Trent Dyrsmid has been sourcing products and selling on Amazon for over 4 years, during that time he’s also got very into traffic driving, hosted the brilliant Bright Ideas Podcast, and (which is what we’re chatting about today) mastered the process of systematising your business in order to take the stress and cost out of scaling. He’s got so good at systematising that in 2019 his Amazon business ranked 254 on the Inc 5000 list.
How Trent got into eCommerce
Trent has been podcasting for years — a gig that naturally led him to creating a digital marketing agency.
While running the agency, Trent says that things were going well when a series of events unfolded in such a way that Trent pivoted into the world of Amazon business.
When Trent’s largest client decided not to renew their big contract with the agency and his friends were increasing pressure to get into private labeling, Trent knew the time was right.
He was testing the waters of Amazon and private labeling, but not making a lot of headway when he met Dan Meadors. Dan introduced Trent to the concept of wholesaling on Amazon. Within 5 months, they were doing over $100,000 a month and in their 1st year, they did 1.2 million.
Best of all, Trent delegated himself out of day to day operations within the first 6 months and years later the business is going strong and Trent is not involved in a day to day way.
His favorite thing about wholesale is simply that it’s a safer investment. Unlike trying to private label a product, wholesalers simply sell products that are already successful.
All you have to do is get approved to be the wholesaler and make sure you can maintain the margins.
All About Systems
Without systems and resources like outsourced virtual assistant — Trent says that his business model wouldn’t succeed. Starting day one, the business used systems.
Trent himself is a Michael Gerber E Myth book fan, which has reinforced his system based thinking. Trent says that systems are the lifeblood of all his businesses and for many, he doesn’t even need to be hands on in creating the systems.
In a way the systems create an environment that can evolve without constant oversight.
SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedure. It is a familiar term in the world of manufacturing but less so in the world of digital marketing.
An SOP is simply a recipe. Trent points out that whenever someone buys a franchise, they are largely buying a set of systems.
SOP’s work best in highly repetitive processes or activities that are known in advance. Some good eCommerce examples are product listing optimization, finding a new product or dealing with inbound shipping.
But systems can be applied in unexpected places too. Even in a scenario like building a custom house, systems can be built for the general procedure of carrying out each distinct task.
Systems should be made so that the likelihood of whoever is following the directions will be successful. Breaking tasks down into as many individual steps as possible is key.
Trent recommends breaking the systems apart into WHAT and HOW categories. He recommends organizing them into two side by side columns. The “HOW” column should be as easy to understand and concise as possible.
Trent recommends against building SOPs in a word processing document and emphasizes how much easier systems are to follow when they are visually organized.
Trent believes in systems so thoroughly that he even built his own systems software app. Called Flowster.
While there are a lot of great project management programs available, Trent underlines the difference — Flowster is a process management software.
Flowster not only alerts workers and leadership when something hasn’t been completed in sequence or on time, but also allows the system to evolve.
When a process is edited enough times in the same way, the software flags it and asks if the edit should be incorporated into a new evolution.
Change management can be riddled with difficulties, this automatic evolution makes it simple.
Getting Started with SOPs
While there isn’t a one stop shop to learn the ins and outs of building systems, Trent recommends startings somewhere important, like generating revenue, and working through each peripheral step.
Another way is for business owners to look at their business and ask what they are doing that they shouldn’t be doing. Imagine where you can offload tasks to maximize your time.
The benefits show up fast when you start delegating.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Get affiliates to generate traffic for you
Tool Top Tip
Growth Top Tip
- Start Systematizing!
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- Christine Nicholson explains why and how she closed eCommerce subscription business Divine Legs
- Using Delivery Tracking data to streamline the customer experience with Scurri’s Rory O’Connor
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