Category Archives: Attitude

Making the Most of the Cold and Dark of Winter

Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

Here in NW Oregon, it rarely gets below freezing, and even more rarely, it snows. Generally, we can expect snow every few years. That’s one reason we get “snow days” with the falling of a single snowflake.

So, we bundle up and light a fire, brew the hot chocolate, and burrow in for the cold fronts.

It’s time to reflect and narrow down our actions for the coming year.

Our Amazon FBA business ended 2016 about 20% ahead of 2015. Pretty darn good. We hope for the same for 2017.

Unfortunately, our best selling category is dwindling in inventory and availability. We found them in closeout and discontinued stock from various brokers. We’ve sold tens of thousands of them for an average NET Profit of $5.

But, we’ve probably found them all, and they’re nearly gone.

We’re contemplating Private Label manufacturing. Sandi found her China importer, and we’ll consult with her to evaluate feasibility.

And, we’ll branch out to find new categories of products we can source and re-sell for a profit. This is the continuing task for an Amazon Seller, or for anyone working in retail ecommerce .

It’s good to have our bundled warmth to give us comfort. The future is unknown. But we can predict with enough data.

Plan our Work. Work our Plan.

John L

Are You a Professional?

We all know that when someone gets paid to play a sport, they are
a “Professional Athlete”. Yet, we many times see these
“profesionals” skip out on their practice time, or give less than
their all or best. These aren’t the professionals.

The professionals aren’t the ones who aspire to be the Star.

The professionals are the ones who come to work to WORK. They do
whatever it takes to accomplish the task. And they do it day in and
day out, every day.

They don’t quit or give up.

If we want to get paid for our chosen work, then we need to put on
our Professional Pants and go to work.

Don’t have enough work? Put on your Professional Marketing or
Salesman hat and drum up business – more business than you can
handle all at once. Then you’ll have a scheduling problem to solve.

Having a Production problem? Get to busy figuring out where the
bottlenecks are and how you’re going to fix them. Widening those
bottlenecks get stuff moving, and costs go down for more profits.

The problem we self-employed have is that we don’t recognize the
importance of being a Professional in all we do for our business. I’m
guilty of letting my Inertia guide me, not my business needs.

So, I have to overcome this inertia all day long so I can do the
important work of my business. It is easy to get distracted, and
professionals don’t get distracted, so I strive to do better.

I have to SEE my Target so well I can feel it and taste it.

I have to FOCUS on my Target to the exclusion of all else.

I have to AIM and SHOOT at my Target to Hit It.

I have to HIT It until I Hit it.

Start, Continue, Finish.

For a Good Read on Being a Professional, get Steven Pressfield’s
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
.
It has helped me, that’s for sure.

I Hope Your Guy Won

I really do. That means you will have fewer excuses in the future. What does the result of an election have to do with excuses?

It is easy to point to external circumstances as reasons why failure is inevitable or acceptable. The elected administrations are  seen as the cause or the cure for the economic environment. That environment is seen as the key factor in business success.

I say, No.

Yes, the macro or big-picture economy is important to business success. But, unless you are engaged in the collapsing housing and mortgage markets, it isn’t as important as you fear.

Your business has customers and competitors. Let your competitors cower in fear. YOU take stock and chart a safe course through the tumult, and expand into their market. While you’re at it, take their customers, too.

You see, everybody makes their economic decisions, not on the general economy, but on their own personal circumstances. Sure, the news on Wall Street will have impact on those decisions. But it is the bills in the mail, the price of gas, and the boss at work that have more impact.

So, whether your guy won or not should cheer or disappoint you. But, don’t count on him to solve your economic problems. After all. It’s YOUR business, not his.

Make your plans with alternatives to counter higher prices. Decide how to plan for manpower. Be creative and discover ways to better communicate to your market that you are still there and willing to help them out. There will always be customers who are above the economics and will continue to darken your door. You just have to keep finding them.

It is your business. You have no business letting its success hinge on the decisions and actions of that guy in the Whitehouse – whether you voted for him or not. Your responsibility is to make it work in SPITE of what goes on in Washington. You have commitments to meet, customers to serve, and employees who depend on you.

Don’t let them down.