When your productivity suffers, your business suffers. A lot of the time, you’re probably spending your effort on things that don’t need it. So here are a few tips for improving your profitability.
1. First of all, have a disposable e-mail address. Sometimes, just contacting a supplier means you’ll be getting all kinds of special offers and newsletters from them for ever after, even if you don’t end up doing business with them. Use a disposable address for first contacts and then you can always junk it; keep your real email for real suppliers and customers (and Amazon, of course).
2. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Skitch from Evernote is a great tool that lets you create images and, even better, easily provide input on images – for instance drawing an arrow to show the crucial aspects of a product or ringing the letter that’s wrong in the product name. Particularly if you’re dealing with suppliers for whom English isn’t a first language, this is a great way to get your point across. It’s also a fantastic tool for brainstorming with team members.
3. Keep all your data in one place – Google Drive gives you 15Gb of free space to get started, and since it’s cloud-based and lets you share data with others, it’s really helpful if you are very mobile, or if you have a team you need to share with. Take a bit of time now to think how you’re going to organize your folders and sub-folders and it will save you time in the long run.
4. Use freelancers. I like Upwork, because you can see the feedback on the freelancer you employ – it’s often worth paying a bit more for someone with the experience you need. Or you can use fiverr, if you are short of cash, though results might be more variable. If one aspect of your business – whether it’s writing product descriptions, making videos, or doing photography – is holding you up, use a freelancer.
5. Use kanban to make sure priority tasks get done. Trello, for instance, is a superb software that uses kanban principles (Japanese work management cards) to help manage your projects. It automatically connects up tasks, tells you what needs to be done, and can sync across devices. You might not need it if you’re working on your own, but once you start working with a team, it cuts out so much hassle by updating you instantly when someone else has done their part of the work.
6. Use repricing software to handle pricing for your products, instead of doing it manually. The greater the number of products and variants you handle, the more of your time they’ll soak up.
7. Use a dedicated inventory management system to make sure you optimize your inventory without having stock-outs (which reduce your Amazon ranking as well as your sales).
8. Plan your day better. If you don’t time-box your life, the thing that makes the most disruption will automatically get done, even if you really need to do something else. You’ll end up answering an email because it just arrived, rather than carrying on with your research on a new product or getting the contract written for a new supplier. Box your time out by the hour or half-hour. (I box it by 25 minutes and then let myself have a little recharge time, which can really help you keep going on a hard day.)
9. Turn off notifications. They are a huge attention stealer. In fact, if you really need to concentrate on some intensive work, switch off your cell phone and stop your email notifications – concentrate single mindedly on the task in hand.
10. Save ‘interesting’ for later by using Pocket. ‘Interesting’ is, for instance, an article on Amazon’s algorithms or consumer trends for 2021 that you don’t need to read right now. Save it using Pocket and you’ll be able to read it later (and without the distracting adverts, too).
Well, I hope that your productivity is sorted! Number 10 in particular really worked for me!