In today’s article, we’re going to talk about “Outsourcing” and how outsourcing can help you improve business efficiency.
Do you love every single aspect of your Amazon selling business?
Be honest with me now. Don’t tell me that you just can’t get enough of creating new listings, planning shipping or constantly checking your unfulfillable inventory.
Every job has duties that you don’t enjoy – whether it’s because they are tedious, boring or because you know that there is something else you could do that would help grow your business. But those routine and unenjoyable tasks will not be gone.
In last month’s blog post (which you can read for the first time or recap here: http://blog.bqool.com/grow-amazon-business/) we’ve discussed:
– The importance of understanding your business processes
– The importance of documenting your processes
– The importance of making your processes more efficient
One of the reasons for the above was this statement:
“Having efficient, documented processes allows us to easily outsource those parts of our business which take up time but don’t necessarily require us to do ourselves. This is a key aspect of being able to scale and grow our Amazon business, because if we don’t have time to focus on the areas that “add value”, we will just be continually running to stand still”
So you’ve identified and documented your processes, and you’ve made them as efficient as possible. This opens up the possibility of identifying those processes that can be outsourced, so let’s take a look.
What to Outsource?
Product sourcing is a great task to outsource. Whether it is online arbitrage or private label, having someone else do all of the upfront work leaving you with the buying decisions can save you hours of time each week.
Then there are all those tedious but necessary tasks that we discussed earlier – returns, customer service, unfulfillable inventory etc.
Luckily, within Amazon Seller Central there is a way to restrict access so that your virtual assistant or whoever you have outsourced to can only access and edit the things that you want them to.
In Seller Central you just go to Settings and User Permissions:
Send the person an email invite to add them as a User:
Then once they have accepted you can give them access to View, View & Edit or not be able to access at all, various aspects of your Amazon Seller Central account, such as Inventory, Orders and pretty much anything else in Seller Central.
Who To Outsource To?
Virtual Assistant: The most typical method of doing this is to recruit a Virtual Assistant, typically from the Philippines. The reason for this is that you are able to have a well educated, English speaking assistant who is available to work a lot more cheaply than someone from the US or UK for example. A VA of this type is best working on a relatively simple process that can be carried out by following instructions.
A VA from Europe or the US will be more expensive, but will also be able to be assigned more complex tasks.
Friends & Family: This can work very well, but you have to be careful to ensure that agreements are in place regarding pay, hours and duties as you don’t want to negatively impact your relationship because of any misunderstanding. They can invoice you for payment as a Contractor, but they will also need to be aware of local tax rules.
We have a friend who carries out retail arbitrage product sourcing in the UK for us as we live in Spain, as an example.
Prep Centre: One of the first things I did when I started selling on Amazon was to utilise the services of a prep centre. I realised that I was spending more time prepping, labeling and shipping my products than I was actually sourcing. Obviously, there is a cost associated with this, but the extra time it frees up for sourcing for me means that it pays for itself.
Professional Services: I get bored doing my accounts. It takes me forever and I don’t enjoy it. Using a professional bookkeeper and accountant means that not only can I concentrate on growing my Amazon business, but that I can be confident that it’s actually done properly.
Software: This may not seem like outsourcing, but if you can build up a suite of tools for sourcing, selling and repricing then activities that could take hours to do manually can be done in minutes. BQool is obviously a great and obvious example. Going through all of the products in your Amazon inventory and changing the prices can be done automatically many times a day, saving you time and making you more money into the deal.
For most of the above options, it’s fairly clear what you need to do, and you don’t necessarily need in-depth processes written to use them. For example, you don’t need to show a Prep Centre how to label your products.
Next month we’re going to talk about Q4 seeing as it right on us, but I’m sure we’ll come back to outsourcing in the future.
Biography: Dan Ashton is an experienced Amazon seller and entrepreneur. Due to the success of his online businesses over the past two years, Dan has moved from Liverpool, UK to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca, where he continues to work to build and expand them further. Dan shares his experiences and helps others to establish their financial freedom via his website www.danashton.co