No this is not click-bait. This is a real company with real money looking to buy and operate 101 Amazon businesses. The key is they have to be well -run. What does that look like? It is not a business built on skirting the rules and creating false demand for their products. It is not a poorly designed or poorly executed product/product line. It is not a legal mess. It is not a company with poor or missing financials. You get it. If you have built a strong business or brand over time, you have a loyal following, you have raving fans (aka customers) who vote with their hard earned dollars then this might be the one you have been waiting for.
Richard is an experienced operator ready to build out a billion dollar company. He has the funding in place, the operation experts in place and the know-how to run a large company. Great guy with even better information.
101 Commerce – looking to buy 101 Amazon businesses/brands
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
Stephen: [00:00:00] I’m excited to talk about my sponsors today, Gaye Lisby’smillion dollar arbitrage group. Amazing, amazing group. This is a teacher. This is Gaye, she was a teacher. She is a teacher. Still. You need to learn. This is the type of environment you want to be in because she’s going to help you understand why, and I think that’s the hardest part of this business is understanding why. Why is the red one popular one? The green one isn’t? Well, there’s usually a reason and what gay does is probably parse that better than anybody and she’ll explain the reasons for those things. I think that’s really powerful. Yeah. She puts out a list. You’re going to get a good use of that list if you get in the group. Now here’s the deal. The group isn’t always open, right? So you get on the waiting list and you can join the waiting list through my link.
Stephen: [00:00:46] Doesn’t cost anything to get on a waiting list and if you like her service, which I find that most people do that. That’s why there’s not so many openings and you’ll be with her for a long time and so it’s amazing. Freedom [inaudible], she’s part of Andy Slamon’s group, amazing freedom.com. Forward slash momentum and you’re going to get in to the waiting list. That’s all I can get you on right now. You can use my name and see if that gets anywhere, but what I like about it, what I like about what they teach in that group or the things that are going on, you know the current things. I’ve seen a lot of stuff going on about stores going out of business. Well here’s where an opportunity is. Here’s why you want to do this. Hey, be cautious about this. You know what toys are us coming out, you’ve got to think about this and that’s the learning that you need to do and gay is better than anybody else I’ve seen.
Stephen: [00:01:31] So amazing. Freedom Dot com. Forward slash momentum will get you to the waiting list. Then hopefully we can get you in the group and then you’re going to see me in there and we can chat anytime you’re ready. Karen. Lockers, group solutions, the number for ecommerce solutions for e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you 50 bucks. Karen’s our account manager. We recommend her to everyone because she’s done so well for us. I mean that’s quite frankly the reason been paying her for last few years, but she’s become an important part of our team. Her and her team are so involved in our account. I just see the emails coming back and forth, hey, we did this for you. I just saw two listings today. I’m like, wait a second. Why did they show up? I didn’t put any listings up. They got a.
Stephen: [00:02:13] They got a set off to the side by Amazon and they reactivate them for me. You know what I mean? That’s the stuff that just happens when you have a strong team and I can’t recommend Karen enough if you use my code. Momentum. Karen pays me. I don’t want to hide that. Of course we all know that, but you’re going to say $50 and it’s a great opportunity to really, really build out your team with somebody you can trust. That’s why I recommend them. So solutions for e-commerce solutions, the number for e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum is going to save you $50. Oh, and by the way, she’s going to do an inventory health report. Why is that important? Well, guess what fees are going up. Is your inventory health number declining like ours is? Well, here’s why and what they can do. What I like is I get a spreadsheet from them and it says, Hey, here’s a bunch of inventory.
Stephen: [00:03:05] Here’s what we recommend. And I’m like, Yep, re refund. I mean delete a return us blah blah, blah, whatever it is and it’s or destroy and it just happens. That’s what I like. The other thing that I have Karen helped me with a lot is creating new listings. You know, we do. A lot of the researchers solves, we upload our images and then boom, magically the listing goes live and I don’t have to worry about it. Those are the services that [inaudible] offers. Can’t recommend her enough solutions for e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum. Save 50 bucks. Use My code. You save $50 a month every single month and it’s a great service. Plus you get that free inventory health report. I think it’s a really powerful way, so I can’t. I’m so excited how many people have been joining because I see it and I’m excited because the messages I get from people saying, hey, this is great.
Stephen: [00:03:52] I finally feel like I can focus on something else because Karen and her team are watching this for me and I highly recommend her. Next up is scout seller lamps, scope. Then we’ll set it wrong. It’s amazing. I mean, it really is amazing when you sit back and think about, hey, I want to get this product up and it’s similar to this product and that sell that product does well. Well, therefore, if that product does well, they have the right keywords, they’ve chosen things correctly, so guess what? You scope and you could see all that stuff and that’s what the most powerful thing in the world is to copy somebody who’s done it right. That’s what you want to. You want to take advantage of that, right? I mean it’s, it’s fair to see and so therefore you can take and apply it to your listing and immediately get that same benefit.
Stephen: [00:04:39] That’s what scope does for me. Seller labs dot [inaudible] forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you $50 on the service. Oh, by the way, it’s free to try. So sign up, try it and say, oh, this is how it’s done. Boom. And then you’re going to see the lights going to go on and you’re going to be like, man, I can get my products out there. I just can’t wait. Can’t wait. So we’re labs.com forward slash momentum. The other day I bought another domain. Yes, I bought another domain. It’s almost like A. I’m admitting guilt, but it’s because I had an idea and it was something that was a pretty good idea. I think it’s going to go pretty far and so what do I do? I go to try go daddy.com forward slash momentum and save 30 percent. So domains aren’t very expensive. You get a few services.
Stephen: [00:05:28] It adds up a little bit and I usually buy three years. I usually buy privacy by the way, I recommend that to buy that, you know, it’s not that much money, but when you can save 30 percent it makes it that much sweeter and it makes it easier when you’re buying domains and especially if you buy a bunch of domains. I am a domain collector and so I do tend to do that, but that 30 percent makes it a lot easier and I used to go down there because what I like is I can pop in an address I’m thinking and it’ll say, nope, nope, try this version or try this extension and then boom, there it is. Hey, you better hurry before it goes away. And they’re right. You know, and so try go daddy.com forward slash momentum save 30 percent. Also want to mention about grasshopper, was that just talking to somebody the other day?
Stephen: [00:06:11] And they were like, Oh yeah, use this company called grasshopper. I’m like, Dude, did you buy it through my link and save 30 percent? Hello? Know they missed that. So save 30 percentage, try grasshopper.com forward slash momentum. No surprise there, but you’re going to save 30 percent and what the. The real cool part about that is they’re using it for their private label business and it gives them virtually a second phone on their current phone without having to get another number. They can make up a vanity number. They don’t have to go and do all the grief and sign contracts. Pretty easy stuff, and so if you’re creating a brand that you want to identify, you want to look professional, you want to look like a real company. Grasshopper is a great tool. It’s an app you put on your existing phone and boom, you now have a customer service to. You now have a sales department, didn’t have a manufacturing division. You could forward it to somebody else. You can have it go to different voicemails, different departments, and it’s all included. So try grasshopper.com, forward slash momentum. Save 30 percent.
Stephen: [00:07:27] welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This is episode 294, Richard Jello. Chandra Richard is the CEO of [inaudible] commerce. [inaudible] hyphen commerce is the website and I’ll have that link out there, but Richard is. He’s got an amazing pedigree. I mean, listen to the episode. You’ll hear all the different places he worked with the CEO. So many different companies has so much experience and it’s so cool when you listen to somebody and you can look back and you see it. I can hear the way he talks. He’s talking about those things in his life that had brought him to where he is and he has an eye for it and so it gets what they want to buy a hundred and one and it’s the name hundred and one commerce. Amazon businesses, that’s what they want. Niche sites and it’s funny you in some point in the conversation we get to that there’s 19,000 million dollar stores out there selling and they’re looking for a hundred and one, so that means they’re going to say no 18,000, 900 times.
Stephen: [00:08:22] So you’ve got to understand that. And he was talking about managing expectations, but those high performing, those really well run that well run business as he described it later on in the podcast really has an opportunity, probably not much else. They have an opportunity right now. Here’s a company with boatloads of cash looking to acquire a lot of companies very quickly, you know, they’re in due diligence phase, I think he said six and another six and they’re looking to acquire a dozen businesses. So if this is an opportunity for you to sit back and say, you know what, I’ve been thinking about that. I wonder if I should the tires. I’m wondering if it’s worth me checking it out. And I think it is. If you meet some of the requirements and we get into some of the detail, I try to anticipate the questions you have.
Stephen: [00:09:04] So I think I’d got through most of them, but it’s [inaudible] hyphen commerce.com website down the bottom is a place you can put in your information and I get to that. Let’s get it into the podcast. Really good stuff. All right. Welcome back to the e-commerce movement and podcast. Very excited about today’s guest because he brings a breadth of experience is probably unmatched for anybody I’ve interviewed. I mean, he’s definitely a. had a career in ecommerce. I think that’s putting it mildly. A Richard Gela, Chandran [inaudible] Chandran. How do they do? Richard? You do very, very well. Is that tie? Yes. Nice. So Richard, I’m going to read, I’m going to indulge a little bit and read a little bit of your bio because I just think people need to understand the complexity of what you’ve done because when we met, uh, one of your staff members in Vegas, uh, we were all taken back because all of a sudden investment is coming to Amazon sellers and we’re all like, Huh.
Stephen: [00:10:02] And then, you know, we’re so divorced from that. So in your world, this is every person you probably meet for coffee a, let’s say you worked for a Clickbank, you had just a little job as chairman of the clickbank general partner of incline capital investments. Are you still with incline? My family office, he was the CEO of bodybuilding [inaudible] and I went and firstname.lastname@example.org. Four hundred and 20,000,000. Now. How many employees would that have had A. I had 100 employees now. I mean think about that though. Just that statement. Four hundred and 20,000,000 with 800 employees. You couldn’t have done that back in the day anyway. All right. And so we have eye socket map. My fitness technorati um, but he had a voice. He did voiceovers. I’m interested in that. I love that photographer, copywriter, car salesmen a. These are the glamorous positions. Now I’m describing some travel writer at the uh, did those define you later on? I mean, you could, you could, you could lose that.
Richard: [00:11:06] Everything kind of everything defines you. And I had a little bit of career add probably for the first 20 years of it or so, or not quite 20 years, but definitely a little bit of career add. So selling mainframes for IBM, selling cars for Ford Motor Company A. Yeah. And all those things kind of for me, and I’m talking a lot about business in a few things about what I didn’t want a career and that kind of led to know what I ended up doing most of the last 20 years.
Stephen: [00:11:39] Would you, would you look back at all the different things you do and say that today Steve, I’m doing what I love or to be honest, when I was a travel writer or if I was a voiceover person or because you were doing commercials and stuff, what was, what was it that gave you the best feeling?
Richard: [00:11:58] Um, well, I mean a little bit of all of it. I mean, I don’t, I don’t regret any of those stops along the way. I’ve enjoyed all of them. Um, but I love what I do now and I love the point and have a kind of being an old gray haired guy with a little bit of wisdom, uh, and uh, probably realize that every day with that little bit of wisdom that I knew less and less as I’ve gotten older and older.
Stephen: [00:12:25] It’s true though. You really do know less and less in this new world, right? I mean you’re, you’re a little bit older than me, so that means you probably got computers in your high school senior year. Maybe. Maybe you were more progressive than me, but they didn’t put them into my senior year. We had punch cards. Say So. So think about your staff, right? I mean, and you’ve had hundreds of staff and all these different companies. They know nothing but that computer, that learning curve that you and I have is so. It’s so big and they just adapt to it so quickly. Isn’t it cool?
Stephen: [00:13:14] I used to do and I’m an accountant by trade. I used to. The biggest, coolest thing I did was I took our aging and I used a trs 80 to move to age the buckets. Right? So take it from 60 to 90 days. Like everybody was watching me as I copied it over and everybody’s like, Woo. I mean, that was like cutting edge back in the day. I know. I’m sorry. Hey, you got better hair than me. So. So let’s go back. Um, so you were went to school. What was your major when you were at school? Business. So business, so a business you are going to do one, run a business, working in business. Did you have a plan?
Richard: [00:13:49] Oh, I mean, I, I, uh, I think my parents were from there weren’t depression-era, but there were just, you know, post-depression era. So, you know, they really, um, that whole generation was really the kind of the rise of corporate America. Um, so I grew up always thinking that, yeah, I get a job somewhere, a talking for 30 years, get a pension and all that. Um, and that’s Kinda what I grew up thinking. Um, and that’s kind of the path that I started getting one business degree and an MBA. Um, you know, working for IBM and Ford Motor Company, that’s kind of the path I was on. And then kind of just realized the, um, about five years into that, but that wasn’t the thing that I was put on this earth to do.
Stephen: [00:14:39] But that’s pretty cool that you founded at five years in most. Most guys our age don’t realize it until 20 or 25 when their company closes and they’re like, oh crap, what do I do? I’ve never found myself. Right. I mean, that happens a lot.
Richard: [00:14:53] Well, a funny story, you know, the, the light bulb moment that said, get out, uh, was, you know, was a couple years into my career for. But uh, we were uh, came in one morning and we were celebrating, um, a guy’s 40th anniversary with the company and we had cake and coffee and whatever it was, uh, you know, obviously a huge milestone for him. But as he described and look back and when sharing memories and reminiscences about those 40 years at four, uh, I was just like going, hey, that’s really awesome for you. But man, that would make me want to like, you know, blow up my head.
Richard: [00:15:39] And essentially he had done a lot of the same thing, now granted that that generation and probably didn’t have the kind of opportunities and mobility that we do. So I don’t like to judge. And that is absolutely, you know, the perfect thing for some people, but as somebody with a, you know, a little bit, not just career add, but real add, uh, uh, it just, it wasn’t the kind of the world of adventure that I wanted to live.
Stephen: [00:16:09] When I looked at your background and I saw that you were, I mean, you’re kind of a fix-it guy. It appears I’m, is this normal because I don’t, I’m not really in touch with the investment world in the startup world, but it appears to me as I looked through it, that I don’t get offended by this. But it seems to me that people just come and go in these companies. You go in, you take it so far, the next guy goes in, takes it. So far you move over to this one over this one, you move over to this one. Is that, does that kind of the world
Richard: [00:16:37] or was it the world that, that happened in my career? A little bit for sure. Um, I, I, one of my most formative jobs to be a turnaround, but it was an incredibly successful turnaround. So from there on out, I started getting calls to like, not necessarily in turn things around. Sometimes it was just a reboot or um, you know, or just know a shot of adrenaline or whatever. But yeah, it’s typically, you know, I would come in and um, you know, uh, work on something and get it to another level of critical mass or potential exit. Uh, and then, you know, post x, it would, would move on.
Richard: [00:17:30] There’s certain times where there’s is where you want, you know, the exact team just to stay on. And a lot of what we sold were Bolton’s. Um, so, uh, it made sense for me to move on.
Stephen: [00:17:41] Well, that leads me to a question. I guess I’m going to jump ahead because [inaudible], uh, so tell me exactly the name of the. It’s [inaudible] commerce brands or just commerce? [inaudible] commerce. The official name of the company is [inaudible] commerce. [inaudible] commerce. And your goal is to, uh, to buy how many companies?
Stephen: [00:18:09] not a hundred [inaudible]. I thought it was a little catch here. It definitely is. And so when I was out to lunch with Chris, he had mentioned at that point you had a, you’ve been in talks to her in due diligence with about seven at that point. Is that still about where you’re at? We’re, we’re, we’re way more than that at this point. Are you kidding me? But our goal, like, you know, our first, what I would call our first branch of deals, we will probably acquire a 12 depending on the size. It’s a little bit of a, a mix and match of kind of what the overall budget and run rate objectives are. But yeah, it’ll probably be between eight and 12 by the time we closed the first trench. So everybody’s saying, wait a second, this is a company that’s buying Amazon business. Whoa, hold on.
Stephen: [00:19:00] And they’re all like, wait, well they buy mine. So what I was thinking about as I was doing the research and I thought, you know, what would somebody want to know? I think we make it as easy as we can. Is there an ideal by. I like the way he described it, your first trench, so this is the first round you’re looking at is there, is that first trench, a certain size of company that you’re looking to acquire a certain number of skews or length of time in business or things like that give or take, Eh, um, you know, we’re looking for a certain revenue threshold, a certain earning’s threshold. And you say those are no, um, w, W let’s just say the initial goal would be, uh, by um, you know, 100,000,000 dollar businesses. So as small as a [inaudible] million dollar business means you’re going to buy some half a million dollars in some $10,000,000 business.
Stephen: [00:19:54] And so if that’s the average, so. OK, all right, so that would be a good way to characterize lots of people listening would be in that mix, not all going to be a million dollars and uh, there’ll be a handful that are, that are kind of lower middle, a single digit millions and we’ll have a whole number of things that we like that are in the half million dollar range because of the growth projection and the market penetration and all those things that, that’s, that’s obviously the due diligence, right? I mean, that’s where the, that’s the secret sauce, um,
Richard: [00:20:30] is if somebody who’s built a million dollar FBA business, they clearly figured something out. I mean, there’s 3,000,000 seller accounts on Amazon and if you’re a million dollars a, I think there’s about $19,000, $19,000,000 sellers. So you’ve clearly figured something out and you’ve got a good private label brand. Um, you, you figured out how to get both organic rankings as well as the inorganic skill advertising and marketing. Um, but the other thing that we find is very true, particularly in the half million to million dollar range does even in spite of that success. Um, when I asked those sellers what are your biggest challenges? I say let’s meet your three biggest challenges and get back number [inaudible] working capital number two, working capital number three, working capital m. and that’s something where we feel that that’s, you know, a pain point that we can solve very easily either by, you know, polio acquiring or in some cases will essentially invest in become partners with some of these people if they feel like getting rich twice. Um, and what I mean by getting rich twice is, yeah, they don’t want to get rich on, on selling a good part of their business today, but they still made me feel like they’ve got, you know, a runway to grow, you know, and want to keep on that journey. You know, we’re, we’re open to those kinds of partnerships as well.
Richard: [00:22:09] Depends on the size of the business, but in the, in the, uh, um, kind of range that I mentioned. Yeah, it’s probably that obviously businesses that are doing 5,000,000 or 10,000,000 and David’s got some other kinds of scale and growth and, and a bulletproofness or whatever that would earn them a higher multiple. So you see a creative businesses trading, you know, anywhere from, you know, two at the low end, you know, probably up to seven or eight if, if they’re, uh, you know, a figure bit, I mean the height, bigger business. And there are a number of, you know, nine figure businesses. And I have though, I don’t know what the multiples on those arms.
Stephen: [00:22:53] Does that blow your mind when you sit back and think about, you know, your dad creating a company, a, you know, a million dollar business. What would that have taken right now? I mean, you could see some of these businesses start in three or four months, hit those numbers very, very quickly.
Richard: [00:23:09] You know, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t tell you the story of how I kind of stumbled on the FDA. Um, I, I was, uh, I’m trying to, let’s say I was trying to be semi retired, just kind of a point where I was a little bit burned out. I can relate. Yeah. And I probably wasn’t done done, but I was at this point where it’s like, let’s, you know, we can afford it. Let’s take two years off and really see if we can kind of figure out some things. Dabbling and all that kind of made this deal with my wife and, and that I was going to take two years off and maybe do some board, were revive some startups, maybe invest in some things. We set aside a little bit of money where I was like, you know what? I’m going to buy one of these interest, you know, little solopreneur businesses and, and see if I could run one and all that, you know, because one of the ironies are contradictions of, of being a successful executive in a venture-backed, private equity backed companies is you work like crazy, but you actually don’t really do any work.
Richard: [00:24:13] Never get your hands dirty. Yeah. You don’t get your hands dirty. It’s not like you’re not putting in an hour, but you’d actually don’t do any of the knob twisting, pushing and all that. And so I thought it’d be really fun to kind of by, um, you know, a solopreneur business, uh, you know, that have the characteristics of the four hour work week, you know, um, they don’t exist and yeah, no, I know but there, but there are plenty of Fba businesses is going to be running in less than 10 hours a week, uh, if they’re mature at a certain scale. So I was interested in, in a number of online businesses, but I really came across at Fba and, and uh, was just enamored by how not just like, um, you know, the size, uh, and the, uh, the velocity of some of these businesses, but just how many there were.
Richard: [00:25:07] I was dumbfounded by how big the ecosystem is. And so I, I was looking around and shopping for myself and finally, uh, I asked myself [inaudible] hi. I saw a lot of good ones. It wasn’t like there was a couple, that’s how a lot of good ones and I was like, how come nobody’s bought 100 of these? And that’s how, that’s how I met, you know, ultimately led to um, me forming a, an investment thesis around buying a hundred and one brands and consolidating them and, and uh, you know, can, we can have some efficiencies at that kind of scale. Uh, you know, but it would create nine figure commerce business that was growing and profitable.
Stephen: [00:25:53] It gives me a million questions further that does because I sit back and think, all right, so what you’re describing, is it more of a type of, you know, I’m trying to think of something that’s similar. Is it like a retreat where you go out and raise all this money and you’re going by a real estate or not? I don’t think it’s like syndication, right? But it’s like, it’s like a real estate investment trust where you have all these properties put together and you go out and get this funding and then there’s a management fee. I mean, how does that all work? What’s it like? Maybe that’s the right way to ask.
Richard: [00:26:21] I mean, we’re not, we’re not really creating a fun. We’re creating an operating company. So that said there are plenty of people doing what you just described and it is a very attractive business model where you go get some mature digital assets that they’re throwing off some cash and you aggregate them and all of a sudden you’ve got a really nice cash flow business. Um, that’s not our intent. Our intent is to, uh, you know, by [inaudible] brands and actually grow the crap out of him. Are you going to bring them in? You know, because I was thinking about that $10,000,000 property. They, I’m sure they use FBA, but at that point they probably, you know, do a lot of work themselves. Is that where the efficiency of scale comes in where you would move those functions to from Carlisle Pennsylvania to blah blah, blah, wherever that is and bring those brands in that way. Is that what happens or what do you just take that completely out and bring it right from China and stuff like that?
Richard: [00:27:20] Step back and think about the beauty about Ba. So one of the things I always say about it is, you know, Amazon’s got this other other service and the soccer side or the software ecosystem called aws, Amazon web services and it’s amazing how that has changed, you know, the way people form build for startups and things like that. I mean even a company the size of Netflix is using aws basically run. It’s a data and software infrastructure. So when I look at EPA, FDA is essentially aws for retail and what it allows you to do is outsource everything that’s hard about e-commerce starting with traffic. I mean, Amazon’s got 200,000,000 shoppers, not not users or customers shoppers. Um, so you have 200,000,000 like converting offers out there so you don’t have to worry about traffic and you’ve got a private label brand. You get a nice prime logo stand on your forehead.
Richard: [00:28:26] A which basically implies fantastic customer experience for uh, you know, customers zero to two days shipping, everybody trusts to prime now. Um, so it’s almost like your brand is being co-branded with Amazon, so that beautiful. You also have, you know, much of the customer service, uh, that you, you need, or at least the minimum viable customer service built into the platform. You also have a bolt in on advertising platform, dirty little secret. Amazon’s one of the fifth largest a digital media companies in the world because they have such a robust advertising platform. So that allows you to like a do incredible things with very few employees when you’re out, outsource all those things. And then of course we forgot to say the fulfillment, that’s really hard to do. So you’ve outsourced. Think about everything you’ve outsourced. Really all you need to do is come to the party with a great product, a great brand and some good marketing skills and just take care of your customers. Look at your career with bodybuilding, [inaudible]. So in a being in charge of that, you said you had 800 employees, right? I don’t know how many fulfillment because you had
Stephen: [00:29:42] one not far from me here. Those were pain points for you. Right? And then I look at clickbank when you were at clickbank and I’m like bringing traffic there cause it was a Amazon’s 700 pound gorilla then or google, Amazon, clickbank bringing traffic is another pain point. So this was like a perfect storm for you, wasn’t it? I mean your whole career has brought you to this place, you’ve seen the pain points, you’ve lived those pain points. And was it like an epiphany, like a light bulb going on for you?
Stephen: [00:30:17] We take it for granted. I mean, it’s true, I mean, it’s hilarious and all of my listeners are going to be like laughing to themselves. Like, wait, we’re that good. I mean, literally there’s going to be a whole bunch of people saying, man, sometimes I don’t feel like it, you know, I’ve got a million dollar business and I have no money in my wallet because of cash flow, right? Being the biggest issue. Um, but it takes a lot to do that.
Richard: [00:30:37] Well, and this leads to another issue to, and eight, again, I’ll tell you my own personal journey in getting into this was, um, you know, I’m thinking, you know, a 25 year digital event I got into the Internet in January 19. I know E-commerce, I know advertising, Yada, Yada Yada. So my goal when I first got serious about it, I was like, on, you know what, I am going to buy an Fba business and I’m going to take it full multi-channel a I can do, I have the expertise I have experience. And the more I studied it, I was like, why would you ever do that? Um, because the operating leverage of, of a Fba, you know, I haven’t met, you know, sole proprietors running eight figure businesses and you could not do that if you were multi-channel. Um, there’s not a chance in heck you could do that if you were multi-channels.
Richard: [00:31:32] So why is that? Why is that specifically? Well, if you’re a multi-channel, that means you’re writing a website, Casey got some technical chops or, or spend some money on some contractors to run a website. It has traffic and it’s got all kinds of scaling issues. So there’s some other technology that’s involved in that, uh, you have to market to get people to that site which requires marketing skills, social media skills, and a bunch of different things around traffic acquisition that are usually very specialized. Um, then you have the fulfillment piece. Um, and also imagine if you’re selling full mouth the channel or near a Walmart, Ebay and all that, it takes time to manage all of that.
Stephen: [00:32:16] It does. And they don’t like Walmart’s a good example. There is no customer service program right now. So you’re on your own. And it’s like I’ve had a whole bunch of friends, like somebody called me on my cell phone because when they set up their Walmart, they put their cell phone number, just ask for number the note. They didn’t think anybody would ever call it. Well, Walmart gives it out and they’re like, I don’t want people calling me, you know, what do I do? You know, they didn’t plan for that. And so can you sit back and you think about that. So you’re saying the outliers for the companies that were looking to buy, they’re really successful because they’ve given it all to Fba. I mean, is that really when you look at it, does that weigh upon your decision more than anything?
Richard: [00:32:54] Well, let me be clear. I am a huge fan of lean 100 percent fba that said there are brands that can and should exist in a multi-channel environment. But I would say the vast majority of things on Apa could easily just be a hundred percent fba. And the Roy associated with taking them multi channel probably isn’t worth it.
Stephen: [00:33:23] It isn’t worth it. It was sitting there thinking about body building.com because that’s a destination site. I wonder now that you’re not affiliate with them anymore, but I wonder what percentage of their business has been taken, shared, stolen, whatever you want to call it, over to Fba because I know so many people in the supplement business, um, and you know, is because it’s such, like you said, a trusted site, you know, um, is the effort worth it? You know, I don’t know if a body building allows third party sellers on there, but, but it just, you wonder those things. I mean, is it, is it they’re so dominant and is it really just not worth the effort elsewhere? I don’t know. OK. All right. I like that. I think you did a great job explaining what it is you want to operate these companies. Now, may I ask you this because I was in the newspaper business and I shut down printing plants. That’s what I did. Write an accountant. So they would bring me in to fix things. I was a fixer. And so does that mean that if I sell you my business and I have my wife and my son and we’re working in the warehouse together and my neighbor down the street when I sell you my assets, are you buying real estate or are you trying to only buy product and name and brand?
Richard: [00:34:35] Yeah. So most of what we’re focusing on is, is super highly concentrated in an Fba. OK? First we’re in contract with about a half dozen right now. Uh, and as I said, we’ll probably do another half dozen for, with close the first tranche, and virtually all of them are either a hundred percent or overnight versus 95 percent Fba. Um, and uh, you know, so, so again, we’re looking for that operating leverage that can allow an absurdly high level of profitability. Again, this is the other thing, when you go fold, I channel and it’s different if you just, you, you’re one person and you’re running a shop by side. But if you have any success at all, all of a sudden you’re going to end up with 10 employees before we know it. Uh, you know, and again, it does make sense for certain brands, but yeah, our goal is to literally go after, um, you know, businesses that are a really focused on an Fba, uh, done really well at it. And um, you know, I’ve had some of the working capital challenges that are probably held back their growth, skew expansion, international expansion, things like that where we believe that we can add a lot of value. I think that’s one thing I, I alluded to earlier, I don’t want to make really clear is that um, you know, we can solve those problems and we fully expect I’m in acquiring these businesses that we will be able to grow them significantly after.
Stephen: [00:36:09] Will you acquire talent if you find it? Because as you said, I mean these are outliers. The fact that they could create a million dollar business from nothing or 10,000,000 or 20,000,000, there is a skill set. Because as I think about like I’m thinking, OK, you know, this is Steve’s account in mind saying, all right, where are you going to say, Oh, you’re going to save in shipping. You’re gonna save in sourcing, you’re going to save the manufacturing, you’re going to say, because you’ve got to save to pay for all this, right? So you’ve got to figure that all that out. Those are the efficiency you gain, but you will meet that talent, right? You’ve seen it. Your whole career, that outlier, that’s somebody who’s just, wow, they’re better than good, right? Does, is that sometimes part of the acquisition? Could it be,
Richard: [00:36:46] well, look, you in the space, you need everybody under the sun that comes from very different backgrounds, very different, uh, life objectives and things like that. Of course, we would love to meet people who want to sell their business, but stay onboard. There’s plenty of people who don’t want to do that, you know, I mean, it literally was just talking to one yesterday where, um, you know, he had a successful career in his wife and family. They wanted to do other things and he never thought that it would get this big. Um, and uh, you know, so, so that person must go back to what their life was, but with a little cash in pocket. That’s pretty awesome though.
Stephen: [00:37:32] Thinking about that, that’s really a pretty cool place to be kind of, you know, stepping back. But like you say, a little fatter in the wallet and then you could, you could wash, rinse, repeat if especially if they have proven, I mean, wouldn’t likely they could do that. Again, that’s probably what you’ll start to see. Don’t you think as the business matures more these FBA businesses,
Richard: [00:37:52] you know, I’ve heard every story, so I don’t think those people will go back and do it, at least not immediately. But then I’ve met others that we’re talking to that, you know, the minute they close, they’re going to use the cash to start a new brand. That’s cool. And uh, you know, they’ve signed a, you know, a non compete not to do exactly what they were doing before. Um, but hey, more power to them. And those are real entrepreneurs. And yet to think about the entrepreneurial spectrum is you have people who are really good at starting things and you also have other people who were really good at finishing and you know, saw that as a dude personality, like I’m personally not a big company guy already defined that at the earliest part of the podcast where I just didn’t think I was going to be a good employee in 100,000 employee company.
Richard: [00:38:43] So everybody does have some somewhere on that spectrum where their sweet spot is and they’re certainly a lot of people and yet the system that are really good at it and uh, getting them to a certain level that said, just to repeat it, um, you know, there’s going to be cases where we have an entrepreneur who wants to jump in the boat with us and row hard, um, and uh, and then it’s going to be plenty of others that for a variety of reasons, decide, you know, to depart ways and say, good luck with it guys.
Richard: [00:39:32] I don’t know if there’s anything that we won’t look at, but there, there’s definitely things that we like, uh, that have certain characteristics, um, but, but a lot of the characteristics that we’re looking for our financial and then performance kpi type indicators. Um, so I think we’re, we’re fairly product agnostic, but obviously there’s certain product categories that fit some of the apis better than, than others.
Stephen: [00:40:07] And I guess that makes sense, right? If you had a, let’s say you were doing a supplements and you come across a supplement company that might be a good and their brand might not be so strong and yet their products are great or whatever. Can you take in and scale that? Right. Would you think that you’ll start to see some brands merge? I’m under your tutelage, if that makes sense.
Richard: [00:40:28] Yeah. I think you can see some things merge for work on synergies off of each other as well. I think a year we’re going to have some southern cross relational customers. Um, you know, that, uh, you know, for example, that person who bought the protein powder in front of you, maybe also by, um, you know, uh,
Stephen: [00:40:53] light bulbs from when I was thinking about, you know, and I guess it’s since the FBA businesses, you don’t really get the customer data, but is there value in like a, like a customer, like a company like bodybuilding, right, where they were doing their own fulfillment, is there value in a company, a couple of things. One that’s been around for a long time because they have a cash flow, daily payouts or something like that. Does that enhance in any way? And if so it’s probably minor, but it’s still, it’s something. And then if they come with a asset of a customer list, um, and, and, uh, a loving customers, is that helped too?
Richard: [00:41:29] Of course, of course. Any, any, um, any additional customer information you have is always a benefit and a, an asset. That said, I think one of the deals you make with Amazon, you have to just know this going in, is that you’re not going to have every bit of customer information. It’s just not, not the, the, the handshake deal you’re doing with Amazon, they take all the hard things about e commerce off your plate, you’re giving up something and whatnot. Now that said, there’s plenty of podcasts and in many communities that teach people how to, um, build an indirect customer relationship, um, you know, with their Amazon customers and, you know, I think that’s, that’s actually a really good thing to do. It’s gotta be very white hat. I think that’s something that Amazon, I think it will crack down on a lot already has greg down, but I think they’ll continue to crack down.
Richard: [00:42:31] Um, because again, it, there, they want the ultimate customer to have a great Amazon experience and whatnot. And you know, if you’re buying from 100 sellers, you don’t want 100, uh, you know, random emails coming in from various FBA seller. So I kind of get what Amazon is trying to do with that. That said, there’s other ways to provide good service that fit within Amazon’s terms of service. And I think that’s a really good path and just a, a good business practice for everybody that I have that I want to understand is what the, um, the due diligence process is. But I think that brings up a good example. Are there some no goes, you know, are there things that are just red flags that are, you know, there’s a line that you’re not going to cross that just exclude if this happened, boom, you’re out.
Richard: [00:43:19] If this happened is, are there any hard fast rules? Um, yeah, a really obvious and repeated violations of the terms of service. And you know, we’ve seen that in a couple that we’ve looked at the due diligence process because part of it is you get access to their Amazon history. You have to, well that’s, that’s after you sign a letter of intent. But even before that, uh, you can imagine we had a number of really promoted the website. People have found it and uh, have come to us. And at the same time we have a, we work with a number of the best brokers in the industry. Um, so we, we, we’ve seen a lot out there and uh, you know, you’re, you’re always kind of looking for what you’re going to fall in love with and it’s kind of like dating and you know, if he thought of, uh, you know, all the, uh, members of the opposite sex, they’re a day you’ve met in your life and the fact that you may have had a couple of girlfriends and a wife and just tells you what the odds are. Um, so it, it is kind of a process of elimination. You do have to, you know, get smitten with somebody and then like anything, whether you’re meeting friends or for dating or whatever, they’re just some things that are going to turn you off. And a violation of terms of service is something where I think there’s a higher risk of, uh, you know, having an account paused or, or a, um, terminated.
Stephen: [00:44:59] All right, so let’s talk through a. But if, well, let me just make sure I don’t, I don’t want to leave that hanging. So what you said was somebody who extremely violating those terms of service. Now if they’ve come clean and fixed it and move forward, that doesn’t completely exclude them. Right. That brings the, that goes right to the conversation. He has to be deeper but. But it doesn’t completely get them out of the picture. Correct?
Stephen: [00:45:31] Yeah, you do. So since 2011, the rules that we had back then there, I mean there’s so many new rules that, you know, we still have inventory from that. I mean, so it’s, it’s now a violate. Well it wasn’t when I put it in there, you know, so anyway. OK,
Richard: [00:45:47] anything you have to think about Google and the publisher ecosystem 10 years before it’s very similar to the rules will always change and invest one thing running any kind of business, but particularly in Fba businesses you should expect continuous change,
Stephen: [00:46:03] but I think, I think the fact that you have some experience in e-commerce world and you realize it isn’t easy. All these little things are complicated and sometimes there’s reasons why this was done that way because at the time this didn’t happen. We haven’t adjusted, so that makes sense. All right, let’s talk due diligence. How long is that process have you found for the several companies you’re working on acquiring?
Richard: [00:46:26] Well, typical, most of our deals are structured to have 30 to 60 days of diligence. I think you can do it faster than that. Um, a lot of the delay and the things that take time I have nothing to do with the actual diligence itself, so it’s just that the rest of the logistics around getting a deal done and schedules and lawyers contracts and things like that. So the actual diligence itself probably, uh, you know, really depends on the seller. Um, um, but it can take, you know, a week to six weeks. It really just depends and there may be other data that you’re looking for that you want to see over time and things like that or being evaluation, evaluating some of the processes. But, uh, yeah, it can, it can take some time and it also can be done very quickly. Uh, we haven’t done this, but I do know of a, a you broker, one of the broker friends that we had was noting that they got a deal done with an SBA loan, no less than two weeks. So that’s, so anything’s a possible and I think you really motivated and you have the time, you don’t have any kind of logistical challenges or you’re not juggling a whole bunch of other balls. You could probably get diligence done fairly quick, but there’s probably the actual Dylan’s itself is uh, um, like I said, only part of the equation, there’s the negotiation, there’s negotiating a contract there is going to be comfortable with and making sure all the terms you know are mutually beneficial and things like that. Then it does take time.
Stephen: [00:48:13] Now are you acquire, I mean, is there a legal structure that you’re looking for from companies? Um, are you acquiring assets or you mean how does that, I guess it’s all the above, but I mean generally,
Richard: [00:48:26] yeah, I would say it’s all the above. I mean, ideally we’re interested in buying the brand and the account. Um, in some cases, you know, we were all obviously any ip associated with that, um, there will be exceptions where we decided to buy the entire legal entity. Um, so it’s all over the place, but I’d say the preferences towards asset purchase agreements versus stock purchase agreements.
Stephen: [00:48:54] Right. That makes sense. I think that was one that was out there. So I think we’ve answered most of the question. I’m sitting there thinking about what, what somebody is going to be thinking about. There are no kind of a taboo items to sell. They can be complimentary that they don’t have to be correct. They don’t have to be supplement companies on the right. They can be silicone spatula, it’s barbecue gloves, everybody’s got those right. It can be different things like that. Are you looking for, um, are you looking for efficiencies? Is that where you save your money? Is in the manufacturing process and in the, you know, the shipping and the service side over in China or wherever that there’d be a manufacturer? Or is that where you really get your efficiencies?
Richard: [00:49:38] Well, I think you require, you know, a hundred and one brands, you’re absolutely going to have some concentrations of things. Um, and I absolutely believe that we will find synergies within, with brands in groups and things. So, you know, for example, you could have an automotive group, you can go home and kitchen group, you could have a, you know, as a of supplements group and things like that. They’d still be independent brands, but you might have some synergies, a easier in manufacturing, you know, or consolidating suppliers and things like that. I think there’s probably also a lot of optimization to be done on supply chain around just the shipping logistics. Um, so imagine you have hundreds of sellers that used manufacturers in China and we’ll mentor you, consolidated all those shipments into a more, you know, a, a streamlined way. Uh, you know, I absolutely believe you’re going to be able to save some money there. And so
Stephen: [00:50:41] what about having a, having a location over in China or somewhere in that Middle East were not Middle East so far east where you can, you can take advantage of that. Right. That makes perfect sense.
Richard: [00:50:50] I think that would be likely. Again, we’re still, you know, we’re, we’re building the airplane as we go down the, uh, the front way. Um, so, uh, but yeah, I would say that that, uh, uh, certainly is contemplated, is having, you know, both supply a experts, sourcing experts as well as shipping experts that can help with some of those things.
Richard: [00:51:22] We are in a letter of intent, a with a number which basically means that we have signed a no shop, a commitment, uh, with the seller for us to conduct our diligence. And I think this is important for people out there have never been through this before. Um, to, to know that when we look at something, we actually are investing quite a bit of money just to look. I’m not just our own internal staff, but we have an external legal, external, financial and accounting. Um, in some cases a subject matter or domain expert, um, that look at these deals. So they’re being paid money out the door. And this is why you asked for a little bit of exclusivity to complete your diligence. Um, you know, uh, to uh, you know, check all the boxes so to speak.
Stephen: [00:52:25] Yeah, that’s reasonable. I mean, it just seems perfectly reasonable, especially if you’re, if you’re thinking about selling to a company, you want to have some level of trust. There has to be some of that. So I get that. OK. So, uh, one final thing and then I’m going to ask you a. So if somebody wants to get in touch with you, not you, the company. So it’s [inaudible] hyphen commerce.com. I knew there was something there are different. So it’s [inaudible] hyphen commerce.com. And I’ll have links to it on this episode. And in there you can fill out a question. There’s no. And they’ll keep it quiet. It says, you know, statistical confidence. So it’s got your name, your email address, your phone number, your Amazon sales, the last 12 months, a net profit and how old is your business and what categories you sell and reviews. And so those are kind of the metrics that immediately say this is worth looking at. This might not be as. Does everybody get a reply?
Richard: [00:53:16] Yeah, you’ll absolutely get some for awhile. And I mean, look, the reality is I always love managing people expectations. Um, with respect to, um, you’re buying or selling a company is hard. It’s very hard. It’s a harder than just doing a little business deal and there’s a lot more at stake. So, um, you know, the number of people you have to talk to to actually get a deal is it, it’s never been through it before. You need to have the right level of expectations. But yes, we will get back to everybody. And the reality is that, um, you know, we’re gonna have more interests in, you know, um, us taking a look and we’ll have the capability to buy. So I always want to manage everybody’s expectations on that. And in the eyes are bigger than your appetite. Well, it’s not just, it’s not just that I think there’s going to be more people wanting to come to us then we have the ability to buy.
Richard: [00:54:20] I mean, as I said, there’s a, I saw this estimate somewhere, 19,000 plus million dollar sellers, um, you’re looking for a hundred and one and we’re looking at over a hundred, so you knew that. Um, and uh, um, and then there’s also the case to where there’s going to be businesses that are smaller, not necessarily kind of hitting, you know, the minimum threshold we’re looking for, but they may be on their way and they may not be far in those. In those cases. What we want to do is establish a relationship where, uh, you know, uh, it may not be now, but maybe we should talk in six months or 12 months. Are you offering guidance to those people saying, Hey, Steve, you know, you’re not right for us now, but if you can get, these are the things that we see. If you can get these things in line and these metrics, are they keeping appear as you said, if you can get these in line, we can have another conversation. Yes, we’re going gonna do our best to communicate. Um, and uh, uh, but you know, it’ll be hard with the amount of volume that we’re seeing too to have a really detailed personal conversation. But there will be many cases where, you know, we say we love your category Lug Gross. I’m paying us in six months.
Richard: [00:55:44] It really, I mean at this point I can see you. I mean, how much money do you have access to right now? I’m not at liberty to say lot of zeroes more than the Tom Cruise thing. More than two or three zero. So lots of money. And so this is probably not a one and done. This is kind of a build it out, build that as you say, a several billion dollar company and then maybe wash, rinse, repeat, and if not you someone else, right? I mean this is going to catch on. If it works. Everybody’s gonna be like who new thing and people will gravitate towards success. I think if we’re successful in there probably are others out there trying to do this at different scales and what we’re doing back to know that there are others out there trying to do this. At smaller scales, but also try to do it at the scale we are for sure. I think this is really good for the whole ecosystem. Creates a lot of excitement and, and frankly it probably promotes a lot of better behavior. Um, because again, the only things that get acquired or things that are, that are really well built. No customer centric businesses and strong brands,
Stephen: [00:57:01] well built a well built co wrote my title to seats, that voice. So I think we’ve run the gamut. I think we’ve covered everything. So I have the contact information. Why don’t you lead us, leave us with something final, what you think that the, the seller who’s thinking about selling their business, what they should be doing looking forward to, or if they have one that’s potential, what they can do to really enhance their chances of getting acquired by someone, not you. I don’t want you to commit to anything. Of course
Richard: [00:57:34] I would start with a handful of business cliches and that’s that ultimately, you know, be thinking about your ultimate customer because we’ve seen really do solve a problem. Um, and you know, for example, one of the things that we’ve just, um, gotten into contract with, um, you know, it was literally I’m a guy solving his own problem. You had, you know, I’m not going to say what the problem was, I want to give it away, whatever, but yet are a significant problem and you wanted addressed and he went out and found industrial designers and somebody who, you know, the health care space and created something that is really solved the problem. Um, so I, again, I would start that cliché, you know, there’s a lot of people in an eba literally who are just there for the goldline and yes, we all want to make money and all that.
Richard: [00:58:31] But I mean, the really cool businesses we’ve seen not only make the money, but they really solve a problem that we think have legs that we can grow, continue to grow. If it’s just a money grab, there’s plenty ways to, to grab money there. Um, and I just don’t know how scalable those are. So I’d be the first thing. The second thing is if and when you decide to start thinking about it, start thinking about what your business is going to look like to a stranger and what do you think would be impressive to a stranger. So you know, one obvious thing is like if you came to me and said, hey, I got this great thing or whatever and I’m in sales are good, and I’m like, when I say can I see your financials and you say are financial gurus and, and that’s, that’s a, that’s actually more common than you think.
Richard: [00:59:28] It’s an easy to solve problem. I mean you think you can find pretty inexpensive bookkeeper to kind of help you go back and build some financials and put things in the like quick end or something like that that just kind of like shows that you’ve taken some care and thought about your business. You know, where your expenses are because frankly, and diligence, you know, our diligence is relatively easy from a financial standpoint and get see the seller central accounts, you know, what the revenue is. The harder thing for us is like, well, how does it, how does that revenue match against, um, you know, so the cost side of the business where, uh, you know, this wire went out to the supplier and then, you know, where’s the tie back to the bank account and all that. That’s how a little bit harder for us. So if you have really good financials, that makes it a much easier story to tell.
Stephen: [01:00:21] Um, as I was sitting here thinking about it, yeah, you have a third party who, a impartial third party that you could tie out sales because that’s one of the hardest things to tie out, right? Anybody could say their expenses are low, but you could do that. Math revenue is a hard one to prove.
Richard: [01:00:36] It doesn’t even have to be an impartial third party. You’d done your homework, but we’re just going to check your mouth and your mouth is right. Thumbs up. A couple of other things I would draw. Bear is, um, you know, it’d be, hadn’t done it yet. Um, it’s really good to know file a trademark. If you have a brand, it’s important that you filed to get into brand registry with Amazon. I mean just stuff like that makes a big difference.
Stephen: [01:01:00] Do you guys have a checklist or anything like a guy, a white paper or anything that you have that would help people have? Have you thought about that? I do. OK. So somebody can send to you.
Stephen: [01:01:25] so it’s your secret sauce, but if they fill out that questionnaire and there’s interest on both parties part, that’s where that stuff can help. OK, that’s fair. That’s fair. I don’t want you to, to give away. All right Richard, and I’m telling you, you just blew my mind. It’s so cool. It’s, it’s. I’ve done a lot of interviews with software companies and I say to him, well how did you find out about Fba? He goes like, oh no. That’s where the market is right now. Will be on to something else eventually. But right now Amazon Fba is everything and I’m like, wow. And so it’s pretty cool to see the, uh, investment world moving over this way now to really interesting
Richard: [01:02:03] when I saw it. Um, but the first interest was second interest, so I’ll go to the second one, second inches was like, wow, what a great business opportunity that this is the first interest though is my mind was just blown away by how many mom and in Solo for changing their lives. Uh, I mean I thought this is the, the biggest gold rush was the wrong word. Biggest opportunity from mom and pop entrepreneurs I’ve ever seen that I could think of in mankind’s history. So I think it’s absolutely a, just an unbelievable social, uh, social logical story that continues to blow my mind and the fact that there’s a business opportunity and a massive one behind it is really cool.
Stephen: [01:02:51] All right, well, hey, thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much. Thank you, Steven. Due to smart, very, very cool. Another old guy in the e-commerce world. That breadth of experience though, you could hear it and I mean it’s funny, in our pre-call we were talking about, you know, he knew where Harrisburg was because he a body building.com had a warehouse here. Everybody has a warehouse here in Pennsylvania, but it’s just so cool. He knew what he was talking about. That’s what I appreciate. You know, you don’t. Most of these guys that sit in these boardrooms or whatever haven’t touched anything, haven’t done anything and this guy knows what he’s talking about. That’s what I really appreciate and now he has a passion for it and I think it’s very cool. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is a business decision. This is a financial decision. These guys are going to look to make the right business decision, but why can’t you be rewarded for having a well run business by doing the things right, by staying within the terms of service, having good financial statements, building good practices, why can’t you be rewarded? Well, Richard will tell you you can and that’s a good opportunity. So [inaudible] hyphen commerce. Com and I’ll have the links in the episode and I thank you so much. Take care.
Cool voice guy: [01:03:59] Thanks for listening to the e commerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at e commerce momentum [inaudible]. Under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on it