After two exits and building a successful Amazon consultancy, John VanDerMeulen has learned a thing or two about setting priorities for an amazing exit. This article will discuss how John took his eCommerce business from $0 to a successful sale and what he feels was key to his growth strategy.
From $0 to Exponential Growth
John sold his family business and pivoted to eCommerce in 2017. While he had a strong background in running a successful business with clean finances, he still needed to learn about supply chain, FBA, PPC, and every other aspect of selling on Amazon.
Jumping into the Amazon FBA space with both feet was a learning process. John’s brand, Wild Birds of Joy, experienced several setbacks during the first few months as he worked out pricing, PPC investment, and product issues.
These unexpected issues gave him two options:
- Sell his stock and close out the business.
- Find ways to pivot and move forward.
The Key to Business Growth
After sales picked up around Christmas, John determined that pivoting would be the key to his business growth. He had already corrected product issues to ensure the products were ideal. He continued to overhaul PPC while releasing two new products.
Like many of us Amazon FBA brand owners, he had a surprise sales success of an unexpected product.
Wild Birds of Joy sells window bird feeders. He launched a larger and smaller feeder, believing the smaller feeder with lower margins would not sell as well. Instead, it took off, and he was able to increase the margins and sell the product at a significant profit. He found that the small bird window feeder market was relatively underserved, and discovered that his product filled an unexpected need during the pandemic.
John’s pivot to a new marketplace within the bird feeder space allowed him to sell his business on the upswing, providing him the opportunity he wanted for his ideal exit.
The Sale Process
John knew what he wanted at the beginning of the sales process. That is, a cash sale at the valuation his broker had provided. The first offer did not fit that criterion, but the second did. Not only that, but the buyer had a real passion for his brand and a vision of where to take it next. John knew this cash-only sale would be best for him and his brand.
This made the choice of buyer simple. He picked the cash offer.
Fortunately, because he had sold his family business previously, he understood the due diligence necessary to make the sale happen. Unfortunately, because of the quirks of Amazon, he did not anticipate that he should never have connected his personal Amazon account with his business account. When he sold the business account, all of his personal items like ebooks, audiobooks, and movies, went with the account.
However, this was a small price to pay for the smooth sale of his business.
Overall, Wild Birds of Joy grew year over year for over three years. John sold it right when he felt ready to do so, for the amount he wanted and got the offer he wanted.
I’d say that’s an Amazing Exit!
If you are considering your next move, get in touch with us. We want to hear your exit goals and help you strategize the sale of your brand so you, too, can have an Amazing Exit. Click here to get in touch.