision. These details can only slow down or speed up your growth.