PHASE 2

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PHASE 2 by Mind Map: PHASE 2

1. VERIFYING YOUR PRODUCT IDEA & DEVELOPING YOUR BRAND ASSETS

1.1. COURSE MATERIALS TO WATCH

1.1.1. Watch all lesson in Module 4

1.1.2. Buy Amanda's program to reduce your risk by having her professional document set

1.1.3. Watch the first three lessons in "Best Practices" (Module 7).

1.2. IDEA PRESSURE TESTING

1.2.1. SWOT test the product idea

1.2.1.1. What are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats relating to this product?

1.2.1.2. Are there are a lot of moving parts? Fragile? Seasonal? Oversized? Easy to source and copy? Topical or ingestible which could result in a high refund rate? Patented? Trend or fashion driven meaning it may not last long? What could go wrong? Force yourself to be the devil's advocate here.

1.2.1.3. What kinds of things could wrong in manufacture? How could you be cheated between your order and what you get? Think very carefully here! Splitting? Fading? Pattern not sticking? Finger prints? Glue? Bolts? Air bubbles? Thickness? Weight? What kinds of things will you have to clearly define in writing before you place your first order?

1.2.2. Costings

1.2.2.1. Product manufacture quotes

1.2.2.1.1. Make sure you use your importing website email address (see Phase 1)

1.2.2.1.2. Use Alibaba, MadeInChina or other sourcing sites.

1.2.2.1.3. Recommend that you only contact verified suppliers if using Alibaba

1.2.2.1.4. Confirm if the quote is FOB or X-Works

1.2.2.1.5. FOB means that it includes delivery to the port in China (or wherever you are sourcing from).

1.2.2.1.6. X-Works means that there is no allowance for shipping to the port. The price you pay is for the goods only, sitting on their factory floor. This can be a good way to go in some cases because you can pay professional freight forwarders (who are experienced at handling freight) to take it from there (before there's a chance of freight damage) rather than trusting your manufacturer to take it to the port. Sometimes manufacturers will hire the cheapest people and vehicles possible to move your freight to the port (maybe an old van or even bicycles!) - but charge you for "freight to port" and it becomes a profit center for them and your inventory is at all kinds of risk. This obviously varies from supplier to supplier but you need to be very specific about what happens in regard to freight!

1.2.2.1.7. There are advantages to both. Lucky Lucky (see below) can pick up at either place. X-Works will mean that the freight is in the control of professionals sooner.

1.2.2.1.8. Always ask for quotes on three different quantities. What you think you want now, twice what you think you want, and three times what you think you want. This will give you a glimpse into your future margin if the business takes off.

1.2.2.2. Packaging quote

1.2.2.3. Freight quote

1.2.2.3.1. Adam advises Lucky Lucky (Luckylucky Int‘’l logistics & supply chain management co.,Ltd.) Ask for Carol Wang and say that you are part of Adam Hudson's group - Reliable Education.

1.2.2.4. Duties/Tarrifs estimate

1.2.2.4.1. At the time of writing, America has been engaged in a trade war with China, and import duties have been the central lever that the Trump administration has been using to negotiate. We don't know what the end point will be but for now: 1) Rest assured that the tariffs apply to everyone importing from that destination. 2) Do your home work in advance. Here is a link to a searchable list of the US Trade Tariffs: https://www.scribd.com/document/388885888/US-China-Tariff-List-09-17-18# You should also do your own Google research.

1.2.2.5. Cost of shipping packaging to the manufacturer if they're separate companies. This will be internal transport costs within China.

1.2.2.6. Any other costs that may apply (like assembly)

1.2.2.7. Confirm Amazon fees using Amazon's fee calculator (Financials module in the course)

1.2.2.8. Put all the numbers into the Amazon Profit Calculator provided in the course

1.2.3. Verify product viability

1.2.3.1. Will you make at least 20% margin after all costs? If not, you may want to reconsider the product.

1.2.3.2. If yes, do you feel comfortable that the market will pay your asking price to achieve that margin? Remember, Amazon is competitive! Many students lose sight of commerciality at this point because they are in love with their own idea. The only real test is with paying customers that don't know you at all and are buying your item in the context of Amazon where you are surrounded by competitors.

1.2.3.3. Think about split testing your product image against others on Amazon right now. Use www.pickfu.com or Google Surveys where you can target your avatar precisely. These are just image split tests but will give you good early data. You'll need a great image to do this though.

1.3. BUILDING YOUR BRAND (only if product passes all of the above)

1.3.1. Create A Brand Name

1.3.1.1. Define who your buyer (avatar) is within the buyer pool for that product. How old are they? What do they value? What is their life situation? How wealthy are they?

1.3.1.2. Watch the lesson in Module 7 on brief writing. Write a clear and quality brief around the product you are developing and who your avatar is.

1.3.1.3. Go to SquadHelp.com and run a naming contest (using your brief) to fin a name for your brand. Trust us, experts make a BIG difference here! It's only a few hundred dollars to have hundreds of clever people from all over the world help you.

1.3.1.3.1. It is advisable to always do a quick check of the names submitted to make sure that they are not going to obviously infringe upon an existing brand or trademark.

1.3.1.3.2. Do a quick domain search as well - before choosing a name. Look for possible conflicts. You can also pay a slightly higher fee at SquadHelp.com to have them only submit names where the domain is also available.

1.3.2. Get a logo & trademark it

1.3.2.1. Go to 99Designs.com and run a logo contest

1.3.2.2. Follow the steps explained on the website in setting up your logo contest. TAKE YOUR TIME! Most people rush the contest setup and don't spend any time thinking about what they want and giving great instruction. This setup phase is CRITICAL.

1.3.2.3. Pay to get a high-level of designer. You get what you pay for!

1.3.2.4. Set the contest to the recommended length by 99Designs.

1.3.2.5. Make the contest *blind* so that the designers cannot see each other's work.

1.3.2.6. Give plenty of feedback on the designs you like. Don't waste time trying to coach designers that are nowhere near what you like.

1.3.2.7. Don't panic if you get poor designs right away. The best designs come at the end. Stay the course.

1.3.2.8. Have your mastermind and those you respect vote on the final designs.

1.3.2.9. Get your brand name trademarked in the US. There are several ways to do this. Go to the private Facebook group and read the various posts and answers around this subject. Get a domain for your brand.

1.3.2.9.1. The point of doing this really isn't for trademark protection initially. It's so that you can register for Amazon's brand registry program. Brand registry gives you some really cool and important advantages over brands that are registered.

1.3.2.9.2. You need what's called "word mark" rather than a "logo mark". This means that you are registering the name rather than the actual logo. This is for Amazon. If you want, you can register both while you're at it :-)

1.3.2.9.3. You can do it yourself at www.uspto.gov for a US trademark.

1.3.2.9.4. Amazon will only accept a trademark from the Government of the marketplace into which you are selling. So if you're selling in the US, you need a US trademark.

1.3.2.9.5. For US trademarks, Adam uses a US trademark attorney. Her name is Danielle Bratek. Her email is [email protected] This will cost you about USD $700 for her fee which includes 2 full searches. You will also have to pay Government filing fees which are USD $200 - $300. There are some othere small fees along the way and you should expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 in total for this if you use Danielle.This saves a lot of time and hassle but it's up to you. She will tell you in advance what your chances of being awarded a trademark are. Tell her that you are a Reliable Education student. She's worked for many of us.

1.3.2.9.6. No matter how you do it, trademarks take months to actually get. Usually 6-12 months in total.

1.3.2.9.7. Register a domain name for your brand. Ideally you want a .com domain name but there are lots of option these days.

1.3.3. Get Your Bardcode/s

1.3.3.1. Amazon Terms Of Service state that you need a GS1 issued barcode. They can be purchased from www.gs1.org

1.3.3.2. Although not compliant, many sellers get their barcodes from websites like www.barcodesmania.com. So far, very few issues have been reported. That could change though so you run a risk if you take that route.

1.3.3.3. Usually you will receive the actual barcode (the image) from the barcode supplier. If you don't, you can use a service like www.barcode-generator.org to make the barcode image (from the barcode number you are issued) for your package designer. If using this website, select "EAN" from the first menu (you'll have to scroll to get to that).

1.3.4. Design your packaging & insert

1.3.4.1. YES! Great packaging can be a big differentiator BUT always remember that your overall product has to be commercially viable. Don't over capitalise! Each niche is different, therefor, there is no correct answer here. A lot of students go wrong here and spend way too much on packaging and price themselves out of the market.

1.3.4.2. It is ALWAYS appropriate to have a professional designer do the package design (at least the print design). In some cases you will want to have the entire package engineered by a designer. If that's appropriate for what you're selling use 99Designs or Upwork.com to find a world class packaging designer.

1.3.4.3. Be sure that you include you barcode on the outside of your package. Usually it's on the base but it can be elsewhere, so long as it's easy to see and scan.

1.3.4.3.1. NEVER get clever with barcode design! For example, never make the bars white and have them reversed out of a black background. Always just a white background and black bars.

1.3.4.3.2. It is a good idea to have the name of the product printed right above the barcode so that without a scanner, one can easily see what is inside the box.

1.3.4.4. It is a legal requirement to have where the item is made printed onto the outside of each box or package. If it's made in China, some students have said "Made in PRC" (People's Republic Of China) to avoid any negative stigma around the "Made in China". So far, nobody (that we know of) has been pulled up on this.

1.3.4.5. Search the Facebook Group for posts from Adam about what to put on your product insert. Then hire a designer to create your product insert.

1.3.4.6. Watch the lessons in Module 6 about box inserts and Amazon's rules around them,

1.3.5. Build a simple website for your brand that includes a tester page (which will be on your inserts) so that you can build a list of customers willing to test future products. You won't have photos of your product yet so just use placeholder photos for now.