Archives for: December, 2005

All The Best For Christmas And The New Year

Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the year. We have lots lined up for next year and hope to provide better and better information every single day as well as great web site designs for the Gold Coast.

Cheers and have fun over the holidays.

 

Cheers,

Discover How To Find Products For Your Online Store – Real Life Case Studies

Discover How To Find Products For Your Online Store – Real Life Case Studies

Hello. This post is in relation to a question asked by Jim over at TailoredPodcast.com after listening to Show # 5 “How To Develop A Business That Makes $5,000 Per Day With Not Much Work At All“.

Specifically, Jim asks:

“I am really willing to go out and do something (start this business) but finding the right product for one is really hard, but then finding a supplier… How do you do that? Where can you find suppliers for this product? Where do i start with that?

Do you find a supplier in your own country, or world wide (and again how and where do you find them)?

What kind of deal do you make with the supplier, do you order a 1000 pieces in advance or order once a week depending on the amount of orders. But then if you have a foreighn supplier it takes very long before being able to send it to the customer…

I hope you understand my problem/question about this 5000$ a day story.
Could you please give me a bit more insight in how to get this done…?”

==============

I’ll Break Down The Questions

I’ll break Jim’s questions down into bite-sized chunks and base the answers mostly on our own experience and client’s of ours who have e-commerce sites.

…..but finding the right product for one is really hard, but then finding a supplier… How do you do that? Where can you find suppliers for this product? Where do i start with that?”

Answer: Okay, firstly I would say that you find a product you like and are actually interested in. You’re far more likely to be successful selling something you believe in than something you don’t.

  • So if your passion is football, then find related football stuff that you think could sell.
  • If you love audio, then maybe you could sell ipod accessories, mp3 players, etc.
  • If your true love is camping, then camping gear could be for you.

We own and manage these eczema and psoriasis treatment web sites. We sell that stuff because:

  1. 2 of our kids had eczema and we know what a nightmare it can be
  2. Mel is a Nursing Sister who has excellent knowledge on eczema and psoriasis
  3. Mel much prefers using natural stuff on eczema and psoriasis because she knows what’s in the other creams and oils

So we’re happy with the product and genuinely understand the frustration of people dealing with eczema and psoriasis. We truly want to help.

We came across one of the eczema creams (the one that started us off) when the inventor approached us to develop his online store.

He Said “No”

We quoted him $2,270 on June 15, 2000 (I know this because the quote is framed and sitting on my office wall). He said “No” to my quote. To cut a long story short, he ended up saying to me, 1 1/2 years later, “If you think you can make it a success, you can be our Internet distributor.” (Read the long story here.)

Found Other Product through Yahoo Buzz

The product we sell on the site that does $5,000 per day we found through Yahoo Buzz. Mel and I have both used this product before and were surprised at its popularity.

We saw it as:

  • light
  • unbreakable
  • easy to pack
  • not available in lots of places
  • frequently purchased over the web
  • in high demand

So, that one was looking good. I then jumped on the web and within hours had 3 suppliers. They all sent me a sample, I liked what I saw, we took product shots and within a couple of days the web site was up and running.

Google Adwords Did The Trick

Google Adwords did the trick and we were very quickly selling lots. A few weeks later I went and saw the suppliers (2,000 km away) and organised better deals on the volumes we were buying.

With this site, like the eczema and psoriasis site, we keep minimal stock and basically order as the orders come in (especially with the main eczema cream we sell which is manufactured 30 minutes away, with our supplier delivering the same day should we need it).

The Epismooth.com site was tricky early on because we didn’t have our packaging right and would quite often get broken jars. That’s not an issue anymore as we now have the experience and expertise to know exactly how to pack them so they don’t get smashed.

CampWithJack.com – Portable Hammocks

Now, my son Jack’s web site story is even better. Jack saw the portable hammocks on a national Inventor’s TV show.

Being in business means that I’m aware I need to teach my kids how to ‘do business’ – how to put a deal together and what to look out for. I think it’s the best skill they could possibly learn. So Jack and I discussed at length how we might set him up a web site selling something – and Jack is camping obsessed:

  • he sleeps in a tent in the backyard at least once a week
  • we go camping very regularly
  • he’s a Boy Scout and knows every knot in the Scout Handbook

So selling these hammocks made sense for Jack.

So, with Jack by my side I contacted Joe, the inventor. (You’ll see Joe’s email address on the New Inventor’s page.)

Jack and I discussed each and every negotiation with Joe and I explained why I did and said what I did. These negotiations stalled as Joe hadn’t yet found a manufacturer – so there was no product to sell.

Then on December 4, Joe sent me this email:

We are happy to announce that we are now selling hammocks through mail order.

The price is $99.00 plus $15.00 postage and handling.

Thanks again for all your emails and patience waiting for the stands to come onto the market.

We Bought A Hammock

Jack and I bought a hammock. Jack tested it rather extensively (he just about lives in it) and we then went through our review that took into account my expertise regarding issues such as:

liability issues
quality assurance issues
postage suitability
returns expectations
add on sales potential (a sunshade is currently being developed)
market size review

And we decided to sell the hammocks. Joe put us on to the distributor where we buy the hammocks wholesale.

We got the hammock graphics on the site from the distributor, we bought the design from TemplateMonster.com for $64 US, Anthony did his magic, we popped a free email newsletter script on the site, I wrote the copy, we added a shopping cart and started selling via AdWords on December 14, 2005.

The best thing about the hammock sales is that the distributor is happy to drop ship them (post them out on our behalf – we just supply them with the name and address of our customer) for us. We never have to see a hammock if we don’t want to. (Having said that, our first order was for 10 hammocks just so we have some stock if necessary.)

Note:

Now you might think I’ve just given you too much information there on Jack’s site and how we sourced it. But I figure it’s a great product and I’d be happy for Joe to sell some more.

My son Jack has made a few sales already (basically 1 a day) and said to me at home, “Great Dad, I’m making $99 a day!”

13 Year Old Jack Found Himself Doing A Cash Flow Forecast!

About 5 minutes later little Jack found himself sitting in front of a computer here in the office doing a Cash Flow Forecast (unusual for a 13 yo!) with his Dad – who explained every cost he incurs. Dad (that’s me!) charges Jack for everything, including ink on orders we print out, part rent/part phone line/part everything and the work Anthony and I have done.

But he still gets off light I reckon! Jack now understands he, currently, is making a profit of $12.10 on each sale.

(Here’s Jack’s first 2 months Cash Flow forecast if you’re interested – it’s a pdf file and the numbers are based on selling 1 hammock per day.)


The Main Product Review Advice

  • Find something you are interested in.
  • Start talking with people in the industry.
  • Find the manufacturers and/or distributors of the products you want to sell.
  • Assess the products suitability for sale over the web using some of the criteria I detailed above.
  • Make an approach.

Do You Find A Local Supplier Or Worldwide?

Jim then asks, “Do you find a supplier in your own country, or world wide (and again how and where do you find them)?”

Good question Jim. As you can see, the products I sell are distributed 30 minutes away, 1,000 km away and 2,000 away.

I’ve done that because it works for me and I’ve found the convenience of dealing with the distributor in Australia is easy and convenient. Having said that, there are many ways to source suppliers all over the world – a quick search on Google will find them (like this one – note: I’m not endorsing this site/these people at all).

Get involved in online forums, read trade magazines in what you are interested in and speak with others in the industry and you’ll soon have a good idea.

My gut says to start with a local supplier (i.e. in your own country) before moving on to deal with the tricks and difficulties of a foreign country.

Making the Deal

Jim then asks: What kind of deal do you make with the supplier, do you order a 1000 pieces in advance or order once a week depending on the amount of orders. But then if you have a foreign supplier it takes very long before being able to send it to the customer…”

So much hinges on doing the right deal. With the product that makes $5,000 per day, we order in amounts that we have sold/expect to sell over the following 2 weeks. That limits our cash tied up in stock and ensures we don’t hold lots of what we’re not selling.

I remember asking one of the suppliers of the product we sell $5000 of per day, “How many can you supply each week?”

He said, “As many as you can order.”

He’d had experience with people selling online before and they hadn’t sold much. I knew we’d sell a lot.

“We Can’t Keep Up.”

After about 8 weeks this supplier rang and said, “We can’t keep up. We can’t fill any more orders – our staff are exhausted.”

The eczema cream guy was the same. They couldn’t keep up with the demand. And whilst it’s a nice problem to have, you don’t want to annoy hundreds or thousands of potential customers (who are trying to buy).

I Didn’t Realise

I didn’t realise we’d sell as many as we did. But if I had of known I would have locked in some base production levels. As it turned we had thousands of customers waiting weeks to get product. If I had of been a little more experienced I could have avoided that problem (and large customer service expense).

But what do you do? Well, the only thing you can do really is gain assurances on the volumes the manufacturer can supply. But if your web site really takes off then there are a couple of things to do:

  • keep your customers/potential customers fully informed
  • try and regulate the flow of customers as best you can (putting up Sold Out signs on your e-shop isn’t a great thing to do, but it mght be required. Funny thing about that: With our eczema site whenever I put up the “Sold Out. You can order but don’t expect delivery for 6 weeks” sign the orders actually went up. My thinking is that people see that sign and think, “Wow! This cream must really be good!”)

We Only Order What We Need

The eczema site is great because we order only what we need (we might keep an extra $500 stock on hand, but that is nothing), when we need it and get it an hour or 2 later. Again, no paying $50,000 for stock we might not sell.

And the portable hammock site is even better because we can drop ship – that is the distributor ships the product to our customer. The downside is that we lose a little control of our customer and are limited in what we can get into the packaging, but once we start selling decent volumes I’ll organise for upsell leaflets to go into each product box.

I’m currently working with a client who takes 6 weeks to get his product from the supplier. In the industry he’s in that’s long, but not excessive. The solution for him is to hold stock in hand, which is what the vast majority (think your local store selling anything) of retailer do.

This issue, of how to do the deal/how many products to buy/etc, is obviously too complex to address as there are so many variables:

  • cost of product
  • discount available on larger quantities
  • location of wholesaler
  • shipping time
  • market demand
  • quality assurance issues
  • refund policy
  • guarantees of supply
  • competitve issues (i.e. will your competitor buy the stock from the wholesaler if you don’t?)
  • your storage facilities
  • shelf life of product (what if your product is a fad or fashion and dies out – you don’t want to be left with 20,000 units in stock even if buying 20,000 gave you a big discount)
  • etc

And Then There Is The Marketing

And then once you have your product selected you have to develop a site and market that site. And that’s the hard bit.

Added 2 September 2009 – Jack has also started a bike storage web site that does okay.  The Camp With Jack site died after the production and supply faltered and we couldn’t get decent hammocks at a decent price.


I Think That Answers Jim’s Questions

I think the above answers Jim’s questions and I hope you’ve found it useful. It’s taken me a while to write the above and it’s now 7.18 pm (it’s taken me just over 2 1/4 hours to write this).

Typos & Grammar Issues

There may well be some typos or bad grammar above and my apologies if they annoy you. I’ll come back tomorrow and fix them up and pop some images throughout the post to make it a little easier to read.

My Wife Mel

I’m off home to kiss the beautiful woman you see above and have dinner with my kids (and kiss them too of course!) – and try and get out of them what they have bought me for Christmas!

Hope you understand.

Cheers and have a good day.

Brendon

Cheers,

How To Make $5,000 A Day, Me Uncut & I Know How Your Mind Works!

How To Make $5,000 A Day, Me Uncut & I Know How Your Mind Works!

Over on our Podcast site at TailoredPodcast.com we’ve launched Show # 5: How To Develop A Business That Makes $5,000 Per Day With Not Much Work At All

Check it out if you’re interested in running an e-commerce site of any type.

I’ve also just sent out our latest newsletter. It’s a bit different from our usual one, but there you go. It’s Christmas and I can do whatever I like, even if you hate it (!), and you have to be nice. It’s the Christmas spirit!

(Actually, I’ve probably had more positive feedback from that newsletter than any other one.)

I Know How Your Mind Works!

And yes, I know how your mind works. The most clicked on link in the entire newsletter was the link over to Anna Nicole Smith’s web site! I confess – I would have clicked on that one too.

Cheers

Brendon

Cheers,

A Joke For The Holidays

A Joke For The Holidays

As you might know, this blog is about important things - like marketing and web stuff.
And I get to say how nice I am (I am, seriously).
But here's a joke that took my fancy:
======================================

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot. - Stephen Wright

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Cheers

Brendon

Cheers,

What We Searched For

What We Searched For

One of things we do to keep on top of what’s happening in the world of the web is keep a close eye on trends.

Here’s the latest Google update on what was big in 2005 (Are we celebrity obsessed or what?)

The other ways we keep our fingers on the pulse are via Yahoo Buzz and Word Tracker.

Hope that’s useful.

Brendon

Cheers,

Life Doesn’t Get Any Better

Life Doesn’t Get Any Better

Mmmmmm. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

My favourite restaurant is just a couple of streets away from the office. The food is absolutely beautiful and it’s delivered by friendly waitresses. We’ve been there many, many times and love it.

Anyway, one of the waitresses is the chef/owner’s 17 yo daughter. (Great Italian restaurant – Mum and Dad cook, daughter is the waitress). She attends the local High School and is involved with what’s called Business Week.

‘Business Week’ is where the students develop their own business (in groups of 10) and have to come up with business and marketing plans, TV commercials, trade shows and the like.

For the last 4 years I’ve given a couple of speeches to the students – in one I talk about marketing, the other one is more business generally.

The Waitress Was In The Audience

Anyway, the waitress at our restaurant was in the audience (this was the same speech where I had about 100 teenage boys turn to look at my wife and wolf whistle her. She was a bit embarrassed!).

She told her mum that I was good at marketing. Mum spoke with me last night when we were at the restaurant and voila! I’ll be doing some marketing for the restaurant.

Not my usual sort of marketing gig, but I don’t care. Because I’ll organise the deal like this:

  1. I provide marketing services.
  2. They provide me with food.

The perfect deal!

Leads Come From Unusual Places

The point of all that is that leads come from unusual places. Business is a matter of consistently putting yourself out in the marketplace in a variety of ways.

Cheers

Brendon

Cheers,

I Don’t Get Squidoo

I Don’t Get Squidoo

A guy a lot smarter than me (that doesn’t really narrow it down much…..I need to get more specific….his name is Seth Godin) is part of a project called Squidoo.

Squidoo is where you develop a page called a lens. In your lens you talk about things you are expert on. You basically share your knowledge. You often have affiliate links (that’s where when a visitor clicks your link, visits another web site and then buys you get a % of the sale) and what’s called Pay Per Click links (a person clicks an ad on your site and you get a % of the advertising revenue).

These links generate money for the lens and you either keep it or donate all or part.



Asked To Be Part Of The Beta

I was asked to be part of the beta of Squidoo (sounds impressive, but so were lots of others).

But after having a good look at Squidoo I decided not to. And the reason why?

I just don’t get it.

I don’t see how this ‘lens’ thing is different from any other page in terms of content. Sure, it’s a good idea to have lots of links to the person’s favourite things (I’ve tried doing the same thing with my About Me page). But it just doesn’t seem different enough to be relevant.

And here’s the thing…. because I know what an exceptional thinker Seth is, it troubles me that I don’t see the value of Squidoo. Am I missing something? Shouldn’t I be seeing what Seth sees?

That’s What Our Marketing Should Do

And that’s what our marketing (by ‘our’ I mean you and I) should do. It should make our prospects stop and think that the thing we are offering is so good because our company/business/self is associated with it.

And that’s called branding.

Branding sets you apart. Branding gets people to buy because they trust you.

Brand your business and you will be successful. It can be that simple.

Regards

Brendon

Cheers,

Looking For The Catch

Looking For The Catch

Last week I received an offer from the company I have my mobile (cell) phone with – Vodafone. The offer was called ‘Delight’ and the deal was, supposedly, that I could go in and buy a great phone for very little.

One of the deals was for a $199 phone for zero (yeah, right!)
Another was a $299 phone for $19 (I don’t think I’ll get it for just $19!)

So in I went. I selected a phone. And then, before I signed for the phone, I asked the questions to find the catch.

  • Was I tied to a plan?
  • Was I tied to the network?
  • Was there a big join up fee?
  • And on I went. I asked about 20 questions.

My last question was this:

“Okay mate, I can’t see it. What’s the catch?”

There was no catch. It was a legitimate, great offer.

And, like the next post, that’s a fantastic offer because it was so damn good that it had me thinking “This is such a fantastic offer that it mustn’t be true!”

That’s great marketing. And a great offer. And a great way to reward good customers. And good customers who get rewarded and think you’re great keep coming back.

Regards

Brendon

Cheers,