The Valuable Lessons of Making An Amazon Exit | David Storey
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA - David Storey - Founder & CEO at AFBTS.COM - talks about Seller Discretionary Earnings (SDE) and making an Amazon exit. David details his professional experience at Draeger, working with Deep Sea Robots ROVs, and shares his personal journey into e-commerce.
About David Storey of AFBTS - | firstname.lastname@example.org
David Storey started selling his first Amazon FBA business and realized how much value could be added by optimizing his business for maximum exit and value.
He has helped over 40 Amazon sellers maximize the value of their businesses and is looking forward to helping you to do the same.
Amazon FBA Build to Sell will help you create and implement an Exit Plan that will skyrocket the value of your Amazon business.
Find out more about GETIDA FBA reimbursements.
Find the Full Transcript below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of primetime today I'm excited to have a special guest. Today I'm having David story. David is the founder and CEO of Amazon FBA Built to Sell also known as AFBTS. AFBTS is a unique coaching program for Amazon sellers to build their business and make it optimized for sale. Okay, so the way it's constructed is, you know, it's ready to be sold in a snap in a beat and also ready to be sold in the most valuable position possible. He's going to share more with us about that later on. But in the meantime, David, welcome to the show. Pleasure, to have you. So today's episode is gonna be all about the story of David's story. And you got to share with us, you know, who are you? Where are you from? Where'd you grow up? How'd you get a professional career until we end up to where are you doing today? So I guess without further ado, let's just jump right into it.
David Storey 1:03
Yeah, start right from the beginning. Got it. Okay. So born in northern England in the UK. Now pretty much lived out all my life. And a lot of traveling but I'm
Yoni Mazor 1:13
If I’m not mistaken was Liverpool?
No, it was Newcastle.
Newcastle, sorry. Yeah. 50 miles on the west, right?
David Storey 1:19
Yeah, It’s 50 miles south of the Scottish border. Right in the north of England. Beautiful place. One of the most beautiful places in England. Yeah. Castles and beaches and lots of things to do and see, it's good.
Yoni Mazor 1:32
You live in a castle or No?
No, no. But the castle just up the road. It was where what’s his name? Harry Potter was filmed there. Yeah. So that's where I was born. And my father and grandfather was an inventor. Father was an engineer. And I kind of followed in their footsteps. And I always knew I wanted to be an engineer. So went through school. Didn't do like, what you call the A levels in England, I went straight to college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, which was engineering. So when got my qualifications and engineering degree, I went to go to University. University in Newcastle. state local. Did a degree in manufacturing systems. So it was mechanical engineering.
Yoni Mazor 2:30
Yeah, I want to touch a little bit if you may, if I may, your father and grandfather. So what kind of products were they designing? Or what were they working on?
David Storey 2:38
They're both farmers. But my granddad used to design like devices for making jobs easier on the farm. He's got a patent on a special system for mixing and taking particles out of grain, you know, grains. Yeah. So he designed this special thing and got a patent on that.
Yoni Mazor 3:00
Yeah. To relief, I guess he had to pull apart the parts of it. I think the big adventure in America back in the old days was the cotton gin, right? When you pick up the cotton, you know, seeds is a very thorny, without the gin, we're able to throw it all into this machine. You know, roll it with the hands to get the economy the good part and the bad part in the Arab world to really scale production and also prevent all this all the scratches and cuts and bruises that people used to get in something like that. So that was kind of the design there to make sure that to scale up the ability to separate the grants from all these components. So your father was working on stuff that he works on also in farming.
David Storey 3:40
Yeah, he was a farmer. And then when I was back, when I was born he sold the farm, dad decided to be an engineer.
Yoni Mazor 3:47
And What year did he sell the farm just to have some context?
David Storey 3:54
The year before I was born in 1973.
Yoni Mazor 3:59
So you were growing up he wasn't a farmer anymore. It wasn't farming, it was more into engineering.
David Storey 4:03
I lived on the farm because I lived in a big farmhouse. But he wasn't a farmer anymore.
Yoni Mazor 4:09
Got it super unique, you know, 100 years ago, farming was probably the largest industry. But you know, bounce 100 years afterward, it seems like such a niche industry to be in right? Because you got e-commerce you got as we are we're part of, and you got high tech, in writing code and computers and just an abundance of other industries. I grew up since the birth of you know, the technological improvements of the past century. Alright, so the University of Newcastle, when did you graduate?
David Story 4:37
Ah, 1998 I think it was1998.
Yoni Mazor 4:42
1998 you graduates and what's your next station?
David Story 4:46
I had a year out in a company German company, which one called Drager. they manufacture breathing apparatus for firemen divers ministry Ministry of Defense in the UK and then the big headquarters in Germany do...
Yoni Mazor 4:59
How do you pronounce How do you spell the?
David Story 5:02
D r a g o but you'll see the names and hospitals because they manufacture breathing devices and incubators and the really high quality and face masks and full the full hazmat suits and everything.
Yoni Mazor 5:19
So when you dive in, I have a scuba diving license. So and you have you know, you need to stay as I guess for three minutes under the five-meter realm to decompress, right? Because you have what you call the nitro, or you got to balance out that the oxygen so if you don't do that you can get like nitro poisoning, and you got to go to the special decompressing pressure. That's what they manufacture?
David Story 5:39
That's what they do in Germany. I didn't work on that equipment. Mine was that the fireman firefighters, I was concentrating on.
Yoni Mazor 5:49
Cool stuff. This is super, super high-level stuff, though.
David Story 5:52
Yeah, so I had the year out there, then I got my degree then they rang me up, I was on my way on holiday in the run-up and said, David, you want a job? So I had a job straight away when I got back from holiday looking for...
Yoni Mazor 6:05
You were working in the UK or in England or you had to go to Germany?
David Storey 6:28
In the UK. As you imagine the equipment has to be of the highest quality because if it goes wrong, someone could die. So that process, very process-driven, very high attention to detail. Really using the best techniques, the best equipment to come up with some just fantastic design. So I really loved that. I saw it as a product designer, designing the face masks and the regulators or the backpack or the systems or the hosing. You know, everything that goes with it, loved it.
Yoni Mazor 6:44
Back in the day, what was that when you start working there?
David Storey 6:48
It'd be 1998.
Yoni Mazor 6:55
When you as soon as you graduated, and back then you were designing all these procedures manually with sketches or you're already using software and computer design.
David Storey 7:03
I'm not a very good graphic designer, but I'm a good engineer in terms of 3d CAD, so
So the graphic designers would sketch up stuff they now put it into the 3d card and they would make prototype models and we'd test them in the labs where dog testing facilities big cages in the dark who has to crawl through and smoke-filled with all the equipment on testable usability. So I came up with some good patent designs, my own unique things like I've got a patented a firefighter, so firefighters when the climbing of ladders, imagine it's hard that tight shoulder straps are made a special device that allows the shoulders to move with like a swivel pointer the buck.
Yoni Mazor 7:41
Guys, so stay flexible. Yeah. So their ability to climb and use the shoulders is as if they're not even carrying anything correctly. Yeah. That's cool. And it was all yours or you had a whole team around this. But design pattern is on your name for looking to the record that says respect much respect. Very cool. All right. So how many years have you stayed with that?
David Storey 8:03
Be Seven, eight, possibly eight, or nine years? Yeah. So So I advanced into a different role. I've answered the senior engineers, I was running a design team. And then as I was leaving, created the whole new winning projects, great the whole new project management system in the company, and then decide to leave 2007.
Yoni Mazor 8:31
2007, close to nine years in the mix, you leave, what was your next station?
David Storey 8:35
Next, I went to a company that manufactures designs and manufactures deep-sea robots ROV’s, you've seen them go down to 3000 meters for 5000 feet.
Yoni Mazor 8:49
Tremendous pressure right?
David Storey 8:52
Right with big manipulator arms and lots of lights and cameras and...
Yoni Mazor 8:58
It's basically 30 bar, right? Underneath the sea level. Oh, wow 300 bar. Yeah, every 10 meters is a bar. So 300 bars, that's super, super-condensed. So we get super dark and icy you have to build the technology to create these vehicles and the robots. And what was the main purposes for the robots as far as you remember, it was just funny that Titanic...
David Storey 9:22
The exploration of oil, so like big oil fields. But I was an engineer. This time I was a project manager started as a project manager working on projects and excelled quite rapidly through that company because it was a different sort of company. Remember, I was a very process-driven process led, this was a sort of new sort of unique company that had been just built up by some engineers. So I excelled really well and took on some massive projects took on the world's largest ROV contract, supplying 30 ROVs to Brazil.
Yoni Mazor 9:58
What's called with that Well, companies out there. Would you call that? Petrobras? Yeah, Petrobras. Yeah, Petrobras? Yeah, Petrobras, right?
David Storey 10:06
So these ROV systems, they're not just an ROV they come with many different parts that go with them, ranging from a million pounds would be the cheapest one up to sort of 10 million pounds just for one system. Big, big ones...
Yoni Mazor 10:22
How big was that contract? 30 vehicles with all the parts and components. How big was it hundreds of millions? 50 million pounds? Yeah. Got it? How long? How fast? Did you have to deliver it? Or execute on this? Two years? Wow, very cool. Um, alright, what's the name of the firm or the company you're working for?
David Storey 10:44
That was SMD. Stands for soil machine dynamics, because they originally started making machines that deep-sea plows, plowing trenches in the ground, and laying cables. Fiber optic cables across the Atlantic. Yeah, they’re still doing that. They either get towed by ships, or they go into their own power.
Yoni Mazor 11:08
So how deep does it go? Those cables? Three, four or five kilometers? Some four? Yes. So think about it, guys, we're probably having this, you know, on the cross Atlantic, you and I were having this recording zoom, we're using the fiber optic infrastructure, which David really has had the privilege of being a part of that industry. We all take it for granted. But underneath the Atlantic, they're sitting like miles and f miles, I don't even know massive, massive cables, which I because it is corrosion and a lot of things that they create so many cables inside there, because there's going to be parts of it pretty much gonna be usable over the years. But they keep on laying and more and more tracks right over the years.
David Storey 11:46
The front blade cuts like cuts it really deep trench, you know, for three or four feet deep, and the cable gets laid and in the center, and then there's a backfill plow that fills the trench back in over the top.
It's amazing. Yeah, so they're actually using the grounds of the Atlantic Ocean to cover and protect these cables. It's pretty wild. And based on all this, you know, having these amazing technological abilities called the internet, the cloud, you name it, we have it and the world is just becoming a smaller village. So it's pretty cool. Alright, so SMD right soil machine dynamics, dynamics, how long you were there?
David Storey 12:28
I was there about the same time maybe a bit longer actually. 10 to 11 years there.
Yoni Mazor 12:32
So you also progressed any patents there as well? Or no?
David Storey 12:37
No, that wasn't designed. Oh, yeah. So I went from project management to head of projects, big project so much the whole project team,
Yoni Mazor 12:45
Let me ask you this differently underneath you and the teams you're managing or the engineers you're managing any patents they created on your realm or know that over the years?
David Storey 13:00
Loads, I dont know. We're making new stuff all the time. Because they solve unique problems, these massive contracts. So yeah, so I eventually ended up as the Operations Director of that film, that firm. Also, running a big factory. So I really enjoyed that. So I had underneath me, I had a quality team. The projects team, supply chain, business improvement, engineering, and manufacturing.
Yoni Mazor 13:34
It's amazing. Yeah, so as far as I can see, you know, high-level engineering, long-term relationship, and contracts with you know, the clients, everything is very, very well crafted. It has a long-term vision, it's not spontaneous, not, for now, it's everything is you know, it's high-level stuff, as far as I can see it, you know, with your experience so far with Jaeger, but also SMD. So it's, it's pretty impressive. Plus, you have your own patent underneath it underneath many, many patents. So even though you're, you know, looking to the future with all these projects, constantly, innovation is taking place underneath the surface. Also, underneath the surface cables are being laid across the Atlantic, kind of the satellites for you guys. So, so you spent all these years there are any other special projects you want to mention, besides the Petrobras project, the 50 million pounds there are lots of big projects, but that was probably the biggest Got it anything revolves around the US, United States anything. And especially companies from the US Remember, you can recall?
David Storey 14:38
Not that company, but the first company I did every tour of all the eastern western side of the states, including Alaska, I think I had 11 flights in eight days
Yoni Mazor 14:49
And what was mission admission there? What was the purpose of that?
David Storey 14:51
I was showing off the breathing apparatus. I designed a new and I took my team with me and we're showing all the firefighters and we had firefighters in Miami crew Under like desks and things or testing it all out under the rug to Detroit and across Minneapolis and Robert Alaska and all testing it out and in the results.
Yoni Mazor 15:11
And I’ll tell you one thing, the United States, really make it cool to be a firefighter. You know, if you ask a lot of kids, you want to be firefighters, because there's all culture behind it. You know, I'm originally born raised in Israel, we don't have that kind of culture. But the firefighters, you know, we have them, but they're not that I'm a symbol, not much of a symbol. But here in America, they read symbols and you, if you're able to excite them, that means you're in a super cool, super cool stuff because they're excited, to begin with, all the stuff and gadgets that they have is always impressive. You go to the schools and know my kids go to the schools. Firefighters come in once a year with all the tools and this and that and the chart, and they show the whole thing and they get really excited. It's pretty awesome. Alright, so let's talk about your next station after.
David Storey 15:51
Yeah, so I always knew my plan. When I was 18 was I was going to start my own company someday. And I plan to go out and in industry, probably till I was about maybe 2829. As I thought I thought I would do that. And then some old company, but I was enjoying it so much that stayed a lot longer than what I was planning to. So anyway, it got to the point in soil machine dynamics where it was when the oil prices crashed. And lots of the contracts went dry. That was from 2017 to 2018. No 2014 oil prices dropped again, our prices crashed and lots of the contracts ran dry and we weren't getting much work. So you're having to make cutbacks and lay people off and it just wasn't exciting to work there anymore. And I saw my way out.
Yoni Mazor 16:47
Yeah, it's worth mentioning that you know, the oil business or the energy business is cyclical. It comes with cycles, the boom and bust boom, and bust. So yeah, the grip you know, turn on the boom, and you can hear it and as the bus came in, you fell you know what, you yourself survived, the others suffered, but there was probably the time for you to I guess explore something that you were interested in even from the get-go. You mentioned you always had that in mind. There's something on your own. So you saw that as an opening and an opportunity to do something on your own.
David Storey 17:14
Yeah. So I left, I went straight off the cliff, just walk off the cliff. I left and I'm sitting on Monday morning in the back of my bedroom thinking what have I done? What have I done, but I'm going to do it I just thought I just gonna do this and my idea at the time was to create because of my passion for product development. I also got a Master's degree didn't mention that I got a master's degree in product development when I was in the first company very useful this is very so I thought I'm gonna create some unique brand new design that I've always wanted to do. I don't know what's going to be yet. So I'm starting to come up with ideas and things I had and I bumped into this guy that I used to know and he called me into his office he was at the company he said David I’m quite busy says I’ve got to go to a meeting he says he was really flustered and he says here's a password and a login. Says what for? He says Amazon just Amazon, yes Amazon, okay so went back home and it was a...
Yoni Mazor 18:23
Hold on, let me get this straight, this is after you resigned after you left your company. After resign it was just visiting your friend what he was he was working somewhere else. It was his own business. Yeah. Shout out. It seems like he's the one Okay. All right he’s the one that brought e-commerce to your doorstep. So what's his name?
David Storey 18:42
Steve Shoulder. He was working for another company and he bought Amazing Selling Machine and he tried to do it, but he didn't have time to do it. So he said there's a password and a login Dave. So I went home that night. I typed in the password. It was not hard. Matt Clark from Amazing Selling Machine in front of me. And I was just absolutely hooked. I couldn't stop watching it.
Yoni Mazor 19:16
Which was this, when this happened in 2014? Oh, so you were at SMD, about seven years?
Yeah, so 2014. Steve, you know reaches out, he did the Amazing Selling Machine ASM. You run back in that night. You see the content and you're hooked. Talk about e-commerce knocking on your door.
David Storey 19:46
And I knew when I saw that it was product-based, and I could see the system behind it and knew that that was for me. So I just went to go and see him a few days later. And I said, Yeah, let's do it. Just shook on it.
Yoni Mazor 20:00
Okay, so handshake away you guys went into business well, partnership 50/50, something like that. Yeah, yeah. And what was what transpired then?
David Storey 20:10
You know, he already got a product. Well two products one was the first one was a like a pressure gauge for automobiles? Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 20:22
In the cars, automobile,s a pressure gauge for the tires or something? Yeah. So that was his first second product that was doing okay?
David Storey 20:30
Yeah. It was doing all right. There wasn't that much demand for that product at the time. And then he was on USA, Amazon, UK, both Amazon Amazon us first. And then he brought on this other one was a tire pump like a pneumatic pump with a digital display.
Yoni Mazorr 20:50
Yeah, tire pump, you know, it shows you the psi the pressure, right?
David Storey 20:56
The psi, that one soon as it hit stock, it just boom, because it was the first private level one, there was only there was a couple of other manufacturers at that time. I think it's quite well known in the USA. There might have been another manufacturer that was that's like a household name. But they weren't doing very well. They didn't know what to do on Amazon.
Yoni Mazor 21:17
Optimized the platform engage new auto rank a keyword and be discoverable on the platform. So So this, so this tire inflator, right, this digital one, that you guys, you launch it together or that you launch it before he came. What was that dynamic, though?
David Storey 21:34
He already found it. And it was coming into stock.
Yoni Mazor 21:37
So he came in this way. This was already an active product on the platform frame. For Steve. Yeah, exactly. Okay. So when you came in what happened? What was the impact was the moment you came in?
David Storey 21:50
What I did was spend a lot of time on the left, all the listings and information and the pictures, the images getting everything, like much better than it was?
Yoni Mazor 22:03
How long did it take you a few weeks? A few months? A few years? I don't know, just a couple of weeks, a couple of weeks. All right. And then what sales started booming or increasing?
David Storey 22:11
The sales of the pressure gauge were consistent, but the Tire Inflator that that thing just went straight out of stock just couldn't keep it in stock. So we got another batch. This got another batch. And this is just before Christmas, this batch landed. And, and this is Christmas of 2014. And it didn't come into stock. We're really panicking because it was the end of November, December, Where the hell is it? Whether it was it was 100 and $110,000 worth of stock? Yeah, that's pretty heavy. That just didn't come to stock. Then Amazon said they'd lost it couldn't find it. You can find all the stock and like why couldn't find the stock? And then they said, Well, we think this will we're going to not what's the word? We’re going to reimburse you. We're going to reimburse you for the stock we lost.
Yoni Mazor 23:09
I think I know a little bit of something about reimbursement. I think.
David Storey 23:13
We're going to reimburse you for all the stop loss. But we will have to wait until this date and the date was the 29th of December. So anyway, the 28th of December came still on the 29th of December got an email from them saying they'd found all the stock, they found the stock.
Yoni Mazor 23:38
So what you were basically expecting to get paid or a lump sum reimbursements of a few $100,000.
David Storey 23:44
There's more than a few 1000 those five or 6000 I think.
Yoni Mazor 23:48
So what, you got stuck with it after the Christmas, you lost momentum.
David Storey 23:52
Yeah, we would have lost momentum, we would drop down the rankings. It was easy to pick up but we just had a ridiculous amount of stock and the demand drops right off in January in February. So I send some to the UK to the UK so we've got a massive cost of the fortune.
Yoni Mazor 24:10
So you’re telling me you live in Newcastle UK and you didn't realize there’s an Amazon UK?
Yeah, we did. We didn't know it was gonna be as big so, we send over the UK, and then just immediately soon as it hit the stock, they immediately took off as well. So now that just that product just really took off and we fine-tune the listings even more and became a best seller in the UK, a best seller in the USA for quite some time, and really gave us solid ground. So that was just starting to build new products on top of that in automatic mode of niche.
Yoni Mazor 24:46
So you create variations of the same product, maybe a few different colors or different more features, or you created something in the category just different types of tools and solutions, different types of tools like Jump leads, extension cables multimeters testers, battery tester and how did you do the market research? What compelled you to create those products as opposed to other ones as data? Is? Does your sister create your sense of creation?
David Story 25:21
We're just following the training from ASM ASM, really. And then, as things progressed, of course, we bought new training, new training was we've invested 1000s and 1000s.
Yoni Mazor 25:33
And investing in your training slash education. Right? You said, okay, that a hyper-dynamic industry. You know, do you need to keep building layers and layers of knowledge and keep up with the data and what's going on? And that, you know, continues your success along the platform?
David Storey 25:48
Yeah, absolutely essential. And we'll go up to conferences in the USA, as well. Europe, giving us great information.
Yoni Mazor 25:57
So it sounds like 2015. Are you heading to the UK, US? And then what 2015 to 16 to 17, you're pretty much setting up more layers and layers of more products, more and more types of listings. based on data based on you know, marketplace data, where you know, there's demand, you know, you can fit the demand, there's enough space for you to go in and optimize.
David Storey 26:20
Went into Europe, in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, which turned out to be a mistake. Later...
Yoni Mazor 26:28
Italy, or the rest of them what was a mistake?
David Storey 26:30
Well, the one in Germany, we thought was going to be big. But in Germany, we found out that the tire pumps and carriages are all free. So there wasn't really a demand for that when they go into a garage, the tire pumps to the user role.
Yoni Mazor 26:50
Ah, so when they visit the car shop, basically, everything that they want to use is kind of free. They don't charge him they don't charge them anything. So they have to buy the equipment and have it. So that was Germany, what about early something or something?
David Story 27:02
I don't know. I don't know what happened. It was okay. But they just weren’t willing to pay the amount of money for that product. They didn't see the value in it as they did in the UK, and especially the USA, there's so much more value in it. So the price of the margin just went down, was about a lot of money with all the translations and setting up..
Yoni Mazor 27:25
Yeah, this marketplace on an international level. Yeah. Okay, so what happened next?
David Story 27:32
Yeah, so we, we got into a position in early 2017, where we were doing sort of done about $3 million worth of sales. And that's sort of the trend 12 months, my thought, stamp, Sell a Business, you thought or Steve thought it was you and him the whole time, or you already thought it's time to sell. We didn't know anything about selling the business, but we just thought, let's get a quotation and, and sell. So we got a quotation at that point. And it was, you know, with what, two and a half million dollars on the region of that. But we thought, Well, you know, we've got business here. Let's just keep doing what we're doing. We have made a few mistakes, but we've had more positives and negatives, right? Four or 5 million, and then we'll sell it turned out to be a big, big mistake. Because in 2017, we had the Europe thing. That's what happened. We realized we wasted, you know. The European thing. You mean the Brexit? No, not the Brexit, just the failure of the products in Europe.
Yoni Mazor 28:33
Ah, got it. Yeah. So in Germany and Italy.
David Storey 28:36
Yeah. We could have just concentrated more on the US market. That's what we probably should have done. And then what happened at the same time was the Chinese sellers were always there, became savvy and clever at what they were doing. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 28:54
Yeah, their footprint intensified in In late 2017, early 2018.
David Storey 28:56
It was probably about mid-2017, we noticed that they must have been trained. They know that the training and the knowledge got spread.
Yoni Mazor 29:03
Amazon trained them, Amazon invested heavily. I was actually in China in 2017. And everybody around saying Yeah, Amazon's having all these conferences and meetings and just, you know, steering the Hey, the fray of factories in Chinese sellers into the marketplace. Because for Amazon and for them is a tremendous opportunity because Amazon wants selection at the best price. That's exactly what factories can give you selection an abundance of selection at the best price. And if you just show him the ropes, they keep pumping more inventory into this machine, no matter what the cost is, by the way, margins they matter less they've got to keep the hands moving. So it's a different dynamics then, you know, an entrepreneur coming in. You know, being hyper-focused on a product or two and they just flush so many products and along the way kill you and all you know and dozens of like us, it's different completely. But that's okay. There's just a natural progression of capitalism, but you're saying you got the opportunity to cash out The business for two and a half million back in 2017. He said, you know, let's keep rolling. You know, we think we were doing everything right. But then, you know, Europe came, you know, the expansion in Europe, you know, backfired a little bit. And then the Chinese footprint became to elbow you guys out. And what else happened?
David Storey 30:15
Yeah, I guess kind of what happened is that it has been so easy for us to set the business up in the first place, you know, that we were doing it now would have been completely different. It's a lot harder, obviously. But many of the techniques, I suppose that I kind of learned our industry just went out the window, because we just thought this is just so easy. Just It was almost like, not me to products, but just branding the products in finding a product sticking a brand that brand interest in your brand and, and that, that that was what the Chinese were doing. So we're basically having to fight against the Chinese now our products weren't strong enough as they should have been. And that's what may have put us in a really weak position. Plus, there were some quality issues that went on at the time as well, which were pretty bad, but the data have a big effect on us. So we panicked a bit. And in about mid to late 2017 we thought we better get a quote again. And you know what, we're panicking, it's probably not gonna be worth as much we knew it wasn't gonna be worth as much. And the broker said, Listen, don't think your business in a saleable position.
Yoni Mazor 31:24
Ohh, so from being two and a half million to not available.
David Storey 31:27
The numbers were going south. So it wasn't a good business that we've you know, that because so that point, so we had to pull things back together. So, you know, I spent quite a long time pulling things back together, I had to get rid of some of the unprofitable products, you know, strike them out and turn the product into a leaner machine, yeah, cut out lots of costs, really buckle down, and then focus on what the best quality products are, and that did work. And then I also decided that we're going to have a proper exit strategy. Because I've learned a bit speaking in the brokers in the two times that we put the quotes together. And I decided to contact a couple more brokers and learn some stuff from them about and buyers and sellers of businesses as well. I had some friends that that sold theirs and I just wanted to learn as much as possible about what it really takes to make a business more saleable and to increase its value. And so I learned a lot of different things a lot used a lot of tips and techniques to really increase value increase the SDE in the trailing 12 months.
Yoni Mazor 32:52
You guys it's seller discretionary earnings yeah that's how they kind of work there are two ways to look at your business in terms of you know, your profits is it EBITDA, without earning before interest taxation tax and taxes and more decision. But there's also SDE where you know if you're an owner of the business and you took a salary that can be removed and increase the EBITA, also known as SDE, am I correct?
David Storey 33:13
Yeah, it's essentially the net profit plus the outbox that box on just throw in a salary. There are all kinds of things which you...
Yoni Mazor 33:20
Anything as an owner because once you remove from that position, there's not going to be that cost any more or anything that was kind of a temporary or a one-time thing maybe a lawyer fee for the for closing for doing an exit or maybe you know audit you did or whatever was kind of technical a little local maybe you did one time you had to ship your product through air you paid a premium but that's not gonna be the case going forward so you can deduct that and added to your SDE there's to sell discretion earnings and aka so you learn all about that...
David Storey 33:50
Yeah, learned about that and then put it for sale and this was like 2000 mid-2019 now I so...
Yoni Mazor 33:57
Alright so it sounds like called before a year and a half maybe other than more you really picked it up together for that timeframe I really knuckle down and make some tough decisions in the business to all the nooks and crannies he did you you cut the losers you double down on the winners you arrange all the books you set up all the procedures all the groundwork to set up to be a healthy sustainable business and you lose and of course what 12 to 18 months?
David Storey 34:22
Yeah launched new products as well some this time I used my design experience so I thought right that's it there's no way that...
Yoni Mazorr 34:31
I was waiting for that I was factory slap a label okay that is no I can do it David can do it but what can I can David do that you only cannot do as being a product and being an engineer you add a twist that nobody else can come in and yeah, so that anyway,
David Storey 34:47
Some products; and I've got a special system for developing new unique ideas from products. It's like it's home to a huge worksheet which was which I've used for coming up with ideas and essentially beating the competition where they're weak. So I came up with two really good ones and launch those. And they did really well-read.
Yoni Mazor 35:13
So you’re saying you threw all your mindset to this sheet, this Google Sheet or Excel sheet, where are you able to identify an excel sheet and you're able to identify where you can really make an impact on a different level?
David Storey 35:24
Yeah, essentially, what you do is you analyze your strategic position against the competition in terms of features and benefits. Now, how strong Are you currently in terms of all features, of course, we were flat, we were basically following everyone else, there was no differentiation. And then he worked through a system of three or four sheets, we're asking lots of different questions to draw out all kinds of information and ideas and look at the pain points and where they're weak. And essentially, what you do is you drive in a strategic differentiation on the graph in Europe, and you can see that you're strategically different in these areas. And that's where you're going to win your battle and across those areas. So that's what I did. So then I had to go to China and work with the manufacturers to come up with designs.
Yoni Mazor 36:16
Unique designs by you, nobody can really bend it or understand what's going on to you keep that competitive edge. So you launch those and hit success. Yeah, they were they worked well. That's great. What else happened in 2018?
David Storey 36:39
I was doubling down and cutting out the bad ones and pulling out of Europe.
Yoni Mazor 36:44
And whatever you want for quotation again, and when you put the business on the shelf?
David Storey 36:49
I went for quotation again in 2019 And during that process alerts up more than what I probably did, trying to try to research it yourself about what buyers really wanted to see in a business. And you know, that went sold in late 2019.
Yoni Mazor 37:12
So the stretch of more than two years, you build the right up and you build it the right way product differentiated launch properly. All the fundamentals are in place and to 19 you were putting a put it off for sale again, what was the quotation then?
David Storey 37:24
Yeah, I've lost a million of the value. So it's a one-off?
Yoni Mazor 37:29
Uh, huh. Got it. Okay. But at least from my basically for 2.5 million to N/A, which is not applicable or not available, you know, do a whole reset, and then 2019, 1.5 million, you guys sold it?
David Storey 37:39
Yeah. We sold it. So then, you know, it was a good result. It could have been worse, but if we'd known, but no more than I know now, I would have sold it in 2017. Straight away, I would have said…
Yoni Mazor 37:54
I think he did put you in a position where you can I guess, launch your next venture. And I guess maybe at some point, maybe it's time to jump into the next station. So he successfully made it, you know, a seven-figure exit? Well, you and Steve together, right? You build this together? And what was the next station? What do you do afterward?
David Storey 38:11
Yeah, so the next stage, we decided we’re gonna build another brand. So this time in a completely different niche, and tools. And this obviously was gonna be me designing some stuff from the outset, so I spent a lot of time creating some new products in the tooling, niche, doing the branding, getting the whole brand story, right, and really differentiating ourselves. Went out to China again, this was just before the virus, I went out with China at the beginning of January, I didn't know there was a virus there. And visited the top three manufacturers did full audits on them. And chose the best one. And then that worked with them to finalize the designs.
Yoni Mazor 39:03
Yeah. So essentially, you launched your second Amazon business, right? And then this is 2020 earlier. Then what happened?
David storey 39:15
I had some time since the virus kicked off, and I had some time and I thought to myself, What am I going to do? Because I've got some I've got it's going to be because for quite a long lead time, they had to design and do all the tooling and everything was a lot much longer order than what it would normally be. So I thought to myself, well, I have learned so much along the way of selling that business. And there are so many things that I've learned that in this new business I'm doing completely differently. I'm now thinking about this new business, in terms of what a buyer would want to see. So right from the star rating on day zero, I'm going to build it. So for maximum profit profitability.
Yoni Mazor 39:56
Right to be optimized you know to be so whoever is a potential buyer. It's like a charm. It's like Love and fitting perfectly.
David Storey 40:01
Yeah. So I thought, well, obviously, then, I didn't know that that means pretty much every other amazon seller won't know because it's not on any of the training courses, all this stuff is now that's really difficult to find. And most of it, you have to learn as you go through the process itself. So I'm going to do is I'm going to put this stuff together into a training program for Amazon sellers to give some feedback. Because over the years, all the conferences and people I've met, that wasn't for all those people and training courses have been on I wouldn't have got where I was where I am now. So I thought, let's give some back. So I decided to put this program together had a few months. And that's what I did. And launched the beta version in April 2020. And that went really well.
Yoni Mazor 40:51
Amazon FBA Built to Sell, AFBST that was the name you dubbed it from the get go?
David Storey 41:00
Yeah, so you build to sell. You're not just building an Amazon business, the way that you know that you're taught to do you, you're building it with the end game in mind.
Yoni Mazor 41:14
That's great. You launched in April, with great success.
David Story 41:18
Yeah, it went really well, the beta version. So they got about quite a few people on the program straight away in it, what I found was that many people are kind of stuck in a rut in the business. And that many of them haven't even got it on their minds to sell. And the ones that do generally don't have a plan. And because they don't have a plan, they just kind of meandering around, and there's a scramble, yeah, the thread and yeah, and the risk is what can happen is what happened to me is the product lifestyle, you go over the other side, and not realizing it. And then suddenly, your products become under threat because of the technology rising or the competition. And that that's you got to be very, very careful that it's a trap pitfall.
Yoni Mazor 42:11
So the program is also able to analyze where the seller is in the lifecycle of PR on the product level on each product.
David Storey 42:17
Yeah, there's a section about being mindful of that, making sure that you, you are aware of market trends and what's happening in your niche.
Yoni Mazor 42:29
I think it's amazing if sellers are able to gauge where their product for each product, some might just have one, but some have a whole portfolio. On each product level, we're able to identify in a very sober matter where you are, where you are in the lifecycle of the product, and what's the momentum, that'd be phenomenal because then you can make honest decisions if you know, it's about to end. So maybe you got to set up your business with another product that you know, catch momentum that was on the rise. And there are potential earnings because anybody that's buying it will have that in mind, right, I would assume anybody that's buying a business is buying it for years and years to come. So the products and the portfolio of the business needs to be always on the right momentum. And I think that's probably a key factor of having that mindfulness, to build to sell. And the more you can find products that have, I want to say almost endless cycles or endless momentum that will be probably the most optimized for having a sustainable business long term, which would make anybody else any entrepreneurial, or business or organization or brand aggregator interested in buying. So that is also kind of a mission or ambition for the sellers to find those products that have strong and persistent demand. And they have some sort of a moat differentiator edge that will be sustainable for as many years as possible. So you think these elements are to be found in AFBTS?
David Storey 43:46
Yep, absolutely. It's a seven-module program, which is all geared towards giving sellers all the knowledge they need, in order to build their business in the most saleable position and make it more valuable. And it all centers around gathering lots of information and understanding what you need to do in your business. Because each business has it’s unique and different factors. Yeah, sure, yeah, it can be very, very different. Some businesses, you know, may benefit from working on a certain area where those might not. So you create a unique plan of coming back from my time and planning from other tactics. It's I've got lots of elements from my 20 years in the industry built into this course, to create a unique exit plan. And I know it's an exit plan, but there's exit plan, the sooner you put it together, the more value you can drive in your business, especially with strategy-wise, strategic positioning. If you do it in six months, yeah, you can add a lot of value but I think 12 months is an absolute minimum because that's when you are in this trend 12 months, and you've got to really focus on the numbers very closely.
Yoni Mazor 44:56
Guys to 12 months is a good time frame to consider everything together so the business is fully optimized. Alright, so thank you so much for sharing so far I want to kind of recap the body of the story see if I got it all correctly and then we'll head to the ending part of the episode. Alright, so born raised in Newcastle, North Northern England, close to the border with Scotland. You know, father and grandfather were engineers, mostly in you know, the farm business but you know, already in college, you're going to take engineering, which you did 1998 after you already had a stint with this Jager company doing an internship you got a job right after college. You work there, you know, mostly on equipment for underwater gear, right for diving and also for firefighting and stuff like that. But then you were 2017. You moved, to SDM, sorry, SMD. Right. SMD and your work, they're also helping with the things also for on the water and especially the length of the transatlantic cables and, and robots, they can go deep under the water. Once again, know throughout your career, you will have your own pattern, but your teams underneath. You were very innovative in creating all these other patterns, and creating innovative products that, you know, we all rely on today, by the way, that helps. Everybody has to rely on technology. That's the foundation of everything that you guys have assisted in building. And then 2014, you know, they were cyclical with the industry of the oil business, which you're you're kind of serving, for the most part, you jump off a cliff say I'm not saying I'm doing more stuff alone, you're always had that in mind. You know, by chance you meet your buddy Steve, who knocks on your door, saying, Hey, I took this ASM course, here are my keys to enter the amazon seller central account in the US, which sucked you right into the world of e-commerce. And since 2014, until today, you put your full mind into it, you had the opportunity to launch new products and refined products, improve products, but the company up for sale, you can do yourself, then, you know the next time you put out a quotation, it didn't end well. So basically you pivoted and understand even more the elements that are needed to create a successful Amazon business that it's for sale. So you give it a second run. And lo and behold, you did it, you brought it back to life, you made a successful exit and got paid for it. Now, you know, you're focused on two things. Right? This is your focus on setting up your second Amazon business, right, the private label brand, learning from all your experience, and doing it the right way. In addition to that contributing back to the community because you did it successfully, you're going to do it successfully, again, hopefully soon. Shares all that experience all that ability with the others or with AFBTS and habit as a vessel and tool and a program for the sellers to be able to do things successfully and learn from your pain, and all your cuts and bruises. So far, we got it correctly.
David Storey 47:40
Yeah, that's so good.
Yoni Mazor 47:42
Fantastic. So thank you so much for sharing that. It's fascinating. Alright, so I want two more things from you. Right? The first thing if somebody wants to connect and learn more about you is where they can find you. And the last thing would be is what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening?
David Storey 47:54
Are the best place to find me will be by email or send me an email, I'm happy to answer any questions anyone's got.
Yoni Mazor 48:03
what's the address, you can give me the address we'll make sure to have written on the screen now once we publish this.
Dave Storey 48:10
Yoni Mazor 48:18
Got it. You got it. So if anybody wants to reach out just by email directly? And what's your message of hope and inspiration?
David Storey 48:27
Right. I can understand what it was like being an Amazon seller not having sold the business before. It's kind of you don't know what you don't know, you might think that you're going down the right path and be able to produce the most valuable business. But I can guarantee you the things that I've learned that you will need to know in order to do that. So don't get don't fall into that trap. And the second one is start with the end in mind. So if you haven't got your selling goal, okay, whether it's 1 million, whether it's 10 million, whether 100 million, you haven't got a certain goal and your timescale frame and you haven't got a plan on exactly how to get there, then the chances are that either one, you're not going to get there at all. or two, if you do get there, it's going to take a lot longer, and it's going to be a much more winding road. So start with the end in mind, make sure you've got that plan that exit plan and you know exactly where you're going. And what to do together.
Yoni Mazor 49:24
Got it have Yeah, it's about like that have the ending in mind. So any story that you're in whatever your story is, right now, newcomers have the ending in mind. And of course mbts is there to help. So make sure to tap into that. Beautiful Alright, David, thank you so much. I hope everybody else enjoyed. Stay safe and healthy everybody the next time
David Storeyr 49:42