Episode 17 – The System That Helps You Scale Your Amazon Business Fast & Efficiently
Successful Amazon sellers know that you have to be able to free up more time in order to be creative and think strategically to get better results. Honestly, that’s what every Amazon seller wants, but just how do you do that when most Amazon sellers have a million tasks on their plate?
In this episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, host and Helium 10 Success Manager, Bradley Sutton interviews Mynders Glover, a lifelong entrepreneur and project management ninja who has the answer to this burning question.
An expert in applying project management techniques to Amazon selling, Mynders has created a systematic approach that helps sellers delegate the management of day to day Amazon duties, so that they can create repeatable processes that works for anyone from a solopreneur (a one person Amazon shop) to the owner of a larger Amazon team with virtual assistants and/or internationally outsourced employees. After creating consistent approaches and SOP’s to maintaining and scaling Amazon businesses, Mynders is here to share his beginnings as an Amazon seller and how he helped other sellers to efficiently and quickly scale their Amazon business for bigger results.
In episode 17 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Success Manager Bradley Sutton and Mynders Glover discuss:
- 01:22 – Mynders’ Entry Into Selling On Amazon
- 02:43 – Get Started – Amazon’s Many Moving Parts
- 04:30 – What Is A Project Management System & What Is Its Value To Sellers?
- 06:38 – Mynders’ First Project Management-Amazon Success Story
- 08:45 – Creating A Systematic Way To Scale Products Fast & Efficiently
- 10:30 – How To Set Up An Effective Process For International Amazon Teams
- 12:30 – Setting Up A Process & SOP To Effectively Delegate Duties
- 14:30 – The Benefits of Delegating
- 15:25 – A Project Management Success Story – Scaling New Products Fast
- 18:09 – The Importance of Project Management For Solopreneurs
- 20:00 – Apply A Project Management System For VA’s Or Outsourced Staff
- 21:15 – Optimizing Your SOP’s & Process
- 22:31 – Unexpected Benefits of Implementing A Systematic Amazon Plan
- 24:00 – Why Project Management Helps You Get Bigger Results
- 26:20 – How Mynders Helped An Amazon Seller Better Manage His Business
- 27:20 – How To Contact Mynders
- 28:05 – E-Commerce Launch Summit – 7 Core Systems: An Amazon Critical Path
- 30:10 – How To Find Out More About The E-Commerce Launch Summit
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Today, learn from Mynders who used to be an Amazon seller, but now he dedicates his time helping Amazon sellers learn one system that helps him supercharge their business without having to add more hours to their workday.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, everybody? This is Bradley Sutton, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast. All right, now today on the Serious Sellers Podcasts, I’ve got my good buddy Mynders here who’s going to give us some really important information. I think a lot of us overlook about building a product management system. You know, sometimes we just get so tunnel vision or you guys who are sellers on Amazon and we just think about all keywords. All selling on Amazon, profit margins, installing a system in order to scale your business is very important. So Mynders is an expert on that. Mynders, how’s it going today?
Mynders Glover: It’s going really great, Bradley, thanks for having me on your podcast.
Bradley Sutton: All right. So, tell us a little bit about yourself, like how you started. What was your first kind of entry into the Amazon world? Like how far, how many years back does this go?
Mynders Glover: Well, it goes back to 2013. I joined Amazon private label in the Amazing Selling Machine world. ASM one.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And what was your first entry then? You took that course and then like right away you went and tried to find a product or how did that work?
Mynders Glover: Well, it was really, it was an interesting thing. I took the course and because I was looking for a way to trade, you know, stop doing time in exchange for money, but to leverage through something where I could create a big income stream and have residual income coming in that wasn’t related to it and hours worth of consulting, they’re getting paid for that. So that was my entry into it. And of course, what I thought like so many other people is that this was going to be a pretty easy business because Amazon storage or inventory, Amazon brought the sellers to the website. Amazon collected the money and made you a check and shipped out the product. And lo and behold, as a lifelong entrepreneur, what I discovered was this was one of the hardest businesses I had ever done.
Bradley Sutton: Why would you say it was hard? What happened? Did you have any bad experiences at the beginning?
Mynders Glover: Well, it was hard from the standpoint that there were a lot of moving parts. It wasn’t a negative hard, it was just, it had to use every tool that I had developed and yeah. You know, utilize as an entrepreneur in different businesses and industries. And, so all of those marketing techniques really needed to come to bear, in order to make this a successful venture. So the thing it was really interesting is right up front, I realized that in order to make this go, I had to source products in China. And initially I had a resistance to that whole thing. It was like this mystical land way overseas on a faraway continent. And so I quickly said, in order to do this well, I need to just become an expert on China. So, I immediately went to China within my first three months in the business and I met with the initial suppliers that I was dealing with. And since then, I’ve been all over China. I’ve, you know, been the most major metro areas on the east coast of China, been to the Canton Fair a few times, etc.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of the people who listened, they’ve taken similar paths, finding the product sourcing in China, selling on Amazon. So far, I might be listening, I’m like, okay, well Bradley, this is all great, but, what–where’s my value? So I think the value that you bring and which is why I brought you on here and I think it’s very important. Tell me a little bit about, what first of all, what does having a project management system even mean? And secondary question is, what do you think Amazon sellers are missing out, or what negative is happening if they don’t have one implemented?
Mynders Glover: Great question. Well, you know, the title for the session today is the one system you need to scale your business. And that is a project management system. So all of the stuff that I was talking about with all the moving parts that you have in your business, that typically what I’ve found when I first started adding products is that it was like spinning plates. So the first plate was spinning the product picking plate and then I’d have to choose suppliers. And, and along the time I got to setting up the listing, that first plate started to wobble because it took so long I didn’t have a structure or systems to do all this stuff. So that when I actually finished my launch and was looking at another product to launch, I had to go back and try to remember what the steps were early on in the process. And so did my team. So then what I decided to do was to utilize my project management skills. And basically what that means is you set up a structure by which you organize all of the tasks that you have in your business into core systems, and then you facilitate with that structure, your team being able to utilize those systems in order to add a lot of products fast and in a consistent systematic way.
Bradley Sutton:Okay. So this is something that you didn’t just start once you became an Amazon seller, you actually had been using, project management system technique before your Amazon days. Is that correct?
Mynders Glover: Absolutely. And, I’ve got a great story on how it came to my awareness that this was my talent, this was my gift, and really led me to focus on this in my Amazon business. So, if you’ll allow me, I’ll share that story.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I’d love to hear it.
Mynders Glover: All right, great. So, I mentioned early on that I was trading time for dollars and so I got into the Amazon world to break that pattern. So, back in the day I was a launch manager, using the product launch formula approach and I was consulting with different people who were launching info products, not Amazon products at the time. And I actually had released some courses related to the Camtasia platform myself. And as a result of that, I met an internet marketer named Don Crowther, who’s done some seven figure launches and was later on, did a big social media launch. Well, we joint ventured on a project related to Camtasia, then lost touch for about a year or so. And then he called me up out of the blue and said, Mynders, I am three weeks away from a major launch and things are way behind and I need some serious help on organizing the team and all the disparate things for this to come together. So I rolled up my sleeves, dived in, we made that launch happen. And in a week’s time we did over seven figures. And, it was a tremendous experience for him and for me. I’ve got some great testimonials from that. But what happened Bradley was that it was validation of the value in project management, especially when you have to harness a lot of moving pieces in a short amount of time. So after that, it was when I first was introduced to Amazon and quickly after those experiences that I mentioned, I started taking all of those processes and putting them into a system so that I templated every one of the core systems of Amazon and I’ve found there to be seven core systems and I templated those with task lists and SOPs, and created it so that every time I brought on a new product, I could download the templates into a project for each of those seven systems and take the team members that I wanted to assign to those functions, product picking, supplier sourcing, etc, and then seamlessly go about a systematic way to bring on new products fast. So in less than a year, we went from 12 products to 32 products utilizing that approach.
Bradley Sutton:Wow, that’s pretty incredible. How big was your team at that time?
Mynders Glover: Well, my team consisted of seven outsource people. I personally like to work with virtual assistance, and independent contractors. So, my primary assistant worked half time. She was my executive assistant and was in the Dallas area and she ran the rest of the team and they were overseas, in the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, all over the place.
Bradley Sutton: So I would imagine that especially if, and Amazon seller has a similar structure in their company as far as, instead of everybody just being in one house or one office or something, that having these kind of systems and SOPs in place are even more important when you don’t have that face to face connection. Is that, would that be accurate?
Mynders Glover: It’s totally accurate. I have a friend in the Amazon space who does millions and millions of dollars a year, and he works by utilizing a system like this less than 15 hours a week. And he has it so that his team does the work and they report to him by a very systematic means that minimizes the crash on his time. And so the systems are really important and it’s a choice to either be overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be done, and the interruptions of your team or to set up a structure that includes not only the tasks but the method of communication so that your process works efficiently and you have the balance you want as an owner in your life.
Bradley Sutton:Oh, awesome. Working 15 hours a week, that’s kind of like the journey and I think all of us, I think I’m working 15 hours just today alone. But, that’s a side point. But here’s a question. I think that many, like myself might have, there’s a lot of us, myself included, who I don’t know, I want to call it control freaks, who kind of think that, we’re the only ones who know how to do this because all of us, we don’t start with big teams. You know, we start with one product at one moment in time and we scale from there. So we’re used to at the beginning doing everything on our own and it’s very hard for us to like give up different parts of the business, to an assistant or, or to, an employer or something. So, what would you say to people you know, like myself, who may, might be have that mentality, like not wanting to give up control or not thinking that others can do what I do? Like what would you tell us?
Mynders Glover: Well, first of all, it’s just not reality. You know, it’s a mental thing that we tell ourselves and we all do that. And, what, you know, what typically happens is we fall into a mode where sometimes when we went out to or something or we, you know, we’d love some somebody else to do something, we look at it and we tell ourselves that, in the amount of time that it would take me to teach somebody else, I might as well do it myself. And what happens is we do that over and over and over again and we never get it off our plate. So, the thing that I tell people to do, and I share this with my clients is next time you set about to do a task that someone else can do, just sit down and turn on your video recorder, do your Loom or Camtasia or whatever and just start recording your process and talk, so that your screen is capturing wherever you go. You’re talking about what you’re looking at and why. And then the next time you want it done, hand it over to a team member to do it and ask them to look at the video and the create an SOP for that process. And so in the system, one of the onboarding pieces is that you teach people how to do an SOP so that process is standardized in your organization. So once they start doing that, Bradley, you started doing that for a task and you get the result back from somebody doing it successfully and documenting it. Two things happen. One, you start to free up that control feeling within you that prevents you from outsourcing or from delegating. And the second thing that happens is it now you have a new component to your system so that it can be replicated. And if somebody leaves, you’ve got documentation for somebody to self-train themselves.
Bradley Sutton: That sounds good. Now I know there’s still probably some skeptics out there who might not be convinced. What are some, I don’t know, like maybe success stories you can share. You’ve mentored, you’ve had many clients over the years implementing your systems in where like, let’s just say, this product X here, they were making $1 million, a year on Amazon, but then after implementing these systems and starting to change the way they do business, without hiring a million more people are completely changing their business, or their brand or anything like that. But strictly with, by implementing these kinds of systems, like what kind of success stories can you give me of how somebody was able to scale better by implementing this?
Mynders Glover: Well, I’ll give you one, that happened recently. I have a client named Daniel who started it mid-2018 so just about nine months ago, actually, it was like in July or so, the end of July and the situation was he was in the nutritionals area and we’re starting to get a lot of pressure from the FDA as well as Amazon in terms of requirements for his product. So he knew he wanted to diversify. His business was a little bit over $100,000 a month and he had the luxury of being able to source in America, for the nutritional lines so that his production cycle was very short and his replenishment of inventory rapid as well. Contrary to overseas. So, he came to me and I helped him implement the seven core systems with all of the SOPs and the task lists, and the time frames and integrating with the team. And what I told him, I said, if you want to get maximum traction on this, what I’m going to suggest that you do is hire a project manager for your business. And here’s what the job description looks like, the behavioral profile and all of that and I’ll work with both of you guys together. And that’s what he did. His very first step was he hired a project manager and they quickly over the next three to four months implemented one by one these systems sort of expanding their product line, and actually having to source overseas in China to get diversification. And bring on a new brand. Well, by the end of six months they were over–they were about $325,000 a month. Their most recent month or at 400,000. I know there’s a combination of factors there, so I won’t take all of the credit for that, but, I can tell you he made a commitment, and we implemented those in his business, and he’s flying.
Bradley Sutton: Wow, that’s great to hear it. Now, is there a certain level that one must be at in order to have this be advantageous? Like I would assume, obviously it’s a given that, if you’ve got a team of 10 people, you definitely need to do this, but is there a case where maybe you’re just the lone ranger. You’re by yourself. If somebody is just by themselves or maybe it’s a family business, they only work with their wife at home. Is it still important to implement these systems or it’s only applicable to when you have a big team?
Mynders Glover: No, it’s definitely applicable for a solopreneur. And most of the clients that I work with have say 5 to 10 max employees, staff, whether paid or independent contractor. And the key is the way that I like to describe it is that you’re putting in project management either on, a company-wide basis. So let’s, you know, let’s look at it from an Amazon business standpoint. So company-wide basis, you’re looking at each product that you bring on as a new project. And so that project has all of the systems involved in launching that product from, picking the product to suppliers, setting up the listing, setting up the marketing and launching it and so forth. And so if you were bringing on products like that and you’re starting to add by bringing on these systems, you’re enabling yourself to start to add staff, so it’s kind of like bringing on a team, hey, I want somebody in the Philippines to do keyword research for me. Very affordable. Well, now you have the system that shows you how to do keyword research. And of course Helium 10, figures very prominently into that process. You know, a dynamic tool for that. And, so now you have a system that you can then outsource to someone who has the research skills and you teach them to do it exactly the way that you want to do it. So that’s what systems do for you. And same way with any graphic work or listing set up or marketing you have, you set it up the way you want it to get done and then you bring on an affordable person that will do it the way that your system dictates.
Bradley Sutton: All right, so let’s say I work with you. You helped me get my system in place. Now on average, how often or how long does it take to like really tweak it? Like, I’m assuming that, the very first time I get into something I might not know what the best method is. And then I see, oh shoot, actually this is not the greatest SOP for this process. But like how long does it take to get to make it a real well-oiled machine. And then after that, is it kind of like clockwork, or do you suggest that people still review it every now and then in order to optimize?
Mynders Glover:Well, it’s an ongoing process and what I do is I actually have a course where I bring on both the owner and the project manager. And in a lot of cases the companies don’t have a project manager. And so the course is also oriented towards hiring that project manager. And I’ve got two tracks, one for the owners with minimum time investment because Amazon owners are hugely busy. And so I just want to give them an understanding of the system and what the role is. And then when they hire their project manager, then we start working together in group calls so that each time they come on, they can bring their personal situation and we can look at it and massage.
Bradley Sutton: That sounds great. That sounds great. So any other tips that you think that sellers are missing out on or any other–not necessarily tips, but it kind of like treats or what you think that they’re going to be able to have an advantage over others once they implement this? Like obviously one of the top things I like to hear is, hey, working less during the week and less mistakes, but what are some things that maybe doesn’t come that I wouldn’t think of naturally? That’s a byproduct, a positive byproduct of implementing systems?
Mynders Glover: Well it’s–there’s a sense of absolute control when you are on top of your business and your growth goals so that you know that you’re on track to implement them. So it’s one thing to say we’ll save time so that you can have more balance and do the other things that you know, that you want to want to do in life. But it’s another thing altogether when it comes right down to implementing that. And so the only way that I have found where you can, when you go into that balanced time away from your Amazon business so that it’s not in your head 24/7, is to know that you have a plan with your sales and profitability goals by month. And that the achievement of that plan is tied into a project management system where you know, all of those aspects of the plan are nailed down solid with people, overseeing them, and acting independently, and only primarily going to the project manager but coming to you on an exception basis. So, huge internal benefit knowing that you can operate from that place. And then the result is that frees up your mental space as an owner to focus on strategy and being creative. You know, what’s next? What other marketing avenues do I want to go down? What other brands do I want to bring on? Because you’re out of the day to day operations, you’re working in the strategic space and from that place bigger results happen.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. All right. Now completely switching gears here. You might not have an answer for this or you may have an answer for this, but I’m sure you know most of the processes are kind of like standard for Amazon sellers. It’s like, okay, hey, we’re going to have an SOP. And part of it is how to find the product to sell on Amazon. Okay, well you got to use Black Box and this is the steps you take. How to do your keyword research or which employee is going to handle customer service, but I’m sure you allow some of your clients to customize their processes like whatever works for them. Have you ever had a client that just has like some really funny or crazy part of their process but hey, it works for them. Like every morning at 9:00 AM the entire team meets to hop on zoom and do some Tai Chi, or is there a funny story that without embarrassing anybody you could tell us about?
Mynders Glover: Well, you know, that’s great that you mentioned that, because I think that the reality is every company has their own approach and we’re talking small businesses and it does revolve around the owner, and how they like to do business. So I had one company that came in and the owner wanted to have what he calls a scrum, every morning for a half an hour with his team. And what was happening was people would come to the meeting and they would just bs and ramble all over the place because they didn’t have enough new things to fill half an hour. So what I had to do, because this owner needed to have his fingers in all aspects of the company, and so what I had to do was pulled the owner out of those meetings, and move it to a once a week meeting, but letting the–teaching the new project manager to have a communication system so that he could be on the pulse of what was happening and then respond with individual meetings, individual zooms or whatever that answer the needs of the people. So when eventually the owner, got less intense, and more relaxed in his approach to the business because he saw that he could work without his finger in the pie.
Bradley Sutton:That’s great. That’s great to hear. So if somebody wants to find out more information, I mean, I want you definitely to talk about the conference that you’re going to have me on, but before that, where can they find out more information or contact you to learn more about, your systems and how they can implement in their business? What’s the best way to reach you?
Bradley Sutton: And then what is the conference? I think it’s going to be myself, and Kevin King, and a lot of cool influencers in the Amazon space. We’ll be speaking about different topics on there. So how can people find out about this summit that you’re doing?
Mynders Glover: Great. Well, so let me tell you what it is. It’s called the E-commerce Launch Summit, and it’s an Amazon Private Label conference. So, it’s for people who are either currently in Amazon Private Label or in other areas of ecommerce that want to get on the Amazon Private Label. And so, it takes place on two days in April. April 17th and 18th. And, as you might imagine, the conferences, I call it a micro summit. It’s a virtual summit. Over those two days, we have 13 speakers, including yourself, Bradley, and the focus is on the seven core systems, and we’d never really identified them. So let me just say them by name here. I, because their paramount to everything that I have worked with on clients and universally they agree, this is a critical paths. So it’s product picking, supplier sourcing, and this is all sequential. Obviously. The production management and then ultimately inventory control aspect of your business, setting up the listing, including your keyword research, and then, your prelaunch or marketing set up the actual launch when you’re all ready to go and you want to get traction in a short amount of time, and then the sustainability or improving your listing position component where you move up by step function, and then repeat the process. So I’ve got–you mentioned Kevin King. I’ve got Steve Simonson, Elena Saris, Jessica Steele, Karen Thomas, just a whole bunch of good names in the business, a lot of multi-million dollar producers who are experts in each of those areas. And then, a few vendors as well, sharing their product set that help with these processes and systemizing it. So the way you find out more about that, go to ecommercelaunchsummit.com, and there you’ll be able to find the information on the summit, and you can attend the sessions for free. And, so go to ecommercelaunchsummit.com and you’ll find out more about it–what I’ve just been talking about.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Now if people, I mean this is still, you know, way before the summit is actually happening, so–but if people are hearing this podcast afterwards, if they still go to that website, will they–do you know if there’ll be able to get more information still or be able to list to replay or anything like that?
Mynders Glover: Yeah, absolutely. This will be an evergreen product. So, tons of value. The content is over the top. I’ve prerecorded all but one session so far. They’re at the editor, the video editor, and I can tell you that you could take the content from the speakers, and build your own SOPs, and have the 20% that will yield you the 80% of the results.
Bradley Sutton: Alright. Well, Mynders, thank you so much for joining us. There are some points that you made today that I think a lot of Amazon sellers out there are not yet utilizing. And hope you guys are able to take some of this and maybe get some more information from Mynders if you want to implement it. And Mynders, thank you again for the information and we’ll see you on that summit.