How To Sell Your Amazon FBA Business
Kris Gramlich and Dustin Kane chats with Neil Twa from Voltage Direct Marketing about how to sell your Amazon business and the Platinum Principle. Neil is covering part 5 of our 5 part series on how to start an Amazon FBA business effectively. Make sure you follow this series on our podcast Two Amazon Sellers and A Microphone
The Platinum Principle: What are your buyers looking for? Build your business to meet their expectations not yours. Stack insane value so customers fall in love with your products and business. Buyers come to your business with money in hand. Make more money selling your Amazon business.
Important points to keep in mind. Setting up limiting taxation, protection for the business, running it independently, running it profitably, and creating a great brand that customers want.
Amazon Sellers: If you want to know what steps you should be taking right now in order to sell your Amazon business for top dollar then you need to listen to this podcast series from Neil Twa on Building an Amazon FBA Business.
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How To Sell Your Amazon FBA Business
– Hello, everyone. And welcome to episode 114 of Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone brought to you by Sellozo. And today’s the conclusion of this five-part series that’s been amazing with Neil Twa. And we’re super pumped about this Neil ’cause you’re gonna… This is the platinum principle that we’re gonna talk about today.
– Platinum principle. Yeah, 114 but we’ve been crushing it this week. Haven’t we?
– I know.
– I went back and listen to all of them.
– Did you really? Oh boy.
– Yeah. I went back at 2x speed.
– Go to the gym and just pound it out and listen to all these episodes. It was good.
– That’s impressive ’cause most people tell me they can’t listen at 2x. In fact, they try to slow it down, but there’s no-
– Well, I wasn’t listening to myself, I’ve definitely listened to you.
– Like the chipmunk when you run me at that level.
– Yeah. Well, I’m actually a fan of 2x too. I figured out that I like it. I just-
– 2x is the new TEDx ?
– Yeah, exactly.
– We’re the 10xers, I’m 2X in it. Yeah.
– Oh my gosh. Well, we have to listen to these again because there’s so much in them. I mean, you brought up so much new terminology. I mean, across talking, we’re talking to before this, but Kris and I went through all of our listings last night. We were slacking back and forth just like which ones were looking up the item type keywords for all the different nodes that our products run and I’ve got some questions real quick-
– Yes sir.
– About this. Because number one, I gave the story of this product that I’m relaunching that basically is like, after going through all you talking about, this is like, I’m married to it. It’s all the wrong things. It’s too low priced, but I love it and I wanna get going. But I went back through and it’s super competitive niche. And I found my item side keyword. It was not written that way in my listing. And I went and looked at all my competitors. I’ve got competitors with 60, 70, 90,000 reviews on their products. It’s super competitive area. None of them have that item type keyword in their listing. And I’m, “Do you see… “Is it… ” Could you see a bump just because of that, changing that?”
– It’s incredible, now I’m like, I’m so excited about-
– That’s one of the things we’ll go into for a second as we get is we get through the… Let’s talk about those mechanics real quick, ’cause really today’s episode is about business, but I wanna answer those questions because they’re a little more mechanical in nature. And staying on that topic, we’re literally releasing our seeds update in six leaf and it’s gonna help answer the question which node for my competition and product should I actually choose or adjust on existing products? ‘Cause there may be three or four and it’s like, how do I apply this? And Kris you’d ask the other day, how do I… When we were giving the example between automotive and baby products and we had that crossover at the niche or the node level for the baby , how was I supposed to choose which one? And here’s how that works. If you go in and Phoenix and you pull this up and you find your products and you choose those ones that are your competitors and you put them all in seeds, all of a sudden you see them in one place and you see them by their profitability matrix, green, yellow and red lights. And then you can actually see them by their niche node and node level and of course, very importantly, what their sales are and how that translates into node. And at that moment, you now get a at a glance look at the data which wouldn’t make any sense unless you applied last episodes podcast to that data. And then all of a sudden it’s gonna unlock because you’re going to see those competitors and their sales and reviews and current sales volumes versus yours. And you’re gonna see the trends in, say, which node they’re in and which particular keyword they focused in their super keyword versus yours. And all of a sudden you should recognize the aha moment as you see that data lined up right in front of you. And it will make more sense where to go.
– I was kinda feeling that-
– I’m definitely checking that out.
– Yeah. And I was kind of sort of had that aha moment when I was looking through this. Because what’s interesting is my node is literally the name of the product. There’s no way you could not know… You can’t go in that node.
– But the super key word is like a not normal way of saying it.
– It’s like the-
– Interesting. So it’s like Coke or Pepsi or Pop or Soda.
– Yeah, and it’s like they’re out of order. It’s like-
– They’re in the wrong order of how it would flow in a sentence. So I went through everybody-
– Nobody has it. So that’s my second question.
– It has to be in that order, right?
– Add it in, in that order into your search terms. And why is that important to understand why we don’t logically understand what’s occurring there? What you’re not realizing is that’s the key word that people are using to search for that product. It may not make sense to you, but that’s how they’re logically thinking about it.
– It’s crazy.
– So it’s difference again between Coke and Pop or Soda and whatever you call it. There’s different slang terminology, cultural, locations in the states, people use different backgrounds and language of Familia. And because of that, the engine is literally just telling you the data. And remember we’re not smart enough to tell it what it wants and we try to do that so much, right? I have a tennis racket. Well, it must be tennis racket for everybody. Well, not exactly, right?
– It is bizarre and not one competitor has it in the right order. I went through two pages of results.
– Which means that the latent semantic search engine… Let’s catch that real quick and I didn’t mean to interrupt you, I’m sorry. But I wanted to catch one phrase right there for a second because it means that you should understand what the engine is actually doing with that phrasing, the latent semantic search engine. We talked a little bit about that yesterday in terms of language and phrasing and keywords. And then of course what it does is it builds a keyword taxonomy. I know it’s a big, fun word, but go Google it or a part of the filing system in which your product lives within this taxonomy. We’ve seen this kind of a word cloud, maybe another way to say it around your product and the top words that are being used. You’ve seen word clouds on the internet. Well, a search engine with a latent semantic background uses this bit of taxonomy for your product. And then it kind of reprioritizes the key words based on relevancy to your product and your listing for the item type keyword that you’ve chosen and that determines your relevancy and then expands your taxonomy into multiple keyword sets of broad phrase and exact which I touched a little bit on yesterday.
– And in mine, I had quite a bit of products actually that were in the wrong node. So I opened up a case and did all that, put them in the right node and all of them got accepted and they moved them to the right note except one. And that one ASEN actually is in two nodes. So it has two nodes with it.
– Is it a crossover between two different niches to the degree?
– It is.
– That’s why.
– Yep. Not abnormal.
– Did you put both super keywords in your listing then?
– Maybe. Well you can.
– And we’re putting that super key word. There’s a section-
– Oh, there he goes again.
– Kris is frozen up.
– He can hear us, I know he can. Oh, there he is.
– Yeah, he’s coming in.
– I knew I was gonna… Okay, I’ll go fast. In the vital information area, there’s an area that says, “Item type form.” It doesn’t say item type keyword. Is that the same language?
– In essence, same language.
– As long as it can typing and making it hyper relevant to your product is more important, right?
– That’s what I did. I went in and I changed and typed form with the same node.
– Yeah, ’cause if you back out of it, again, at the stupid, simple, stupid level, when you go in and type the keyword for your product, that’s most relevant to your product. Of course the taxonomy of that keyword and highest relevancy and most search is showing up right under the dropdown. We’ve all kind of known that as Amazon sellers, right? But did you ever understand how it actually tied backwards through the engine down to your listing? This is putting those two things together.
– Interesting. I got one more question on this.
– Yeah. Then we’re gonna hit our main topic. I swear, this is so fun.
– But wait, there’s more.
– There is more, I’m learning so much. Okay. Another product of mine, this is a product that’s fairly new of mine. I’ve just been working on listing last couple of months. And there’s no node that’s really specific to this actual product, it’s kind of general. I don’t know how to say the best. Let’s say the product is a jump rope and my product is a replacement piece. So, but the node is jump rope, but it’s not really the replacement piece, okay? I don’t know if this makes sense. I’m not using that analogy. Okay, so the item type key word for the node is not very relevant to the product. It’s kind of actually weird to put it in there, okay. But there’s no node for this product that I can find that’s specific. Do you still put it in there? Do you think that search volume is the right?
– See, there’s going to have a little bit of difference in kind of… It’s a little backwards because you would typically think of the product forwards and down into the node versus I have a product and now I’m trying to figure out what the node is for it-
– ‘Cause it’s a reverse exercise. But to basically answer your question is you’re going to look for the node that may be the most relevant to that product kind of more specific. Because again, it’s all about relevancy. So if there isn’t a node that matches exactly, what you need to do is think is there a customer or avatar that would see this product within that node? And if yes, then I should align my listing with that expectation for this product. Because remember, jump ropes or those types of products or any product, frankly, can have multiple use formats for the customer who wants to use them. They may seem intuitive that everybody is using the power washer for cars, but some people are using power washers for their house not their cars. Some are using a bowl, some of them are cleaning their sidewalks.
– You see?
– My issue because I… This is a product that has multiple uses, but I was going to… I saw that there was a niche where nobody was serving that niche. Like nobody-
– The tip is to try to go into that and determine, do more people power wash their car, the sidewalk, or the house. Who’s buying the power washer for the one of those activities the most versus the other and then go after that niche of people who are just buying the power washer to clean their house or those who are just buying it to clean their car, make that the secondary. And then the tertiary at this point would be, I’m doing it to clean my sidewalk. You see? You wouldn’t target the sidewalk because you wanted it to be the sidewalk which you would look at the data and say, “Well, everyone’s buying it for the car “but they’re also using it against their house “and the sidewalk.” You see where this goes?
– Oh, yeah.
– And this is why I think this is cool because this is almost the flip of how most people are coached in this. There’s a lot of times you’re trying to figure out what keywords are you wanting to go after. So everyone’s doing all this search volume research and they say, “Oh, this is a longer tail keyword, “I could rank quickly with this product here. “This is where the competition is most optimal for me to get in. But this is the opposite of that. This is like using… Maybe that doesn’t work as well as trying to figure out-
– All things to all people. You go in reverse with that, you typically are coming from a tool set mentality of tracking the keywords to attract the maximum amount for me. That’s a self-driven, self-serving interest. Look at this, I’m going from the customer angle and saying, what does the customer ultimately want? How many of those customers want this? And then I’m gonna get a product in front of the customers that want that for the purpose in which they’re going to use it. Double the understanding of your customer and you will double your revenues. Right? So you gotta go ahead and that’s a brand building exercise. And why does that sound different? Because not as many people have been talking as long as we have about building brands on Amazon. It’s only in last year or two where you hear more of a concerted effort for anybody to speak about this in uncertain terms. But we’ve been talking about this for many, many, many, many years, build a brand, right? Build a brand with intrinsic value, which means what is good about the brand and what is good about brands that you have and you like, it’s because you feel like they understand you, you have an emotional attachment, their products just fulfill that need, desire and attractiveness of whatever it is you wanted it to do to, accomplish for you. Gain weight, lose weight, jump higher, run faster, throw farther. It was meeting a purpose and you got an emotional attachment to that brand. Those customers understand the brands and the brands spend time understanding their customers. And that’s a big difference, okay? I don’t care about keywords and this stuff just yet, I wanna find a product that people are desperate about that they have solutions that they need to solve. And then I will figure out the best keywords that approach that power washer at the car, house and sidewalk level and now I will go in and dominate that. Why? Because I would also create a product that only power washes houses. And then I create a product that power washes sidewalks.
– And I’d have three products in the niche targeting the avatars. And from that point on, I’m gonna shut up because you have to pay for the rest of it. Sorry.
– I think that’s… You’re hitting on. I mean, you’re opening our eyes to a little bit of a different way of thinking and that’s-
– That’s how you keep growing in your business, is opening up to new ideas and new concepts to score. So-
– Platinum principle.
– Platinum principle.
– Tell us about it.
– Okay, so platinum in terms… Let’s go with the high level real quick. I touched a little bit on this in earlier episodes If you’re following along, this will sound familiar. And for those of you who are just catching up, I would encourage you to go back and listen to the other podcasts, but for now here’s the quick summary. When you build a brand driven e-commerce business of any kind, if you choose to use Amazon as your first go-to-market channel, building that business with the end in mind is very important, okay? Because they are, again, worth more in the end when you sell them than anytime during the business building phase and if you’re gonna spend time, energy, money and effort building these businesses, you should really be doing it as a legacy or long-term business strategy with a potential exit in mind, right? That’s a big glory thing, but it’s actually not that unrealistic for most people to achieve when they build… And, right. It can be life-changing, right? Because again, not every Amazon seller right now has their business set up correctly. We’ve talked about that before, right? I mean, down into the business level, how do they actually structure, manage, account for finances and truly understand their numbers and their business? Are they personally exposed? Are they paying self-employment taxes? Are their accounts co-mingled? Could they eventually shut one and all of them down? Is your account even set up properly. And most importantly, is your business a hobby, If you’re considering your business as a hobby, this should help you today understand why this could be life-changing for you if you change that mindset ’cause a lot of it has to do with mindset. Most people don’t consider the aspect of what we’re talking about today, until they’re trying to secede that business to someone else, it’s called succession, whether that’s inheritance and they wanna hand it off to kids, family members, wives, spouses, other significant others that there’s an inheritance or they want to transfer it to ownership to someone else or just continuity of business which is a word literally mean operating your business in perpetuity, past your life or past the lives of those involved in it. Most people don’t consider those things, all right, until it’s too late. They don’t consider things as simple as bookkeeping and financial structures and taxes and profitability, all things that I’m saying you’ve heard of, but may not have applied them effectively to your business, right? So it’s important to also understand the other components of this business model. Operations. How I actually create an operation that runs, can even run without me with some passive or automated components. Multiple incomes of streams from different platforms. Once I validated on Amazon, I should take it out to eBay and Walmart and other retail. Maybe Etsy, if appropriate. Adding additional sales channels outside marketplaces like a Shopify store, retail online, getting influencers and building a bigger brand portfolio. And of course gaining something of even bigger intrinsic value which is the customer lists and the data. If you’ve been selling around Amazon for a while, you know that’s been a challenge, but with brands are starting to open up that trust factor a lot more two areas they’re doing it or email in which they’re now allowing vendors and soon-to-be seller accounts the ability to email their customers on broadcast format. It’s been tested in beta, it’s gonna be released soon. Additional product tracking as a data and analytics on their PPC campaigns are being unlocked at beta level and even product targeting. So you could take sponsor videos and target them straight into your competition’s listing, which is extremely powerful, right? So you need to know in advance. So this is just a little bit of what we were talking about, what the buyers are looking for. This is an inverse relationship, we just discussed this. Build your business to meet their expectations, not yours. And then in stack insane value in your business. So they start to love and fall in love with your product and your business. And then you get a big line of buyers who are gonna continually come back to this business and also set yourself up for buyers that will come to your door with cash in hand to buy these businesses that are worth something. And of course make more money at the exit. That’s what we define as the platinum principle and in essence of your exit strategy is your business strategy, okay. So let’s break this down a little bit more. In the first videos we went through, the first podcast we talked about, we went through the Urban Mining Hack. We talked about never ending list of great product ideas where most list. We talked about running that by-the-numbers financial analysis with more product opportunities, more profit, more trends, more customer segmentation to know our numbers correctly so we could know a profitable product opportunity for our brand to see products in terms of similarity and differentiation and to improve the effortless launches for faster ranking which is something we talked about a little bit yesterday and touched on again today. And of course, Amazon is super keywords to achieve that maximum ranking in the filing system known as the A9 engine. And of course dominating a node by launching max-relevant products which we just covered with you, Dustin. So now that you have a big supply of ideas this week, or you’ve been modifying your products or going through this process like Kris was doing and analyzing your numbers. You’re now creating an innovating and advantage against the other products and brands in the marketplace while getting down into some of the listings in ITKs. You’re now getting your position in a business to become more sales, but more profitable, okay? ‘Cause some of those will add profitability depending upon how you structure your next launch, your product stack, stuff we talked about this week, Dustin and how we were gonna arrange some of those products for higher affinity, higher profit margins, and gaining literally a better presentation of what the future opportunities of this business model will be. Not just running it now, but what is your next steps for this? It will ultimately help you set up success greater than any other combination of things that you’re doing. So most untrained sellers start on Amazon by just setting up their account, flipping products and go. They are just going for profit, self-interest, self-serving. That is not what we’re talking about this week, I hope you’re getting that out of all of this. We are talking about focusing on the customer as I mentioned earlier. We’re gonna focus on doubling our understanding and then we’re gonna apply products that meet their needs and we’re gonna see a whole different response to our products and brands in the marketplace, from our ranking, to our A cost, to our brand affinity, to our ability to launch more products more quickly in our brands. So if you don’t set it up correctly, I don’t want you guys to make that mistake as you talk and we’d listened about what’s going on this week and the way we’re setting it up, right? So what are the opportunities of an exit? Okay, selling it, transferring it, creating that inheritance of course, or winding it down maybe your opportunity as well. We don’t necessarily want and an exit is an unplanned one. That’s death or incapacity to run the business. That’s divorce, personal crisis or business failure or bankruptcy. Typically, we wanna exit on our terms or your terms. We don’t wanna get caught unaware by any of these consequences of the business setup incorrectly. So we ask you to choose door number one and that’s the plan for you, okay? To exit in your own terminology, in your own time. That’s what we call the platinum principle. So then you can sell it, you can transfer it, it can be inherited or closed very easily. It’s a whole different kind of process, right? So we wanna create that in terms of setting up the ability to minimize taxation. We’re all in the capitalist idea here, minimizing taxation is not a bad thing. I’m saying it out loud, okay. Don’t kill me . Burn me in effigy. We wanna maximize protection of the business for intellectual property, fraud claims or other issues like that. We wanna run it independently as much as possible. A phrase around here… We say a lot around here is keep it all and it small. We wanna run it profitably. We wanna pay ourselves, make sure employees, staff, VAs, et cetera, can stay employed with us. And of course we’re creating a great brand with good profit margins giving us the ability to be scalable in this business model. To be in a position where we can continue to grow and meet the demand of the customers who want our products from us, all right? So we wanna focus on what kinds of business buyers want, how to make that business attractive and why we’re going or what we’re going to sell. Things like the business, the account, the brand, the product line or whether or not you’re just gonna sell a single business, okay? So what do business buyers actually want when considering this starting now. Some of you were in the phase of building, some of you might wanna restructure and reorganize a little bit. Some of you were thinking about launching a business and kinda wanna know how do I get off on the right foot. So what do buyers want from these kinds of businesses and brands? They want profitability, number one. As I’m gonna invest in a business or due diligence against a business, I’m gonna look first at the profitability. It tells me how well the business is being run from the management structure, to capital management, to management operations. Very big, important things there, okay? Scalability is our opportunity to grow this. Have there been the limiting factors of this particular brand? Is it just capitalization? Is it management knowledge? Is it optimization and operational efficiencies, are those missing from this business? I’m gonna evaluate those. What’s the upside potential of this? Is there a longer-term exit? Can I see somewhere where in either in my network or in the space that this particular brand is in that I could reach an exit potential with another or larger brand. Operational independence. Do they have the ability to stay pretty free in their operations or locked into long-term contracts we might have to get out of? Are they in nonsensical contracts they shouldn’t be in? These are operational independence guidelines buyers wanna look at. Protection from liability. Are you running too close to another product whose brand line could potentially get a claim against you or even a trademark infringement? Is it so close that there’s a bit of danger? Maybe it’s fine right now and no one’s ever touched it, but we’ve seen those things come back later as you start to scale and grow and take over market share. Guess what? People start to feel you’re more of a threat as they were not currently thinking you were a threat in the past. They may come in and say, “Hey, I bet we could just lock ’em down, “make ’em go through an IP claim “or even a infringement claim “and just hose up their business “even if it doesn’t match, “we can just take them out, right?” So we wanna make sure there’s protection for liability in that way. No single points of failure. Very important to understand that a one single vendor, one single manufacturer, one single supply chain, one single product type in the business, it’s making up 80% of the revenues, those are considered a single points of failure. We don’t want to see those in a business model. We certainly don’t wanna see seasonal businesses that are not making money over six months, but then making all back in the next six months, business buyers don’t wanna see that. So if you have a business like that, you need to add additional products and cover a more even line revenue metric profitability over across a 12-month annual run rate, okay? Customer data. Have you done anything to grab any kind of customer data even from Amazon? Within the terms of service, there are other ways that you can do it. I’m sure you guys know this, some of your sellers are here we’ll probably learn about that. But there are other ways to get some of the customer data without violating Amazon’s terms of service. Have we made any inroads into doing that? Do you have any of that data? If you are able to get it from an outside channel, Shopify, WordPress or other type of e-comm store, if you’re able to get it through influencers, name, email, address, phone, that’s all very good data that buyers do want to see when it comes to things like profitability, scalability, and upside potential. The transition plan. Have you even thought, how am I going to exit this? ‘Cause it’s pretty difficult if you’re the main breadwinner, this is your business. Maybe your wife or husband are not involved in running the business, but all of a sudden something happens to you. Are they capable of even stepping in and understanding what to do? Do they know the contacts, the names, the list, the negotiation, the contracts that you do, they know any? Who knows that? If you’re the only one holding that, you have become a significantly risk to the buyers, a big risk. And we’re gonna look and see what’s the transition plan for you, okay? So this is kind of the biggest things that buyers are looking at. Hopefully, guys that all clear as we keep going here, just make sure. Yeah.
– Oh, yeah.
– Seems like a lot, right? But let’s break it down. What is good profitability from a business buyer? What is the planner principles showing as intentions of buyers and buyers in our networks, things that we do diligence on ourselves as we acquire? We’re looking for 18 to 20% net profit, okay. Or a clear path through operational changes, efficiencies, management or capitalization to get to that 18 to 20% net profit. That’s typically a minimum we will see. That will be in businesses between 500 to a million or more in revenues. We wanna see that percentage of profit margin on those businesses or the potential to get there. Counting and taxes must be handled professionally. Cash in accrual, CFO, CPA bookkeeper, they’re gonna need to have these things. If it’s just you pushing the buttons on a spreadsheet, that’s not gonna cut it . You’re gonna need to have a chart of accounts an actual firm looking over your business, somebody doing the bookkeeping and a good chart of accounts to support your cash or accrual basis depending upon how you want to handle that. No co-mingled or tangled or other entanglements within the business between accounts that offers risks and can damage the profitability of the business at sale. And debt retired upon sale. If you had outstanding debts, liabilities you’re paying on a loan, personal loan, professional loan, Kabbage loan, Amazon loan, all of those things are gonna be considered as part of that profitability at sale, okay? So can the debt be retired at the time of sale as part of the deal or are there other constraints contractually or otherwise causing that to become a problem at the time of sale? Okay. So we’re looking at growth potential. That’s things like supplier, supply sales channels, corporate structure. Do you have employees? Virtual assistants? How’s your management structure set up? Do you have any SOPs in place? Is anybody setting under KPIs? Do you have a health share plan or something in place? What are the complexities? How difficult is it for us to scale that? How much of that do we have to take on? And how much can we just fit into our existing operations should we acquire this business? Right. So those are gonna be things that the more flexible you are, the more simplistic you operate this, the easier it is for a buyer to jump into that business and not, again, feel like it’s a job or something they have to work through in order to secure it. Big deals, okay. So that creates upside potential, all right. Top line sales increases, bottom line profit increases, customer base increases and of course demand of your products in the marketplace show the potential of upside. Is there a bigger market share that you could generate in Amazon for your product brand lines? Is there a greater market share in retail, wholesale? Can we reach them through radio, television, newspapers, infomercials? Is all of that a potential for this type of product? Would it support that kind of growth? Could it reach that kind of mass market? That’s what upside potential ultimately means. If not, what are the limiting factors that cause us to have a problem with that? Could it be capital and financing? Because we find many business owners at this point have capital and financing issues is one of their predominant problems. Sure, I’d like to launch more products, sure, I’d like to do this, but I can’t get a larger credit line, I can’t flex this credit. Many times and quite transparent and honestly it’s because the owners are taking too much of the money and not reinvesting the profits back in the growth of the business. That should be something that you should make sure you consider to grow and regrow the business because the buyers were gonna look at that. We’re gonna look at how we handle that in the transition and that could lower the amount of return you get for the business if you have not done that properly. Okay? If we see that a lot of the business capital and growth has stagnated by you, we’re gonna consider that a poor management decision. Okay? So what kind of contracts are open doors are currently setting there that might limit the upside potential of that business, we’re gonna consider those two. If you don’t have to put those in place, don’t. If you do have them in place, make sure they’re strong, well-documented and have a very strong purpose to the revenue or profits of the business. Otherwise don’t sign them. So operational independence. Who manages the business? if it’s you, who’s gonna replace you when you’re gone? A little bit of what I touched on a minute ago. If it is you, are we buying a job? Talks about that a second ago. So this is where operational independence breaks in. Can the people… Can I step in with easy oversight without necessarily even having daily oversight to the business operations? It may not sound right to you right now, by the way we run our businesses, we don’t need necessarily the oversight in everything that we do. Do you have that set up? If you don’t, what kind of training would be needed in order to allow that to occur? Can you transfer your applied knowledge? How long is that gonna take, right? ‘Cause I have some people that talk to me about their businesses and they’re like, “Well, there’s nobody who understands my business “and they don’t understand that.” No, no, no wrong . You already over overcomplicated and then turned me off, right? Because we know what kind of businesses these are and how they can be grown. So the other component we talked a minute ago and let’s break it down a little bit deeper, liability protection. What’s the corporate structure like? Is it set up for liabilities? Are you structuring it correctly? Are you again, accounting for it correctly? Are the owners protected within that business structure that you stated and set up correctly? If none of this makes sense, please contact a tax accountant or attorney and figure out how I set that up correctly. I only play one on the internet, so I won’t go any farther than to give you that. Just make sure that you need to be owner-protected, okay? In that way, what’s the risk of liability from previous products or sales that could come back to haunt you? They need to be shut down correctly, you need to ensure there’s no liability or touch points to those even if you shut them off and not selling them anymore, ensure there’s no liabilities hiding out in the closet. That’s liability protection, okay? Everybody’s still with me?
– Oh, yeah.
– Hanging on or ?
– No, this is good stuff.
– All right, single points of… Do you have redundancy in all the major areas? Suppliers, sales channels, software and data and personnel. If none of those things have single secondary fall over, you have a single point of failure in your business, okay? So you need to look at how you structure that into overcoming those objections. If you don’t not have secondary suppliers or even a tertiary supplier backed up, we’re gonna consider that a liability or a potential point of failure. You should too, as a business owner, okay? We don’t want to necessarily have to establish those relationships, the business should come with them. If we can add them into our current sourcing agents or manufacturing supply chains as a redundancy, we will see that as an opportunity. But if you currently are manufacturing something that’s not within our current manufacturing capability, we will see that as a point of failure, okay? So sales channels. Do you have more than Amazon? I know this sounds weird ’cause we’ve been talking a lot about Amazon, but at least if you have something outside on Walmart, eBay, Etsy, other marketplaces like that, if you’ve got a Shopify store even if it’s not taking on massive revenue, it’s not that you shouldn’t do these things, it’s when you should do them, okay? ‘Cause I think what happens is… And we have a saying here in the country, you can’t ride two horses with one ass. So you are gonna ride this… Excuse me, I don’t know if I could cuss on this, sorry.
– You can.
– Okay. And that’s a donkey ’cause I live in the country. You can’t. And so we’re riding the Amazon horse right now, but if you’re not taking all the profits, then you should be using the profits to hire vendors who will take you out to those other channels. If you need the time and energy, you should be buying mentorship to help you open those channels. If not, you should be looking at the right timing to move profits into additional channels, keeping your single points of failure low. It’s not just the opportunity of sales, it’s also the single point of failure component. We look at those as higher profile businesses with more opportunity and more upside. The last one is of course… The second to last one, software and data. Are you than just one data point? You can’t just trust a single tool for all data, you need to look at the differences. When I go to Jungle Scout, Helium 10 or even Phoenix, I see some discrepancies in the data. How could one product have three different metrics? How is that even possible? So you need to look at some kind of averages and determine what’s going on. I personally, for me, happened to trust the Phoenix data set because we built the algorithm and it’s based on our own sales. So I trust that. Now, I don’t know what Jungle Scout and Helium 10 are doing, but some people trust their data too. At the end of the day, if you know your customer and your data is within some median variation, five to seven percent difference, then you’re really close to the, over the target. But again, we talked about tools being an enabler and technology as an enablement, do not use them as your only reliance point. Have multiple tools and data, look at the differentiations between the two, consider those variances and then go out to market with your best foot forward, okay? Personnel differentiation. Do you need employees? No. Had 12 employees, 20,000 square foot warehouse running wholesale trucks in our little foray down that road. Don’t do that, I’ll say that in… We shut the whole thing down that with a big, wrong move. It was a diversification opportunity that turned into “Shut it down, holy crap.” So if you have employees, how are you handling it? There’s a personnel redundant. Do you have an operations manager? Could an operations manager be a contractor who is not an employee? Absolutely. If we incentivize them and KPI them with their key performance indicators correctly, they don’t need to be hired, they can be on performance. If they’re bought into some component of their business, even at the common stock level, but not the ownership level. I don’t get a little more advanced here, forgive me. But if they’re not on the operating agreement or necessarily sharing in the ownership of the business, but they do have a profit and proceed incentive based on their KPIs as part of the growth, you can attract people who are performance-driven in that way and they can become redundancies at time of handoff. If you don’t have any other solutions, we have a solution just to throw out there, no sales pitch, but it literally has to do with full management… Removing the owner before the business goes to market on this end, versus trying to remove the owner after time of sale or time of going to sale which is kind of the inverse. We’ve kind of innovated the other direction, remove the owner prior to going to sale makes it much easier for the buyer to get involved, right? So consider those a single points of failure. Customer data. Do you have any lists? Contact information? Have you tried to get it? The phrase online is “The money is in the list.” And there’s so much truth to that. And the money is in your list. Email, customer data, direct mailing. You might not even know this, but the fastest, highest-buying demographic on direct mail which by the way is like a 25-year plus direct response marketing yet nobody really understands its applicability to e-commerce. But keep this in mind and you can go look this stat up, okay? The highest buying demographic group for direct mail right now, do you guys happen to know what it is?
– Millennials, 18 to 35. Why? ‘Cause they actually trust it, because they’re not online looking at all the data they spent their entire life being hammered by. So they actually enjoy getting something that most people don’t get now for real and that’s mail. So they like to go get the mail, they open it and they buy from the mail. They’re the fastest, highest growth demographic of buyers right now, 74% said they’d rather buy from direct mail than online. Go look it up, it’s amazing. So the money is in the list, getting their information and getting them into front of your products through direct mail sounds hokey, but guess what? It works. Amazon won’t give that to you. You can take it within the terms of service that’s as far as I’ll leave that. Do not do anything to jeopardize your account. And I am not telling you to do anything to jeopardize your account just very clearly, okay. Leaving that out there on the table. So again, transition plan, we’ve got a few more of these guys, then we’ll let it go. So transition plan in handoff, how are you going to set this up correctly? And if not you who will set this up? The bad thing to do is burden it on your family, friends or others should something occur to you. You can’t just assume that they’re gonna step in and be able to do this. All right. Would you be willing to stay into it for up to a year at time of transition? Because that’s a real possibility at time of transition for sale. Do you understand how to apply and teach those people how to run your business? If you have not trained anybody on how to do it now, and they are not currently in a capacity to take it over, they’re gonna find that very difficult to do and frustrating and stressful at the time you’re trying to sell it. And remember, people typically sell for the wrong reasons that I listed earlier. Instead of selling on the way up, they typically sell out of desperation on the way down. Please don’t do that, really consider the difference. Okay? If your team is willing to stay in the business, all right, they may wanna stay. They may not wanna stay with you. We’ve had it where businesses are like, “I’m going to sell this company “and my whole team is going with me. “They don’t wanna be sold with a business. “So they’re gonna transition.” That’s understood, it’s upfront, cool. What’s the transition plan? How do you plan to mitigate this with us, right? Will they train their replacements? Are we training your replacements? What are the key people and the key roles that need to be in there and very important to understand how that’s set up. If you think about it with the end in mind, you will have all that in place before it happens. Okay, so in other words, your business needs to be scalable, right? You need to think about it from the buyer’s perspective, very important differentiation we talked about. What is better for the buyer and what is better for the offer. If it’s not saleable yet, how to get solid financial advice? How to get solid legal advice? How to build up a structure of systems and accounting and how to grow and prepare for a business. If you need experience or need experience help with this, please let us know, we can do that. All right, so how will you know? You’ll know in advance when buyers are looking for because you’re gonna see it in your business, you’re gonna see it in your growth, you’re gonna see it in the market and competition around you. Build your business to meet their expectations. I see so many people trying to be the sexy salmon floating upstream, but you don’t realize there’s always a bear waiting for that salmon. It’s okay, again, to be number two. We talked about that the other day, right? Stack insane value in your business. And so you will approach the right buyers who wanna see this and see the value in it, okay? You can get a big list of buyers to your door and like no time flat. Okay? And remember, there are billions of dollars in the marketplace looking for these opportunities. 2018, 2.2, 2.4x on the profit called EBITDA in your business, earnings before income taxes and appreciation. So when you have that profit, it was worth 2.2, 2.4. It’s now worth 3.8, 4.0 for those same businesses, okay? That’s how fast this is transitioning, right? There are billions of dollars out there looking to buy these companies, buy these brands, okay. There are buyers standing at the ready to do this. If you know what you need to do with the end in mind, you can start running some of these things in parallel while presenting your business opportunity to be sold later. If you need some help, get some qualified help, it can save a ton of time and money making the wrong mistakes, trying to put those things together. That’s what these guys are here for us. That’s why this podcast is occurring, right? Understand how to set up the structure and systems of your business so you’ll have bigger windfalls in the end. All right, so if you’re serious, talk with us. If you want about your exit strategy, if you want to spend more time working on your business than in it with your systems, structures, processes, implementing best practices, growth, scalability, and saleability of your business. We want you to be thinking like an owner. We want you to be thinking like a CEO. We want him to help you gain that opportunity if you’re willing to talk about it, because remembering if your exit strategy is your business strategy, that’s probably one of the greatest secrets about this business that nobody’s revealing. So guys, thank you so much for having me on. It’s been a pleasure and I’ve been honored to speak with you guys for the last week. It’s been fun.
– Oh my gosh . This is-
– That was insane.
– Yeah. This has been really, really fun for Kris and I. And I know it’s been a super valuable for everyone who’s listening. I mean, I’ve got a couple of questions on this-
– And then I’d love… I want to definitely give you opportunity to let everybody know how to get in touch with you-
– And your team if they wanna work with you. I mean, we talked about this before we came on, but this has been almost a mini course on how to… On every step of your business in a different mindset than is normally out there. This is like treating this as launching a true real business. And you can see just from what you talked about here, just the steps in preparation. And I’ll be honest, this is why I’ve got questions because until about a year ago, I went through every possible phase of mentality on my business. It was a side hustle. It was cool because I could buy all kinds of new things. I had this money coming in on the side that I was kinda shocked that it was able to do that. Then it turned into a full-time business, right. And then I was I was in it, it owned me.
– And then it slipped. And then I dealt with some different difficulties and now I’m in a totally different mindset now. We can see all this exiting. And so I’ve got my business loaded with little nuggets of mistakes along the way, growing it like this, but this refocus now of let’s get it ’cause it’s an asset that’s ready to sell. So it’s fascinating to me that if I was starting now, today, that’ll be all I think about. Is let’s work our way straight from the end backwards and get there just like you’re talking about. So when somebody is starting right now, if we are starting, how important is it to get all… ‘Cause this… Some of the stuff is not cheap. I mean, incorporating and bringing on all this stuff you’re talking about and… How important is it from the get go to do all of that? Or is it okay to get the right steps in as you grow?
– There are certain components of it that you need to do correctly now especially with the way Amazon is changing. It’s a new seller account policies, how to get the account set up, structuring your brand correctly, and really attacking the market with your, again, your best foot forward which would be to have your brand established, to be registered and have your brand trademarked. To go in the market and know that if your competition sees you, they know you’re coming in pretty serious and it’s gonna be hard for them to deal with you. ‘Cause again, they’re looking for the competition and you should too. It’s a little easier to knock off that doesn’t really know what they’re doing. And very… And we’re looking at this again at an 80, 20. I’m talking to the mostly the 20% right now who understand that building this business with the end in mind is what serious sellers are actually doing in the marketplace, who are taking advantage of the true opportunity that is brand building with e-commerce. And we just happen to use the Amazon channel as the incubator, the test market, the first place to go to business on this product, right? So if you’re thinking about that, then you already have the end in mind, which is going into multiple channels, building existing brand, building customer data, and of course, creating intrinsic value in your business to have it for sale. So we start very succinctly at the beginning with understanding the business, the management, and the structure and setting this up correctly from day one so that you can work somewhat imperfectly through that process. But there are certain things that have to be done correctly at the beginning. And that’s where the differentiation between a side hustle or a hobby now looks like a business. And it now looks like while I may be working on this for the next six to 12 months, but that’s nothing if I’m still selling this business in five plus years, right? That’s a whole different way of viewing this. And it is a mindset thing at the end of the day, right? Because you can go do the wholesale, retail, arbitrage, all that other stuff, and if that’s your mindset, that’s your goal, that’s what you wanna get started on, more power to you. Just be careful because the terms of service become very strict with people who are doing that and you can get shut down very, very quickly. I personally have heard from an inside rep 425,000 of those accounts were shut down last year, okay. About four times more until recently they shut down those accounts versus any branded accounts that are obviously working within the terms of service correctly. So it is important to get those in place. Now from a startup costs, you did mention that it can be a little bit more expensive. And that’s sort of both the limiting factor to this opportunity, but also how it creates a very unique opportunity for those who wanna play in this market, who are serious about building a business. Those who are serious about building a business, realize I’m not gonna make a million dollars in a month. I’m not gonna get rich in even three or five months, but if I’m setting up multiple streams of brand revenue in three to five years, I could easily retire. And that’s a different type of mindset coming to market with these businesses. And frankly, that’s where Amazon’s opportunity is still huge blue sky evergreen, it really is. You’re going to go in and compete on a brand. Absolutely, you’re gonna dominate in that way. And one final word on that, we do create sort of an incubator for this business model. And that is when people come in, we give them all the resources, sourcing agents, technology, access to our accounts, bookkeeping. The whole thing is setting right there for them to just check the boxes off without any question. They’re running my businesses, my client accounts, they’re doing eight figures in business with us already. They know how to start a business up really quickly. So they come in and are basically incubated by us during that startup phase to go through every one of those things correctly and get them all set up. And because we do it in a distributed shared services format, it’s a lot less cost, lot less cost. My sourcing listing lady that does all the graphics and images for everybody who comes in and works directly for us, and she’s like, “200 bucks for a whole listing stack.” And she does a very, very professional listing stack for all of our products and all of our clients. Because you could go out and pay a thousand bucks for what she does for $200. So we have different ways of diversifying and is part of our incubator and making it cheaper, faster and easier.
– Yeah, this is all stuff that you don’t think about until the time comes. You don’t think about needing a backup supplier until your general supplier cuts you off.
– Or you run into a problem . find another supplier. Yeah.
– Yeah. And like the SOPs. That’s an area I think a lot of people just… They keep doing themselves, but if they would just make a video or a Loom video of it or whatever-
– Record the process pass it off to the VA. Now you’ve got that in your grasp and you can always pass it on to somebody else.
– Key objective for this role and then just three key tasks that role needs to accomplish with performance and KPIs attached to the growth. Have them help it define with you in terms of what their role is gonna be, customer support rep, product rep, sourcing agent. Define them very clearly, make them pretty succinct, but get them involved in the mature them as you go along. It’s more important to get those in place imperfectly and then something perfect will happen along the way, right?
– Besides margin and revenue, what’s one really good, “Yes, I’m glad this guy has got it “when you buy an account.” When you’re looking to acquire a brand, revenue obviously is gonna be good. Margin’s gonna be one of the most important things. But if an account has something that makes you go crazy for it, what is that?
– Typically a brand that is not currently being seen in its maturity, scalability, or mass market appeal that the owner simply does not recognize.
– I was gonna ask about this ’cause I think this is a question for selling. I mean, obviously if you’ve plateaued, then there’s no upside for the buyer. But I’m wondering if I came to you and I had a product that just dominated in the US marketplace, but you just knew, “Hey, if this opened up in Europe and Australia and Canada, “and we went international with this, it’s an easy win.” Is that better value or a less value for the buyer? And is it… Who’s benefiting in that? Should the seller have already done that or-
– Yeah, so for most buyers, they’re not… They’re gonna look at multiple markets as more difficulty in transition. I’m gonna look at somebody’s ability to attack one market very strong and not have to deal with the operational logistics components of them trying to have three other markets outside of the US. So predominantly, the US backed up supply chains and infrastructure. If they have a UK presence and a warehouse over there and all that stuff, typically my buyers are gonna say, “I’m really not interested in that “because it creates too much complexity.” We need you and you say, “Well, how is that possible to diversify? “How can we make more money or scale “if we don’t go into other markets?” And that’s just one of the things we’ve learned in eight years is not a way to scale the business. You don’t have to go to the other markets and create a complexity. I’m gonna go back to that saying a minute ago about you can’t ride two horses with one ass and say that, that is basically an immature response to the market opportunity people are missing when they don’t see it the way we do. If you have a product in a skew that’s been selling and you know you’re dominating, if you say you’ve already taken up all of the market and niche for that product, you do not understand what we’re talking about because that product will come in and we will see exactly how to diversify that product into 5, 10, 50, a hundred other skews and we will go in and just blow that up.
– That’s interesting. That really is interesting. So that goes into my next, maybe last question, we’ll see here but-
– And this is a question from me personally, . If you were to launch a new brand or a new product, would you completely start everything, a new account, a new company, a new corporation, or would you launch that brand in your account that you’re running right now?
– Yes and no.
– Let’s talk about the two different reasons why that could potentially fit the answer depending on which direction you want it to go. If current count brand business is something you’re thinking about to sail at some point and new product, new brand line is something that doesn’t match up with that one. It’s not even in the same niche, and it’s something that you’re wanting to diversify in, then I would open another account. If it’s a new brand that is complimentary or in the same niche as the original, I would open it under the main seller account that you’re currently working on right now. Again, keeping it simple, stupid, how much do you wanna spend doing different time and activities? And you gotta be very careful about how you open those accounts so that you can get permission and of course to do that and you can, but you have to make sure you do that at the right way. So again, it’s a bit of a strategy as to which direction you ultimately want to go as to which one of those things makes the most sense.
– Interesting. ‘Cause I’ve always wondered about that in the eyes of a buyer. If I had an account that had four established brands in one account, is that more valuable or is that more work or is that more complexity?
– Well, here’s the question. Are all those brands in, say, one niche or is one in outdoor-
– One in home, one in kitchen, are they all different?
– Yeah, potentially they’ll be different.
– Yeah, okay.
– Then a general store would typically be valued a little bit less than a niche store that has a whole product brand line in it or even multiple brands supporting of that same product brand line.
– That’s really good to know.
– Now, you could sell off those brands or you could sell the whole business.
– Mmh. Got it.
– The opportunities are endless you’re saying?
– Pretty much. Yeah, it’s what’s beautiful about business it’s creativity and it’s basically kind of comes down to how you wanna approach it. For example, if I had three, four brands in a single account, one of them was dominating the other three, I would liquidate the other three of our capital and then expand the one.
– Got it.
– Makes total sense. That might be in a situation that-
– You might be in that situation.
– I might be in that situation-
– You might be in that situation
– In terms of one of my main brands that I started with, I have issues and you touched on it, trademark. I was in IP battle big time with a major, major company.
– Then it may make sense to move you just two millimeters over to the right.
– And then we move you into a separate brand strategy to kind of get you just away from it while still staying there, but not staying there if that makes sense.
– Yeah. That’s why I’ve had so much fun with this entire conversation.
– There’s a lot to this and people… Some people may be like .
– They’re lost.
– I mean, I feel like you could lay out, you could give somebody all the tools and say, “Hey, do step one, step two, step three, step four. “Here’s how you start your business.”
– And once you get into it, you’re gonna come up against some kind of wall that was unexpected.
– The difference in mentorship versus a course, right. A course it’s gonna teach you how to learn, a mentor is gonna teach you how to adapt and grow and see opportunities in all the variations of experiences that come once you reach a certain level. No course or learning can actually teach you that from end to end, right?
– That’s big right there. That’s big Neil.
– It is big.
– People will do a course and then they’re like, “Well, I don’t know what to do next.” Well, now you need a mentor that’s what you really need.
– Past certain point you need a mentor. And some people want that at the very beginning. Some wanted that later. Some think there’s nothing new to learn. Hey, more power to you, right? You can fail vague and fail expensive, go for it. But at the end of the day, I’ve never leveled up in my business without a direct mentor who knew and had experience in the area I went to focus on and wanted to learn is why I pay 25 grand a year to do different mentors right now so that I can learn about their specific areas of experience and focus and become better at it. I don’t need to learn those lessons anymore. I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars making mistakes in the past that I don’t plan to do again.
– Yeah, me neither.
– That’s something Kris and I talk about all the time. From the day we started this podcast, we’ve, I dunno, 10xed our knowledge of our own business just from being-
– 2x. I thought it was 2x, you got to 10?
– Yeah, 2x.
– There’s the knowledge…. Just talking to people like you and just bouncing ideas off each other. This is great. Yeah, this has been a phenomenal series. Anybody who’s listening to this, if you’re catching this one, you need to go through and listen to one through five and then do it again and then again. There was a lot that Neil laid out. I mean, there’s so much. And then once you get through that, you’re probably gonna wanna work with Neil. So Neil-
– Yes, sir.
– Tell everybody, you got the floor. How do people get in touch with you? What you’re offering? Let everybody know.
– Yep, if you’re selling, if you’re coursing through life as we like to call it here, but you’d really like to level up and you want some mentorship to understand the nuances and differences between what it gets seven, gets the small pay seven, to get to eight. There are many nuances that a mentor can help you through. If you’re serious about taking that to the next level, I’d encourage you to go ahead and contact me. Have a no pitch, no obligation conversation to see if we’re a good fit. We usually work with around 10 people only. Everyone is interviewed, there has to be a good fit for the goals and objectives that are mutually being met. If that sounds like something to you and you would like to learn a little bit more about how we’re scaling and growing brands, we’re exiting as a strategy under the platinum principle, head over to voltagedm.com, take out the video that’s there that explains about… It’s a 90-minute, no pitch training. If you enjoyed what we did here today, you’ll understand I don’t do pitching most of the time. I feel like I’m pitching right now, I’m trying not to so forgive me. There’s a 90-minute video to go check out. It really explains a lot about our business builders and what we’re doing and who we’re looking for. If it makes sense and you’re serious about having a conversation, there’s a personal text number. Just send me Sellozo on the text message there. It does reach me personally. I do talk to each person, again, because I qualify every person and I disqualify way more people than I qualify. Because again, I don’t need to mentor people. I like to mentor people. We enjoy it in our business model. And of course, if we can help you build a CEO relationship with your business that gives you an exit potential, we will all win in the end. And there’s my big, evil capitalistic agenda, right? I love it. Anybody who’s in a position right now where they’re looking for this, I encourage you go check out Neil, get in touch with them.
– I appreciate it, guys.
– We might be on there .
– Get on the list. I don’t know if I wanna except you guys. You sound- You sound a little sketchy. I don’t know what-
– I wouldn’t. No, I wouldn’t accept us.
– I wouldn’t accept you either. Actually you sound like you’re sitting on gold mines just waiting to hit some dynamite.
– Well this whole thing is, is not a short term thing. You can’t just sell a business. You got to think of like, if you’re going to start a business, now’s the time to think about it so you can sell it in a year.
– 12, 18 months minimum run rate, annual run rate, plus time and market plus brand affinity plus profitability. Those metrics have to be met in order to sustain. And of course, all of the things we talked about today as you go through the bullet points. But yeah, it does take some time and any good business does, right?
– So good. We are going to get you on in the future. Cool. It’d be fun to come back.
– This is our first time doing a five-part series and it was really fun.
– The bar is high now.
– Yeah. The bar-
– The bar is high.
– Because I am honored. I appreciate your faith in me and my business and having me on here. So I appreciate.
– It’s it’s been great. We really appreciate you, Neil. Everybody makes sure you go through it again. Neil put all those spreadsheets they’re in the notes, on the podcast, they’re in the comments or in the notes on Facebook or YouTube. Well, you can get all that. You gotta check it out. It’s been amazing. Everybody, if you love content like this, Kris and I do this almost every single day. Fortunately for us, we’ve had Neil the last five days, which has been fantastic. But we go live every single day, so make sure you go to Sellozo’s Facebook page, like it, subscribe to it, turn on notifications. Same thing with Sellozo’s YouTube channel, subscribe to the channel. All of these videos go out there. We also put out a bunch of other content around the Amazon space, Sellozo has an unbelievable support team, where they’re putting out a great series, pro-seller series where they’re going into detail on things especially about your advertising campaigns, check all that out and obviously subscribe to our podcast on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to them on. We’re on all of them. Thanks for tuning in. Neil, thanks for joining us. And we’ll be back at this again on Monday. See guys.