How Tom Runs An Ultra-Efficient 7-Figure Amazon FBA Business
See that's new. Hey everyone, this is Daniel here. And today I have Tom with me who I've known Tom for about two years now. Um, we connected initially got to know each other through our program, Apex Seller, uh, Tom and his brother, Pete joint. I think it's about two years ago now and, um, became very active in our group in our community and Tom and I really hit it off and we'd become good friends since then. And we've done some great work together and, um, stay in regular touch.
And Tom is a really a smart guy. He's got a great perspective on the business. He's really passionate about things like systems in particular, which I am as well. So be fun to, to chat. And, uh, yeah. Is there anything else? Anything I missed Tom? No, no, that's fine. Um, yeah, just obviously I started the apex group and, um, we've been in such for two years now. I think that's about right. I think it was
October, 2019. Was it maybe, maybe a little bit? No, no, a little bit earlier because, um, it would have been probably August, 2000, so almost two years. Yeah. Well time flies, right. Um, yeah, so yeah, I guess we can start by just kind of talking about how you joined Apex or why I know there was some resistance, like it's obviously you and your brother Pete. Yeah. So, um, obviously I'd been to an event, um, abroad, so it cost me like six or seven, never to eight grand, nothing for like four days. Um, and that also events, uh,
numerous events before that. And I'd been, my brother had been to events as well. And, um, the biggest problem was it wasn't actually implementing what we were taught.
So when I came back from this event, I said, we know everything that has already been taught. You know, we're not doing it again, like normal courses, normal, uh, training, or, you know, events, whatever. I had a full book from this event that I filled out of notes, previous books, no pads that I'd written before I broke her heart from when he'd been to events. And, you know, we were just in a circle where we wasn't implemented. So when I came back, I said, right, no more courses, There's no more this that and the other. And I'm literally about, I don't know, probably a couple of months later I became, to me, he said, I found this course. Yeah. I found this course. Um, we,
we've a guy called Daniel. So I was dead against. And you actually did the call with, uh, with Pete. Yeah. Pete booked a call with you. And then he came back and he's,
he actually said to me, uh, in fact, come back a little bit. So we moved into our first office and I'd been working for a few months try and support, um, uh, real systems in place. That was my side of the business piece was more finances lead goal. You know, he deals with the buying team deals with, um, anyone on the tax side of it and all that side of stuff. Right. So, yeah, he did the call with you.
Obviously I was still unfamiliar with you at that point. And he just said, I think we should do it, but you are going to have to accept that you're gonna have to probably be open-minded to completely changing all the systems you've just put in place. Um, you know, so I wasn't too keen on joining to be fair. Then I spoke to another guy, um, called Dave who had been through the group.
And, um, yeah, he reassured me that it was, you know, he actually said that he had, was it, I can't remember what part of the business, maybe she'll go to specifics, but it was kind of if it was advertising or if it was negotiation teams or something like that, where he said that he'd actually, um, you know, kind of like earned his money back already. It was well worth while. So yeah, so we, we, me and Pete sat down, we had the conversation, we ended up joining and I mean, stop me if I'm going on to multiple. Yeah. So we kind of just go into the office and in October we was going to cancel on trade fair. Um, so we literally crumbed in the whole of the supply chain and the PPC section. So it came a perfect time for us.
And also there's a small part about negotiating with current suppliers and new suppliers, so that I made that my main focus point. Um, we left the, one of the girls in the office with the PPC section. She still did that while we was away. And, um, that was it off. We went,
so we went over to China and, um, yeah, that was, that was kind of, uh, our introduction to apex if you like, so, okay. Got it. And obviously, uh, I guess we forgot to sort of cover that, but you also been selling on Amazon, you and Pete since like 15, right? Um, yeah. So 2015, we started to take it more serious. I think 2014 was when we, um, we, we started, we actually went through a course at the beginning. Um, I forget the name now,
but yeah, so we went through one of the main courses. Um, it was actually Pete and his wife who started the business. And then I think after about six months, 12 months, um, people said to me, you know, you're interested.
And that was when I jumped in, um, my concern about the first product, if you want. Um, sure. Yeah. Yeah. So we, we, the way we came about it was, was, um, me and Pete, we used to be airport transfer drivers over in Portugal. And I drove to the top of this mountain, impart my bus up while I was waiting for a job. And I jumped in the bark and I was asleep. But when I parked off,
I was in the shade, right. So if I was in the shade run cons to sleep, when I woke up an hour or two later, it was like 40 degree heat, direct sunlight. And I was roasting. So anyway, I jumped up, jumps in the front of the van and I couldn't talk to me steering wheel. It was that hot. So this was at the time when we just started thinking about new product, our first product. And, um,
I thought if I could create a steering wheel cover to protect your hands from the heat and dust, like, uh, you know, it's something that's familiar to me. I know it would benefit me. So anyway, um, I've got the customers off, uh, got me a little notepad out, drew out, Sean, Pete, and he went, all right, let's go for it. So we went on to someone like Alibaba, just one of the basics.
And, um, started talking to a few suppliers, finally stayed in, we would cover. And, um, yeah, we just launched it. Uh, you know, a couple of lot comes under, do next, maybe 1,500 or something like that. Anyway, after about six months, it was the best seller on amazon.com and it was selling like a hundred, a day hundred and 50 a day. We ended up with like 2000 reviews. This was our first product. Um, and everything was just flying. Uh, and it felt really good. Um, but yeah,
then it all came crashing back down as well. So. But it does feel good about is more like your own idea, right? Yeah. And until obviously then, yeah, you had a bit of a rollercoaster, but basically you reached about seven figures, uh, two years ago and all your opposite. You about double the business since you joined apex.
I think something like that. Yeah. Yeah. So we joined, I'd say, uh, probably August, July, August, 2019. At that point, I think we'd done by about 980,000. Um, that feels right anyway. It could, it could have been just tipped over a million.
I don't feel like we actually cleared the moment, but yeah, it's about nine 80, I'd say. And the following year was 1.715. So 1.7 million. So that was after, after joining the apex course and then this year, um, we are probably pretty level.
So like we got quite a boost last year through, um, you know, that thing that happened around the world, uh, they all pandemic. Yeah. So, um, we've got quite a boost from that because we sell certain products that are useful during lockdown. So yeah, we've seen a sales boost from that, but now that's been disappeared.
Um, we've actually seen our sales are still consistent. So we went on to about one point, well, we went to 1.715 million this year I checked yesterday or the day before. I'm sure it was about 900,000 for the last six months.
So, um, in theory, we should do 1.8. Um, but obviously your know yourself, Q4, you do see a boost in say also, you know, I'd like to think that we'd do like 2.2, 2.3 million. Uh, just depends on, um, obviously the inventory limits at the moment, so.
Right. And, uh, when you joined apex, uh, you were obviously doing well at that point, but you were still struggling with some things. So maybe just tell us a little bit about the main reasons why they signed up and what you were going through that time. Yeah, so we just moved into an office and like I say, me and my brother, we had our old roles in the business, but there were unclear what they were, they were unspoken about our systems didn't work. We had, no,
we had no calendar. We didn't, we, it was just a freestyle day. So for example, um, Pete was doing PPC at the time and, um, no, he wasn't. I just think we'd hired someone for the PPC when we're doing day pecs anyway. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we had an agency and at the time previously, previous to that, Pete had always done PPC and, um, inventory, if you like to an extent, um, I was doing like the KPI reports, uh, which we used to call it, uh, know your numbers. K Y N. So I used to do the, know your numbers, um, and yeah, and images and listings and keywords. That was my side of things. Um, yeah. And just general maintenance of the product. Anyway.
So when we actually moved into the office, the issue was, was my side of the business in my head and Pete side was in his head. So I'd say, because the way it used to work was I'd got a job driving I'd phone Pete, and say, um, oh, by the way, I've just spotted this. Can you, I've just thought of this. Can you go and do that? And it'd be vice versa. So we'd never see each other would just fall in each of those, we pass each other. Right. And, um, that was kind of how the business was run. So when we got into the office, um, and we brought our first employee in, which is actually Pete's daughter, um, Samantha, so yeah, so we brought her in and she was like, all right, what do want me to do? And we're like, well, um, I don't know. And it was literally just like three of us sat on these three desks, looking at a white board that was empty going, you know, what, what is our business? What do we actually do? So, yeah, obviously when we came through, uh, apex, it was kind of like write someone for you, take care of, of PPC.
Um, I still do like the KPIs, which is the K P K Y N sort of KPIs. And, um, yeah, Pete was kind of jumping in between. So because I also looking at inventory at the time as well, cause we'd have some inventory issues. That was the main reason now.
And I will think about it. So, um, we had done the maths, you know what it's already, cause I've, I've taught, I've said this on the group calls. Um, we'd done the maths on the previous year of inventory and we had been out of stock and we had lost 180,000 thereabouts, maybe a little bit more.
So we'd lost 180,000 USD from stocking out. And we was like, right. Well, that's our reason. Yeah. So that was, that was the mate. There's a short answer. That was the main reason we came in. Um. And obviously at that time, uh, he didn't have, you know, the image, um, invert restrictions and things like right now, it was just purely for inventory planning. Right.
Yeah. Correct. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Good point. So yeah, it was, um, yeah, we just had to, we didn't have any inventory planning the way we used to do it before apex was we would, um, kind of just be scoring and through the app and, or on the laptop. And we'd say, we wouldn't be saying it. So like I say, never in the same room, so I'd be sitting at my laptop and I'd go, we've got 1000 units of them and the average sales has been this and that just divide the numbers by and I'd go, oh right. We've got 35 days left.
It's, you know, a stock. And then he'd be like pretty, you know, lots of lead time on this. Oh, it's 50 days and then 40 days for this. And so, yeah, so that, that was it. Um, that was our system before, obviously when we moved into the office, you can't pass that system on of just saying or randomly check. So yeah, that was the main reason. Um,
well obviously all of the systems rolled out and, and you know, this already, we've actually put all of the systems. And I think we're one of the few people that I've actually actually used almost every system. So that tells me that he, um, we are more relaxed or, you know, just more willing just to go for it or, um, we was much worse at systems than everybody else that has for the group, because we literally didn't have one in place. Right.
Well, I mean, I think it probably has to do with execution as well, because at this point you're one of the best at systems. Like you have one of the best operations from a time efficiency standpoint and things like that. Simplicity, obviously, no you implemented, you know, supply chain things like inventory planning, but also implemented the PPC systems, all of that, which is all great benefits from Winthrop, Samantha, that's been running for you. And then just more generally systems and operations, which I know was kind of an issue for you guys cause you were working all the time. I think she and Pete, she didn't want to do. Um,
but I guess we can kinda start talking about supply chains. You know, we can kind of focus on these three things I think. And maybe you wanna, uh, just because I know you made some in, you made some great, basically you really been able to own that system and use the for planning system very well. You've actually been able to improve upon it and really make it your own.
So I don't know. Do you have any, any things of sheriffs sort of on that and how you guys are using it and how it's been helpful? Yeah, so basically, um, we, I haven't mentioned this, but we've got Olivia now as well. So Olivia works in the business. So the way it works in our company, um, now is Olivia handles Photoshop. She handles photography and she handles the supply chain. When I say supply chain, that is inventory management, as far as when we need to be placed in the orders, she places the orders, she tracks them in a report for us.
And then she also deals with all the freight forwarders as well to kind of, and she does the London cost analysis. So she's kind of like anything to do with costs, the products and shipping manufacturing that is down to Olivia. So mom takes care of customer services and PBC. So that's her side of the business. Um,
and obviously if we ever come up with like a new task that goes to someone for it as well, me and P actually read the reports every Friday. So coming back to the inventory planning, um, the way we, first of all, we've said that this isn't a Bible, this is a guide, right. So we've took your system and we have actually adapted them to Sue us.
So the, um, inventory planner. Yeah. So, um, am I okay to say exactly what, what the tool does and everything, I don't know where this is going. So yeah, so basically, uh, the DDL DLT, so your demand, your release time, your safety stock, um, and all the, the average numbers that come with that on the sheet. I don't point in,
and there's no sheet there, but, um, yeah, I'm just to like memorize the sheets, but quite a long time since I've looked at it. But once we had the full grasp of them numbers and the calculation that was behind it, we, we then adapted that to more suit our needs if you like. Um, so Olivia goes in there and this is every Friday, she does it. So she goes in every day, um, or every couple of days and decided to previous day sales into it. Right. But then every Friday, 9:00 AM, or we have our meeting about 10:00 AM every Friday. So before 10:00 AM, she goes in and she just takes the average, the seven day average and the 30 day average. And she drags that down.
And then using the inventory planner, we can see then when the reorder date is based on seven days, the reorder date is based on 30 days and the, um, stock out as well. So we can get them three bits of information, despite obviously she drags it down, um, the column. So yeah. Then we have our second layer on top of that, which is a weekly inventory planner. So that's not from yourself. That's something that I put in place because as we got more and more into it, we was like, well, the fact that we have to keep junk me and Pete keep having to jump into the sheets and look at them, kind of defeats the objective, stepping away from the business cause we still often to go in and mess around. So, and there's obviously a lot of data in there as well. Yeah.
So, um, what we do, we have a transfer them dates into a new report that I created afterwards and, um, that's what she presented presents to us on the Friday. Okay. So then, like we can see the stockout date, um, the reorder date based on seven days and 30 days, average sales, um, and that's for each skew. Yeah. Um, so there's that. And then, um, within that report that I created, we also have, um, you know, how many units we have in, uh, for free third party logistics in China, also in America and also what we have in production and what's in FBA.
Um, now I know these certain softwares that do that, but we've just found that this suits our needs much more. It just makes more sense. And it saves us the, the, the, the money per month subscription and you've. Got more control and you're able to really make it suit your style of operations yet. Interestingly, like pretty amazing how much you can do with a spreadsheet. I was thinking of this the other day, our whole business is run through spreadsheets. Uh, so XL and Google drive,
the only software we have is helium 10. Uh, we only use one tool currently in not which is x-ray, which is, I literally we're paying for that. Just the x-ray just to, when we're doing product research, we can just click on that and obviously see how many units are selling over the last 30 days. But that is all we are using. You know, there is nothing else it's just. Yeah, I think that that really dispels the myth if someone's watching this and you know, a lot of sellers have like 10 different tools and things.
It would this built dispels the myth and you guys are, are well into its own figures and you have one software and a couple of sheets and that's it. No, from the software, we hardly use it to refer. Um, but again, like we was never system thinkers. We was guilty of that. We, when we started a couple of years ago, we actually went back for the business and said, right, do we need this? Do we need this? And I bet you, we deleted and unsubscribed from say six or seven softwares. Right. You know, there's like 300 pound a month saving the type of type of money. Um, and then we also start to really dig into like bank charges, you know, like we were contacting the bank saying we've spent 250 pounds on bank charges and they'd go, oh, we'll refund you then. And then that was it. Yeah.
That is insane as well. If you look at bank charges and fees, thousands per year, uh, things that you don't even understand, like what is this? Yeah, yeah. We just tightened up on all the little fees. Like I say, we, we, we have monthly outgoings now while literally, um, all of our wages or salary and, uh, one software. So. Yeah. Yeah. And you guys always do a really good job. Like, you know, you were able to actually improve upon the systems you received. Like you said, it's not a Bible, it's a guide and figure things out as well. And, uh, you know,
just do a really good job at the basics at the fundamentals. You know, you and I have spoken about that quite a bit between us, like how important the fundamentals are and just doing them like better than anyone else and really being consistent with it. And then being a systems thinker as well in terms of how everything connects. Cause that's when you started to see this seemingly small thing here actually is a very big deal for the business.
It's totally different when you look at things like that. Well, one of the, uh, the, the big things for us was when, so when we joined, uh, apex, we did, we crammed as much as we could into, uh, like a month, let's say probably four weeks. Then we went over to China. Um, and we did like two, three weeks over there where we visited our suppliers and whatever, whatever tried putting it in place. And it still wasn't perfect for us.
There was a lot of mistakes. We still made them, but we did have some good wins as well. Um, like we'd negotiated, I think, $6 per unit for four or $6 off, one of our main products. Um, I mean, we all had, uh, 610 units a month, every month or two, you know, so we worked over a year and it was like, wow, we've just made, you know, the maths is terrible, but just made some good money. So, yeah.
So then we came back, we was trying to put a, this was off to China now in Q4. And we, at this point we had to live here on some, well then the minute we got back, Pete flew off to Vietnam for, um, like two or three months or something. He just disappeared. So at this point, I'd actually put, try to put the systems in place because I just literally focused all my time on, on the course. And
it's funny because at the time I'd put the tasks on and it would take Olivia like half a day, a full day, take some month for half a day, a full day, but now we'll look back on it. There was no tasks on there. You know, it was literally like, it was cause it was a new system, right. So I tried, I put the system in place off when, to Thursday, you know, this is the, the, uh, smaller tasks that we do.
And then on Friday that fills out the report that then we look up, uh, you know, and we make a decision, but there was hardly anything getting done. But my mentality, my fault behind it was if I try and put everything on everybody straight away, the wheels will just fall off. So it was like one task at a time. So I want you to do inventory planning and this, and I want you to do PPC and this, and then it was just like really small babies. So we've been running this for say like four weeks. And then when Pete came back, um, you had gone from like eight hours a day to probably like four or five hours a day. Right. Pete was away. He was, um, still in the old mentality of how we was running the business before.
So when he came back, he was like getting involved, right. Uh, nonstop. And I kept saying to him, just relax and step back. And that was like the hardest part. And it was, we have caps on these conversations about, was off to, we have to build the robbers up, you know, we have to give them more work to do to build their hours up and this, that, and the other. And I just said, just let it go. And, um,
we kept seeing things where, for example, um, Olivia would be dealing with a supplier and we're obviously following the channel. We each are, you know, like we're in a group chat, so me and Pete would be reading it, but then occasionally like Pete surge to like jump in and send a message to them. And he would do it now that would have saved me on a Tuesday. Right. Right. And then he'd forget about whatever Wednesday, forget about it.
On the Friday meeting, we'd sit there. And, um, Pete ask the question, how did it go with such and such thing as I've been cited? And then I live here and go, well, I thought you were dealing with it cause you messaged him. And then there was this confusion going on. So at that moment I P kind of realized that, right. Just lenders.
Um, and then what we've found now is as we've added more and more tasks, um, it still only takes them like two to four hours a day, you know, like, yeah. Uh, me and Pete are really not involved. I, Pete, Stein's getting involved more knowing like the face side of things. Um, he's standing, it's about a presence on there, which is not something that we would have ever bothered to do before. But, um, I think I said she on one of the group calls, um, for me, I feel for both of us, we feel like we should be doing more to the business. Um, so we train to like create things to do, but it's just that just running nice.
I don't even know we still having problems, but it runs so smoothly. Like the systems that we've have, um, I was do stop me if I'm waffling, but, um, yeah. So, but like the systems that we've gotten to do work, so, um, I think you said at the start of this about, can you say, um, you know, any advice, so we've heard it's working in sections. So like, that would probably be the point I'm getting at would be, um, just working in sections. So like Olivia, she does rather than going into the supply chain and doing everything at once.
So when are we going to stock out when we're going to do this, when we're going to do that, it's kind of like she does baby steps through the week. And then on the Friday we collect all that data in the report and that's what we made the decision on. So yeah, it's steps that lead to a major decision. Yeah. And it's absolutely crazy to think about the difference in reality between, you know, basically the same kind of business, because it's a lot of businesses at this level, the states that you are at, whether the owner is completely overloaded, completely. The old words, you know,
12, 14 hours every single day, six days a week, some of those week and maybe two weeks or something, um, there's even a business of it's like 10 days or something at this stage, you know, really how I overheard some. Uh, but you guys are basically for now two employees and you and Pete, the owners and you guys touch base once a week on a meeting on Fridays and that's about it. And then I remember you coming on the calls and saying things like, Hey Daniel, what do I do now? Like, I don't have anything to do. There's a few. Right. You know, like, I feel like it should be busy.
So I guess that's exactly what you were saying. Like maybe trying different things. Now, maybe I know you you've been, you've started working out more and stuff and there's things you have space to do. Uh, but also like maybe trying something else, like Facebook marketing or something, but yeah, it's just incredible.
The difference, this shows what's possible. Yeah. I was going to say, we're not even doing Facebook marketing. And, um, I do remember coming to you and saying like, what should I be doing? Um, and you just said, you know, basically a lot of companies are guilty of this, of trying to create work just to keep somebody busy, not just me, because we, me and pizza, it's saying we need to create more work for someone for an Olivia, you know, like we, we need to create more work for them, but then it's like, we've actually, I think your advice was, um, you know, just does it benefit you in a category? It was great. One of my books and where, but like, does it benefit you in one of these three ways? So now we sit there and it's like, well, no, it doesn't. So what's the point, you know, like, you know what, what's the point of just adding work for the sake of adding work, keeping people busy, if the business is wanting to smoothly it from this smoothly, um, we have all peaks is kind of going into, we create an, a Facebook page. Um, and he doesn't write any posts or anything like that. And,
um, for anyone that is going to be listening to this, I wouldn't recommend doing this. If you've got more important things to be getting on with this, he's like the bottom of the pile for us, if, if that makes sense. Um, but yeah, he created a page and any spare time, he doesn't write status. Is there anything you just shares over pages? Right. So if we, if, if we S let's say, use the word dog, right? So he a dog page, right. A dog fun page. He doesn't even write anything about a dog.
He just goes to all the dog pages and shares their posts. And then in between that, we've started to like drop our products in there and say, what does everyone think of this image? You know, I, out of these two images, which one would you pick a Y and then we'll get you some good feedback from our customer, but well, have a customer baseball followers. And I think he's, he's managed to build up like 6,000 followers in no time at all. Um, um,
we do mean not necessarily like giveaways or anything, but, um, we kind of put on there. I would just say anyone interested, one of these shoppers a message, uh, then you know, the drop has a message would be, we tell them to go on. Amazon would just drop on, but we don't, we don't ask for anything in return, you know, we'd just say in Scott's going through it.
Yeah. That's one of the, I guess the, you know, the reasons why you guys are able to run, so it's a lean team and a lean operation without any noise, you know, just keeping things simple, even letting your team benefit they're effective at their work. They've got some time off or whatever, like you actually let them reap those rewards. Um, you know, just trying to be busy to be busy is because you've really been able to, um, and you in particular, you know, you're a really good systems thinkers. You've really been able to see what is actually important to here and you and I have both read, uh, the goal. We're both fans of that book.
I'm not going to try to say that guy's last name, but, uh, basically one thing you told me, one of the calls, I thought it was really good. Uh, it's completely came from you. It's like, um, you know, there's basically two, two wheels that are spinning, that are fundamental, that are key to the business supply chain advertising, placing advertising PBC, basically. And you just, you're basically trying to balance those two to create the best possible flow through the business, stay in stock, optimize sales, and that's about it. And it says a good way to look at it. You know, that's really 80,
90% of all this business is about, it's just having the stock, the product and selling with a simple, yeah. The, the report that I created at the time, um, Olivia, the one that I said that she fills it out on the Friday and then that's what we sit down and go over it. And I meet him now, um, with that one we've kind of got on the, let's say on this side is in production orders just placed. And this side is in Amazon and anything in between. There, it goes like free PL China shipped three, [inaudible] a couple of free pills, then it's like inbound and then available at FBA. So the idea is, is it starts here in production and then we move it across. We drag it, copy,
paste it over as we go. Um, and we've actually started to look at that as, um, each product is obviously listed here and then across the top is where it is, but we've actually started to look at as in, um, like where is the bottleneck in the business? So we, we look at each product as if it's its own business. So when it's in production, um, obviously it might say like 5,000 units in production right now that is not a bottleneck because I know that that is going to be ready because we have the dates attached to it. So I know that that's ready in like two weeks, let's say,
right? So I know that's not the bottlenecks, we've got 5,000. I don't need to concentrate on that section of the business because it's each skew is its own business. But then when I'm looking at the, um, available in FBA side, on the other side for that same product, um, might have 3000 in stock there. So I know that that is now the bottleneck because I'm overstocked in America. So do I need to put my time and effort into the production side of this product? Or do I need to get these out the door so that I can then get the next ones in? So the bottleneck in this product, which is its own entity would be in the stales, but then when I look at the next product, if I've got, um, you know, a thousand in stock and nothing on order, I know that the bottleneck is on that side, right? Yeah.
I like to do the completion dates too far away. That's my bottleneck. So each product that we look out, we're going through this report, we decide where the bottleneck is production or the sale. And if it's in the sale, we will do whatever we have to do to get more sales, whether that be increased, PBC, lowering prices, promotions, whatever we've got to do to get them products out the door on the, on the next one, we literally phoned the supplier or email and say, please, we're desperate for this product. Please bring it forward, you know, without compromising Collie. And that's where the focus goes on that. So that's pretty much it as far as supply chain goals, because as long as we're selling and we're in stock, you know, we sell more, we increase the cashflow cycle, shortens it, we get them products out the door, we get the money back in. It needs to place a new order, placed the order. We've got the cash. So there's a good cycle there.
That's pretty much it for supply chain, you know? No, when you're out of stock and then we need to order, get them ordered, get them in. If you're ever stopped, sell the product, get them out the door and that's, it it's just a cycle. So. He has like the, the core equation of the business, which you're just optimizing their entire time focusing on the entire time and keeping it simple. And rather than just focusing on, um, you know, getting more and more going, they're growing the business instead of, you know, like this website here and this thing here that ultimately it doesn't really impact the equation much. Right. It's not really important because you've got more than enough to work with just these things. That's that's enough work.
Yeah. Just get another like, say it's, um, I don't know if you've seen me before, but I've got the goal there right next to me that I actually bought the film as well, which was expensive, but. Expensive 50 minute documentary. Yeah. Well,
there's just one of the things I thought I could hardly give that book and send it to Portugal, to pee now. And then he spends like two months reading it and then it goes to Olivia and then Samantha you're like a year before we could implement it. So I just thought if we pay for the movie, which is like 50 minutes or whatever it is, and about 400 pounds, I don't know. I know it was expensive. Um, but yeah, it was worth it. There's one of these things are, I don't know if you want to maybe show it if people are interested, like close to the camera. If you can see that.
Yeah. [inaudible] yeah. Perfect golf, right? Yeah. So it's a recommended book for sure. It's one of these books that, um, so under a cover, like underground or old, not fashionable is not hyped up, uh, that, yeah, but it's so good. It's like absolute gold. And um, you know, like the movie is only on DVD or I know it's not, but it's very expensive. Like, it's just, you can't buy it through Amazon or anything. It's like, it's like a Relic,
you know? Yeah. So an educational website and it's about, um, I'm pretty sure it's like $250 or $400. And then one of them is $900. So yeah. It's crazy. It's. Crazy. I was like, yeah, one of my favorite books, it's literally like, if you want to buy a new, it's like 700 USD or something like one book, it's just absolutely nuts because it's out of print, but some of these things are actually like, nobody pays attention to that, but it's so good. You know, the information is absolutely fantastic. Well, I think we've, like I was saying before about, we concentrate on getting it completed in production on time and getting the sale out on time. And that's, um, I think a lot of people spend time,
like constantly trying to optimize the listing to make an extra sale. And, you know, they're, they're always concentrating on making that extra sale. If we can just get three more a day, it's always about the listing and it's always about keywords and monitoring keywords. And, and then if they actually, and then they'll probably stuck out, you know, if they actually just concentrated on, you know, short and in production time and increase in sales and making two different things, are you your production and your sales made sure then two things are okay. You would find that, you know, the 50, the 50 days a year that you stopped out of your products just by staying in stock and contract, checking on them things without optimizing them, trying to gain the extra sale, you'd probably make more money because over a 12 month period, that's all that matters.
He stayed in stock once you've got the production and the, uh, the sale pattern, correct. Easy, easier than to like, like say Olivia rooms are. So now me and Pete can sit there and say, let's create a Facebook page. You know, it doesn't take away. It doesn't take away from the business. It's just something that we can now try and gain that extra sale. And as I said,
we don't ask for any reviews, like I'll all these, the whole point of it was to get feedback from people. What he's done is he's actually tenders. Does anyone like its product to them when someone says yes, um, we don't even really give them a discount, might be minimal. Um,
but we don't ask for a review or anything. We just want people to take the product, probably, you know, boost the ranking slightly. Um, yeah, th there's nothing to eat. It's like, like I say, this isn't a main part of the business. This is just something we've decided to do, uh, to try and keep busy. So. And yeah, there's, there's so much to it, like with the product and the quality and it was adding new products and, um, and then they ended up, I'm sure a lot of people would think there's no. Okay. So how are you producing the sales and are you guys thermos full of apex systems on that? The process, the methodology, the philosophy as well to keep that part of the business simple, but actually really strong.
So do you wanna describe like how you guys market the products? It's basically just like PBC, right. Just BBC. Um, I mean, we don't get me wrong. We do optimize the listings. That's something we've just, uh, recently. Um, I've actually, um, I started a YouTube channel, a few moments back half. I'll be honest. I've not really been, uh, dedicated to it.
There's been a lot going on in my whole life. Well, yeah. Um, we just really keep it simple. So we look at other products and we'll say, you know what, that title, we can beat that image. We can beat that. And then bullet points. We can beat that. So I know that's quite vague, but you know, in our head we know what we can outdo. So we'll create a better title, bullet space structure, and create better images. And then that's how we launched the product.
So that would be optimized towards, as far as the listing goals, then what we'll do is, um, I'm probably not the best person to speak about this on PPC, but Samantha, um, like I say, I'll be honest with you. I've not really been through, um, all the PPC training because I have no intentions of doing it. I shouldn't do really, so I have a better understanding. Um, but you know,
on an account level I do have a good understanding and what, I don't know, Pete knows better than most people. Uh, you know, that's like his real strong point where he can just look at a PPC campaign and go, yep, that's the issue. Or, you know why we should override it? Like, you know, that, that doesn't, we do, like I said before, it's not a Bible, it's a guide. Right. So when Pete goes in, uh, he, um, we do stick to the structure of, uh, apex as far as PPC goes, but he sometimes he'll go in and say, cause it, cause you're always going to know better than an Excel file, you know, like that, that can do it so far. I can say 90% of the way,
or they have to 10% got a bit of common sense side of it where you look in there and say, you know, so with that, that's where he comes in strong. That seems like real strong path for Pete. But yeah, as far as promotion goes, all we do is, um, optimize the list in our set. So good title, good bullets, good image. And, um, we just go wide on the PPC. So we will, we'll, we're quite lucky that we were quite established in world so we can put a big budget up and we just go really wide, you know, like we can afford to lose a thousand pound a week, not afford to, but you know, we're stupid enough to do it. So we might like go really wide for the first, uh, four weeks, lose some money.
And then once we dialed that back in, that's when you actually become profitable. Um, and you know, the way we look at it is, is yes, we might lose four grand. Um, on PPC this month, we might also lose four grand in under-price in the products, because this I'm talking about product launch now. Yeah. So we're gonna,
we're gonna launch a breakeven or a couple of dollars, less than break. Even then we are gonna lose money on PPC to just get it out there. Cause we just want to go hard straight away. Um, and then when we dial back, that's when we, you know, and, and as we see our rankings improve and we become one of the best sellers and the reviews are there, it's about the product.
That's why we increased the sales price. And then we dial back in the PPC using the apex system. Think it's Colin, our calibration, I'm familiar with the term. I'm not familiar with the process, but, um, yeah, I know it's all a percentage base that she does. Um,
and that's pretty much it. And I know people are gonna say, let's all right. You know, you say you can lose a thousand pound a week type of thing. That's true. But you know, we've actually done this when we didn't have that to lose, we will.
And we wouldn't have necessarily lost the thousand pound a week. What we would have done in that point would have been, um, you know, we might have been willing to lose a hundred pounds a week, you know, so we did done on a much smaller scale over a longer period of time. Whereas now we try to like just, you know, speed it open. It's like, for example, um, you know, I don't want anyone to think that I know I've said about all the good sides of the business, but we've actually got a product at the moment that isn't selling. So I'm stuck with like a hundred and let's say about $110,000 worth of inventory of this product, which is just sat on a shelf in product.
And normally what we do with this bottleneck, the production side, I've got 5,000 units ready in China and I've got, you know, a couple of thousand on shelf and Amazon, and I've got five hours, three hours and then a three PL factory somewhere in the U S. Right now. Yeah. So we're not going to. Them all right now. But, um, so like we do, we do have these issues ourselves. So one of the decisions that we've been talking about is when we lower the price to like $38, we lose a couple of dollars. Right. Um, but we, the way I'm thinking is we can increase the price and we go to selling two or three a day, right.
And we make $2 is going to take us four years to get our money back. Do we just continue to sell it the lower lose money, self 15 to 20 a day and other money back in 12 months, eight months. Right. So in my mind, I'm thinking, you know,
to have $110 sat on a shelf for four years, or do we shift that out the door bringing 95,000 or 90,000 bucket. So we've lost 20 grand, but then at 90 grand, we can put it into another product or a couple of new products that can then earn more in the long run, if that makes sense. So you might be able to launch two products that can earn me 20 grand in a year.
So you know, that, that's just what you never wants to know that I'm not cited from, to say I've got a perfect business, but. Yeah, of course that's never the reality. Yeah. This is like resource allocation, but it also, because you have, so the sharp focus on those two things like supply chain versus sales, and you've got clear, simple systems, relatively speaking for both, you can pull those levers as needed to balance the ship, so to speak versus, um, you know, you could go out and, and try like all these chat bots and all these different things, not to sell this product, but you know, it's probably not going to work if it doesn't work right now with this just basic stuff like ads. So it's better just to, you know,
understand this and then get it back in. If you take a hit, you lose money, you're at least going to lose less money in less time than if you were to try all this crazy stuff. And basically, you know, spin in circles and waste twice or three times as much money and probably double the time.
And another thing we're thinking is, is yeah, we had this conversation on Monday BNP and we were saying, um, you know, if we eat, so we increase the price, it takes four years to sell it. We lower the price now, but let's say in, so we lose your money, right? For that two months, we know we're, well-stocked in China and in the U S over the chance of a stockout is not happening. Right? So let's say we lower the price and we're selling at a loss, but let's say in two months time, one of our competitors goes out of stock because this is where the problem came in. The reason why over stock, we was selling, like, we, we, we launched this product and it was making like two grand a week net profit, right? So then we reordered, this is another story, this book. So we reordered like the five followers of units.
We ship them from our supplier, with our old freight forwarder right now, the old freight forwarder hasn't been paying her bills in China. So our product ended up getting stuck in a warehouse somewhere that wouldn't release the goods until she paid, but we'd already paid her. So we was now about six. We was like 60 odd thousand dollar pocket. And then some, and then 5,000 units left us out of, because obviously [inaudible] business, right. We, um,
ended up out of stock for like nine months. We couldn't just go and place another order of them. So they've only just arrived in America, like a couple of months ago. And this was like 12 months ago with this order went in.
So we've been in and out of stock. Um, cause we didn't have the cash flows going. I joined about five hours and we ordered like, you know, 500 just to get so many thousands, whatever, just to try and keep it going. Um, and then that way we never fought. We were getting that order back.
It had been so long. We then contacted the supplier. We placed a new order for a higher amount. And then eventually we found a new freight forwarder that trucks, the product down, got them released on our behalf legally. And then they've all ended up in China, uh, in the U S at the same time. The problem we've got is, is we was out of stock for so long that we've completely lost, all ranking and competition moved in and, you know, they've built their listing. So we're kind of stuck in this limbo,
but the idea is, is if we can continuously sell, um, a loss now for, you know, we're, we're, we're not happy to do, but we're going to do it for the next 12 months to get our money back. But let's say in three months time, one of our competitors drops off from a stockout because, because we're just on this, sub-level right behind them. We should be able to then be the chosen one. If you like that then takes that top spot.
And that's what we'll raise the price become profitable. And hopefully that's, that's the perfect scenario for us. Yeah. Things can change like in the environment. Uh, certainly. Yeah. And, uh, I think there's also speaks to like the benefit of focusing on, again, the simple things like staying in stock because momentum is a big part of the game here. And when you have momentum on your site, you are able to stay, you know, not stock out all your competitors are stocking out, things like that.
You know, you, you, you have that advantage. This is a big one. Um, another thing I think is really cool about the way you are running your businesses, that, you know, you are basically focused on, uh, like yeah, consistency and margin by keeping things simple. You know, you're not spreading yourself thin. You're not,
you don't have this massive overhead, like a lot of sellers at this state because you just keep it lean and simple. So you're able to, I think be more flexible based on what I've seen, uh, just fast to, to difficult situations and things like that and move quickly. Um, I don't know, I don't know this all work, but in the course, you actually talk about, um, being smart by design. And one of the things that, um, we speak about is I taught, for example, everyone's chasing reviews. Yeah. And I was,
I was trying to get more reviews. Um, if you are trying to get more reviews, I, I say to people now, if you've got 50 reviews and someone's got 200, do you buy that product? Just because he's got 200, you don't, if, as long as he's got some social proof and 58 50 reviews, and this one's got 200, but you've all 4.5 star products, and you've got just a good enough at all better.
Then there's no reason for him to buy that one. They'll just buy yours. Right. So rather than ask for a review on an insert, if someone is continuously asking, um, a question to customer services, which is then tying or plot customer service person, why don't you just, so this is what we actually do now. Uh, our try to, we are quite slack on it. Um, I'll be honest, but if someone's asking someone for a question about our product, we will then print the question and the answer on the insert instead of said, give us a review place out at the top of the product. So now we freeze some and for ups to spend more time on the PPC. Yeah. Um,
and what I was getting at there was, was our old freight forwarder. When you say about how important is sustained stock, our old freight forwarder, right. With worked with her for years. And she was a massive step up on the previous person we'd used. Okay. Now, when we moved into the office, we were like every Friday or every Thursday, can you fill in this report for us and send it back? Which was an update of location of where every product was. Uh, we would ask for the ship number, you know, the reference so we could track the ship itself and all this type of stuff. And she was just a massive pain in the backside and it never got done.
And obviously that ruined it for the Friday meeting then, because we wanted to talk over that report and identify where if it was right since then. And, and obviously she messed up our issue with, uh, and Alyssa the product name then, but that product to go in disappearing for nine months or whatever it was. Um, so Joe, in that time we wound from, uh, we found a new guy. Now this new guy is literally like doing four months, four people's jobs, like just five. He doesn't work for us. We don't pay him a wage or anything, but every single week we don't even have to have to ask him, we got a full update of all the shipping references, where the products are, what delays, where we should ship to, you know, why, why we should ship to this port rather than this port, because this one's got less congestion and this one will save us this amount.
And he's literally took our supply chains to the whole next level, just by working with the right person. Yeah. He's like, this is one of the main topics conversation at the Norman with me. And P is just how good this guy is actually like, basically it's like, he, like, he's teaching us, you know, he's transformed our business really strained. So like a wizard. Yeah. To the point I've even said to Pete, why don't we get a little warehouse in China, um, time pokes this guy from his company and, uh, put him in charge of our warehouse and he can just ship it out as we go. So.
Yeah. You know, it's, it's one of the topics, um, in apex as well as hiring a player. So this just goes to show like one really good person can change your entire business, small slot. Like that is probably the most important thing of all. Then they is, is who is working in your business, who was working in the systems.
Yeah. And, and we've, we've, like I said, we've got two people that really full time when we first did it, it was kind of like, right. Someone for you do this, Olivia, you do this. And there was like, because Samantha's, um, twice it made the sound, but how can I, how can I say some I'm for, well, I've met, so she would drive it just date a top, you know, that's why she does customer service. She driving just,
just type the numbers into a spreadsheet rather than actually doing the thinking around the numbers. Whereas the live via will drive a think about the numbers of duty equation rather than the data. So at the beginning we was like, right, Samantha, can you fill this spreadsheet out? And then sending it to Olivia and Olivia and we'll go over it.
And then she could, but then we realized we were putting too many links in the chain. Like when we talk about trying to streamline and keep it simple. So that's why we have the complete different sections. We all understand how to do each other's jobs now. So if someone decides, you know, she's having a week off, Olivia can call it out and she does both supply chain on PPC. Um, well, yeah, it's um, that's why we, we remove the extra connection, if that makes sense. So yeah. So,
so we actually removed the need for all this communication in between and just streamline the whole process. So yes, Olivia has to do the data tapping, but once she's touching the data, she fully understands it by the end of the entering the data. And as she can make an informed decision from that.
Yeah. It's like, you've got more of a, uh, like organic setup where, you know, they have functional owner ownership, basically they're able to own their areas. They know enough, they're capable enough to just take care of it.
So it eliminates that communication and, and like creating an SOP that includes like six different people that work well, except et cetera. Right. You're able to keep things, um, like people are independent, but they're still Alliance. Yeah. I mean, I mean, we, we do keep it dynamic as well. So we are, we use Google calendar to organize it. I know a lot of people use softwares and stuff like that. And I keep seeing them even now.
Recommended like project management. Yeah. So, so what we do, we have the sets, we have the set tasks that we put on repeat. So you go into Google calendar, you say, do this till, you know, why the task title, maybe you drop the sock inside, which usually is just like a link to either an apex video or, um, you know, just, just a shortened version of it that we've rolled out. We dropped that in there for reference, and then we assign it to the person. So it might go to Olivia, or we don't even do that anymore, but they both have their own color. So one is blue. One is purple and then we change.
And then one, so like, it might be Olivia reason, number one and blue. So all Olivia's tasks start with number one dots. Um, you know, one, they cost margin analysis, sheet, number one dot, uh, image upon a sheet. So then they all sit next to each other on the calendar. So all the blues are at the top because it goes to followed by alphabetical, um, sign. So the blues are at the top and all the purples are at the bottom. So they sign into Google calendar and then they can just see the task as the owner of the business. We can just go repeat if it's every month,
the 15th of every month, repeat, and then you can forget about it enough to worry again. Right. When I say we dynamic is if Samantha takes a week off, all you've got to do is just go in and change them also Olivia's color. Right? Yeah. Cause we can all see each other's tasks. Um, and again, I've said to the girls as well, you know, Olivia, if you end up being too busy with, um, Photoshop this week, or you got an extra task, you know, YouTube, I've got the power between yourselves to say, please, can you cover me and do this? And then you can change it into that color, you know, as long as the task. And then another thing I missed out is when they've completed the task, they change it to gray. So they have, yeah. So we can actually look through the week and then you can, you look at the calendar and there might be a task on like Wednesday, rather than come to me on Wednesday and say, we don't know how to do this task.
You can just skip it. And then on Friday, you know, we look at the calendar and you can see that, that one's still purple or that one's still blue. You can say, what was the issue? Or they can bring guilt to you as well. This is so brilliant, man. Like, this is awesome. You guys came up with, but basically you're running like a $2 million business, like seven figure business.
Um, it's another myth dispelling here on Google calendar, Google drive spreadsheets. Like, no Assana no base can no click up. Like none of them, nothing like that. And you've got four people, basically two people running the business and you know, a lot of people even much earlier than, than you in terms of growth are upset, you know, worrying about like what project management software to use. And, but you,
you guys are using Google calendar and spreadsheets and that's it. And you have one of the best operations I've seen. So myth dispelled, I think. Yeah. Yeah, no, he's um, like I say, we,
we really try to bring it all back and just remain laser focused on what's what, um, yeah. So let's say we've done supply chain, which, um, I've gone over the, about Olivia from, we touched along the PPC, you know, about some unfair, I'm the worst person to ask about. I'll be honest. The only thing I can tell you is, is if you turn around and ask me what my costs was on, you know, June, uh, whatever, 2020 or 2019, I can tell you, um, you know, cause I read the data fast. I know I can tell you for each week,
for the last two years, not, not, no, I've had a quick glance, um, impressions, a costs, tacos, um, I'd sales ad spend a number of units sold by advertising that, that metrics that we track each week, um, that we go over in the KPIs. So as some I'm fulfilled that out, uh, Olivia fills out the supply chain side and she does the lung, the cost analysis. So like I say, she's up to date with true numbers. Not that's something that we update every month as well, which is something we get from, uh, from apex where, um, she goes in and we have it on the calendar for once a month. Right. So here's another thing I'll say is if you, um, people always are trying to get that net profit. Perfect. Right.
So they want to know that real number. Right. And at first we were trying to do that, but these, a lot of things get missed. And this is what I'm saying about working in blocks, right. So when we're run the KPI and working out the net profits, we might place an order on the 1st of June, right. Please start it on the 1st of June. Um, um, the task might not be on the council or 15th of June. So
maybe that's not a good example, but when she's changing, she's at once a month, right. So the net profit that we work off we'll account for the new, um, that's a good example. So she will go into the KPI. She will change the new cost. So the old cost to the new cost.
So let's say the shipping's going up 50 cents. So even though them products haven't hit Amazon yet, um, we will still account for that 50 cent difference in our net profits. Yeah. So like, yes, we're behind, but when we are, cause we were trying to work hard to get this correct. I, and it was so much effort to continuously try and get it on the dot every time.
Then when we started back, we said, why does it matter, right. Why does that, you know, when we make 1000 a week or we make, um, 1,100 a week with the price, change that under pound and it sounds daft, but it's not really the business and it's not going to make the business right. As long as it's accurate. Yeah. Get them off. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so that was it. And it was like, what's the point? Um,
and because, yeah, so like that change over between changing it from, you know, the 50 cents difference in shipping that change over period, there might throw your numbers off for this week, but it's not going to throw them off enough to make a bad decision off the data, but then the next week it's going to be correct. And the next week, because you're always comparing them with the previous seven days, that's how we do it. We compare it to previous seven. Um, and that's basically it. So you're going to have to guide me back onto the conversation.
Cause I know I keep drifting off. Oh, it's all great stuff. And you know, we've been going for, uh, I think over an hour now. So I think yeah, time flies. So when we chat, so yeah. But I think, I think this is really valuable and you've shared a lot of great things and I think we've dispelled a lot of myths because I think your case in particular is a really good example of how what's possible, like in terms of systems and operations versus sort of what people tend to believe. So, yeah. Thanks so much for, for sharing all of that. And um,
if I can ask you this question, I know it's a bit, um, bit bias maybe, but I, I would love to ask you like this. Honestly, if someone is looking at this and thinking, this sounds like it's, uh, could help us like better systems and operations, PBC supply chain, um, things we've been talking about, why or how, or if, you know, would you recommend that someone consider joining apex a seller? Um, I don't know to manage it. Um, I mean, I'd definitely recommend it. I don't think it'd be for everybody. Um, there's going to be people that are going to, um, fail before they even begin if you, if that makes sense.
Like a lot of people that I've because I mean, I've actually been talking to a lot of people on Facebook trying to a lot of guys out there and um, just to, just to try and be in the Amazon world. And I'm kind of saying, not even, it's not even about apex, I'm staying in this system or that system is short. You should do, you know, it doesn't work. And as I said, kind of give them the fix. They're already telling me the reason why they can't have kids. Right. Yeah.
So it's not going to work for everybody. I think if you are of a certain size and are struggling of systems, not, I'm not talking like optimizing listings and, um, you know, the images or like the money chat type of stuff. But in fact, you're looking for like real systems, the underlying systems of the business, I E um, what would it be? Supply chain, advertising, finances, R and D in KPI that are five things that we work from from apex. Um, yeah. So, I mean, if you're looking for the, like the fundamentals of a business, the foundations, then obviously I would recommend it. Um, yeah. I mean,
like I say the best one for us as being supply chain. Well, I dunno, there's been th