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Progress Thread Keep it simple and stupid

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by lucasmello, Aug 31, 2016.

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  1. lucasmello
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    lucasmello Business Bear Means Business Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    After automating my e-commerce store and removing myself from the equation, I am setting out to start another business.

    I tend to overthink about everything: product, costs, shipping, taxes, etc.

    So I decided that this time I would take the easiest way possible. I would adopt the KISS principle.

    I am keeping it simple and stupid. No overthinking. Straight forward. Yes or no.

    I am part of a community regarding supplements, so I just found a couple of post "Does someone sell product X". I hopped on Alibaba, searched product X, wrote a template e-mail (based on Vigilante's Insider Thread, thank you!), and sent out to 45 suppliers.

    If they replied with only the quote....Dropped them.
    If I didn't feel they would negotiate....Dropped them.
    If they didn't reply in 12 hours....Dropped them.

    There were maybe 15 suppliers left here.

    If they replied politely I would sent a follow-up e-mail (also from Vigilante's thread, thanks again!).

    If they didn't meet the quantity I wanted them...Dropped them
    If they didn't go above and beyond for me in answering my questions....Dropped them
    If I felt they would not have the quality I expected....Dropped them

    There were about 5 suppliers left.

    After packaging, MOQ, declared value, offers, shipping and all of those specifics were dealt with, there were two.

    I simply picked the one I like the most.

    Paid the same day, now waiting to receive my samples.


    Total cost up until now: 150 USD
    Hours worked: Maybe 2
    Predicted Total Cost: 270 USD
    Predicted Revenue: 900 USD

    The best part?

    No stress.
    No overthinking.
    Just a couple of minutes each day dedicated to answering e-mails.
     
  2. devine
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    devine Contributor

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    This is serious.
     
  3. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    My approach is the same as yours when sourcing suppliers.

    My initial email is literally just: "I'm interested in your XXXX. Please send me your full catalog and price list to my email at XXXX".

    Super easy to copy/paste to 20 different suppliers, and then sort it out when you get the contacts.


    It takes too much time to look thoroughly through all their listing pages, etc. Getting the catalogs/prices via email cuts through the bullshit pretty quick.
     
  4. lucasmello
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    lucasmello Business Bear Means Business Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Indeed, I don't mention any price figures until the third e-mail. I simply tell them about my company and that I am interested in bringing their product to the brazilian market.
     
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  5. ZeroTo100
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    ZeroTo100 Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Dude you rock!

     
  6. IrishSpring600
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    IrishSpring600 Bronze Contributor

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    Where do you go to sell it?
     
  7. lucasmello
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    lucasmello Business Bear Means Business Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    The beauty of what I did is that I have very little marketing. The community I am in already wants the product.

    I also know the main seller in the community, and he has told me that if I wanted to put products in his website, it would be no problem. I will probably use this in this trial run to sell the product more quickly, although he will probably take a 10-15% cut.
     
  8. IrishSpring600
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    IrishSpring600 Bronze Contributor

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    Great! Congratulations on preparing yourself and discovering the opportunity.
     
  9. lucasmello
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    lucasmello Business Bear Means Business Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Some people messaged me saying

    "You exchanged an e-mail with a supplier, got their bank account and just transferred them money?"

    Well...yeah.

    "What if they scam you?"

    I don't think they will. Since transferring the money, I have found out they are the supplier for most supplement stores in the USA and Europe (including the one I previously bought from).

    BUT, for the sake of argument, let's say they do scam me, or that I can't move the product, or that Customs seizes it.

    20% of the time, they scam me and I lose all of my money = -150 USD
    10% of the time, I get the product, but I can't move it = -270 USD
    30% of the time, Customs seizes it. = -150 USD
    40% of the time, I sell everything = +900 USD

    20% * -150= -30 USD
    10%*-270= -27 USD
    30%*-150= -45 USD
    40%*900= +360 USD

    EV = +258 USD (thanks @snowbank for developing this, math never lies)

    Note that I exagerated the values for worst-case scenario. I think maybe 1% of the time they would scam me. I think maybe 5% of the time I could not move the product. Custom seizing, although a worry of mine due to tight regulations, I highly doubt it is more than 10% based on my chat with previous owner.

    This is not even accounting for things such as: If this works out, I have a new business which can be easily automated and very hard to replicate as most people here don't speak english and find importing a pain in the ass, I got a business which can bring me 4-5 figures monthly easily, I can expand with other products and complements.



    PS: I did the math just now for people that rationalize their way out of importing. Even logic has my back on this one!
     
  10. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Awesome, love the +ev math.

    I think of it this way: I never wire money that I can't afford to lose. If I can afford to lose it, then it's not a big deal, and you just move on.

    Obviously we do our due diligence, and don't deal with anyone that sets off red flags. You can usually tell by the emails whether someone is serious & legit, or not.

    If they accept it, I will usually try and do Paypal on the first order or two. I'm happy to pay X% for that extra assurance. It's come in handy once and saved me a few hundreds. If not, that's ok too, as long as the wire information is for a company account and not someone's personal account.
     
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  11. lucasmello
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    It has been a couple of weeks since I have updated this thread, but by no means I have forgotten. Finally today I have received my samples.

    Just because you keep simple and stupid, doesn't mean it will be fast. It doesn't mean there won't be problem. It means that you aren't going to let those problems get to them your head, fixing them the simplest way possible.

    So what has happened?

    Well, the supplier was very worried about Customs so we had about a week of messaging to devise a strategy Customs wouldn't catch us (we aren't doing anything ilegal, BUT anyone who has ever worked with Customs know what a pain in the ass they are). That made them only ship last week and it just got to my desk.

    Now, I have solved the first part of this endeavor: The product. I am testing it right now and it seems to be an amazing product. Moving on to the second part: Distribution.

    I did have a domain and hosting available, so I just redesigned the website, did a new logo, etc, etc. Maybe one hour of work for this.

    Now, a big part of buying supplements is who you buy it from. So, I have contacted a friend of mine who has a a very well-regarded supplement store in this community as well, and will be offering him a 15% cut to handle all front-end operations. The only thing I have to do is ship out the item when money enters my account. Seems simple enough right? Well, it could be, but then I would miss out a big opportunity. To develop my own store, which is the goal. We have agreements in place that makes us not compete on the same product, so this allows me to import some supplements and him others. I will also print some stickers with my store's logo on it so I can start branding.

    Wow, so much stuff to do my thoughts are getting messy. Okay, one simple task at a time.


    PS: Don't forget to e-mail your supplier when your shit arrives. Tell them what problems you ran into, what you liked, what you didn't like about their product, packaging, etc. This is how you develop a relationship.
     
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  12. pedrohenrique.ss
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    Congratulations luccasmello! How it's going so far?

    I'm a brazilian too but i'm struggling to find a market to go in and it's been difficult to me to decide what kind of business I want to dedicate myself.
     
  13. daivey
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    so you figured out a away to get around customs...... great... so when the people shipping you stuff decide to sell you supplements that make someone sick, the only person that will be liable will be you.

    I hope you don't make someone sick or worse kill someone.

    Customs is there for a reason. Not only collect duties but to force importers to get the proper documentation and tests done so that you don't hurt someone in the name of making a buck.
     
  14. InformationH
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    InformationH Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I agree with you, but from what I remember the OP is from Brasil. This does change the scenario slightly. I lived in Brasil for a couple years and I had problems getting personal packages from family members through customs. There were many packages I never saw and some that I did receive were missing items.

    I had friends who imported while I was there and they had simalir issues but it was worse for them because it wasn't their personal items being "lost" but their businesses
     
  15. lucasmello
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    Hi,

    I have tests done by third party labs when the substance gets to Brazil. The only reason why I didn't want Customs to seize is that the government is slow in Brazil, were they to analyze it, it would take me over 3 months (with luck!) to get hands on my product.
     
  16. lucasmello
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    lucasmello Business Bear Means Business Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Wow, last time I updated this was september.

    Okay, well, so here is what has happened:

    I continued to import 3-5 shipments until January, I partnered with the two biggest suppliers of this supplement so I would get a commission every time they sold.

    And after two months, I realized something: My market was too small.

    Although the products I was importing were recurring buys (monthly or bimonthly), the community was too small (2 000 people), of which I believe I could get up to 3% of them to buy on a regular basis. I would make between 300-700 USD a month, cool money, but not worth my time. Soon as I realized this, sold the rest of the inventory I had to a friend's company.

    Total investment so far: ~1000 USD
    Total return so far: 1200 USD

    So, now I had to move onto something else.

    A friend came to me and said he was looking to source a certain product to physical establishments. I looked for it, found it, we ordered 500 of it.

    We sold 100 right off the bet, to distributors, friends and stores. One store in particular, didn't want the product we were selling for now, simply because they still had stock. They said when they needed to re-stock, they would contact us as our price was better. But more than that, they told us they had an interest in a certain product they couldn't find anywhere. I start searching for factories, now this is a tricky item since even in China there are little factories which produce the item to the specifications we want. I am currently dealing with 5 factories after one bailed on us (it happens), to get the best price and get the product in the hand of the store people.

    The best part? I have them calling me! Emailing me! Inviting us to their events and whatnot. We are establishing trust with the supplier. Guess who they are gonna ask when they need a product? That's right.

    This is one store in particular, there are still hundreds all over the country which I can sell a variety of items both cheaper and faster.

    Found a nice niche. I think I will stick here for a while.
     
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  17. lucasmello
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    lucasmello Business Bear Means Business Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    UPDATE:

    Got them the product, they were literally jumping. Kinda freaked them out how a 19 year old was able to find a product none of their other suppliers could. So, we already discussed new products. Since this is an industry I am also a user of the product, it is fairly easy, I just have to think: "What would I want to see" and then I ask the people who would buy the same question.

    Realized I made a big mistake buying a car in October. Sold it, now I am renting a car (actually cheaper and easy) and have some cash-flow.

    My little company got an assistant which helps me. we investing about 3k in inventory right now, expanding our social media presence and entering in contact with potential stores. Currently spending zero in marketing. Our public is so targeted, the best way is to reach them is find where they use their profile (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever) (or if we can, actually go there) and showcase our products. They always love it. The joys of having a good product.

    Some clinics have heard of my importing and they are interested in having me source some of their products. So this could be a huge new market. I intend to create various importing firms and develop a brand for each. These items are also sold frequently to the government, so once Brazil is over this economic crisis, it could be an avenue to explore.

    Looks like the sale of my older company is being materalized, payment should be made in August/September.

    Meanwhile, I have been re-organizing my finances. I have some cushion of money saved up. Investing in some cryptocurrencies (lots of potential there if you can do your due dilligence).

    Things at my J.O.B are also better, my partnership is being less time constrained and more focused on sales. That means I get to learn a skillset while I make money. Not such a waste of time afterall.

    I see myself quitting my job at the end of the year. There are couple of projects I am helping the company develop that I want to still be a part of, but that will be a equity partnership. By January, I hope to be at my own office with my own team, which everything points to that.

    I have also been re-considering university. I realized my university in Portugal was very good for practical purposes (accounting, financial investing, etc), while my university in Brazil seems very basic, literally like child's play. I also don't feel like the people there are serious about their life.

    As such, I have been considering transferring university (again) after building this company up to a stable level, and since we want to serve stores in the whole country, it doesn't matter where it is located, I could go to an university in another part of the country like São Paulo where schools are better.

    I guess we will see.


    For anyone wondering about hardships,

    Well, I spend 8-12am in uni, 1-6pm at the office, 6-9/10pm working on my side business. Monday through Friday. I also did a couple of allnighters working during the weekend while everyone was partying (ironically, i didn't miss much from what i was told).

    When I put it in words, it sounds a bit harsh. But I barely feel it. The more I move, the more I see opportunities to bring value to other people, learn a bunch of new shit and make a lot of money. After all, isn't this the time we have the most energy? Then we should spend building something worthwhile.
     
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