Guest post from Reed at eComProcess.com
The Amazon Seller sphere has shifted in the past two years. No longer are the days where you could break into a low competition niche and through hard work and determination succeed. There are players now with some seriously big skin in the game but their success is not always about throwing money at a project. What sets these companies apart is their ability to scale fast and systemize the growth so that it can be done over and over again.
Do you have the systems and processes in place to take this challenge on?
There are many who tout the advantages of using virtual staff as essentially make or break secret for total Amazon Seller success. There are certainly a number of distinct advantages to the process of using a virtual staff. Some of the most notable advantages include cost reductions, reduced workload, increased possibility for-profit and the existence of a larger workforce without maintaining a staff of salaried employees.
All of these incredible advantages may make using virtual staff seem as though it is an ideal resource in all situations but as with most things in business, this is not true.
To protect yourself and your business from the high turnover rate associated with remote workers, there are certain precautions that should be taken for any project. It is important to be mindful of these precautions when using virtual staff to ensure the project runs smoothly. Some of these precautions include:
– Customizing each virtual staff member’s contract in a way that protects the company you run.
– Having SOPs developed for every aspect of the job you plan to have the staff member undertake.
– Systemizing your management processes to be able to see at a glance what is going on in any project.
– Having a way to monitor, document and rectify any Non-conformances (NCRs) that come up.
In the image, you can see the actual cost of not using remote talent to help you run your business. It can be seen that on average there is an 812% difference in staffing cost and this makes you have to ask yourself an important question as a CEO who is beholden to your shareholders.
Are In-house staff really 8x better than remote or virtual staff?
I think you know the answer to that question, and if you get it wrong then your shareholders will make sure to tell you.
When using virtual staff it is essential that you have a proven system with all of the required processes, checklists, spreadsheets and templates ready to go.
In general, there are 3 reasons why most people should not develop their own processes. The first reason is that you’re going to use these Processes as the cornerstone of your business. In order to make sure you get the best work from the start it’s required that you initially hire a specialist to develop these processes. While you may personally have the knowledge to develop them you have to ask yourself if it’s worth your time and if someone who specializes in each job might not have a better grasp of the concepts you want to be systemized.
This leads directly to the second reason you may not want to develop your own systems and that reason is time. Depending on the process it can take from 4 to 30 hours to properly develop each one. In my own business, we have developed over 700 processes and checklists and they are used for pretty much everything. If I say each one takes 7 hours to develop on average then it would have taken me (408) 12 hour days with no days off to get this done. Now I’m not saying that you don’t want to proofread each process, but I trust my management to make sure they are running smoothly and I leave it up to them to revise them to best suit what is going on in the day to day operation of the business. You must be constantly aware of the platform you are selling on and be ready to revise your SOPs to fit these changes.
Now, this last reason is the least obvious to sellers but is by far the most important.
In most cases, a process is not perfect and the first time they’re developed they’ll need revisions. In order to scale fast, you must eliminate as many mistakes as possible. Some process testing and revisions could be very costly indeed. In our opinion, the most costly mistakes happen with the inventory. One issue could cost a company tens of thousands of dollars. It’s imperative that you have expert help in developing these SOPs. So it isn’t a set and forget sort of thing.
This is where a ready-made Business Management system comes into its own.
Typically these types of packages have already gone through the Testing process. This means that they have been pre-proven and can be trusted to accomplish the task you want to pass to your staff. This will save you tens of thousands of dollars by eliminating the mistakes that come with developing Standard Operating Procedures on your own. I can’t understate the impact these mistakes and issues can have on your business.
On top of solid, proven Operating Procedures a ready-made Business Management system saves you hundreds or thousands of hours of work. This alone shows you the value this type of system adds to your business’s bottom line.
By far the largest advantage a ready-made eCom Process Business Management system has is that you don’t have to hire the industry experts to develop them for you. These experts cost more than the average Virtual worker. Why go through the hassle of hiring and directing these types of experts when it has already been done for you? It’s the stand-alone best way to scale fast.
Now one thing to BEWARE of when it comes to “done for you systems”
You have to watch for those that are not revised or updated as the platforms change. Many out there are buy and forget packages that give no ongoing support. It’s imperative that the package you choose gets audited and revised on a monthly basis.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that this is a real business and conglomerates with large pocketbooks have started to jump in. These large companies already have processes in place. If you want to stand a chance in the new “Amazon” sphere then you need to up your game. You can’t run with the big dogs unless you play like a big dog.