The Graduation Speech Your Kids Really, Really Need to Hear

This column, which originally appeared in May 2009, is one of the most requested and reprinted “Succeeding in Your Business” columns, especially during “graduation season.” 

cliff Members of the Class of 2013:

            I was sorry to hear that the reality TV star who was to have been your commencement speaker today had to bow out at the last minute.  I was delighted, however, when the Trustees called me an hour ago and asked me to fill in.

            Now, I’ve never done this before, and I wasn’t given a whole lot of guidance, except to tell you to “follow your dreams” and “reach for the stars”. Apparently there’s a federal law requiring those statements to be included in all graduation speeches.

            While I know some of you already have jobs and some (OK most of you) do not, I know that all of you are wondering today what your lives are going to be like.

            I have two pieces of information for you.  They are not fun to talk about, but I feel you need to hear them, and no better time than today.  First, whatever dreams you hope to accomplish in your lives, you won’t be able to achieve them until you have first achieved financial security for yourself and your loved ones.  For most of you, unless you were born wealthy (and sometimes even then), finding and holding onto that financial security will be the primary, if not the only, thing you will spend time on for the next 50 years.

            The second thing is that it has never been a more difficult time to make a decent living in America.  I’m not just talking about the current recession or the high unemployment rate.  I’m talking about some longer-lasting, structural changes in our economy.

            For your grandparents, it was easy.  You signed up with a large corporation, worked your way up the corporate ladder, and retired at age 65 with a pension, Social Security and a gold watch.  You can forget about doing that today.

            Years ago, when America dominated the world economy, corporations viewed employees as scarce assets to be cultivated.  In today’s brutally competitive global economy, they view employees as costs to be reduced or eliminated.  If you can buy technology to do the work employees are doing, you buy the computers and fire the employees.  If you must hire people to do a job, you hire the cheapest people you can in developing nations.  And if you really must hire Americans, you “outsource” them as independent contractors rather than employees.  That way you don’t have to pay them benefits.  If you work for a large corporation today, odds are you will be unemployed in a few years.

            Social Security, Medicare and other government programs that helped your parents and grandparents probably won’t be there when you are ready for them, at least not in their current forms.

            And if you think you can scale back your expectations and join the blue-collar workforce, there’s a massive wave of immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who are only too willing to take these jobs for salaries you won’t want to accept.

            Ladies and gentlemen, there is only one person you can rely on to help you build your future and success, and that is you.  One day, you will find that you are no longer employable, and you will have to build your own career or business.  That moment of realization may happen next year; it may not happen until you turn 50.  But it will happen someday, so start planning now to take control of your income and your life.  You will need to become an entrepreneur, whether you like it or not.

            I know all of you want to do good for the world, and that’s admirable.  But charity requires money too – ask the President of this college why he spends so much of his time raising money from alumni/ae.

If you want to do good for the world, start a business.  Provide solutions to people’s problems they are willing to pay for, and hire people to help you.  Succeed, and your business will make the world a better place.  Guaranteed.  What is more, you will achieve the financial security you need, and whatever money you don’t need you can use to make the world an even better place.

            I have had the pleasure of working with over 15,000 business owners in my career.   They come from all walks of life and backgrounds.  The beauty of this wonderful country of ours is that anyone – I mean anyone – can succeed in business with the right training, the right outlook on life, and the courage and determination to do what others are too squeamish or hesitant to accomplish.

            So by all means reach for the stars and follow your dreams, for without faith, hope and passion you will never succeed, even if you’re as smart as Einstein.

            Just whatever you do, don’t run out of money.

Cliff Ennico (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com), a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.

That Kat Radio Episode 26 Refund Retriever And SCOE / IRCE WrapUp

 

June  Monthly Focus – Success !!

 

[audio:http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-112441/TS-750516.mp3]

 

 

 1 – Guests This Week

 Brian Gibbs  – Brian is the founder of Refund Retriever . Refund Retriever helps sellers audit the shipping accounts with carriers and then when needed helps them get those refunds. The company attend many of the ecommerce Trade Shows and are well respected in the industry. Listen in today as Brian tells his story.

 

2 – Chat Room Chatter:

  •  There was some pre-show chat and banter about the last few conferences people had been to. 
  • If you can try and login to the radio show 15 minutes before the show starts there is fun and laughter and also some great hints and tips are shared.
  • If you send out parcels on a regular basis then this show is a must for you so listen to the re-play it could save you money !!

 

3 – Chat Room Links

 

News

eBay – In March eBay launched “My Gadgets” to help members keep track of the current value of the electronic gadgets they own are worth – check out http://www.ebay.com/own

Amazon –  Will “Sign in By Amazon” become the default across the web? – so far only for apps and games.

Meetings – 

  1. SCOE coming up soon! Sept 19 – 21 in Philladelphia – space available http://www.SCOE.biz/Philly

  1. ICE Retailer is still accepting registrations.  Sept 21st in Atlanta. You NEED to hear the amazing keynote speaker at www.iceretailer.com – Coupon code THATKAT for $249 savings

  1. Kansas Jubilee is coming up fast! Oct 25 – 26 this year with some great new ideas and speakers coming! http://www.KansasJubilee.net

 

Other Links & Resources:

  • That Kat Facebook Group: http://Facebook.com/groups/ThatKat – click on the “Join” button and I’ll add you to the group right away
  • That Kat Blog http://ThatKat.com Sign up for my newsletter here!
  • Do you have a question about selling on Amazon, FBA or any of the topics discussed in this podcast?  Best place to ask is on the Facebook group – see the link above. Over 400 folks willing to help!

Next Show, July 1st, Kat will be looking at what success is and means to your business, and please call in and share your successes in life.

Terapeak Launches Terapeak for Amazon.com, Changes the E-Commerce Landscape

Terapeak, the leading source for analyzing, understanding, and predicting
consumer and product behavior in e-commerce, has just changed the ecommerce
landscape by announcing the launch of Terapeak for Amazon.com.
Online sellers already know Terapeak as the first company to offer a multi-year
archive of eBay transaction data, along with powerful tools to sift through and
visualize it. eBay similarly lists Terapeak for eBay as its supported marketplace
research provider.
With this week’s launch of Terapeak for Amazon.com, however, following on the
heels of April’s MySales for Magento launch, the company is rapidly expanding
its already unmatched reach and offerings in ways that will interest virtually every
online seller around the globe.
3
“Terapeak has been renowned for its ability to provide marketplace visibility for
eBay merchants, but with multi-channel selling becoming the new normal, our
customers were asking us to deliver analytics for Amazon.com as well,” said
Kevin North, President & CEO of Terapeak. “Not only are we providing our
customers with this capability, but we are doing so at no additional cost to
them. The delivery of Terapeak’s first Amazon.com product is yet another
example of how we will always be accountable to our customers.”
Why Terapeak for Amazon.com is a Game Changer
April’s launch of MySales for Magento was a significant event in the e-commerce
world, enabling Magento sellers to automatically monitor their performance
across two of the world’s largest e-commerce marketplaces—eBay and Amazon,
as well as their own Magento stores—in a single, dynamic view.
This week’s launch of Terapeak for Amazon.com however, is nothing less than a
game changer. Terapeak for eBay and MySales are included in every Terapeak
subscription at no additional cost. Every Terapeak subscriber will have access to
eBay and Amazon market insights, as well as the ability to see and compare their
own sales data to market activity
With Terapeak for Amazon.com, Terapeak has become the premier provider of
e-commerce research data, full stop. For the first time, online sellers have
immediate access to detailed trend and transaction data from the two most
recognized e-commerce brands on earth, all in one place and all alongside an
exclusive tool to easily link this data to their own businesses in real time.
What Terapeak for Amazon.com Offers to Sellers
Terapeak for Amazon.com brings the same kinds of powerful research tools that
have long been associated with Terapeak for eBay to the Amazon marketplace.
Terapeak subscribers now also have direct access to a world of detailed
historical Amazon data covering:
• Over 81 million Amazon customers and their purchases
• Over 35 Amazon top-level categories
• Marketplace list prices, offer prices, and sales ranks
• Product price averages, minimums, and maximums
4
The information available through Terapeak for Amazon.com can be searched
for and filtered over selectable time ranges according to a wide variety of criteria:
• Brand name and product
• Merchandise condition
• Category
• Products and sellers appearing in the Amazon “Buy Box”
• Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) offers for Amazon Prime
Terapeak for Amazon.com also offers visual summaries that provide immediate
market overviews for a given search, including total offers, merchandise
condition, and the number of merchants in a seller’s market space.
With Terapeak for Amazon.com, online sellers now have unique insight into the
competitive environment that is the Amazon marketplace, and yet another
Terapeak-powered way to build distance between themselves and their
competitors.
How to Take Advantage of Terapeak for Amazon.com
Terapeak offers a free seven-day trial of its full subscription package—which
includes Terapeak for eBay, Terapeak for Amazon, and Terapeak MySales—on
its website at Terapeak.com.
Terapeak for eBay has long been a critical resource for online sellers. With
Terapeak for Amazon.com now on offer as well, sellers that want to be
competitive in any e-commerce market will increasingly find Terapeak to be an
essential part of their operating strategy.

TAXJAR Lauches Sales Tax Tool For Online Sellers Featuring Local Reporting

Taxjar

TAXJAR LAUNCHES SALES TAX TOOL FOR ONLINE SELLERS FEATURING LOCAL REPORTING
SAN DIEGO, June 19, 2013—After nearly two years of research and development working with small-and-medium sized online sellers, TaxJar (TaxJar.com) announced today the launch of their online sales tax management tool.
By connecting TaxJar to their accounts with channels like eBay, PayPal and Amazon, a seller can easily view at any moment when their next sales tax return is due and how much sales tax they’ve collected via TaxJar’s clever dashboard. But the real magic is in TaxJar’s local reporting. The local reports break down sales tax collected by a state’s local tax jurisdictions (think county) – something that no other product has done. This allows sellers to quickly-and-easily get the data they need to tackle a state’s cumbersome sales tax return.
“We built TaxJar after hearing countless horror stories from online sellers who were spending hours, even days, every time they needed to file their sales tax returns to states,” said Mark Faggiano, Founder of TaxJar. “As we got more involved, we realized the complexity of the sales tax system is often overwhelming for folks trying to run their business.” TaxJar’s team is well-equipped to tackle the issue thanks to extensive experience working with many online selling platforms as well previous employment at TurboTax, QuickBooks, and eBay.
For example, a seller required to file a return to the state of Ohio is forced to calculate sales for each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Without TaxJar, sellers have to go through every sale line-by-line to determine which tax jurisdiction the sale belongs to. This can take hours to days depending on the number of jurisdictions in a state and the seller’s volume. Now imagine being a seller using Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon service having to file to multiple states, perhaps as often as monthly.
“Collecting sales tax is hard, but nothing compared to what I need to do to file to the state,” said Tracy Ethridge, owner of Bountiful Bin on Amazon. “It’s crazy the amount of time I need to spend just trying to stay compliant. I have no idea why states make it so hard for me to give them my money. TaxJar is already saving me hours that I can now spend on growing my business.”
TaxJar has also done extensive research to provide educational content so that customers don’t have to sift through state websites or wait endlessly on the phone to talk to budget-depleted support staff for information about nexus, rates, and help filing out forms. TaxJar also plans to allow users to file their sales tax returns directly to states within the product.
Sales tax has dominated the recent news after the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act. If passed, the bill would require online sellers grossing over $1 million dollars annually to collect and remit sales taxes in every state.
“Whether or not the Marketplace Fairness Act gets passed, online sellers are already facing an incredibly burdensome reality,” Faggiano said. “There are all sorts of challenges, but we feel great about our chances to help solve a very big problem.”
TaxJar has a 30-day free trial, and is only $9.95 a month.
About TaxJar TaxJar was founded by small business experts with a simple mission: helping online sellers simplify the hassles of tracking and filing sales tax so they can focus on growing their businesses rather than dealing with compliance issues. The customer-driven company has a successful history of developing tax and accounting systems used by tens of thousands of small businesses to solve common operational problems. To learn more, visit taxjar.com.

That Kat Radio Episode 25 With Lisa Suttora,Feedback Five, SellerEngine

 

June  Monthly Focus – Success !!

 

[audio:http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-112441/TS-750184.mp3]

 

 1 – Guests This Week

 Lisa Suttora  – http://www.lisasuttora.com  – Lisa is a That Kat Radio regular and today she brings us some exciting news about a very special offer.

 Jay LaGarde   – http://www.feedbackfive.com – Jay is President of a software company that helps sellers streamline their operations and make their business more profitable. Tune in and listen how his company can help  you improve your bottom line.

Paul Colehttp://www.sellerenginesoftware.com – A big welcome back to Paul from SellerEngine and Profit Bandit. Paul is here to talk about SCOE and International Expansion. If you are looking to take your business to over countries then you must not miss his talk.

 

2 – Chat Room Chatter:

  • There was plenty of precall chat in the chat room. To be part of this you need to be on the call 15 minutes early.
  • There was good feedback on feedback Five from people who had been using the program for sometime, and how people were using the program
  • Lisa bought us some exciting news on one of her products to find out more you will need to listen to the show.
  • For further information on the subjects being discuseed and on the speakers you will find all their information below in the show links. Please visit these links and support these people. 

3 – Chat Room Links

 

Other Links & Resources:

  • That Kat Facebook Group: http://Facebook.com/groups/ThatKat – click on the “Join” button and I’ll add you to the group right away
  • That Kat Blog http://ThatKat.com Sign up for my newsletter here!
  • Do you have a question about selling on Amazon, FBA or any of the topics discussed in this podcast?  Best place to ask is on the Facebook group – see the link above. Over 400 folks willing to help!

Next Show, June 24th the the guys from Refund Retriever talk about their money saving tool and we hear why we need to attend shows and if they are really worth the time and money

More Resources For Amazon Sellers

 

cliff

  I had the privilege last week to speak at the Sellers’ Conference for Online Entrepreneurs (S.C.O.E.) in Seattle, Washington.

  This annual event focuses on Internet retailers who sell their merchandise across multiple platforms (on Amazon, eBay and etsy.com as well as their own websites), but due to the event’s proximity to Amazon’s corporate headquarters, it is widely regarded as “the” annual trade show for people who sell on the Amazon platform.

 

In last week’s column, I wrote about some of the cutting-edge legal and tax issues Amazon sellers face, such as the proposed tax on interstate sales, “nexus” questions, and Amazon’s dealings with the 20 or so states that have passed “Amazon tax” laws.

 

Several of you wrote in asking for more information about what Amazon is planning to do to help their third-party sellers.  The short answer is, “we really don’t know.”  Unlike eBay, which depends entirely on third party sellers for its income, Amazon derives much if not most of its income from selling its own merchandise online, and there always seems to be some ambivalence at Amazon about how much support they want to give to their third-party sellers.

 

I plan to write more columns on this topic, so stay tuned.

 

The S.C.O.E. conference isn’t just about information; it’s also about resources to help Amazon third-party sellers become more successful.  The event’s “vendorland” space featured exhibits by roughly 30 companies providing tools and resources for Amazon sellers.  Here are some of the more interesting ones I learned about at the conference:

 

  • SellersToolbox, an online management software solution for Amazon sellers, has published a pamphlet titled “3rd Party Selling Information: A Quick Reference for Selling on Amazon.com” – for a free copy, contact Robert@sellerstoolbox.com;
  • Outright® is a bookkeeping and accounting software platform for online sellers who maintain accounts on multiple platforms such as eBay, Amazon and etsy.com (www.outright.com);
  • Samuel Shapiro & Company, Inc. is a third generation family-owned business (founded in 1915!), that provides customs brokerage, logistics and import/export counseling for international sellers (www.shapiro.com);
  • Chris Green, a leading Amazon expert (www.scanpower.com), has just published a new book, “Arbitrage,” explaining how sellers can use their smartphones and software applications like ScanPower™ to identify items in their local stores that will resell profitably on Amazon – a process called “mobile scouting” ($9.95 paperback);
  • NeatOScan (www.neatoscan.com) offers a “mobile scouting” app that also helps with inventory management not only on the “big three” platforms but on Half.com, AbeBooks and Alibris.com as well;
  • “Independent Retailer” is a new monthly wholesale purchasing guide, in glossy magazine format, published by Sumner Communications of Bethel, Connecticut – a one-year subscription is $24.00 (http://independentretailer.com);
  • FillZ™ is a Web-based inventory, repricing and order management service (www.fillz.com);
  • SellerEngine™ offers a feedback manager service that analyzes all customer e-mails, identifies negative trends, reviews all neutral and negative feedback to pinpoint their causes, looks at all claims under Amazon’s “A to Z Protection Plan” for buyers, creates a detailed plan for improving your business containing specific action items, and writes the appeal which will contain a detailed plan that can convince Amazon you are taking the right measures to improve your customers’ experience (www.sellerengine.com);
  • If all that isn’t enough, SellerEngine’s “account rescue” service acts as your advocate with Amazon if your account is ever closed or “frozen” due to a misunderstanding (http://sellerengine.com);
  • EcomAffluence is a virtual store of home and kitchen products that also assists Amazon sellers on strategies for generating sales in Russia, Ukraine and other European countries (www.ecomaffluence.com);
  • Janelle Elms’ Online Success Institute is a combination “boot camp” and network for Amazon sellers who want to make it into the big leagues (www.osirockstars.com);
  • ShipIt! is a multi-carrier shipping solution that uses an intuitive business rules engine informed by Web analytics to help sellers optimize their shipping strategy (www.enroutecorp.com); and
  • Kabbage™ is an accounts receivable and inventory financing firm that offers loans and other financing to online sellers with solid track records and Web traffic but whose credit scores may be an obstacle to traditional bank financing (www.kabbage.com).

 

At any trade show, you overhear snippets of conversations in the hallways, cocktail receptions and (yes) rest rooms.  Here are two random but thought-provoking quotes from anonymous sources that stuck in my brain:

  • “Amazon requires that you not sell your merchandise anywhere else at a price lower than you sell on Amazon, but one way around that is to use eBay’s ‘best offer’ feature to allow buyers to offer a lower price than your fixed ‘Buy It Now!’ price”;t-provoking quotes from anonymous sources that stuck in my brain:
  • “Don’t get me started about 3-D printing!  With the Internet driving margins down to zero and killing jobs, things are going to have to be made very cheaply because nobody will have money to buy things.”

The next S.C.O.E. will take place September 19-21, 2013 in Philadelphia.  I will be there, and if you sell on Amazon, so should you.  For information and registration, go to www.scoe.biz.

 

Cliff Ennico (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com), a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.

Amazon Expands its UK-Based Operations Despite Tax Issues

This week, Amazon announced that as its first step toward expanding its European operations, they would be opening a new office in central downtown London. The proposed new 12-story building would be located in Holborn and would employ about 1600 in staff. Due to be completed by September, this 210,000 square-foot office building would also become home to Amazon’s existing staff that are currently working out of office space in Slough, Berkshire.

While this press release would seem like a cause for celebration by both Amazon and the Londoners it will employ, Amazon is once again on the chopping block and being accused of not paying their taxes. Yep, it’s the same old song and dance we’ve heard several times before. This time, however, it’s United Kingdom lawmakers that are making the accusations.

amazon (1)

As you may recall, this issue has come up recently in the United States where Amazon has been successfully avoiding paying taxes in states such as New York and Georgia. They, of course, claim that they plan to pay the taxes, but have negotiated to delay making any payments by offering to build warehouses in each of these states (and others) that would bring 1000s of jobs into the economy. You may be noticing that this seems to be their “get out of jail free” card.

Interestingly, lawmakers on both sides of the pond seem to be somewhat uneasy about actually pursuing Amazon for these unpaid taxes despite the fact that at times Amazon comes across as belligerent and even defiant about paying what the governments say they owe. In particular, is London’s mayor Boris Johnson, who stated that he was delighted that Amazon chose his country’s capital even though he was quite vocal about Google when they tried to buck paying their taxes as well.

So exactly how much does Amazon owe? Well, the IRS in the United States is pursuing Amazon for $234 million, while the French government’s tax authority hasn’t completely accessed the tax situation, but is estimating that it is around $250 million. Meanwhile, Amazon is disputing both tax bills and doesn’t appear to plan on paying either one of them (or any other tax they owe) anytime soon.

I’m not sure if I would call this a savvy business strategy on Amazon’s part, but the whole thing does kind of make you wonder, especially when Amazon has been so vocal and supportive of making its own buyers and sellers pay the Internet sales tax while they continue to fill their own coffers, yet don’t pay any taxes of their own.

 

 

 

 

Ebay listings: Tales of the Strange and Odd

Since there is nothing new to report today about the ongoing online sales tax war that is continuing its battle in the Senate (after being approved by Congress), we turn today to one of my favorite eBay pastimes. What pastime is that you ask? Well, that would be watching to see the outcome for some of the strangest, most unusual, or even downright odd items that get listed on eBay. Today, we have not one — but two items that have made their way into that category.

cokebottle

We start first with the story of Cliff Kluge, who stumbled across what he thinks might be a letter containing the secret recipe for Coca-Cola. Kluge, who is a retired pilot turned self-proclaimed antique hunter, discovered the document after purchasing some papers at the estate sale of a prominent Chattanooga, Tennessee chemist.

 

While Coca-Cola denies that the paper is real, that hasn’t stopped Kluge from listing it on eBay with hopes that it is actually is. To be fair, his eBay listing isn’t exactly claiming it’s the real deal. Instead, Kluge has listed it as a historic document. There does appear to be some merit to the paper, however, as the letter (which is dated January 15th, 1943) makes a reference to the soft drink stating, “On page 83 of the Extractor is the original Coca Cola formula (e) which might serve as a source of preparation information.”

 

Interestingly, even though the document hasn’t been verified and was listed for $15 million — it did get a bid. Albeit, the bid came from a 15-year old, who most likely doesn’t have the cash unless he was the big Powerball winner for last week’s mega-jackpot ($595M). He does have three days to anti-up, however, before Kluge can file for non-payment, so should the teenager fail to pay, don’t expect to see the document listed again until sometime after Sunday.

 

Meanwhile, in another universe where apparently sex is what sells — the bikini that Teen Mom star, Farrah Abraham wore in her sex tape was briefly listed on eBay with the bid soaring from a $500 opening bid to $14,700 before eBay decided to remove the listing. It wasn’t because of its association with a sex tape video, however, that got it removed, but rather the fact that it was listed with the strong selling point being that it had come straight off of Farrah and had never been washed (the listing even stated that it still had her fake tan stains and glitter from her body lotion — I mean ick!).

ebaylisting

Since eBay states that clothing can’t be listed on the site unless it has been washed first, Vivid Entertainment (the company who released the tape and apparently now owns the bikini) will have to toss it in the wash machine before it can be listed again.

 

All of which leads to the point that if you’re a millionaire wanting to start your own soft drink company or maybe just a 15 year old boy who has $15 million laying around — keep watching eBay. The alleged Coca-Cola recipe and Farrah’s bikini should be returning there soon.

 

That Kat Radio Episode 24 With David Conner And Christopher Lesley

June  Monthly Focus – Success !!

 

 

[audio:http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-112441/TS-748599.mp3]

 

 1 – Guests This Week

 David Conner – 

 Christopher Lesley   – 

 

2 – Chat Room Chatter:

  • There is celebration as Charlene has got her Jeep complete with its own WiFi hotspot, there will be no stopping Charlene now.
  • There was chat about trains and how trains can make money.
  • Learn how to travel at a great discount.

3 – Chat Room Links

 

News Round-Up

 

  • eBay – Expanding big to Russia – what do you think? BRIC countries a focus
  • Amazon – Latest announcement is photos REQUIRED for listing in several categories and listings will be suppressed without!
  • Meetings, –
  • SCOE coming up soon! June 19 – 21 in Philladelphia – space available http://www.SCOE.biz/Philly
  • eBay Radio party is SOLD OUT!
  • ICE Retailer is still accepting registrations.  June 21st in Atlanta. You NEED to hear the amazing keynote speaker at www.iceretailer.com – Coupon code THATKAT for $249 savings

  • Next up is The Kansas Jubilee in Kansas Oct 25 – 26 http://KansasJubilee.net

 

Other Links & Resources:

  • That Kat Facebook Group: http://Facebook.com/groups/ThatKat – click on the “Join” button and I’ll add you to the group right away
  • That Kat Blog http://ThatKat.com Sign up for my newsletter here!
  • Do you have a question about selling on Amazon, FBA or any of the topics discussed in this podcast?  Best place to ask is on the Facebook group – see the link above. Over 400 folks willing to help!

Next Show, June 17th the the guys from Seller Enginetalking about SCOE and Feedback Five!!!!

How to Source Inventory for Online Selling

How to Source Inventory for Online Selling

 

If you are new to online selling, first off, I would like to congratulate you! You have taken a step towards what can become one of the most amazing careers out there these days. Depending on how much you put into your online business, it can become a steady part-time income stream, or it can become the main income for yourself and your family. I know plenty of people out there who have quit their full time corporate jobs to stay home and work online, and they are not only very happy doing so, they make much more money doing it than they did before! Selling online can be very easy, when done correctly. The main source of frustration for most people is finding a steady stream of inventory that they can turn for profit. I will help you find a few ways to procure this inventory with little or no hassle involved.

 

The first tip I have to offer is a basic one: Source your local thrift stores. Thrift stores are one of the top sources for online inventory. They offer rock bottom prices for the most part, and if you learn what to look for, you can make a killing by flipping these items online. Again, it depends what type of seller you are and what type of inventory you are trying to obtain. Thrift stores are usually best for finding dishware, antiques, clothing and collectibles. If you are looking for a steady stream of inventory that you can continue to flip, thrift stores will offer that, but it will require a lot of time and effort to search for the items, and you will seldom be able to find the same items again and again. For starters, check out Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers and stores like these. If you get stuck trying to find them, simply do a Google search for thrift stores in your zip code.

 

After checking out your local thrift stores, look for surplus and liquidation stores. These stores offer deep discounts, and most of the time, you can lots of the same item. If you find a specific toy at this store, for example, you research it on your phone and determine it will have a great profit margin, you can buy all of the items that they have in stock. Sometimes at these stores, when you buy in bulk and talk to the right person, (a manager or even a friendly sales clerk with the power to do it) you can receive a discount for liquidating their inventory and clearing the way for them to get more items in. These types of stores are looking to get rid of their items quickly so that they can flip them, just like you, so don’t be afraid to wheel and deal if you know you are doing them a service. Another great thing about these stores is that they are constantly renewing their inventory and they usually have a lot of each item, meaning that you can buy in bulk and have enough inventory to keep your own store stocked. There are even liquidation stores online, where you can buy in bulk, such as Liquidation.com.

 

There are a few miscellaneous ways to get inventory at your typical stores, like you local grocery store, superstore or drugstore. The trick with regular stores such as these is to do one thing and one thing only, ignore every aisle except the clearance aisle. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Unless you coupon and you are able to get sale items for free, (another article entirely!) the place in these stores where you will find items with a good enough price to ensure a profit margin are the clearance items. Occasionally, I will stumble upon a great deal at my local Walgreens that blows my mind and I stock up and buy out their clearance. One time, my daughter found a $200 razor on clearance at her local Kroger store marked down to $50 because they were liquidating their stock of that item. I wouldn’t count on these miscellaneous stores to be your main source of inventory, but they definitely do come through from time to time…just keep an eye on those clearance aisles when you’re doing your shopping.

 

Finally, once you have exhausted all of these options, there is one source for inventory that is the best one ever, but it will take some time to build up to. The source is wholesale liquidation and selling inventory direct from the merchant. You will have to be a top rated seller most of the time before any of these folks will be willing to work with you, as well as have excellent feedback for your history with your selling site. You also have to have cash upfront to purchase the inventory. Once you find a specific item that works well for you that is a relatively small brand, reach out to the company managers, CEOs and owners and try to set something up. It takes a lot of people skills and sometimes you have to bug them for awhile before you get a response, but if you can become a wholesale distributor, you will have finally made it, and selling will be a breeze from there on out! Just remember that with inventory you mus go through and value your inventory at the beginning and end of each year, so have a suitable tax prep software on standby to use. Otherwise, the IRS could be knocking at your door. 

Good luck! I would love for some of you to share your stories of your favorite inventory finds. What was your favorite seller moment?