How to get 10-50% more for your Amazon FBA Business ⎜ AFBTS ⎜ EP 98
Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host Ryan Cramer and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. The leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. What's up everyone? I'm your host Ryan Cramer, and welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. Episode 98 is where you're at today. Thanks for joining and tuning in today. Today's episode is titled How to get 10 to 15... Excuse me 10 to 50% more of your Amazon FBA businesses. Exciting stuff. We put stuff behind here and we're going to listen to our guests talk about what that exactly means. But Crossover a little bit before we jump right into that. Crossover Commerce, quickly is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than$ 150 million a day for e- commerce sellers just like you. We help over one million customers now and have processed over$ 90 billion with a B, in cross border payments. To start saving money today, go ahead and sign up for a free account below. It's that link in the show notes. Go ahead if you're watching on social media, click on that link after the show, of course. Don't want to do that now. But after the show click on that. Go ahead and sign up for a free PingPong account today and start saving money today. A big welcome to our audience here watching on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. Of course, welcome to everyone who's tuning in for the first time or again the 98th time. I love having you all here asking questions, because this is a live show. I go live about four to five times per week to bring the best, brightest and most helpful people in the Amazon e- commerce space to give you a one up, kind of level up your business to the next level, if you will. Whether it's on Amazon, e- business or wherever you might be building your business growing forward. So, you don't want to miss a single episode. And of course, my 100th episode will be this Friday. You don't want to miss out on that. And we'll talk a little bit about that at the end of the show. But again, put that on your calendar, make sure you don't miss out on that episode as well. But because I go live so much, you can actually interact with us on social media, again four to five times per week. Just go ahead and write your questions in the comment section on Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube. We'll be able to see those and answer your questions here live. Or if you're watching this later on, I call it team replay. If you're team replay and you watch this later on when we're not live, you can go ahead and still ask the same questions. Just go ahead and tag us in there and we'll be able to see those and get those questions answered. Also, if you happen to be listening to this, we're everywhere where podcast can be listened to, again, Amazon music, Spotify, Apple or Google podcast. Wherever you can consume a podcast, I'm going to be there just search Crossover Commerce. Make sure you subscribe and rate our podcasts on there. The more people who rate it or the more sharing of it, the more people will be able to get all this information out there and be able to listen and level up their business. So make sure you tune into that as well. But about our guest today, if it was just about me that would be one heck of a show but it's not. It's only, it's me about it and my guests that I bring on the show. I call them friends of the show. My friend of the show today, his name is Dave Storey. He spent 20 years working for world- class manufacturing businesses in the UK, starting as a product design engineer and finishing as an operations director in charge of an entire factory. And in 2014, he decided to follow his dream, tourism business and ended up becoming an Amazon private label seller. Very similar story we hear all this sort of time again 2014/15 we talked about in the show. Golden era of selling on Amazon. But as a private label seller, he has since sold eight figures worth of products across the platforms. After selling his first FBA business in 2019, he realized that he was a massive amount of strategy and tactics that should be employed in order to get the highest selling price possible. And he knew that Amazon sellers would not know what these things are so he decided to put a coaching program together, to share his knowledge and give something back to the FBA community. The program is called FBA Built to Sell or AFBTS, and it was released in 2020. And since then, it's been a fantastic results for people who have joined. Many of them have gone on to sell their own businesses online and brands online for far more than that they would have done before then. And today he's running his own FBA business which was built to sell from the onset, and supports the students of his program to optimize their businesses and exit them for far more what they would have done. Again, welcome to Crossover Commerce, Dave Storey of AFBTS. Oh my gosh, Dave. That is a mouthful, but welcome aboard.
Dave Storey: Thank you very much for having me on the show. Excited to be here.
Ryan Cramer: Do like the stumble into the name.
Dave Storey: AFBTS. It's on crosstalk. Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: AFBTS. There's it is. Well that's my chichi so I appreciate you doing that for me specifically. Hey, welcome. You're joining us from Newcastle, you said? So you're over in England, in that area. So what's going on in the world? What's new with you? And kind of for people who may not know you, that's an awesome background story maybe provide some more context to the situation if you would have. Who you are. What were you doing and selling online? And that's a cool story it seems very similar to what people do all around the world. But that tipping point, I'm really curious to dive into it. But tell tell us who is Dave?
Dave Storey: Yeah. So Dave, even at the age of 18 wanted his own business and had a plan to go into industry and gain some knowledge. And I plan to be there for about 10 years, maybe a bit longer, 15. Ended up staying for 20 because I enjoyed it that much. So I just worked for some great companies in the UK. As I say start as a product designer, absolutely loved designing products. Love it. It's my passion for design. And worked my way up through different companies, different ranks all the way to operations director. Running lots of departments and operations and running the whole factory. And I stayed as I say a lot longer than what I thought. And in 2014, I saw my opportunity to leave the company. I took a voluntary redundancy and just walk straight off the cliff, not knowing what I was going to be doing. I had some, a bit of money behind me. My plan was to start designing some products, some unique products because that's my passion. And I just happened to bump into my old boss from another company. And he said, he called me down the office and he said, " Dave, do you want to go into business?" And I said, " We're doing what?" He said, " Selling on Amazon?" I said, " Selling on Amazon? What are you talking about?" I knew nothing about this. And he said, " I'm busy right now." He said, " There's a login and password for Amazing Selling Machine." He goes, " Have a look at that." So I got on that night, put it on I was listening to Mark Clark. It was ASM Two I think it was. And I just got addicted that I knew that was what I was going to do. I couldn't start watching it. And we built the business up from 2014 and, it went from there and we should have sold it. This is the part of story that's not in the intro. Should have sold that business in 2017. It was going absolutely fantastic. If I had known what I knew now, it would have been sold then. But I didn't all the stuff I knew. Now, ended up walking into quite a number of pitfalls, which people are still doing right now. Sellers are still doing right now. And at one point that business went from being valuable multi- million dollar business to almost unsellable just because of the state that it was in. So I had to get that business back on its feet. And in order to do so, I decided to learn what it really takes to make a business highly desirable from the buyer perspective, and to grow that business in terms of maximizing its value. So I spoke to a lot of people, learn as much as I possibly could, that even still didn't prepare me for when actually did sell a business and lots of learnings in that actual phase. Then, I sold that business in 2019. It was a great result. And when I look back, I thought, " Wow, I've learned so much." There's so many tactics and things that I've learned here, that the next business I put in place is going to be done, built to sell from the outset. Strategically built with the end game in mind, start with the end in mind. And all these things, I thought, " Well, I didn't know them." Lots of this stuff. I was in a professional industry I was waiting businesses for 20 years. So, how many other Amazon sellers are going to know this stuff, I thought pretty much hardly any because it's not any training courses out there. It's very hard to find information that's dotted started around it's a little bit more about now. So I decided to put this training program together called Amazon FBA Build to Sell. So it's a seven modules, gets quite a in depth program, which essentially teaches all the stuff that you need to know in order to strategically think about your business, position it right from early on. Then create an exit strategy for as early as possible. And drive as much value in, to your business. And have a fantastic exit much bigger than what you would have done, if you haven't been doing all this stuff.
Ryan Cramer: Well, I think there's so many fantastic avenues to go down. Thank you for sharing that. That's, for only an hour of this show I promise you that we will run up and I will want to go into so many other different avenues. But I always do this. And that's the beauty of the show. So for people listening, I hear it a couple of different things. I hear, again, we talked about the golden... I call it the Golden Age. Maybe a lot of people do it too. Maybe I subconsciously in saying this, we call it the Golden Age of FBA, right? 2014/15. A lot of service providers, a lot of sellers we get introduced to, this amazing selling machine course. But also, we see a lot of people become successful, it becomes the wild west of Amazon. Anyone can be profitable by finding products, sourcing it, putting it online. It's not simplistic as that, of course. But there's a lot more success and a lot of things could happen. There is a lot of tactics that could happen that don't happen even now today to be successful. So you sold from 2014 to... '17 is when you said you should have?
Dave Storey: Yeah. I should have done. Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: So retroactively, I'm curious. Point number one, why then? What was the tipping point that you didn't? Because of course, you sell the same stuff, theoretically, that you do now. What did you see that should have happened but you decided not to?
Dave Storey: We wanted to grow bigger. Simple as that. I thought, let's just do more of the same and grow this business much bigger than it is now and sell up next year. But it didn't work out that way. 2017, as people know and, business that was on Amazon seller before and during that period, the competition really, really hot up, things became very different. The competing factors on various elements on how to compete changed. And if you had products, which many of ours were at the time, which were these me too products. And you're just competing against the pool, which was getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So that was one of the strategies after that was to really use my background skills from product development, and to create differentiated products with strategic advantage over the competition. So that really got back on the feet.
Ryan Cramer: Well, long story short more competition. So your sales, I'm assuming declined in that regards or people subverted your listing or whatever products or products you were selling. So you should have sold retroactively. What made you decide at that moment you didn't sell, you wanted to grow bigger? I'm assuming sales went down but then you got back up to a point worth, where you were in 2017? Or what was that like, " All right. I could have done this what's my game plan now?" Once you hit that low at that point of saying, " Hey, this didn't pan out exactly how I wanted to. What's now my goal and exit strategy?"
Dave Storey: Yeah. That was when that things came crushing down and...
Ryan Cramer: We're crying in our corner. We're like, " What was I thinking?" All this stuff.
Dave Storey: Things came crushing down and I had to... It's been pretty easy to learn. Things have been, I've got lazy from all the professional training and background that I had. I haven't really use much of it to be honest, because things were just so easy. Those first products were put up in 2014 straight to 2015, we're best sellers like that. First the US than the UK and it was just so easy and you get brought into lazy habits. So it was time to really get back to basics. And think about this from real professional business tactics. So that was the real core element of getting back on your feet. To think about it very differently and strategically.
Ryan Cramer: So were you just selling in Amazon in the United States? Or were you selling on multiple other platforms as well?
Dave Storey: No, we've gone on to all of Europe. And-
Ryan Cramer: You were in Europe as well? So what was the scale of, were you selling seven figures, eight figures? What was the scale they you were talking about, in that regards? At the point that when you exited, you're selling roughly eight figures a year in revenue?
Dave Storey: No, seven.
Ryan Cramer: Seven. Okay.
Dave Storey: The eight figures was how much I've sold in total.
Ryan Cramer: Gotcha. Okay. So I wanted to clarify. Okay. So that clarification. Were you, and this might be a stupid question. Were you happy when you exited your brands in business?
Dave Storey: Yes, I was happy. Because I'd thought it and planned it. It took nearly 18 months to get back on the feet. So it wasn't a short time to get back and did all the strategic things that needed to be done. And so I was ready and I knew that the lump sum of cash injection, I wanted to go on to do other things, to compete in another niche to build it. To sell from the outset and have this products with unique design, features and strategic advantage from the outset.
Ryan Cramer: Well, okay. So you exited your business, you have more capital I'm assuming. The story goes, you have capital to reinvest. Either building another brand or do something different. Why not reinvest into another product that you're like, " Listen, I'm going to do right from the beginning. I'm going to know my boundaries. I'm going to know where to push it." Then go from there. Why not take that avenue instead you pivoted?
Dave Storey: Yeah. It's a good question because we did consider that. But the niche and the brand that we had, it was limited in its growth in the skills that we had, would really be hard. Just the area that we're in, we knew how big that we could grow it. We thought that the capital we've got will be much better invested in other areas, we'd loads of ideas. So, create some better idea.
Ryan Cramer: Well, and thus was born AFBTS. So from that regards, it sound... You said us. Is this something that you are working with partners? Or is this your brainchild? Where did this kind of grow from? Because you said exiting your business, you saw a lot of holes in regard, right?
Dave Storey: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: We're talking about either avenues where you're not prepared, you don't have your books. What were the kind of... What were these wells of information that you're like, " Listen, I don't know why I didn't know about this when I was exiting my business." Where were you pulling from in this regards to say like, " There's a space out there that people need to learn about and maybe we can do it."
Dave Storey: Mm- hmm( affirmative). Yeah, I'm going to share a slide to explain.
Ryan Cramer: He came prepared, folks. Yeah. He came prepared.
Dave Storey: It's best described on a slide I've got timeline. I'll explain.
Ryan Cramer: Sure. And for that too, Dave, I'll make sure I explain too for people who are listening, and the audience who's listening as well, later on. So yeah, one you shared that... And for everyone, again, I want to make sure that we are watching this live so if you're listening to us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, go ahead and let us know what you're thinking. I want to give a shout out to people watching on LinkedIn. Again, good morning, Ryan and Dave from Lisa. Lisa, friend of the show. Over in Noviland land. She has her own podcast. I'll link up later. So Lisa, thanks for tuning in as always. We appreciate your time here. And just for a little bit, but let me go ahead and... What Dave is sharing with us, let me go ahead and go with there. So yeah good, David, go ahead and take it away.
Dave Storey: Okay. I've got few slides just in case various topics come up. So this, as you can see is what we call an FBA Business Timeline. I'm just going to put the highlight around, there's a point there. So, just in the context of the question, I'm going to try and answer it with this timeline. So if you think about this business here, was six months in the planning phase, 2. 5 years and what I'm calling the strategic growth phase which I'll explain. Around about a year in the trailing 12 months consolidation, will explain. About three months in selling and then the buyer took over the business. Okay. So this is like a sort of four year sort of business life-
Ryan Cramer: Sure.
Dave Storey: ...if you like. Now, most of the value that you can drive in the business is done in this, is this phase here and the planning phase. But at this phase there's very few people thinking about this, at this point and it should be. The planning phase in terms of what products you choose, your branding, the supply chain, and driving in the lowest costs and the best quality in this phase. Planning out, really cement the foundations for a great brand and great business. Then this phase here, this long phase where you're growing the brand. These strategic decisions, again, have a massive effect on actual value that you get for your business. And then this phase here, the trailing 12 months consolidation, is the 12 months before you sell the business. So it's a rolling timeframe.
Ryan Cramer: Right. The 12 months of your books that they're going to look at and see the valuation of your company.
Dave Storey: Yeah. So depending on how far you down here, this line could pull along with it if you're asked to redo your financials.
Ryan Cramer: Sure.
Dave Storey: And this phase, there's less opportunity to drive value in, and to change the multiplier. You don't want to be doing many strategic moves here in this phase, they're too risky and they take too long to get the return on investment back off them. So, this really is about consolidation and reducing costs down so you maximize profits in this phase. Then crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: So this 12 month rolling freight phase, you don't want to be making dramatic changes. You're talking about launching new products, you're talking about changing logistics or manufactures or anything of that sort. Correct? Is that where we're talking about when strategic?
Dave Storey: Yeah. That's exactly what I'm talking about there. So typically what I find is that because I've got a Facebook group with 800 people in, and when they come into the group I ask them some questions. And from those questions I've gleaned that pretty much, no one really thinks about an exit plan or the exit until somewhere down here. And they don't think they need to do it either. So people that are in this phase, they say, " No, I don't need to think about anything to do with exits or not. I won't buy at this point, because I'll do it here." Or some even do it here and worst. That's not done at all, which is actually quite common. So there's a few concepts to get across, who are your customers now? Obviously, the more in the planning phase, people think about who are they going to be their customers that they're selling the products to? And the more customer centric you are, obviously, the better business you're going to have in this phase. But there's another customer, and this is this one here, the buyer. So why only careful about that customer, at the end. You should be thinking about what this customer wants, what these customer requirements are right at the beginning as well. That's how you're going to drive in best value. And you should be minimizing the risk for when this customer takes on your business, the risk of getting good return investment. And you should be building a business right from the outset with consistent growth and opportunity, for the buyer when they take it on the road even further. That's really how it is. You're thinking about the buyer, this customer from the beginning.
Ryan Cramer: So in your planning phase, you building a business, your online business, your e- business. You're looking at the exit customer just as much as you are the person who's going to be buying your tangible goods online. Interesting.
Dave Storey: Well, yeah. And thinking about the things that's important to them, the things that's going to be important to really drive a high multiplier in the business. That's also the type of products for example. You don't want to be doing me too products. You want to be having products that got some innovation in them, some real IP locked into them and locking that in early on. That's just one example of many, is the product. And so-
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, go ahead.
Dave Storey: If you think about when's the best time to increase the multiplier over this timeline, is at the beginning. And as you progress down at your opportunities diminish, as the time progresses. So what most sales are doing is that inaudible or saying and doing it in here, and missing out living a whole host of opportunities that they could have put in place back here to build that businesses much stronger.
Ryan Cramer: I was going to say if you're going to be elaborating on this and someone has questions because I asked them right away. So if you want me to wait to the end, I will.
Dave Storey: There's only one more slide left in this bit.
Ryan Cramer: Sure, yeah. I'll let you go ahead.
Dave Storey: And then of course, there's pitfalls along here. If you don't know what they are, you going to... There's a high chance of falling into them. And the size of them are huge at the start and then they decrease in size as time progresses. And then once you get to this point, the other opportunity which is huge as well, especially in the market these days. That can actually make a huge difference on the actual final, the price you get for your business. So that was the slides, I believe. Yeah. And in summary, now is the time to create and implement your exit strategy. Not yet crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: No. Not here. Not when you're rolling to a month time. Well, and that's something that I agree with you. I think a lot of people are not actually, they're not thinking about this in the context of, " I'm going to eventually exit my business." I think a lot of people or businesses like Thrasio, like Elevate Brands, like Purchase, like Heyday. All those different companies, they shine a light on what's actually possible. These opportunities has been around for a long time. Like you said, you're back in 2017 you could have exited 2019, you did. It just because there's more money being thrown at these kinds of businesses, it becomes to the forefront. What you're saying is that if you were going to be entering Amazon business with this intent to eventually sell. Whether you are a current seller and you're just starting out or you're going to be doing that here in the near future. Your point is, you need to start planning what that's going to look like from their perspective. Because the more enticing of a business it is like you said, diversification, IP or any sort of trademark or copyright, revenue of course. All those things kind of build this nice little puzzle and put it together, in terms of more valuable asset instead of just revenue. Is that what I'm hearing?
Dave Storey: Yeah. That's exactly right. And today, if you think about the courses and a lot of the training that you see today is really focused around what most people are doing, because that's where most of the skills lie. That's what people are teaching other people, which is, sorry to say, finding more or less very similar products to everyone else. So the me too products, so you end up having to compete on marketing, on images and videos and price. Which can be very difficult if you're competing against Chinese, of course. And really, why would you want to do that if you in the planning phase, put more time upfront in thinking really about being different. Thinking about differentiating your brand. Yeah. Because if you do it there, you're winning the war before you then got in the battle. So that's the way I like to think about it.
Ryan Cramer: Well, here's the ultimate debate that we always have Dave, in any clubhouse room or any sort of mastermind group that I've been a part of. Especially these last three months, or four months or so, probably the first half of 2021 when you have all this money being raised by these people. There's the constant debate of what's more valuable, a brand that has spent time and money and effort into branding themselves and differentiating themselves, or is it more valuable and worthwhile to be more of a numbers focused business, to be able to clean cut, move on and let those aggregators or roll up companies or even private equity companies, were predicting to litter into the market. Come in and just sweep those up build... slap their own brain on it and let them take it there. In your expertise, are we looking at one over the other? Or do we need to look at a combination above?
Dave Storey: That's a really complex question. You could debate it for a long time I'm sure.
Ryan Cramer: It always is. You get four months of this constant debate.
Dave Storey: I'm pretty biased of course, with some background product development. Of course, you can have a great business doing the other thing. But if that's what you really want to do and be stressed out and compete on that kind of level, and have to do that if that's what floats your boat. Fine. But that's certainly not what floats my boat. And, for me being differentiated and having a brand that is got a meaning that others having to know. And if you're a buyer of a business, that has got more value. It's got more intrinsic IP built into it. That's the way I view it.
Ryan Cramer: So wait, I agree with you. And I'm not saying, I'm not debating you in this regards. I think I hear a lot of... Because there's so much debt being raised by the, again, we talked about Thrasio, we talked about all these different businesses. I've been having them on the show and say, " What's more valuable to you? Is it something of a large portfolio? Or is it something that you can turn key and put into different marketplaces? What is it that you're looking for?" And to be honest, I think they do look for a lot more ease of turnkey. But that being said when you're trying... If you're buying an established brand, you've put in so much legwork, you've made this boat from a tiny almost like jet ski boat. Where you can ebb and flow and move in and out and in change directions at it at a whim, you've grown into a lot bigger of a yacht or a vessel or even like a freighter, if you will. We won't call them the evergreen because it'll just get stuck in Suez Canal. But that being said, or whatever it was called. If you build something so big, that you can't make these decisions quickly, you can't change course of action. Whether it's dropping off product selection, or changing a logo or change in color. You don't have that capability of doing that. So a lot of people say that if it's a brand and either you are the face of the brand, like Ryan's Razors or something like that. My face is the brand of this. It instantly becomes unequitable to sell because of how it's tied to an individual, a name or an actual brand. So with that being said, for everyone who's listening or Amazon sellers who are watching this, is it important to establish yourself as a distinguishable subset? You are not the brand but the brand itself can be ebbed and flowed when you exist your business?
Dave Storey: Yeah. I can sense that there's a difference between what a buyer finds valuable, because think these big aggregators they've got huge resources now, and they can do things that you're never ever going to be able to do and they can compete with products that you can't compete with. So those products might be struggling yourself, but they could take them on and do great things with them. So those could be just as valuable, but in terms of having products that are absolutely protected by patents and trademarks, and just stopping anyone else from copying them. That though will drive a higher multiplier at the sale in relative terms to, me too products. Just simply because they've got more value. You can, maybe they want to sell them on different platforms or the big box stores, things like that. Branding, through branding, and be able to have more growth opportunity.
Ryan Cramer: Right. And that's the beauty of it, right? What might be negative to some businesses might be a positive because they are putting in an offer, they are falling in love with the brand, the partnerships, the supply chain, whatever that might be. That is what they want a part of, and whether that's selling very well in big box stores or in retail. Where that's having a great supplier relationship, or even had brand equity in terms of press releases or publications or anything like that. That all becomes super equitable in terms of where they can monetize later on. So if they weren't going to tap into that, why buy that in the first place? So that's what I think is, there's a lot of space to play out there, which is really cool. And I think that if you're building a brand, maybe this is your thought. If I'm building a brand and putting the money and effort and time into that, you're going to see a much higher return than you would have a tangible product that might just look really good on paper. And you can just cut it off and let it go, and just be really good at launching a product, getting great reviews quickly. Building something that's distinguishable in that quick 12 to 18 month or 16 month window, and then you can just pass it off and do it again. That could be your process, you seemed to be really good at it. But when brands kind of want to come into the market, and they want to take it to the next level, that's where real business and real competition and real elevation and skill takes place. So that's my personal opinion on that. So at AFBTS, you're telling people, " Start from the beginning, think about your end buyer not just people buy your products but buying your business."
Dave Storey: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: What are some tips that we can share with people of, what do I need to think about? What are people not thinking about I should say? So that we can think about it when implementing our business.
Dave Storey: Yeah. I wouldn't say start from the beginning is nice. Not everyone's going to have that opportunity. Start as early as possible is certainly, what I was trying to say on that timeline. So that is a major one. Start your exit strategy as early as possible. And when I talk about an exit strategy, what I'm actually talking about here is, what I teach on the training program which is getting all the elements that constitute towards the criteria that make a business more valuable to a buyer. And deciding which of those are most important for your business, because each business is different. So you'll have to create a bespoke plan. And the plan that we should focus on, what I call sort of the low hanging fruit elements. The things in the business which you can do, that with that are going to... With the least amount of effort, they're going to provide the most amount of results. Don't try and do everything. It's the old adage that will trade inaudible in month so you focus really on what those big things are and knock them off one by one. So it's a proper plan, which has real strong focus. It's reviewed all the time. Every week you review the plan, how you go out and getting on? Where are you? Are you on track? Do you need to make adjustments? Now, product planning. Now going back to my six stream industry. There are lots of people, make plans but not many people actually do planning.
Ryan Cramer: Right.
Dave Storey: The difference is making a plan is just, you do it all on a bit of paper, it looks great and that's it. You've done your plan. Planning is all about constantly reviewing the plan and adjusting as you go along. And one of the reasons people just drop the plan when they've made it is because they think that, " Oh, the plan is changed." It keeps changing. There's no point in planning."
Ryan Cramer: Exactly.
Dave Storey: But that is the essence of planning. It changes in your evolve but you keep your goal the same. And it comes on to the second point, which I'll talk about in a second. And you change this strategy, how to get there. The second point is having your selling goal in mind. Okay?
Ryan Cramer: Great.
Dave Storey: This is another thing I find is lacking. So if you want to sell your business for$ 1 million, you want to sell it for$ 10 million, the route to get to those two points in the timeframe that you've got is going to be vastly different. And if you have got some financial planning software, which I do have, then you can map it out for two years. And you can say crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: You sound like my broker. " When do you plan on retiring? 65? Perfect. This is how you get there. And this is just a crosstalk." It's very sad how in the beginning how little it is, but then you're like, " Oh in 30 years, this is what it looks like. You'll get there, Ryan. Or Dave or whomever. Yeah. So anyways.
Dave Storey: Let's just say in two years time from where I'm at now, I want to sell my business for$ 5 million. And with the products I've got, so you map it out first. What's going to happen? And you'll see where you are in terms of business volume. So, what happens if I add another three products in? Where's that going to get me? How many products do I need to add in? Do I need to go into different marketplaces? Do I need to go on a different platform? How am I going to get to this point? So you need to create a financially driven plan, which obviously is reviewed every week. Yes, it will change. Yes, it won't be the same as when you started. Because things evolve, information changes but it's this focus on your goal. Yeah. Which is going to get you to that point, much quicker and far more likely to get to that point as well. So that's really the second one. Having your financial goal planned and mapped out. Absolutely critical. And that there's not many people actually do that, because there's not tools exist to do it. And it's just this lack of planning that I find in Amazon sellers that I speak to.
Ryan Cramer: Right. The whole adage I've been hammered in when I was in primary school was, " Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." And I forget who the person is always, I wish I remembered. I remember sitting in an audience and he said, " Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." And so that being said, there's a couple of different routes I kind of want to take in questions here. Students or people don't know the value of their business, right? It's an asset. Now, more than ever we're trying to educate people, and you specifically are trying to educate people. Well, you have and built this brand in sweat equity is now an asset. It's like a house or home, a car or something with tangible value that you can evaluate based upon history and demand and all this other fun stuff. That being said, when someone comes to you and go, " Dave, I want to do$ 10 million but I'm selling this." And you look at product X and look at goal Y, how do you help them either reset expectations? Or how do you say, " That can be achieved." I guess my question for you is, do you tell people, " That's amazing. If that's your goal, this is how we're going to get you there?" Or do you have to do more of reset expectations based upon where they're at, and kind of almost bring the bar down a little bit more. Towards what's more tangible and realistic.
Dave Storey: Yeah. But what I would do is plan that out in the forecasting too, or plan the business out in terms of all the products, the forecast of what the sales are going to be on those products, all the costs, all the overheads, everything all in. Or the inventory purchases so you could get an overall view of where that business is going to be in terms of its SDE curve, in a year's time, in two years time, if you did this. And also it will show the cash flow based upon that plan you've got. Now, let's just say you were a million short. Okay? Now what you're going to do? So you're going to, obviously add more products or increase the sales on those products, but how are you going to do it? So you need to work this out so let's just say we're going to add five more products, based upon some products you've already got. You know how well they sell, you've done your analysis and done the demand. You've obviously be a bit conservative, don't go over the top and plan those five products in. So you'd say, " Can a cash flow hold those five products? When do I launch them? Do I launch them all at the same time? Do I launch them every month? Do I launch them every two months?" Then where you're going to be in terms of the SD, if you had those five products in the business with a launch plan? He's still short but what else do you need to do? Maybe you need to go into sell in the UK or in Germany, because these are great products which you think will do well in those marketplaces. And it's much simpler to expand those areas and do it like that and it's less risky than doing it with new products. So you're building essentially, we'll probably talk all day about that. But you building essentially a plan based upon what the financial data is showing you. That's how I would do it with them.
Ryan Cramer: Well, and you forgot the most important one is using PingPong Payments to save them on international conversion fees. Saving four to 5% but it's your bottom line, you get there way quicker. Nice little plugin, right? You set me up on the tee and you didn't even know. Well, and that's not the thing, right? It's like, so many people look at, " I want to exit business." And it's so much hard work now than it is. It's putting a sweat equity, it's actually a full time business to be successful on Amazon because it's not as easy as it once was like. I'm assuming you can relate to that. You have to distinguish it, you have to be so much more unique and different. And there's so many things going against you with ads, different ways to attract consumers, Amazon changing their storage limits at a whim. All these kinds of things that you say are forecastable but what about the ultimate unknown of, and maybe this is cynical of me. If Amazon just has a bad week and they're like, " We're going to change our inventory level." You as a business can't plan for that. How can you truly plan for that?
Dave Storey: Well, you can't plan for it. It's difficult to plan for the unforeseen that's for certain. That's for certain. crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Or if the global pandemic hits in Yeah. A global pandemic hit in, here we are. And here we are.
Dave Storey: The lesson that we learned is from what's happened recently in last year, did affect many sellers is that, you need a plan B in terms of pulling stock in third- party warehouses, that's for absolute certain. That's what Amazon's pushing now. They're not a warehouse. They're, just in time a warehouse well products are going to come in and be sold as quickly as possible. They want to run lean. Not as many sellers as possible and products as possible, they can't do that with...
Ryan Cramer: Do you have a theory behind that by chance? Just kind of taking your... If you're an Amazon's chair, why are you making these changes? It seems more difficult for a third- party seller, to go through all of this. But from Amazon's perspective, what is your thoughts behind everything? Especially with inventory and warehousing.
Dave Storey: So that can make, have more sellers, with more products in their warehouse and make more sales. crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: So instead of just more of really high selling products, you just want more diversification?
Dave Storey: They haven't got slow moving stock from less sellers in the warehouse. That slow moving stock is getting kicked out and replaced by different sellers, different brands, different products. And so they're going to expand with the actual footprint that they've got in terms of the warehousing.
Ryan Cramer: So yeah, you're just saying, basically making everyone reevaluate what's been successful, what's not been successful, getting rid of it. Is that punishing high value Amazon sellers that are doing, or selling so much inventory to quick volume? To launch a new product, they would have to either cap some of their best sellers? Or you have to continuously have a contingency plan of a third- party warehouse, to closely fulfill to Amazon's warehousing? So that's just another step in the cargo you have to claim.
Dave Storey: Now, they had to just change the game and made it harder, for inaudible and more profitable for them. And I think that there'll be more of those changes coming down the line. That's the nature of selling on Amazon. But one way, of course, is to lessen the risk is to diversify and with different sales channel, which I teach up. So, if Shopify or Walmart, is expanding all the time as well. And by doing that if you can move percentage of your sales onto another shopping channel, you're not only lowering the risk for you as you run the business, but also for the buyer when they take on your business because there's another sales channel which they can then work on to expand too proven that it works.
Ryan Cramer: Is there is there a percentage that you are forecasting, you should be a good diverse spread out of your sales on Amazon and then off Amazon? Is there something that looks very good for a aggregator or some other private equity 100%?
Dave Storey: They actually cut 20% off of Amazon. So you got 80% sales on Amazon and you prove that you can make sales 20% of them off Amazon, perhaps on your own e- commerce site. That's good value.
Ryan Cramer: So 80/ 20 rule of Amazon to, off Amazon 80%, on Amazon 20% off. Does this skew more in profitability if you have more off of Amazon? Is that where you think that your value of your business can go out more?
Dave Storey: The aggregate as as we're talking about the moment of specializing in...
Ryan Cramer: Owning Amazon.
Dave Storey: Exploring Amazon businesses. Yeah. So, if you had only 20% of it on Amazon for them, they're not going to build. They'll just grow it as 80% on Amazon.
Ryan Cramer: So with all being said, lot of people are exiting their business, because there's lots of money in play. And it's getting harder and harder to predict what Amazon's feeling month to month. That being said, what are... how many sellers are undervaluing their own businesses just to exit? Or just in general, they're not aware that they hold on for a couple more months? Say hold on. They're selling for a few more months, they might be adding one or 1. 5 or two, to their multiple.
Dave Storey: I would say a lot. I'm can't quantify but there are ones I speak to. And I know that something that's happening right now, is because the market is getting so aggressive with so many aggregators. I hear of people getting five, six, seven new inquiries, emails. People they're buying amazon seller list up and emailing them, being aggressive about... Trying to get them to sell their business and that's succeeding, to buy a lot of businesses. Many of those Amazon sellers that are selling have got... If you think of the timeline around this point where maybe they weren't even thinking about selling. Yeah. Maybe they never knew how much their business was actually worth, until they spoke to this aggregator. And they told them, " Your business is now worth a million dollars." " Wow." I've heard stories that people that thought the business was worth only the profit of one year. So let's just say you did a yearly profit of$100, 000. That's what they thought the business was worth. Aggregate comes along and says, " Actually, we're going to give you a three times multiply for that business. Your business is worth 300,000." They're like, " Whoa. You know I'm going to sell the business now. Great." And what's happened there is that the sellers lack of knowledge, as kind of gotten the seller business when, if they knew all the things that I teach on the training program, they would take steps back out, and work out what their actual goal is, and do the things that they need to do in order to drive value in the business, before they sell that business. And that can actually make a massive difference of... So, let's just say for example, in there that business, that seller hadn't... Let me pick an example. Done enough work on getting the lowest product costs and shipping costs, so the landed cost of the product. Now, that's can make a huge difference to the overall price of the business. Because that product cost or the landed cost once it goes down. And they're selling, let's say the selling of 1000 items a month. So the 1000 items a month over that. Let's say a $1 saving, that's 1000 of 12 month, 12, 000. And you multiply that by the multipliers, three of$ 36, 000, just by getting better deals with the supplier. And as far as, and if I haven't got skilled in doing that and haven't done that, that kind of thing that the buyer is then just going to go, " Right." That's the first thing they'll do. Look, I'm passing and negotiating deals. They've got their own way of driving the shipping cost down. So then they're going to take on that value instead of you were sort of that buyer. And that's what I'm on a mission to change that sort of thing happening. I want to give this knowledge back into this FBA selling community that have helped me so much, by the way over the years. And I want to enable them to be able to capitalize on the things that they should be before the sale of the business. And that's what's happening right now. The sales are going through too quickly. And they thing they're walking away with great deals, but they left so much on the table. So much that the buyer was just done themselves.
Ryan Cramer: So we've had a bunch of people as anywhere from brokers to people from Thrasio, again Elevate Brands, Fortunate. All these amazing companies that are helping people exit their businesses. Do you tell people... You're not negotiating on their behalf? Right? You're enlightening people in terms of... You're not representing yourself as a lawyer, and anyone who's trying to negotiate contracts. You're just saying be aware of these kinds of situations?
Dave Storey: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: What's the Dave story if you don't mind me asking, what's the Dave story rule of advice? Do you work directly with these people? Or do you work with a broker in this regards?
Dave Storey: No, I don't work directly with any of them. I work with them in terms of I'll pass, if I have a seller for my training program that's ready to sell the business. And as I said ready to sell a business. I will advise them on where I think that the best, it could be a broker. To aggregate is our best for some type of business but not all brokers are bad, the other ones are in this, the bigger ones with private equity firms. So, advise them on best route to go down. But that's it, I don't work directly with them. But if you think about this now. Yes, it's fantastic that the aggregate is, helping people to sell their businesses and they are. Yeah. But think about what they want to actually do. They want to buy that business as quickly as possible. They don't want to say, " Right. I think you need to do this, this and this to your business and come back to me in a year's time, and it'll be worth so much more." They don't want to do that. So, yes, they'll tell them some of the things that I teach in the training program, but the real strategic stuff takes much longer to implement and they're not going to be telling buyers to go away and come back in a year's time because they may not see them again.
Ryan Cramer: When here's, I mean we've heard stories on the show, and I've heard it off camera and off mic. Of you hear so many businesses that will throw a number at you like you said, like, " Hey, it's actually I'll give you a million dollars shares." And people aren't like, " Oh, that's great. I didn't think that was the case." But what do you make know is if working with a broker or working with an educated person like yourself, and you get nine offers or if you, not shop around but if you present your books to all these other sort of businesses out there because there's so much in play, they'll say, " I see value in this differently instead of three times, I'm going to give you four X multiple." Or, " I'm going to give you a payout in terms of what you..." Almost renegotiate the payout structure of, "If you want to hand in play when you want to leave, if you want to earn out later on the year or two from now and you hit certain markers, you can even earn more in that regards." So even aggregators and brokers are getting more creative, if you will, of how they want to pay it out. But they don't want to put their money... Ultimately, again, everyone for listening on the show. Let's make it clear, these people don't want to give you more money than they have to. Let's be absolutely 100% clear. This is not a charity that they're just giving away free money. They're not accepting billions of dollars from these private equity, or excuse me, from these venture capital firms in form of debt just to give it away for free. No, no, no. This is to get it the lowest possible cost and use the resources to instantly make you equitable. And that been said you can do those quickly. Dave, you mentioned it before throwing them and working with supply chains like, hey, if maybe I can get a bulk discount. Or if I've worked with a great manufacturer who can change out maybe one or two things, make it instead of$ 5 lend of cost, it's now 450. Incidentally, I become more profitable in that regards even if I just sold the same amount every year, I instantly am making 50 cents more per good sold, just by doing that. In theory, the other thing would be international expansion. And we talked about this, putting it into different marketplaces. That's the number one key I've always heard from aggregators say is, " When we look at brands who are doing well in the United States and instantly want to put that brand in another marketplace, such as Canada, such as Germany, UK, Australia, Japan even. All these different marketplaces with extreme growth potential, they're going... That's why you see Thrasio PR releases come out every two weeks, maybe now like of millions of dollars in debt equity to raise for Amazon sellers in Japan, China, all these places. Because those are places that people are going to start buying more from Amazon. So like you said, you just have to... This is not a game for you to, yes, they're going to be paying a lot more but it's because they know the actual value and what they can do to look at your baseline. And what they can achieve to the next level, is whether its supply chain, international expenses, so on and so forth. So that being said, you mentioned, money is constantly being thrown more and more and more. I hear all this. And I think this has the makings of a bubble. And I mean bubble, I mean, an exit bubble. And I don't want to scare people away. Is there fear that there's so much money being thrown around, that everyone has to re- temper expectations and multiples go from all the way up here to that crazy numbers, all the way down to whoop. Back down to like one and a half to three again.
Dave Storey: I can't predict what's going to happen, but I know there's going to be some kind of bubble burst at some point. I mean, I've heard various people talk that they've got a long, long term view on this financial view and predicting that very recently, I think it was about a year's time will be sort of the peak of FBA buy. The peak in terms of the demand and the multiples that people are getting. And what happens after the peak, how quickly the tactical things I don't know. But I crosstalk-
Ryan Cramer: It's not like a housing crisis or anything like that or just see a-
Dave Storey: I'm guessing that aggregate isn't going to start aggregating each other, because that's just what happens.
Ryan Cramer: Good. Interesting point you said that. And I think that that's a fascinating thought real quickly before the top of the hour. Again, everyone I have Dave Storey from AFBTS if you're listening to this, talking about how to grow your brand, 10 to 50% more of your Amazon FBA business. There's been a lot of talk that with all this raising of money, it's not all going towards equity in the company structures debt capital. When such massive amounts of money being raised, does that make you want to think that people are going to start purchasing other businesses that are purchasing businesses. Like you said, consolidation of aggregators, people buying out brands and then working together whether it's using the same equity or using each others brands. Or just buying and reselling brands.
Dave Storey: Yeah. I think that's what's going to happen. I think that not only that, I think that the biggest type of aggregators will, maybe even try to start their own selling platforms. I can see that in the future because they'll be so huge. They'll such power in terms of the amount of products and revenue they generate.
Ryan Cramer: That or build yourself so big that you have to be purchased by a private equity firm, or company with even more money and they just build out you as a branch of e- commerce. And just build out that systems there. So, there's a lot of different ways to pivot and like you said, we're only a third of the way through 2021. I said, only. We're already a third of the way through 2021, so I'm curious to see where the rest of the year goes. Do you have any final thoughts or parting words of, for your students? What's your goal and mission for this year? And what do you think is kind of... What do you want the Amazon community to get out of what's happening right now in this space?
Dave Storey: Yeah. My goal and mission is what it was last year. Is to push as many, my knowledge and to make as many sellers as possible, realize that having a strategic exit plan as soon as possible can have a massive effect on your final business value. Doing it last minute is not really where you want to be. Unless it's for personal reasons or something like that. That's my goal. As many people as possible that... It's been a tough year. I've missed conferences and hadn't network as much as I should have done and could have done, and perhaps more people would know about it all by now. But no, that's where we are. But I'm pleased to be on this show and hope from this stuff that I've talked about, I hope people watching it are going to see some of the insights that I've put cross and they'll be able to think about the business differently and want to get their own strategic exit plan first.
Ryan Cramer: Oh I appreciate you sharing your insights, obviously, and sharing your story, if you will. Pun intended for the last name, for sharing your time here, Dave. And everyone listening, this is the first time Dave and I are talking so we're we're conversing like we would at a conference. Or any sort of insight to again share this insight that he's gone through and itself, and the feedback and insight I have to make sure that you level up your business and kind of grow it from there. And that was a very good time to obviously exit your business. But make sure you have that number in mind. I think the takeaways I would say, and Dave add on to this if you would, make sure that you're planning effectively, what your ultimate goal is when you insure into this sort of ecosystem. If that's exiting a business at a certain multiple, making sure you can achieve financial success. At whatever that looks like for you and your family or yourself. And then ultimately, if there is an opportunity, making sure that you have everything set in place, so that you can cleanly exit a business. Books being kept well, making sure that you're optimizing every facet of business and making sure that you're diversified in all these other areas that we discussed earlier in the show. Is there anything else that we would add on that?
Dave Storey: Yeah. So let's start with the end in mind philosophy.
Ryan Cramer: I love it.
Dave Storey: And that end goal, have that target and work out the plan together. crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. If people wanted to learn more about what you have to say, or you said your course, if that's a paid course or free course we never talked about that. Where can we kind of get in touch with you or get in touch and kind of pick your brain or even learn about the AFBTS?
Dave Storey: Yeah. There's a couple of ways. Find me on Facebook, Dave Storey. Chat with me, I'll talk to any amazon seller. I love to talk to Amazon sellers. Because I just love it and learn so much from crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: See you all at the core man.
Dave Storey: Yeah. There's my website, which is just popped up there, afbts. com. Or you could just send me an email. I'm happy to talk to people on email as well, which is dave_storey @ afbts. com.
Ryan Cramer: Excellent stuff, man. Yeah, afbts.com.
Dave Storey: Yeah. I'll see if I can help your business which I'm sure I can.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. There's already 850 or 823, I forgot what I looked last night. All this stuff is linked down in the show notes below so if you're watching this live on social media, or if you're listening to this, this will be in the show notes as well. Go and check out the links below to get in touch with Dave and ultimately, if you need to connect with him, pick his brain on how you can make sure that you're getting the most out of your asset, which is your brand on Amazon. Go and check him out at AFBTS. Dave thanks so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce. I know this is a pleasure for me to talk business with people. And like you said, hopefully, as conferences kind of slowly roll back. I know a lot of people are focused on July, and whenever UK kind of lets people roam free again. You said every month we're doing something new, like to open up more. Hopefully, we'll be able to see everyone soon enough in person and really really educate more in this capacity. So thank you for your time today and your knowledge, and sharing with our audience on Crossover Commerce.
Dave Storey: Enjoy that, Ryan. Thank you very much.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Thank you so much, Dave. And then for everyone, just quickly, thank you so much to Dave Storey. Again, for sharing his insights and wisdom about exiting and kind of having your goal in mind. From the beginning of selling online, always have that goal planned out when you're going to exit your business. The sooner the better. We cannot stress that enough. Those very good words of wisdom. I also wanted to share again, we talked about this in the beginning of the show. But if you're just tuning in live, I want to also let you guys know that we have another live episode tomorrow with the CEO and co- founder, or excuse me. President and co- founder of Assembly, Adam Crawshaw who actually he's going to talk about the future of e- commerce software. I'm curious because he... Or I should say Assembly owns businesses like Helium 10. And there are all sorts of other acquisitions going on in the space. Curious to hear his thoughts on what the future of e- commerce software is going to look like. So you don't want to miss out on though that's going to be tomorrow, noon Eastern here on Crossover Commerce. So tune in and make sure you subscribe to our social media channels. On Friday, not Thursday, Friday. I'm really excited about this because as a lot of people know, this story, this podcast I should say, started by accident. And I love sharing this story because it all started with my network of people that I love getting to know, on social media through different pieces of content creation and then sharing insights back and forth. That's why this podcast was created because I thought that there's great perspective that could be shared with our audience, both domestically and internationally all around the world, on Amazon and e- business space. I call it e- business because it's not just about selling online. It's all those things. Localization, logistics, about potentially exiting your business. All of these logos, branding, content creation, whatever that might look like. It's all in one big ecosystem and so beautiful, and I love it's my passion to bring this information to you. I'm excited. It's going to be my 100th live episode. So you don't want to miss that out. I have a really quick teaser trailer if I might share that with you. Of kind of the journey on Amazon, on this podcast I should say, that's going to be happening. I have 10 guests they're going to be hopping on with me, that are former guests of the show. So just a quick teaser of what's going to be coming up on the 100th episode of Crossover Commerce. Take a look. What's up everyone? I guess we're alive right now, because it's blinking. I mean, it's live. What's up everyone? What's up everyone? Episode 32 of... Episode 46 of... Episode 76 of... Welcome to Episode 80. Eight zero, of Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. Thank you everyone for, again, tuning into Crossover Commerce. This is my show that go live four to five times per week, it's a lot of content but it's my passion to bring you the best and greatest minds in the Amazon and e- commerce space. I only do this for you, the Amazon and e- business community. So my job is really easy in that regards. So that's a little teaser we're going to see... It's funny to see myself evolve over time. I've gained facial hair. There's so much stuff that was happening to us in the world, around that time that happened back in September. And here we are at the end of April, we're already in 100 episodes. So I'm super excited to be bringing you accord my friends of the show back on, to talk again tips and things that they've seen beginning of 2021 and what we expect to see later on this year. It's funny to see the evolution but I hope that's been a fun ride for people as well. And site has been valuable for you who are listening to the show. Again, I'm Ryan Cramer, the host of the show Crossover Commerce. Well go ahead and follow me on social media, to make sure you're notified of when there's going to be new content coming out on Crossover Commerce, four to five times per week. That's a ton of content that we're bringing you here, so you don't want to miss out any episode there on out. So again that's the season finale of season two. It's going to be 100 episodes. Nice tiny boat. But then we're back right back at it with lots of new guests, going to be coming up names in e- commerce space. Again, thank you so much to Dave from AF... oh my gosh, I'm going to butcher it again. That's what I do Dave. I know you're in the background but AFBTS. Oh yes, I got it right. All right, AFBTS. Every time man. But anyways, thank you so much for hopping on as a guest today on Crossover Commerce. Take care everyone. We'll catch you tomorrow on another episode of Crossover Commerce.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Dave Storey of AFBTS about how to get 10-50% more for your Amazon FBA Business.
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