Pro Tip: Scaling Upwards Begins with the End in Mind

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey presents habit 2: the habit of personal vision. In essence, begin with the end in mind. All things are created twice: first in the mind, second in the physical reality. Before runners start a marathon, they visualize themselves at the finish line, accepting the trophy. Before architects construct a building, they first map out the blueprints. Before students sit down for an exam, they picture themselves acing the test. (You get the gist). Here’s another trope for you: He who fails to plan is planning to fail (Winston Churchill). This sage advice can be applied to scaling your Amazon business.

Begin with the end in mind, even before you do get a sample of your product or publish your first listing. What’s your end goal? Do you plan to sell and exit down the road? Do you plan to manage everything in-house and keep growing your brand portfolio, eventually becoming an e-commerce powerhouse in your own right? Whatever the path you choose, envision the finish line before you step up to the start.

Then you work backwards. You need to consider all the balls you have to juggle as an Amazon entrepreneur:

  1. Product development and sourcing
  2. Marketing & promotions
  3. Staffing & organizational/administrative matters
  4. Customer service
  5. Shipping and logistics

Many sellers find that 1 or more of these 5 balls is hard to juggle. Whether it’s the betrayal of exclusivity and non-compete contracts from a supplier, or pandemics getting in the way of timely shipping and inventory re-stock, or not hiring the right staff (sometimes, it’s a combination of multiple aspects), entrepreneurs find themselves discouraged at one point or another. All of those gurus that insist that selling on Amazon is as easy as pie are deceiving you; to grow it to the point where it’s operated by remote control, you need to put in real elbow grease. Finding sustainable tactics to these 5 balls is tough, but it’s less ruinous to your business if you start planning from the start, with – you guessed it – the end in mind.

Trade secret? You can actually curtail many of these issues by sourcing from Mexico. Not all –  we won’t guarantee that they’ll disappear altogether, – but you’ll be saving yourself much of the headache by sourcing from Mexico. 

Sourcing in Mexico: a Respite from China Shipping Woes

The pandemic was tough on everyone – Amazon sellers were definitely not exempt.

In January 2021, a shortage of shipping containers drove up shipping costs for goods purchased from China – and a massive delay, as well. Other parts of the world suffered from similar ramifications, but Asia was badly hit. In December 2020, spot freight rates suffered a 264% price rise YOY for Asia to North Europe. Freight rates from China to the US and Europe surged 300%. Mark Yeager, CEO of Redwood Logistics, told CNBC at the time that “The reason for this (surge) is the Chinese are being so aggressive about trying to get empty containers back…that it’s hard to get a container for US exporters.” 

Two months later, in March 2021, CNBC reported that a massive cargo ship completely blocked the Suez Canal, which was a passageway for 12% of the world’s seaborne trade. The Ever Given was a 220,000-ton mega ship, nearly a quarter mile long, with a 20,000 container capacity, blocking a route through which 50 container ships pass through on a daily basis. This put a major pause on an estimated US$9.6 billion worth of trade. Shipping resumed on March 29, 2021, but the economic impact was considerable: the accident left in its wake an increas in prices, knock-on delays, and implementation of alternative routes, which added lead time to product delivery. Although not directly related to China sourcing, the massive delays and economic issues caused by the shipwreck poured salt on an already-sore wound.

In June 2021, a virus outbreak in Southern China drove up shipping costs once more. Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, told CNBC that “…the risk of supply chain disruption is rising, and export prices/shipping costs will likely rise further.” 

As the world braced itself to open up fully in 2022, China hesitated. In March 2022, Bloomberg News reported that virus lockdowns still interfered with China’s fulfillment of Amazon and Walmart orders. Tuuli McCully, head of Asia-Pacific economics at Scotiabank, shared that “China’s covid policy can have notable spillovers to its trading partners’ activity and the global economy.”

As of the start of 2023, China has reopened its borders. Deloitte reports that “China will continue to support the export oriented industrial network and its domestic supply chains. Priorities include developing cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehousing (and more).” (Read more here) Although this sounds promising, many sellers feel that 3 years of bad luck with an unstable supply chain is cause to diversify product sourcing.

Enter Mexico product sourcing. It’s nowhere near as mature as China’s manufacturing – but it has a wealth of raw materials that result in one-of-a-kind artisanal products and/or high quality products that make a huge impact in search results. If you’ve ever gone to Alibaba and made a purchase order, stuck your logo on, and put up your listing, you’ll know that the seller that lives down the block probably sells the exact same item as well. There’s less chances of that happening in the infant manufacturing industry of Mexico.

Furthermore, you can look forward to the US-Mexico free trade agreement, and a short 2-day lead time. If that doesn’t entice you, we don’t know what will. Check out Ephraim Ausch’s (of Tactical Logistics Solutions) tips and tricks here for more information on LatAm shipping and logistics.

We’re not telling you to break off from your Chinese supplier – we’ve heard lots of success stories about businesses with great supply chains and product development with Chinese partners. Nevertheless, perhaps it’s time to diversify. Here’s trope #3 for this idiom-laden blog: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Sourcing in Mexico Will Form Your Business’s Assets

Yael Cabilly and Michal Orom of Cabilly & Co. Law and Fortunet believe that suppliers are assets of a business. 

Michal goes into detail about the 2 pillars of any Amazon business:

  1. Traffic and market demand, which you manage through promoting your brand, product, and listings on Amazon
  2. Supply good products to your clients, consumers, and customers

Pillar #1 deals with marketing, but required #2 to be enacted because you can’t effectively market a faulty product. That’s why pillar # 2 is so crucial. A supplier must respect your legal rights and your intellectual property” in Michal’s words. (Read more here)

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your business down the road. Having a good collaborative relationship with your supplier is very appealing to buyers. They’d rather further the work you’ve begun with a trusted and vetted supplier, as opposed to starting their own processes. Remember, your products aren’t your only business asset; your suppliers are an asset, too.

Your Organic Ranking and Inventory Levels Go Hand-in-Hand

Chelsea Cohen of SoStocked tells Ian Smith of Evolve Media, “It’s important to have enough inventory for Amazon to disperse around the country. If you don’t have that, you have a reduction in inventory.” Once Amazon feels that your inventory levels are insufficient and they can’t deliver on the 2-day Prime delivery promise, they’ll be discouraged from promoting your products over competitors. Hence Geo Ranking – you’ll get ranked higher in states where sales are higher, whereas other states will rank you lower, because inventory is lower – so Amazon is hesitant to promote you in those areas. (Check out the fascinating interview here.)


Keeping your inventory levels at a healthy level is crucial – not just for the customer experience, but for your organic ranking, a well.  According to Cohen, if Amazon FBA can’t deliver to a customer in Idaho, then your Idaho ranking will drop. So, your organic ranking isn’t just influenced by your keywords and how cute your images are – it’s also influenced by your stock levels.

Andrew Lemon, an e-Commerce expert who works with LatAm enterprises, talks about free trade and fast shipping here. If your product is 70% or more made in Mexico, NAFTA gives you free trade. Furthermore, Mexico’s US shipping is much faster. Whether by ship, truck, or air, your products will get to US soil in a matter of days – as opposed to the 4 weeks it can take for your products to get to FBA from China. 

You know how it is in the e-Commerce space – one minute your sales are low and you’re wondering if you messed up your PPC somehow, and the next minute you’re selling out. Sometimes these things are unpredictable. Having extra stock with a warehouse waiting to deliver across the border in 48 hours will make a huge difference when it comes to your stress and anxiety levels.

You Have to Visit Mexico in Person

…and not just for the excellent Mezcal, either. Sourcing in Mexico is a personal endeavor. Latin American brands and manufacturers are not like Chinese ones. Personal relationships must be built before business can be conducted. While that may sound like extra work, it leads to the kind of sustainable relationship that Michal and Yael espoused when they discussed the viable characteristics that buyers look for when evaluating Amazon businesses.

Mexico suppliers are a warm bunch of people. They want to shake your hand, collaborate with you, and learn alongside you. There will be bumps in the road, that’s for sure. The manufacturing industry, although ripe with promise, is still green. Documents will be sent in Spanish and will need to be revised, and some newbie suppliers are over-eager and such perfectionists; there will be quite a bit of back-and-forth as you decide – together – on the final product.

But they care. They really care. Just ask Dr. Marcella Wilson, whose inspiring life story led her to sourcing in Mexico, and who discovered a culture as warm as she is.

Could the Future Lie in Mexico?

Who knows? These are decisions that you need to make for your own business. Doubtless, there are pros and cons with each scenario, but with all of the news surrounding the instability of China’s supply chain and product development, perhaps now is the right time to diversify.

Think about Mexico. You could head to India, Vietnam, or other destinations to source for products – or you could take a peek at Mexico’s numerous benefits, and see if these aspects will usher in growth at a faster rate.

Whatever you decide, we wish you luck!

If you are interested in sourcing from Mexico, join The Mexico Trip this 11-17 February, 2023, at Monterrey NL (which is 2 hours away from Texas by flight, that’s how near it is!). Your ticket will automatically grant you free access to the EvoLatam e-commerce expo, and the subsequent E-Com Connect Networking party, where you’ll meet suppliers and take advantage of the match program to find the supplier that carries the products you need. Just pay for your flight; we’ll take care of everything else, from airport pick-up, to meals, to activities and factory tours, and more. Be a part of “La Familia” – we look forward to seeing you there!



  • Ana Warren Gonzalez Ana

    Ana handles the daily operations of Amazing at Home, under award-winning Amazon consultant, Amy Wees. The single mom has been a copywriter in the e-commerce space since 2018, and can’t quite understand why Amazon fascinates her so much, but when these unanswerable questions pop up in her mind, she pours a glass of Merlot, settles in her chair, and starts generating keywords for her latest listing, and all is well with the world once more.