Today, we are happy to have as a guest on our podcast Yoni Kozminski – the co-founder of Escala, MultiplyMii, South Col, and several successful yet less noteworthy ventures.
South Col is an e-commerce accelerator empowering founders to reach peak potential, while Escala offers consulting services for e-commerce companies and Amazon sellers who want to scale their businesses. On the other hand, MultiplyMii specializes in affordable offshore staffing solutions and HR outsourcing for e-commerce businesses. Both Escala and MultiplyMii provide different solutions aimed at taking e-commerce and Amazon businesses to the next level.
Speaker1: [00:00:07] Hey everyone, Welcome to another episode of the sellerboard Show podcast. My name is Alex, and today I had a great conversation with Yoni Kozminski, who is the co-founder of three different companies that basically revolve around growing an Amazon business. So I strongly suggest sticking till the end of the episode because there’s really a lot to listen to, a lot of insights. And one last thing, if you don’t know by now, seller board is the profit analytics software for Amazon sellers. So I strongly suggest go to seller board.com. See the demo account, play around, see if the software is right for you. But until then, enjoy the episode. Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the sellerboard Show podcast. And today we have a guest who has a very interesting background. His name is Yoni Kozminski and he currently is the co-founder and CEO of three companies that are involved in hiring talent and growing businesses related to Amazon. But besides that, he got a really interesting background in growth in advertising, and I would really like to touch some of these topics in our discussions. But before any of that, Yoni, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for coming to the show.
Speaker2: [00:01:35] Alex It’s a real pleasure and honor to be here. And yeah, looking forward to creating some value, sharing, some learnings and hoping people can avoid some of the mistakes that I have along my journey here.
Speaker1: [00:01:47] Sure. So that that that experience is always one of the most valued, you know. So we’re going to talk more about that for sure. From from what I read from your LinkedIn profile, you are a former Amazon private label seller. Is that right?
Speaker2: [00:02:04] That’s correct. Yes. I spent about 18 months effectively as a private label seller in about 2018, 2 to 19.
Speaker1: [00:02:14] But also reading from your LinkedIn profile, that was not your original point or domain of of formation of interest. You came to e-commerce in a way. Before we get to that, could you please tell me more about your background in digital advertising and where you started from? And so just to know how you came into e-commerce.
Speaker2: [00:02:40] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Happy to share. So my my journey is actually a little bit different, I would say to a lot of the, you know, really incredible founders that I get to deal with on the day to day where they had a really high value product or brand that they wanted to bring to market. And they sort of found their way into ecommerce and more specifically into Amazon. My background, I actually grew up in the world of digital advertising, creative advertising and marketing. So my first role really was inside of a digital agency where I launched Mercedes-Benz, Australia, New Zealand’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest channels. This was a time where there wasn’t social media for brands. And effectively I ultimately moved from, you know, roles in Australia to the US, working with the likes of Sony, Mastercard and Mercedes-Benz in an ecommerce realm, but also in just general advertising, web design development, SEO content strategy and production, TV commercials, live activations, and then found my way on the back of that sort of ten year journey into much more heavily focused inside of the e-commerce and Amazon space. I’ve been building e-commerce websites since about 2000, and I’d say 12 was probably the first one that I’d built.
Speaker2: [00:04:02] And it was a very different reality before Shopify and WooCommerce and BigCommerce and platforms like that had really established themselves as as leaders. But that was my that was my start. And then sort of found my way into what is just an exploding industry. And the truth is, Alex, when I saw what the ROI looked like inside of Amazon and just how quickly you could grow a brand and how valuable the Amazon ecosystem was, it was a pretty big mental shift for me. I had come to this brand two years in that was doing about 2 million in revenue and I said, Listen, Amazon’s a great marketing tool, but let’s build a real B2C brand. And it was probably a week into working with them where I was like, Something’s not right here. Like I’m seeing like 25%, you know, return on ad spend and even organically, like the conversion rate was at 30%. Like I just saw these insane numbers and I said, you know what? Forget everything I’m saying. Like the future, at least back then was entirely Amazon. And, you know, we didn’t end up building a data platform. It was just very focused on on Amazon.
Speaker1: [00:05:14] So what was the year right now that you were talking about?
Speaker2: [00:05:21] So this was 2000 2017. I moved to Tel Aviv and it was probably late 2017, 2018 that I’d met these guys and we’d started working together and that business exited in 2019. And I went on to start the companies that I’m running and involved with now on the back of that.
Speaker1: [00:05:46] Okay. Okay. Got it. Got it. So you ended up selling the business, right? The Amazon business.
Speaker2: [00:05:52] Yeah, yeah. That business was sold and on the back of that experience came in to realizing that what we’d built internally as an infrastructure was the thing that really fueled that business and drove its growth from 2 to 5 million. We built a team that was Philippines based that was effectively a high level agency for us internally, and that was a huge driver. We could, as you know, the two co-founders who had had started the business were really, really smart guys, but they didn’t really understand how to scale or how to remove themselves from the operation. And and that was really what myself and my now co-founder brought to the table inside of that business. And, and we spun off that internal example of how we could grow and build an agency into what is today multiply media, you know, high value e-commerce focused, Amazon focused recruitment agency for, you know, for serious sellers.
Speaker1: [00:06:54] Got it. I’m wondering at this point when you understood that there’s potential for growth and you say that you brought to the table everything that was missing and necessary for scaling the business and growing it? From what I learned, you didn’t have the experience before of growing a business, so. Or did you? So my question here, how did you feel it that you are capable of it and how did you find the right way, the right tools to do it, or maybe the right method? I mean, how did you realize that you’ve got what it takes?
Speaker2: [00:07:29] Yeah, I think for like for for, for me and I would say it’s probably true for most people is you’re sort of figuring it out as you’re going along, looking at the resources. You know, from my experience, I was the 10th employee at an agency that grew to about 30 in Australia, and I was the 15th employee at an agency that grew to about 40 odd in in the US. And so I’d experienced what it was to grow companies like that, you know, agencies that have all of the makings of what you need inside of a digital agency from designers, developers, content writers, content creators, you know, graphic designers, creative directors, art directors, the works. And so for me, that was sort of a fortunate natural progression in helping building out effectively what had been the previous ten years of my life going through those growth experiences and then sort of implementing it inside of that Amazon business. I’d say though today, to fast forward to to 2023, I’ve got about 100 full time employees that report into our three businesses. And inside of that, you know, that’s a very different reality. I’m really, really fortunate that one of my companies is a process improvement management consultancy. So so we build systems for Amazon and e-commerce businesses. But also I’d say one of the big step changes for me in my career is, is when you find really good partners and co-founders.
Speaker2: [00:08:58] And I found that my co-founder Lippi and in the business partner Brandon that we brought on about a year ago, you know, I think coming back to your question, you know, how did how did you know how did I go about this or how did I figure it out? I think that one finding the right people, attracting the right people and building the right teams is always going to be pertinent because none of us are going to be good at everything. But if you can find those complementary skill sets and those people that can really handle areas in the business where you are weak and they are strong and vice versa, I think that has definitely been a fundamental pillar for me and one of the big learnings I’ve had. So I’d say that’s, that’s one aspect of it. Um, I could go into like a lot of detail, you know, when I look at the advice I would give to people as it relates to actually scaling their Amazon business and how to approach it. Um, so before I go into, you know, just rambling that, let me pass it back over to you, Alex, and, you know, let you ask the questions.
Speaker1: [00:09:55] I feel that I’ve touched a really deep topic because, you know, if we’re talking about growth, you can only grow as much as you can do alone. But at a certain point, you need to bring someone else to the team, you know, and for people that are watching or listening right now, maybe they, you know, they’re at a certain point where they do understand that they’re limited by their own ability. So they need to figure out a way how to move on, how to, you know, increase their capacity. So, yeah, creating a team definitely is one of the first steps. But, you know, finding the right people and, and it could be tough because we’re all different. I mean I’m thinking about about myself right now and I know my strength points and I know my weaknesses and I know for sure that I me enough. I wouldn’t be able to, you know, do all of these things that would be necessary to to to grow, you know, to create the standard operation processes, for example, you know, to to the process, to run smoothly, to create, you know, these connections between the people that the team members and everything. I’m not that I’m creative, but I’m not that, you know, I’m not a system guy. So when you have people around you, you need to, you know, uh, try to find the talent and each, each one that is potentially a partner of yours. So my next question right here is, is about the team that you built and outsourced in the Philippines. How did you end up outsourcing people in the Philippines? Why Philippines?
Speaker2: [00:11:35] Yeah, yeah, it’s a great question. Um, so and I want to also just before I go on, on to the Philippines and why why hire it? I want to I want to just point out that, you know, it it’s not always the right decision to hire someone, right? You really need to look. And one of the perpetual challenges, particularly for bootstrap founders, which I imagine is most people listening in here today, is what is that trigger point? You know, at what point can I actually let go and delegate it to someone? Or at what point can the business afford to bring someone on, you know, that can actually handle tasks that are meaningful or more importantly, delegate real accountability so that you can focus on the things that are going to move the needle most for your business. And so I’d say just one of the really high value skill sets or or rather exercises that you can do if this is your first time looking to explore like, how do I get. Out of my own way. One of the things that I do religiously, if you know, if I pulled up my calendar right now, what you’d see is a whole lot of color blocked. Every single hour of my day accounted for where I’m attributing, you know, for me what’s an internal meeting, what is a partnerships meeting? What is a new business opportunity? What is, you know, internal processes or strategy? What is deep work and delivery? What is my personal time? When am I in the gym and I actually break down my calendar and look at how I spend every single minute of my day? And ultimately, on the back of that, I mean, because I color code mine, I can see at a glance.
Speaker2: [00:13:05] And if you’re looking at it and you’re being that, I mean, it becomes very easy like any routine that you build in. And it also really helps with, with planning and to do deep work. But looking at every single one of those deliveries and everything that you’re doing, marking them from a 1 to 5, where five is something that really you saw a tremendous value. It needed to be you, you had to deliver on it. Mark that a five if there are tasks, for example, you know, like pulling an Excel from, you know, from from Seller Central, if you’re not smart enough to be using seller board already pulling Excel from Seller Central and effectively going down that path, you know that’s a one, right Even, you know, I mean, just, you know, just because I brought up seller board for a second here, like even having someone go in there, do the reviews, annotate some of the findings and then provide you with those insights so that you can come and look at the key takeaways as opposed to going in and trying to analyze every aspect of your business. There’s so much data inside of seller board. Those are things that might be a two or a three and it might be a three because you’re worried that maybe they’ll miss an insight that you would have gained.
Speaker2: [00:14:15] And so working your way through and then starting to say these ones and twos, these are all things that I can hand off and delegate to someone else and I can focus on the fives, fours and threes. And as you get better at that, you can start to say this actually makes sense for someone’s accountability, wrapping that into something that is aligned. So, you know, just just really wanting to share guys that it’s got to be the right time for you and you’ve got to approach it in the right way. And I’ve found that a really healthy exercise for people who are very new to it. Now, why did I pick the Philippines and why is that where we’ve placed, you know, nearly a thousand people across? I don’t even know how many businesses now, maybe 250, 300 businesses in the e-commerce space. Um, honestly, it was a it was an experience. It was something that happened to me effectively inside of inside of my experience. I had gone through and looked on. If anyone’s familiar on Onlinejobs.ph and Free Up and Upwork and I’d look to hire someone, I went through this whole process and I somehow found a recruiter. So that was a huge step. Change for me is one I found a really experienced recruiter and said, While I know what I’m looking for because I spent ten years in in the space and I understand the time it takes for me to sift through these resumes is just insane.
Speaker2: [00:15:29] So I brought on a full time recruiter and he was able to find this woman, Joan, who’s actually not working with me anymore. But she was honestly, she was the catalyst that changed everything for me. She’d worked at a company called Cognizant. They’re a huge multinational media conglomerate. She was a senior operations manager there. And when I met her, she was trying to work as a project manager in in my marketing function, and I was just blown away at her capabilities, her level of English, her experience. She just was on a different level. And after having that experience, I just said, Wow, like this, this is different. This isn’t someone that I’d found on Onlinejobs.ph that could do sort of really baseline task work. This was someone who was a real ideas person, someone who could really deliver at a high degree of operations, think autonomously. And I realized that I didn’t need to delegate or provide a task list. I needed to delegate accountabilities and responsibilities to her and she could drive. And so that was the big shift for me, and that was really what I was creating for our business When I understood that if you look a little deeper and you go past some of these sort of job boards that are available to foreigners, if you can find recruiters and you know where to look and you can find the best talent, it’s a it’s a different reality.
Speaker1: [00:16:49] So you found the key player and then then things have changed. And from what I understand now, one of your companies is basically working in the recruiting field and doing the same for Amazon sellers or agencies or.
Speaker2: [00:17:07] Uh, so, so both Amazon agencies, e-commerce agencies, e-commerce businesses, we work with a lot of aggregators. If you’re familiar and yeah, a lot of, you know, a lot of sellers, you know, the bulk of our bulk of people that we work with are sellers across, across, you know, all of our businesses. Also our Scala, our process improvement consultancy, where we’re deploying management consultants into the businesses and building. You touched on it SOPs and training videos, documentation, organizational charts, accountability charts. And you know, what I gave you before was sort of like level one in terms of how you can start to remove yourself. But there’s so many levels to where you can take it. When you talk about removing yourself from the operation and building a business that is running independent of your, um, of you effectively.
Speaker1: [00:18:03] So this sounds like a final destination, you know, a point where a lot of people are trying to get, you know, just to create a system that is self-sustainable, that runs and only requires, you know, controlling what is happening inside from time to time. But I’ve talked with one of the guests on a previous episode, I think it was a talk with Hamza. He is the he’s the founder of an agency that also helps Amazon sellers with different tasks. And we touched the topic of, um, how do you entrust, you know, your Amazon business and all of the decision making, maybe not all of it, parts of it, but certainly some information that is sensitive, you know, and putting you as an Amazon seller, exposing you to a risk of your business being copied business model, for example, or, you know, there’s a lot of information that is really valuable. So how do you overcome these these concerns? How do you, you know, create this bond or connection between the people that you advise or, you know, propose as potential virtual assistants or whatever roles that you, you know, fill with with your services and the actual clients? How do you overcome that?
Speaker2: [00:19:27] Yeah, yeah. It’s it’s a dense question because there’s, there’s sort of layers to it and I’m going to try and unpack them one by one here. So, so I think the first aspect of it is, you know, we’re talking about 2023 right now. And, you know, this isn’t 2014 where you would jump on, you know, you jump on Alibaba, AliExpress or any one of those platforms, you’d purchase a whole host of products, sticker sticker brand on it and sell it and off you go and your sales would explode. Where we sit in today’s world is that you need a real business. You need a business that has true defensibility. You need to be investing in things like, you know, patents and IPS and has, you know, a true brand built around it. And so I’d just say like as a general rule of thumb from from a degree of like letting people in and then just taking your idea and running with it, I would say, you know, if that if your business is that easy to emulate and run with, then you need to work harder to establish something that is really truly your own building, your real audience, building that brand loyalty. And and that is really the state that we’re in when we talk about current day and the future of it. So I just say like. Those are things that I’m not particularly worried about. And I’d say for any founders listening in as well. Listen, if it was that, if it truly was that easy and anyone could do it, then everyone would be doing it.
Speaker2: [00:20:56] And there’s a reason why you’re sitting and listening to this podcast and there’s a reason why you are leveraging Sellaband to review all of the analytics and critical data to make decisions every day in your business. And it’s it’s because a very small percentage have the risk appetite and tolerance and an ability to go through that process. So I’d say that’s the first, that’s the first aspect. But to to almost go down the other path, there are lots of things here that you can establish that protect, you know, like if we talk about data security and privacy, someone logging into your seller central account and messing stuff up and and really creating problems for yourself. There’s loads of software that exists to help protect and watch and understand and control. You can build secure environments and remote setups. You know, you can even leverage really simple tools like LastPass, for example, where people don’t actually get their hands on the passwords. You can deactivate them at any time. You have total control and you can see what’s happened. So there’s things in which you can control it. But sort of the next layer in all of this, and if I’m reading the question correctly, is, you know, it is a scary thing to start to hand off key responsibilities in your business. You know, coming back to it, I’m not the typical Amazon founder because I’d come from ten years of experience in creative advertising, digital marketing and e-commerce, and then stepped into, you know, much smaller brands. And and so for most people, they’re building in a lot of cases, their first business, they’re making loads of mistakes, they’re learning very quickly and they’re going through that process.
Speaker2: [00:22:33] And what I would say is that. What’s critical is building the right reporting lines. Building the right accountabilities, responsibilities and visibility into your business. Because, you know, I’d say the mistake that I’ve also made, you know, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. Like I said at the start, I hope people can learn from some of my mistakes and save themselves a lot of the money that I’ve flushed down the toilet in my journey. But it’s it’s not to just blindly delegate a function of the business, you know, for example, not to just say, right, you’re, you’re responsible for launch now on Amazon or you are responsible for sourcing or you are responsible for product development, you know, put your hands over your eyes and say, off you go. I’ve handed that off. That guy or girl is better than I am. I think that’s a really big risk and a big mistake. And like I said, I’ve made that more times than I would care to admit. You know, you’re so busy, you’re all building heads down, trying to push forward. But there’s a really good framework. And Alex, I don’t know if you’ve heard of traction, the entrepreneurial operating system. So it’s a it’s a great book. Anyone listening? I highly recommend it. It’s a methodology to help you run your business better. For companies that have between 5 and 250 employees. And one of the really valuable things, you know, I’m not going to go into all the details of the book.
Speaker2: [00:23:55] It’s it’s again, couldn’t recommend it enough. Um didn’t write it. I wish I did be a very different reality for me right now. Gino Wickman, the author is an incredible human and just an incredible entrepreneur. And ultimately, um, you have what’s called an L, meaning a level ten meeting every single week. And inside of that, every function or department, depending on how big or small you are, will go through all of the metrics. So you’re setting your business objectives and the metrics, and then you’re setting three month KPIs attached to those metrics on how you’re going to achieve aspects of it. And every single week you’re sitting through and you know, in my my team, we’ve got about 10 or 12 in our senior leadership function. So everyone will go through their metrics from sales to customer success to consulting to recruitment, to sourcing, to, you know, the works, product finance. And everyone has their goals. We’re working through it and we’re saying if we’re on track or off track. And so coming back to all of this, it’s really about delegating the accountability, but getting the feedback loops in making sure that it’s aligned with the vision of where you want to take your business and making sure that you’re actually holding them accountable to the the metrics that matter for your business and not just the outputs of what they’re producing. So, you know, I’ve, I’ve learnt that I’ve learnt that lesson really the hard way and more times than I would care to admit. But again, that’s, that’s how we grow.
Speaker1: [00:25:23] That’s. That’s insightful. Thank you for that. So you one of the companies that that you run is actually about creating processes inside the Amazon business. Right? So is this correct?
Speaker3: [00:25:36] Yeah. Escala, Escala, Escala.
Speaker1: [00:25:38] Okay. Sorry. Is this what you’re doing? Sorry? Creating these systems with metrics and reporting and these relationships between, you know, the stakeholders inside the company is this is what it’s all about.
Speaker2: [00:25:52] Yeah. So. So in Escala, what we’re doing is effectively going into when I say we, I’ve got 35 full time management consultants that are mostly ex Ernst and Young, Accenture, Deloitte that are Philippines based, and we deploy two consultants into the business. And what we do is we interview shadow review, understand operationally what’s happening in the business. I think for a lot of founders, especially as you get to, you know, larger scale things can become confusing. You’re not running on the same systems, departments become siloed and it just becomes higher and higher degrees of complexity. And so inside of Escala, what we’re effectively doing is we’re taking sort of the large corporate methodology that works for Fortune 500 companies and things like traction that I just mentioned. And we’ve built our own methodology to really focus on Amazon and e-commerce businesses, on how to systemize them for scale. So to answer your question really directly, yes, we’re helping build the company goals and objectives. We’re helping build the KPIs attached to them. The company rocks and and how those actually roll into achieving the goals, the organizational chart, the accountability chart, all the job descriptions attached to it, all the SOPs, training videos, documentation, the company wiki, like our our success metric at the end of a project, once we’re solving like a problem that we’re looking to solve for is. If in 15 seconds, anyone new to the business is not able to find out the exact processes that they need based on our methodology and our framework and how we’ve designed this all out, then we’ve failed. So for us, we’re trying to remove any degree of key personnel risks. So if someone leaves tomorrow, you, the business owner, are safe because you have all the processes and you can bring someone in really quickly. You don’t have to invest the time to training them. And and so, yeah, that’s a long winded answer for you, Alex. But that’s, that’s really what Escala is all about.
Speaker1: [00:27:52] So it sounds like you’re dealing with the medium to large size businesses because I can’t imagine really, you know, an Amazon seller that has, you know, Operation Running with maybe a virtual assistant or someone else helping him. He probably doesn’t need that level of, you know, of doesn’t have doesn’t need those processes or that approach. Can you please tell me just describe in a couple of words for anyone that’s listening right now. Uh, your maybe the, the, the general, I’d say avatar of a client for Escala. So me as an Amazon business, how large should I be or when when I’m ready, you know, to come to you and say, okay, Yoni, I’m ready, let’s go, let’s set up the process inside. Let’s, let’s, you know, make everything tidy and working.
Speaker2: [00:28:51] So our our avatar or the clients that we typically work with will effectively be in the range of about 1 million to 250 million will be the largest client that we’ve ever worked with. So they’re in that range, which is quite a big range. But ultimately the bulk probably sit in that 5 to $20 million range. I’d say those are the those are the moments where things typically start to fall off. And that’s a really good time for us to enter. Obviously, much larger businesses we grow great with as well. But but that’s typically where we see a lot of our success and a lot of the help. You’re right. You know, if you’re just one solopreneur, you are doing, you know, $100,000 a month. It’s probably not the time to do it. And what’s more important than than that specifically is that if you’re just figuring out you’re right at the start of your business and you haven’t worked out exactly like to a degree, what kind of works or what doesn’t. And things are shifting really, really quickly, then it’s probably not the right time to start documenting all the processes because you’re going to be in a position where, you know, three months later things have drastically changed and we experienced a lot of that working with aggregators where, you know, they’d raised hundreds of millions of dollars. We come in, we’re helping them build out a function, and then three months later the function looks altogether different. So I would say, you know, there has to be a degree of understanding of like what is and isn’t working.
Speaker2: [00:30:16] Um, but, but essentially, yeah, the thing that I tell most sellers when they’re looking and speaking to us and saying like, Am I a right fit to work with Escala, I think a lot of it comes down to who do you, you know, who do you want to be when you grow up? Essentially, that’s that’s how I sort of like to think about it. And if you are someone who is committed to actually building a scalable business and not being, you know, not trying to wear the badge of honour, that I’m a founder and I’m hustle culture and working harder and 80 hour weeks and all that, you know, nonsense, which I’ve historic bought into and live that life. And I work more hours than I’d like to you know, I’m not sitting here saying to you I work a four hour work week. That’s not the case. But I definitely, definitely, definitely think that when people look at it, they need to think about what their dream future state is. And the other sort of ICP we work with is companies that are looking to sell the value proposition in a business that is going to exit really is aligned with what is the business look like, not what is the founder who’s working inside of it mean to the business. And when you can document all those processes, that becomes a much more sellable and higher value asset to to sell.
Speaker1: [00:31:31] Got it. Got it. Thank you. So I’d like to come back to is it right? The multiply me is the company that runs outsourcing sourcing people correct.
Speaker2: [00:31:45] Multiply me is is the recruitment agency out of the Philippines sourcing talent.
Speaker3: [00:31:50] Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:31:51] So regarding talent, my question here, from your experience, who are the most sought after roles? I mean, who people usually, you know, start with Yeah. And invite to their team.
Speaker2: [00:32:10] I’m scared to I’m scared to tell you, Alex. I’m scared to tell you. I’m genuinely scared to tell you because they’re the hardest people to find. We get asked all the time and we do find them. But it’s let’s just say it’s not our quickest turnaround time because we’ve got 25 full time recruiters. Most of the work we do is headhunting and finding this talent, and they’re hard to find. But I’d say the most I’d say let me give you like the top five, right? The top, the top five would be Amazon brand managers and account managers. I’d say they’re two of the hardest requested roles. Um, really, you know, really, really hard to find people that have that that level of experience and. We find them. But, you know, we’re not finding them in two weeks. Let’s let’s put it that way. Like to manage expectations.
Speaker1: [00:33:01] Sorry for interrupting you. Could we pause here for a second? Just. I’m really new to these roles. I mean, you know, when having a large team with all all kinds of people working together for your Amazon brand, first of all, who is this? Who is this guy or who is this girl? You know, who’s who’s an Amazon brand manager? What’s the role about?
Speaker2: [00:33:22] Yeah, So so the Amazon brand manager role typically is someone that has quite a demonstrable experience inside of Seller Central and understands a lot of the moving parts that are happening to run an Amazon business and also sits across sort of the ownership of the brand itself. So they’re effectively diving in and you could almost call it like to, to to separate it. It’s not exactly an operations manager for that specific brand. It’s it’s more tactical than that and it’s more hands on. And a little bit less on the ops side and more just the overarching touchpoint and view. But it is definitely someone that’s sitting and owning, you know, for a lot of, for example, or multi brand owners, you know, they’ll sit across a brand and make sure that the PPC is being managed correctly. They’ll make sure that, you know, supply chain logistics like everything is happening the way it should. And they’re they’re held accountable to that standard. And if any issues are coming up. And that’s why it’s a really high value role for people because, you know, that’s one of the things where especially once you have, you know, some of the other high value roles that we hire for are PPC managers, Amazon PPC managers and, you know, graphic designers and keyword researchers, roles like that also.
Speaker2: [00:34:40] But when you are at a stage where you’ve got a graphic designer and you’ve got a PPC manager and someone who’s focused on listing creation optimization and a few of these other roles that help bring this all together, you know, as you get larger, maybe having a supply chain and logistics specialist or an inventory demand planner. Yeah. When you put the brand manager over the top, then they have the tech, the technical knowledge to have a degree of understanding, but but effectively bring it all together. And I’d say for any founder who’s trying to come up with, you know, the thing that, you know, let’s be honest, most founders love most is new product development. Finding that next idea coming and, you know, most people coming in it from a really creative place and it’s something that they love and and get behind it frees up that time so yeah mean any more questions on that Alex But.
Speaker1: [00:35:33] No no I think, I think you’ve you’ve uncovered pretty much the the topic but you know I’m just asking because it’s really interesting for me how do you how do you manage, you know, to do this sourcing in a foreign country. You do this in Philippines. You know, you have to understand the background. You have to understand, you know, the cultural differences. You have to really know what makes a good, let’s say, Amazon brand manager. What are the requirements? I mean, it takes a lot of practice, takes a lot of time. So for me, for example, you know, it’s sometimes really hard to understand, to really understand what people from a different culture mean when I’m having a conversation with them, a genuine conversation, and then trying to understand whether this particular person will fit the needs of my Amazon business or not, it’s a really total different question. So it’s for me, it’s a challenge really. I How do you manage that?
Speaker2: [00:36:35] Yeah, great question, Alex. So let me let me break it down again into a few different parts. So I think if I were to look at it objectively here, you have a few different components. So you have, you know, the understanding around the cultural fit and the understanding. And I’m happy to share with you a little bit about the Philippines and, and what you can expect from talent in the Philippines. But I think before you even get to like what is the right culture or geography or what do they come through, What you really need to make a really strong decision on is what is right for my business? What is the thing that is most critical and how do I actually identify that this guy or girl is right for what I’m trying to achieve? You know, a lot of people, especially early on, again, I’ll always put my hand up and say, I’ve been guilty of this more times than I would like to admit is just finding people like them, having a great conversation, you and I getting along famously. Alex, you know I’d love to work with you. So you’re hired. You know, like, that’s that that was definitely me historically. And now where I look at how we approach hiring is we’ve taken a framework where we look at mission outcomes and attributes. And what we’ll do is we’ll define in really simple English in a sentence or two what is the mission of that role. You know, a good example might. They want to bring on an Amazon launch manager. So the mission of that Amazon launch manager is to launch, uh, 20 new, uh, 20 new products for the year of 2023 and to increase the revenue of the business by 20% based on these new products.
Speaker2: [00:38:13] So that might be the mission. And then what I want to then take it to is what are the 3 to 8 outcomes? What do I what does this person need to achieve in order to actually succeed in that mission? So it’s, you know, identifying X number of products and whittling it down to the top 20 that we source for, you know, bringing 15 of them to market, knowing that five won’t, you know, so you sort of define all the different outcomes that exist and then the attributes. So like what is this person need to have done historically and what are the characteristics, you know, someone like that For a launch manager, they need to be really autonomous because and organized because they need to actually control what is a pretty broad stroke scoped role and have a clear understanding that they are accountable and deliverable to that success metric. So so ultimately working your way backward and defining what that looks like. And then when you go into the interviews, you’re actually rating people from A to F or one through ten against each of the 3 to 8 outcomes and seeing do they actually fit the bill, walking in, asking them all the same questions. So I think that from a hiring perspective, that’s a really critical skill that will be a step change in your hiring process if you get that right. And then. On the on the cultural side.
Speaker2: [00:39:34] You know, when you talk about bringing in different regions and geographies and different people, I think it’s a really important decision that you need to make for your business. And what I’ll say and I sit in, I sit in Israel, I sit in Tel Aviv, so I’ll say I don’t particularly search for opportunities to place talent in Israeli businesses. And the reason I don’t and my co-founder actually had a great LinkedIn post last year at some point where it looked about, it looked at it was like an X and Y axis, and it looked about how direct people are and blunt and how open they were to providing and giving feedback. And like Israelis sit on the very high giving, very blunt, direct feedback and holding nothing back and Filipinos sit on the other side where they’re less inclined to give direct feedback and how they feel about a situation. And, you know, they’re a little bit more closed. So my point at all is, is picking the right cultures that fit you as a as a company. You as a person is really important. Why I love the Philippines so much on a personal level is one, I’m Australian and culturally there’s definitely a fit there also with with Americans to Filipinos. So so the scope of the Philippines, 120 million people in terms of population size of that 120 million, 95% that work inside of the BPO industry, business process outsourcing, which is effectively anyone that’s remote talent in the Philippines, then 95% college educated or higher and college education in the Philippines is all in English. So that’s the that is the education language there.
Speaker2: [00:41:22] There’s lots of different dialogues of dialects rather of Tagalog, which is the native language. But, you know, everyone speaks English and learns in English. And then what’s more is some of the sort of the cultural values that exist inside of the Philippines is, um, you know, I say this, I say this in a, in a playful way, but like I would say from my experience, Filipinos are notoriously bad at, at saving money. You know, they’re not like really sitting there and, and planning for the future. And so one of the really important things for Filipinos is job security. And so when you can with Filipinos, invest in a growth roadmap, give them an actual career path, you know, and these are really talented people who are highly educated, highly motivated, work really, really hard and and will stick it out with you. You know, it’s a really it’s a really incredible culture, you know, from a professional standpoint. But also just from a personal standpoint. I mean, you know, I spent most of my waking hours with with my team and they stick around and they’re great people. And, you know, I’d say one of the things that I’ve had to battle with is that in a lot of times I’m like forcing them to take days off because they’re so committed to the task at hand that they’re sort of putting all of the other aspects of their life aside. And I’d say it’s different to some of the sort of the what’s the new generation? Gen It’s not Gen Z, is it? I forget, but.
Speaker1: [00:42:54] It was less last time I checked. The ones, at least the people that are able to work right now, not the younger ones.
Speaker3: [00:43:01] Yeah.
Speaker2: [00:43:02] So I’m saying like Gen Z, like there’s a whole cultural shift where like, they’re not motivated. No one wants to work hard, particularly in like Western countries. And it’s, it’s not the case with the, with the teams that I’ve worked with in the Philippines. And it’s funny, I mean, not to get totally off topic here, but I always think to myself like, no, none of these people want to work like they’re not interested. My career has just expanded like another ten years because I’m, you know, I don’t care that I’m the CEO of the business. I’ll take out the rubbish. I will do whatever I need to do to to make it make sense. And, you know, people are like, Yeah, well, I’m only going to work three hours a day and I want a six figure salary. And, you know, it’s just it’s an interesting it’s going to be an interesting next decade, let’s put it that way.
Speaker1: [00:43:49] Yeah, it certainly will. I want to point out the fact that I really felt the emotion behind, you know, everything that you said about your team. I really feel that you are show a lot of empathy. And, you know, it could be felt through through everything that you said. So it’s really impressive. I feel that there’s there’s this bond, this connection, I mean, for sure.
Speaker3: [00:44:12] Well, well.
Speaker2: [00:44:13] Well, well. If you’re listening to this, I’ll just say that I was thinking about you, buddy. So will my one of my incredible graphic designers and video production. He’s a he’s a senior graphic designer. He’s been sick yesterday and today. And like, I was texting him earlier and I was like. You’ve got to look after yourself. So it’s one of those things where, like, I’m sitting here saying, like, the work can wait. It’s really not it’s not that. Like, of course it’s important. It’s not that important to be sick for two days and dealing with that like. Yeah. So I definitely, uh, I definitely mean what I say, and I appreciate that you can feel it.
Speaker1: [00:44:52] Alex Shout out to will get well soon. I’m you’re you’re blessed you know to to to have to have people like on to work with. Yeah so thank you for sharing that. I also have another question it’s regarding the processes so we’re coming back, you know we’ll jumping from, from processes to people, but actually it’s, you know, the two main things that, you know, make a business and coming back to a scholar probably um, we are about profit analytics with seller board. So maybe you have some experience you could share about, you know, this part of the business that you build out with your clients. You know, how, how, what advice would you give, get, give to people, you know, about the analyzing their profitability, you know, what are the key metrics that you should look after and closely watch and monitor or maybe any basically anything that would be helpful for for people that are really interested in knowing their numbers and understanding, you know, how well they’re standing in terms of profit and loss. And, you know, because there are a lot of cases when I come to a product demonstrations or to webinars, you know, and I talk about some really simple principles that we do in seller board, you know, some really basic numbers. And I encounter a lot of people that are actually selling, but they are not doing these numbers. So for me, I’m not an Amazon seller, as I said before, but for me it’s really surprising, you know, that there are still people that are actually selling, but they are not going that deep into analysis and into, you know, understanding what’s what makes their baseline at the end of the day. So, yeah, coming back to the question, what’s the advice you could give or maybe some of the best experience, best use cases you have with building, you know, processes around analyzing profitability?
Speaker2: [00:46:52] Yeah. Think it’s it’s it’s the it’s the question that defines whether you have a successful business or you don’t. And and you know there’s different degrees of success but I’m saying from a from a monetary perspective profit especially in 2023 when we’ve seen what’s happened in in the markets and, you know, the recession and all these challenges, profitability is everything. And you know, I just quickly pulled up. We just relaunched our Scala website. And literally what I have here is a Scala. It means scale in Latin. And the definition from a business sense of a scale is how we’ve got it written out. It says it’s the increase of revenue at a faster rate than costs. And and that is something that every single founder and every single Amazon business owner really needs to be looking at. And I think coming back to before I go into some of the details here around it, specifically when I look at seller board, you know, with Amazon, their objective is to show you the big numbers, to show you the revenue numbers, to keep you on the platform, to keep you excited.
Speaker1: [00:48:00] The orange bars.
Speaker2: [00:48:01] The orange bars, and they always want them to be going up into the right. And and and we want that. We we absolutely want that to be happening. But what we need to make sure is that our investment into the business doesn’t outpace the revenue that it’s actually generating. And obviously with businesses like Amazon businesses and eCommerce businesses in general, it’s a it’s a cash flow business to manage because every time you grow and you continue to invest in media spend on Amazon and off and you know, as you do more product shoots and as your inventory grows and as you continue to grow the business, so too does your demand for capital. And so what I would say to you is that it is absolutely paramount that you have that degree of clarity and you actually understand what you’re working toward, because there’s nothing nothing kills a business like zero cash flow. Um, and, and when it comes to building processes around that, I mean, that starts to come down into specifics around your finance function and, and how you approach that reporting. I won’t bore you with some of those specifics and details and it’s probably not the time to get into it. But what I’ll say at a macro level is, is having that visibility and looking into the future planning and understanding from a position of what your investment looks like, what the challenges or what the terms look like with your actual supplier and how you can stretch those out.
Speaker2: [00:49:25] Any area in which you can actually make sure that you’re not overindexing or over investing and and needing to, you know, borrow money or worse. Yeah, I would say, you know, having that visibility is everything. And obviously, I’ve got to say, I mean, Alex, it hasn’t come up and I haven’t shared it with you, but. With our third business South goal, the Growth Fund, where we’re investing in e-commerce businesses and growing them to exit. How we look at all of our portfolio companies that we’re investing in is through Sellaband. That is how we are tracking the profitability and performance across all of our businesses. And it really helps keep, you know, really just clean and simple alignment around everything that’s going on. So just sharing that it plays a fundamental role for us when we’re looking at multiple companies that we’re investing in and being able to ask the right questions because it really cuts through a lot of the noise. Like I was saying at the very start, the downloading of excels and uploading and looking at so many different reports that honestly, I mean, it’s been a minute since I’ve actually done this myself, but I’ll never forget that from downloading a report on Amazon to looking at Seller Central, you’d get different numbers and that was an impossibility. It’s probably an absolute nightmare and headache for you guys at Sellaband to to build in which do we align with? But probably a conversation for another time.
Speaker3: [00:50:49] Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:50:50] What we we are having, you know, some, some of the aspects of our work that we have to figure out how to account for, for certain stuff. But there are a lot of guys that are putting 100% of their capabilities, you know, to come up with different, uh, with different solutions for this. This is why, this is why, uh, basically we do what we do. So, uh, considering the time left, I would like to ask you to, you know, to all of the one of the people that are listening right now, the sellers, the seller board users, just, you know, I’m pretty sure that maybe there are, um, the ones that are maybe ready to come up to you and say, okay, let’s try I want to I want to scale my business. Let’s see what South Korea is all about. Or maybe I want to, you know, get my processes right. Let’s see what the scale is all about. Or maybe I need some people. Let’s see what’s multiply me is all about what are the best ways to reach you And you know, where should they start?
Speaker3: [00:51:57] Yeah.
Speaker2: [00:51:58] So for each of those businesses, one you can find me on LinkedIn, Jani Kosminski I’m, you know, relatively easy to find or Jani at multiply me.com or Jani at we are a scholar.com or Jani at South Coco where you know easy ways to get me and you’ll get me directly. I would say if you’re looking to understand like your valuation of your business there’s a great free resource there’s a valuation tool on the South Coco website. If you’re looking to build out your accountability chart and your org chart or things like that, there’s free resources that exist on a scale. We are a Scala comms website where there’s a Miro board template. You can take that and with multiply me, we’ve actually got the top 50 roles to hire in the Philippines and what their costs are broken down like directly not what do we charge and what’s the fee. It’s it’s literally just transparent and what’s that comparison to the US. So anyway, I’m always here to try and, you know, shoot out some free resources for people. And I’d say those are three pretty good ones depending on where you’re at in your journey.
Speaker1: [00:53:03] Yep. Thank you. Thank you. So everyone listening or watching this on YouTube? Definitely check out Escala. Check out multiply me. Check out South Col. And my last question is something maybe not from the Amazon side, not from the business side. It’s more from a personal side. But I always ask the question I want to ask you What do you enjoy most in your work?
Speaker2: [00:53:30] Yeah. What do I enjoy most in my work? I’m a I’m a people person. I like having real genuine connections. And so getting to have the opportunity to speak to other great founders, people who are really just motivated and and looking to push forward. I really like that’s the that’s the area that I love most. And that’s the thing that I would say, you know, getting to events and actually meeting real people is, is really meaningful for me. So yeah, that would be that would be what I enjoy most. That’s what gets me out of bed.
Speaker1: [00:54:04] Nice, Nice. Thank you. Great. Jani, thank you so much for the knowledge you shared. Thank you for the insights. Thank you for your story. It’s an amazing one. I really enjoyed your approach to working with people. And for me, you know, talking about different cultures, being involved in creating business and businesses in Amazon, you know, Amazon being an international global platform, it’s a probably one of the first. I don’t know, is it so or not? But I really think that it’s one of the first times in history when a lot of people got up from all over the globe, got the opportunity to, you know, to come together and work and create and, you know, manage businesses together. And then you come up with questions like we’ve discussed today, okay, what kind of people could connect from this nationality and this nationality? Will they work together? What are their cultural differences? Will they work together? Maybe I should pick up a different cultural representative because this this match won’t work. So it’s an amazing time to live in.
Speaker2: [00:55:13] Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re we’re in we’re in the age of globalization, and the barriers that once existed are no longer there. And it’s it’s been a I think like since Covid and that experience, I think we’ve really shifted to a totally different reality that we’re all just getting comfortable with. And and I think it creates a better world. And I think that where you see the best, the best realities come to pass is where you have both a mix of cultures and a mix of experience across different industries. And it’s that melting pot of all of all of that different experience and culture that that creates some pretty exciting stories and founders and yeah, you know, I’m just echoing what you’re sharing. Alex I love it as well.
Speaker1: [00:56:01] Yeah, Well, well, this basically was, you know, the red line of the whole conversation today. I feel like, you know, uh, considering your, your experience with, you know, with outsourcing people and working with people. All right, Johnny, thank you once again for coming to the podcast. It’s been an amazing talk. I really hope to talk to you soon. Maybe run into you into a conference or something.
Speaker2: [00:56:25] It’s going to happen. Alex, thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate it. And you were awesome.
Speaker1: [00:56:31] Same, same, same about you. Thank you. All right. And this is it. Thank you for your interest and your patience. You only thank you for coming to the podcast. To everyone listening and watching, be sure to follow Yoni on Instagram and LinkedIn and follow all his socials and amazing conversation. So one last thing as usual, if you haven’t done so by now, go to sellerboard.com. See the demo account and check out how sellerboard can help your Amazon business. This is it for today. My name is Alex. Thank you once again, best of luck. Bye bye.