Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Interview at EcomBalance. At EcomBalance, we’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the eCommerce space.
In this exclusive interview, we interview Michael Veazey from Amazing FBA, an e-commerce consultant based in London.
We hope that you enjoy the interview and that it brings value to you as an eCommerce business owner.
Michael: Amazing FBA is there to help Private Label or custom product sellers who sell primarily on Amazon to overcome the inevitable challenges, grow the business value (not just revenue but defensible profit!), build a sellable business…and enjoy the process. The public face of AFBA is the podcast, along with the social media and YouTube Channels – privately we also offer one-to-one and group help.
How it got started: When I started selling private label products myself on Amazon in 2014. I started off learning from a paid course and community. But I found over time I was learning a lot from podcasts. There wasn’t one at the time geared to the needs of UK based sellers. I’d always wanted to be on the radio and I was going to be talking about this new stuff I was excited about with anyone who’d listen anyway. So I decided to create the podcast I’d wanted to have! I started by sharing my own journey and insights. That gradually morphed into an interview-focused podcast so that the quality of insight into individual areas of e-commerce was really high.
Connor: That’s awesome! Can you dive a bit more into the services that you offer to Amazon sellers? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them.
Michael: Sure, so really we offer 4 ways we help sellers.
The first is for free via the podcast (and the show notes). We’ve interviewed I think over 200 consultants, agency owners and software tool owners at this stage. So we’ve broken down pretty much all the major – and tactical – problems you could have in those interviews, at a really high level of detail and quality.
The second way comes off the back of that, which is that if listeners/viewers find an expert helpful and they need specific help, they can get in touch with and work with that expert. That can be sometimes be the critical little hinge that swings a big door for a seller.
The third way is one-to-one consulting that I offer. Particularly for those newer to e-commerce, it can be very helpful to have the tailored input, at the right moment, the chance to talk things through and to have someone to hold you accountable. Although I have worked with clients doing up to $2 Million USD a year in e-commerce on occasion.
The final way is through a paid highly select set of Private label/custom product sellers via the 10K Collective London mastermind. That’s only for advanced sellers doing between about $500,000 a year to low 8 figures (so around $10 million USD). We meet monthly in person (except for December of course!) and also online. With a collective income of well over $22 Million USD per year equivalent, this is a dedicated and successful set of people who learn a huge amount from each other. We also bring in guest experts occasionally to deep dive into specialist problems.
Connor: Jumping off of that…if there was one problem you’d say that Amazing FBA solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why?
Michael: I’d say it’s two problems really, but which relate to each other really closely.
The first problem is figuring out what problems you actually have (as opposed to what you think you have). An old business coach of mine used to say “Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.” And he was right. It’s critical to be really precise and clear about the underlying issue blocking business growth before choosing a solution.
The best way to figure that out is through analysis through one-to-one work for earlier stage business builders; or through the mastermind intense discussions for more established businesses.
The second problem we solve so well is not just how you solve that problem (although we do that very well, I think) but above all WHO is the best expert to solve it. That is where my big network of experts – grown over years of selling, networking and podcast interviews – scores big. As well as the collective contacts of the 10K Collective Mastermind.
That second problem we solve it to quite degree available to the public via the podcast. Sadly I haven’t found a great way to use a podcast to diagnose exact individual business blocks yet…although we are working on a way to scale that…(more on that below!)
Connor: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current services?
Michael: Yes in fact I’m running to keep up with our expansion plans at the moment!
Firstly, I mentioned that diagnosing blocks to to profit growth are/greatest opportunities to increase profit is something we do really well. But it’s been hard to scale that insight up till now. However, we are putting the final touches to a new in-depth quiz/questionnaire to help people identify exactly those blocks within a few minutes. I’m excited that this should give us a chance to help people choose the tool that is right for them and right now without them having to book in a coaching call (although there is no substitute for personalized coaching for in-depth insights of course)
Secondly, we are halfway through editing an audiobook with the working title “Aggregators Aggregated” based on the interviews with experts in the podcast but structured into a book format. We hope this will be the first of multiple books compiling the expertise of the guests we’ve had recently into a book experience. We are aiming to produce a range of audiobooks, Kindle and physical books. So this should be the first one!
Finally, we are looking to expand the London masterminds we offer to cover both those breaking just 6 figures in PL/custom products on Amazon; and also to offer a wider e-commerce mastermind. That will take time to build but we already have the format and experience – we just need to build the groups.
Connor: And how specifically would you say that Amazing FBA and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?
Michael: Good question. It’s certainly a crowded industry these days.
I would say that the mastermind approach is the most distinctive and highest-impact thing we do for established e-commerce business owners. The fact that it’s so small scale and carefully curated is I think unique in a space where big seminars and webinars are the norm. I’ve had so many private conversations with members over the 4 ½ years we’ve been running it reflecting how important it has been for them (eg getting to $1 million USD a year in sales “I couldn’t have done it without you guys”; getting $800,000 in PROFIT from going into Germany etc etc).
For earlier stage sellers, one-to-one consulting is actually different to what most consultants offers, which is usually a course. While it doesn’t sound very unique, actually there are very few other Amazon PL specialists in the UK (or even worldwide) who are willing to offer one-to-one consulting at an affordable rate. Most of them want to offer only a course, possibly with group coaching. While courses are a great start, in the end personalized consulting is always the gold standard for those who want to reduce uncertainty and increase the speed and likelihood of building a real, valuable business.
Connor: What made you decide to get involved in the space? What’s your starting eCommerce story? From what we’ve found, a lot of business owners in the space have fun stories of how they first started…
Michael: I was already exploring how to set up businesses online, although more initially in the information/consulting space. I was part of a group where they coached members in these dark arts of internet marketing! The leaders of the group had got involved in Amazon private label selling back in 2013 and had some success with it. They brought many of the members of their community into the space…and it was the first internet business I’d actually started properly, as opposed to fantasizing, planning and dabbling with.
Connor: Love it! Talking more about the eCommerce and Amazon industry, where do you see it going in the next 1-2 years? Any unique predictions that you could share?
Michael: Wow predicting the next 2 years in any industry is a difficult call right now! However, I guess based on long term trends, short-term events and fundamentals I’d give a few predictions:
Firstly, I think as a percentage of retail, e-commerce will continue to grow, particularly in the USA where penetration is lower than say the UK.
Prior to 2020-21 we’d had steady 12-15% Annualized growth for years. We had a huge uptick in ecommerce adoption in 2020-2021, driven by the triple drivers under pandemic lockdowns: more spending on goods, of which more online, and less on services. In 2022-23, I’d expect the growth to be lower than previously for a year or two – so maybe a few % this year – but to head back towards that longer term trend.
Secondly, sadly, I think that the surge in inflation – due to the war in Europe and consequent global shortages in oil, food, fertilizer and critical metals – is not going anyway. I’m sorry to say that I see that impacting consumer behavior. When you pay more for gas (for heating) and gasoline (for transport) for example, you have less to spare to spend on consumer goods online or indeed elsewhere.
In the USA, this will probably be tempered by the US’s self-sufficiency in oil and food. Sadly, in the UK and especially mainland Europe, we could be in for a rocky ride regarding consumer demand. That said, some categories of products will be hit while otherwise may experience unprecedented demand at some points. It’s going to be an interesting ride!
Thirdly, again sadly, I don’t think the supply chain issues (due to COVID in China at the moment for example and shortages of raw materials and components) are going away any time soon. It’s going to be hard to get some goods – but at least you can think it’s affecting your competition too!
Connor: Giving you an open mic for a minute, what is something you’d want the EcomBalance audience to hear?
Michael: If you’re about to enter stormy waters, you need to get your ship in order first. In an uncertain world, before focusing on a scary and changeable external environment, I think it’s key to get your business in order.
A critical part of that is having clear, accurate financial numbers. If you don’t know your landed costs, your gross margin, or your cash flow, how can you take corrective action? How can you even know what to start changing?
EcomBalance or indeed whoever is going to give you that could be a critical part of running a watertight ship, so to speak!
Connor: Changing gears a little bit…When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for Amazon business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well.
Michael: Two main pains: number one is fighting to figure out what the pre-tax profit of the business as a whole is. We even have one super smart accountant in the 10K Collective mastermind and even he has to fight to make time to figure that out. It’s just fiddly. But it’s critical because without that number, in my opinion, you have no way of knowing whether your entire activity with your business is a waste of time. You might be better off with a day job – and you don’t even know it without that number! And in the ecommerce world, the value of your business is usually a multiple of that number, so you need to know if you’re building something of value you can sell.
The second one is not being able to predict cashflow accurately. That last one scares me even more. In a capital-intensive business model where you buy the products before selling them, this can lead to a real cash squeeze. If you’re importing, that goes triple. Get that wrong and that’s how otherwise viable businesses go bankrupt. I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to predict your future cashflow if you want to stay in business. That goes double in uncertain times, where both on the supply and demand side, you should be scenario planning as well.
It’s a lot of work but then a 7-figure business is worth a lot of work to safeguard. And a great book keeper should greatly simplify the process.
Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
Michael: Our home on the web is www.amazingfba.com . Of course if you like podcasts look out for Amazing FBA in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts etc. If you like Facebook groups, join us at www.amazingfba.com/FB
A special offer is that I am about to put the prices up for both the 10K Collective Mastermind (for those selling over $500K/year Private label online who live in UK /Europe) and for one-to-one mentoring. If anyone wants to get in touch with me from EcomBalance for either thing, I’ll give you grandfathered pricing for the rest of 2022. Just mention EcomBalance in the application.
For the mentoring, go to: www.amazingfba.com/mentoring
For the mastermind, go to: www.theamazonmastermind.com