How Amazon Became a Blessing and a Curse for Beast Gear

Built To Sell Radio Episode # 283

Ben Leonard is a fitness enthusiast who found himself in bed with a heart problem in his early 20’s (he’s fit and healthy now). His doctors told him to rest. Said not to go to the gym, he cleared out his bag and noticed some of the accessories he used had worn out prematurely.


The experience sparked an idea. Leonard decided to launch a brand of fitness accessories made to last longer and cost less than the alternatives. He named his fledging company Beast Gear. He borrowed around £1,000 from his father and ordered 250 skipping ropes with the Beast Gear logo emblazoned on them.


Three years later, Beast Gear was turning over more than 4 million pounds — 95% of which was on Amazon. Worried he had become too dependent on Amazon, he decided to sell and got around three times the profit for Beast Gear.


Leonard shares much wisdom in this episode, including:

  • How to build a brand “off Amazon”

  • A little trick Leonard used to build raving fans on Instagram

  • How Leonard used a chatbot to grow his list of subscribers

  • How to improve your ranking on an Amazon search

  • How to protect your brand

  • Multiples benchmarks for e-commerce brands

  • Why selling most of your products on Amazon could drag down your valuation

  • Why it’s important to “leave some meat on the bones” for an acquirer

  • What Leonard would do differently if he had the chance to sell Beast Gear over again

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Is Your Business Overly Dependent on a Single Supplier?

Leonard’s dependency on Amazon as a sales channel depressed Beast Gear’s value compared to an e-commerce brand that sells through a more diversified group of sales channels. Your dependency on a single supplier is one leg of the Switzerland Structure. We’ll give you a score on this value driver — along with a measure on all eight factors that make up your company’s value — when you get your Value Builder Score.