Building an 8-Figure Niche Sports Product (Disc Golf) Online Business – Alan Barker of Infinite Discs

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 39:26)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Alan Barker shares the story of how he slowly scaled a niche sport product (Disc Golf) business from selling via affiliate links to becoming the largest global direct-to-consumer (D2C) online retailer.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Alan Barker of Infinite Discs

00:00Introduction
01:01What is the business and product
04:27Annual Revenues
05:34Business of Disc Golf
08:25Repeat Purchases
09:19Sales Channels
10:12Startup Story and Idea validation
12:27Choice of e-commerce platform and changing platforms
17:46Market and Competition
19:51Team
21:10Email and SMS marketing
22:21Tik Tok
23:14Warehousing and Fulfillment
24:04International fulfillment
28:04Hiring team members
29:29Manufacturing
30:24Mistakes made, lessons learned
33:43Rapid Fire Round

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Alan Barker of Infinite Discs

  1. One book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs/business professionals in 2021 and why? (Response: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)
  2. A startup or business and eCommerce retailer tech that you think is currently doing great things (Amazon)
  3. A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend (Response: Sellbrite)
  4. A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Elon Musk)
  5. Best business advice you ever received (Response: Don’t spend money for things you don’t need)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Hey there entrepreneurs My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep talks. This is the show where I interview successful ecommerce entrepreneurs, business executives and thought leaders and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses. And today, I’m really excited to welcome Alan Barker to the show. Alan is the founder of infinite discs, infinite disk is the largest direct to consumer Disc Golf retailer in the world. And today, I want to ask Elon a few questions about his entrepreneurial story, and some of the strategies and tactics that he has used to start and grow his business. So thank you so much for joining me today. Trep talks today.

Alan Barker  

Well, it’s good to be here.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So yeah, very, you know, your business is really unique and interesting and kind of niche. The way I think about it, can you describe

Alan Barker  

to even even now, they don’t know what it is. So I just tell myself frisbees on the internet.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So, this is this is not frisbee is it different from frisbee or the fifth Frisbee?

Alan Barker  

I mean, so. So, frisbee is actually a branded product by the whammo Corporation, and whammo actually made Disc Golf disc for a while. So the product is, you know, they’re very hard plastic discs, smaller diameter these these discs aren’t made for catching. I mean, we do sell some more traditional frisbees as well, but it’s primarily for the sport Disc Golf, which is uses uses golf principles as in you try to get the Frisbee in the basket in as few strokes as possible. But instead of using a club in a ball, you use a Frisbee. And so that’s what disc golf is. It’s it’s actually one of the fastest growing sports and, and it’s really increased his participation in the last two years, the pandemic was really good for Disc Golf.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Well, that’s very interesting. So So basically, there’s a goalpost somewhere in the distance. Is it a goal, or is it a hole? How does that work?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s called a basket. And so it stands, you know, a couple feet off the ground. And it’s a tray with chains. Let’s see, do I have a picture? Here somewhere that that? Yeah. And so you just, you just throw it in, and it hits the chains, and then comes to rest. And as long as it comes to rest in the tray of the basket, then you haul out and you move on to the next tool?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So where are you a player yourself? Like, how did you learn about the fort? And how did you decide to actually start a business out of it? Yeah, so.

Alan Barker  

So I first heard about this golf and played a few times, about 20 years ago, I was living in Tucson, Arizona, in Lubbock, Texas, and I played just with some friends, some frisbee golf a couple of times, never really got into it about 10 years ago, just before I started, my business course was built nearby attracts my father in Laos. And so he got me to start playing some disc golf regularly with him. And I was pretty good. I played a lot of Ultimate Frisbee in college. And so, you know, naturally the throwing Shin was was pretty easy for me. So I started just playing disc golf. And at the time, I own a, a business where I made websites and did search engine optimization for real estate companies. And so the online website building was something that I was already doing. So just for fun, a partner and myself, we decided one day that that we were going to make a disc review blog. So we started this blog, and it took off really quickly. And and then one thing led to another and we officially formed an actual company and and grew from a little project that I thought would always be a side project to you know, now I have nearly 50 employees, we sponsor professional players and ship plastic all over the world. Whoa,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I think I read on one of the sites, you’re doing somewhere around 12 million in annual revenue that

Alan Barker  

we did last year. It was it’s, it’s gotten much bigger than I ever thought, you know, initially, when we first started our websites like hey, if I can make $100 a day off of the website, and then I can I can I can live off of that. So that’s the goal, but it’s a little bit more than $100 a day now.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

You know, it’s interesting that you know, a lot of people these days when they want To start a business, they’re thinking about all these, you know, they want to be Elon Musk, they want to come up with such original ideas. And, you know, it’s such a simple concept and you’re making millions 10s of millions of dollars. For in terms of the product itself, I see, you know, behind you, there’s so many different kinds of desks. And I think, even on your website, there’s like different categories and different kinds of can you explain a little bit about, you know, what, you know, what is the difference between different desks? And, you know, how do you how does one know which one to buy?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, so, so it’s really complicated to start out, really, you only need one disc to play disc golf. But as you get better, every disc has has a slightly different shape. And that slightly different shape will give it a different flight. So some will fly straight, some will do a big S curve. And then, you know, depending on if you throw forehand or backhand, or overhand, there’s different discs that work better for different scenarios. In addition, I mean, we were primarily a retailer. And so we sell I think it’s more than 55 Different disc brands now. And so part of it is just branding. It’s like, different companies have discs that essentially do the same thing. But they’re, they’re branded in different ways, and they have their own fans that that they’re trying to sell to me to start out, you only need a disc. There’s also what they call starter sets, that’s usually three discs of putter. So putters are generally a, a more blunt rim, they’re made for slower speeds, generally a straighter fly, than there’s a driver, like, you know, this this disc I have right here, where it’s a beveled edge, it’s really sharp, you don’t want to try to catch this disc, it’ll hurt. But this may go through the air fast, so that you can get more distance. And then in between drivers and putters, there’s fairway drivers, and there’s mid range discs, which are just kind of a combination, depending on the distance of the whole year going for your preferred preferred throwing style when conditions. So yeah, once you get into it, it’s really fun because you always want to try it a new disk to see if that will, will work for you in a different scenario, you know, a disc golf course you have lots of aerial obstacles, there will be trees that you need to navigate around. And so you’ll want the this to do just the right thing and then fade back at the right moment. And, and there’s different throwing styles. So it gets pretty complex. Once you get, you don’t need a whole bag of discs all at once the AVID disc golfers all have lots of discs, they collect lots of discs, that’s another big part of our business is we we work with different artists to put special stamps on the discs, you know, give us something that people can really be pleased as something that looks looks really cool. I mean, some discs, you know, like this one just have lots of swirls. And people really like that they like having something unique that they can throw and even collect.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So it almost seems like you know, once someone gets into the sport, they start with one maybe. And then as they get into the sport, like they’re likely to make repeat purchases they’re likely to do you find that to be the case with your customers like?

Alan Barker  

Absolutely. And that’s on directly on our website, infinite discs.com. That’s primarily our customers. These are the super heavy users. These are the AVID disc golfers who live and breathe this golf. And that’s, that’s what they want to do they want, you know, that’s their hobby, that’s their passion. And so they keep coming back. And if a professional disc golfer they follow throws a certain disk, they’re going to want to throw that disc too. So that that’s I’d say, you know, 90% of our business is those super heavy users. And then we, of course, we do sell a lot tend to beginners, the new players, we have all kinds of disc golf sets. But a lot of those people only end up buying once. It’s only if they they become passionate about the sport that they become our big users that spend 1000s of dollars.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So your business is completely online. It’s completely a direct to consumer, you don’t have like retail stores, or do you do sell to retailers?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, we actually do have a retail location. And it’s also during the pandemic. It really increased in business just as locally so many more people picked up Disc Golf, but the bulk of our sales is online. We also have kind of a couple of franchise stores one in St. George, Utah, one in Pocatello, Idaho that basically you use our name, and they’re just physical locations or storefronts. We also will go around a disc golf tournaments where we’ll we’ll vend at these events and sell our products there.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So let’s go back to the start again. So you said you know you started with the idea that Maybe you’re going to make $100 of the thing. Can you share like at the beginning? Did you just do something like a drop shipping business model just to try out the idea.

Alan Barker  

It was even even beyond that, initially, it was just affiliate links. It was through, through mostly eBay, affiliate links, Amazon anyway. So we did, we did some affiliates, but we’re like, Wait, we hardly get anything, we just sold the disc, and we made 11 cents. And so we then reached out and found a company that we did drop shipping to. And then after, I’d say about three months, and there were always some inconveniences with the Drop Shipping, where if somebody would order a disc of a certain color, and they wouldn’t actually have that color, and so, so we’d have to communicate with the customer. And it just made kind of a headache. So that that’s kind of when we decided, well, it can’t be that hard to ship a disc ourselves. So we started to make some of our own orders from directly from the manufacturers and slowly started getting our own inventory. Until now, right now, we have nearly 100,000 different unique discs, just on our website, which seems like overkill, but there’s just so much variety. That’s that’s how it is.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Well, so someone can go on your website, and they can literally find 100,000 Different kinds of desk right now.

Alan Barker  

Yeah, I mean, and a lot of them are the same kind, but there will be different color variations or even damp on the discs will use a different foil, one will be a rainbow foil, one will be an American flag foil, one will just be black. So and this golfers get kind of particular about that they want something unique.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Now one interesting thing that I find that you said you were a web, web developer or you design website in your original job. And when I went on your website, it’s I mean, it’s definitely more of an old style kind of website. I’m sure it’s very highly SEO optimized. But I don’t think it’s like a Shopify kind of or a newer SAS kind of a website. Can you share? Like, is it built on like Magento? Or some old technology? And have you ever thought about like, switching to this on these newer platforms like Shopify?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, so So initially, our website was actually using WordPress, which is the same platform, I used all of my real estate websites that I would make. And it’s somewhere along I, there used to be a website called rented coder, one, then it changed its name to freelancer. And then I think it’s something else now. And so I just went on there looking for a custom developer, and actually found a company in Pakistan. And, and this was even for my previous business, and they did some development work for me then and we decided to reach out and have them build a custom website with WordPress, we can only go so far, the thing we were trying to achieve is the ability to provide a picture of every disc because of the uniqueness in in disc golf. That’s what the customers wanted. And at that time, there were websites that had that feature, as well as the customization for search for Disc Golf, they there’s stability and flight paths, so people can search for a certain flight path. Anyway, probably doesn’t make much sense. But and so it was completely custom built. This was back in in 2012, that we moved from WordPress to hey, we need we need something custom. And we’ve continued to work with this developer for the last decade. And we actually have a new website that was supposed to be released in 2020, that we’re still making tweaks to it’s almost ready. It’s a bit more modern. You know, and it will offer us and our customers even even better shopping experience as well as just Disc Golf information. But yeah, so it’s expensive, doing your own development and having a custom built website. But for our unique niche, it’s worked really well in the specific things we’re able to do. Because if ever we have an idea, with enough time, we can make it happen. And there’s definitely been times where I’ve wished I just had, you know, the more standard website trying to implement API’s is is a little harder than then the Shopify where it’s just Oh, install and this this already works with, with with the website. Yeah. But because we’re so invested in it, and it is how we operate, that we haven’t seriously considered using another platform.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

But it’s fun don’t have isn’t it kind of a little bit risky, also, when you are thinking about moving or switching your site to maybe a different design or a different version or something? Because a lot of the times, like what I’ve heard is, you know, when people do that, like right now your site is completely SEO optimized, you know, it’s it has a certain look and feel and usability, and I don’t know what your conversion rate is to the website. But, you know, you move to a different design to a different usable usability experience and all your customers who are used to finding your product through the old site, you know, they see the new newer version, maybe they’re not satisfied. Have you ever thought that, you know, there’s a risk of transitioning that? Have you tried to think some sort of a risk?

Alan Barker  

And for me, as a consumer, that’s one of the most frustrating things? I hate it when like, No, I know how to work the website. And now, now you changed it. I don’t like that. So yeah, that that is a concern. Our new website, the functionality is, is mostly similar. The designs are a little bit different. But that’s one of the reasons we haven’t fully launched it yet. Because when, when you’re doing 500 orders a day, and any potential of downtime. If there are any errors that are gonna break the site and make it not work, we don’t want to risk that when we switched from WordPress to our current site. Nine years ago, it wasn’t that big of a deal, because our volume was so much smaller than it is now. But it’s definitely a risky thing. The biggest issue we have is, is our website, the service, or like it wasn’t designed to handle the volume we have the databases aren’t optimized very well. And so. So the site gets really slow. Once we have more than about 400 people on the website at once, which you know, if we have a new release, or send out a newsletter, is pretty frequent. And so we’re kind of forced to do something to avoid the crashing issue that we have right now.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Let’s talk about a little bit about the market and competition. Can you share a little bit? You know, right now, I believe you, you know, the description of your site serves the world’s largest direct to consumer retailer? To me, it seems like it would be easy for anyone to get into that business. Like I don’t think this is a you know, like the barrier to entry is not very high. Are there other competitors in the space? Who, you know, is there a lot of competition? Or how do you maintain your competitive advantage?

Alan Barker  

There is lots of competition. The thing that’s so hard for anybody to start new is the volume that we have the number of different brands and products. And unless somebody already has lots of consumers, they can’t have 600 of the of a certain disk, because it will take them years to sell. And that just doesn’t work financially. And every year, there be there’s more new manufacturers, no more new molds in their lines. And so it makes it really hard for anybody small to compete with us in the in the scope. Yeah, as in creating a small website that has some of the discs, that’s really easy to do, and anybody can do it. But it’s it’s hard to compete where we’re at. I mean, so to start off, the thing that got us from nowhere to the top, initially was search engine optimization, you know, that that’s what I focused on. Nobody in disc golf was really doing much of it at the time. So it was really easy to rank for the major Disc Golf related terms. And then that’s how we got most of our initial customers who then became the repeat customers over and over. I mean, there are some companies that we see, they’re, they’re making moves, they’re improving their websites, but they are always creating new stamps, finding new products. You know, we have a full marketing team, as it’s hard for an individual to do as many, many things as as we do. So those are a few of the ways that we differentiate, and that do make it hard for someone to start from nothing.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So you mentioned marketing team, can you share a little bit you know, what is your best? I’m assuming search engine optimization is still a big thing for you. Do you do like paid advertising, social media? What are some of the marketing channels that worked really well for you?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, we do it all. As for paid search the last two years we’ve actually turned it off. It was kind of interesting in disc golf. There were such supply shortages, it didn’t make sense to pay for any advertising, if we didn’t have the product to sell, that’s now turned around. And I think was just last week I finally turned our Google ads on again, social media marketing is really big. This is a niche sport. And so followers are usually the diehard, the ecstatic followers who are likely to be buyers. And so you know, we work with professional players to have them help us market products. You know, we’ll do some Facebook ads, just a lot of Instagram is probably the number one social media site for among disc golfers. And our biggest bang for immediate results is just an email newsletter. You know, our newsletter now goes out to I think 120,000 subscribers every time we send it. And so just whatever the new products are, that we have to promote, they, they hear it from us and and that’s, that’s a big deal. But you can’t you can’t get 120,000 subscribers starting up that takes takes time to build a list like that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Which email platform you use.

Alan Barker  

The one we currently use is called Email octopus, we used to use MailChimp. And this essentially does the same thing. But it’s about a fourth of the cost.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Oh, really? Well, have you I know there’s one platform that a lot of E commerce businesses use Klaviyo maybe you’ve heard of it. I have it already. Okay,

Alan Barker  

probably don’t look as much in the new products and things I’m I’m usually too busy too.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So you haven’t tried any like newer marketing technology like SMS marketing or any any of those.

Alan Barker  

We do do some SMS marketing to an ad that it’s actually proven to be pretty effective. It’s a lot more expensive than email newsletters, but so many people don’t even check email anymore. And texting is how they communicate. And so we we do do some of that. That’s just a newer thing we started a few months ago as as we finally had product in stock again, we’re like, Wait, we should probably focus on marketing again. So yeah, SMS marketing is is fairly effective, currently just isn’t nearly as big as our newsletter.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And are you trying out? So the newer social media like tick tock, tick tock is really, really popular and maybe this kind of product may work.

Alan Barker  

We haven’t delved into tick tock yet mostly for personal reasons I refuse to to immerse myself in the nonsense of people singing and dancing all the time. But that is probably something that that we will try because I mean, people use it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Very high engagement. It’s it’s like it’s addictive. Yeah. Can you share a little bit about your fulfillment and post purchase? Strategy? How do you you know, fulfill your items? Do you charge shipping fees? How do you warehouse these items? Are you shipping warehousing and shipping yourself or third party logistics?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, 98% of the products we ship ourselves. For our direct website sales, we do do some using Amazon where we will do Fulfilled by Amazon. Also, some of the manufacturers offer drop shipping for larger items, things like large backpacks or disc golf carts or a basket of disc golf basket. But other than that, we we ship most things directly ourselves. And it’s just a process. We have a big team that they pull orders and they packaging and ship them all day long. Any other details you want to know about that?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So you have your own warehouse and I was interested about your shipping strategy. Are you shipping like in in US, Canada? Are you shipping like internationally? Also?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, it’s most mostly US Canada is our number two country we discussed isn’t played in, in most of the world, but in the Nordic countries, Australia, New Zealand, they play somewhat. And so we do ship, you know, maybe 10 or 15 orders a day internationally, about half of those to Canada. shipping internationally is is kind of a pain, because there’s a lot more issues with the shipping and it’s just a slower process so hard for customer satisfaction. In addition, I don’t know about six months a year ago, the European Union made new VAT tax collection requirements. And they’re just really complicated. And so rather than adapt to, to their requirements where we had to collect the VAT tax, we just stopped selling those kinds entries for now and encourage them instead to purchase from, you know, partner companies we work with in Europe, you asked about shipping costs. So we, we have a method that was just the way it worked with our original WordPress website. And we’ve stuck with and essentially it was the first item. So the first disk somebody purchases, we have a shipping charge, which is $3.50. And then the second is, you know, it adds another $2, the third disk, it’s $1.50. And then, then that Max is the shipping. So somebody will usually pay about $7, total for shipping. And then we eat the rest of the costs with shipping prices have gone up ridiculous amounts over the last year or so. And so it’s I mean, we lose, we end up paying some of the shipping on almost every order.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Well, that’s very interesting. So basically, you are eating that shipping costs.

Alan Barker  

Yeah, we collect most of it. In most cases. We also do after, you know, if the purchase volume is a certain amount, we do offer free shipping, where essentially, we just pay the shipping and through through the profits that that we will be earning because their their order was big enough.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And you partner with like big carrier company? Or how like new Have you negotiated your own discount or pricing with carriers? How does that work?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, that’s exactly how it works. As we use a service called EZ post, and they they had some rates on some carriers. But then as our volume has increased, the different reps from UPS, FedEx, DHL, they all come and they, they work with us, because they want us to do more, more of our business with them than the competition. And so they lower rates. And so we do get some pretty good rates. It’s not as big as a huge company. Nothing like what Amazon can offer. But compared to the a very small brand new company, we have some pretty good, good shipping rates.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So you mentioned EDI post any product process kind of like an API, right? It’s correct. Did you actually go through the process of integrating EDI post your website with EDI post and? And using that for the shipping process?

Alan Barker  

Yep, that’s exactly and then it goes in compares the rates of the different carriers and tells us the best rate for that particular location. And then we generally only select the lowest rate unless they’re paying for a priority upgrade. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So you have you said your your team of about 50 people, some of them are warehousing or marketing, you know, what else? You know, what else is? What is your management look like? Can you share a little bit about you know, your team?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, so my goal is kind of funny. The irony here is when I started infinite disk, the goal was to own the company, but be hands off, so I could just do whatever I wanted, without being tied down to having to operate the business. Which it was, it was fun to be part of the business. So I shipped orders directly myself in the beginning and couldn’t get away from it. And then there got to be the point where like many entrepreneurs it takes over your life and you do everything and it gets overwhelming. I have two people that are that are kind of over me one that’s over our marketing arm and one that’s over the operation arm of the company. And for the most part they they handle the day to day operations now we have like a customer service team where that’s all they do is customer service handle and handle our retail store and then nearly everybody else just works in our warehouses doing different packaging and shipping duties, sorting items, stocking items. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So one additional question about Manny. So you’re not you’re not necessarily manufacturing these days you’re simply just going to different brands and just buying you know what they’re producing that

Alan Barker  

Yep, exactly. So it’s we we work with the different manufacturers and buy from them and because of our volume we usually get some some pretty good rates. We have our own infinite disk brand of discs as well but we don’t actually manufacture that it’s our discs are manufactured by Innova champion dis which is is currently the number one manufacturer of disc golf equipment and they’re located in California.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So I know in every phone first startup story, there’s always you know, mistakes made lessons learn failures, can you look back at your, you know, 910 years of running the business? You know, what were some of the big mistakes made, you know, one or two examples? And what can other founders learn from them? Ah,

Alan Barker  

yeah, so, so the most most recent kind of mistake we’ve made, and as we had a very unusual business cycle. So during the pandemic, you know, for a year and a half, we had major disk shortages, and we were, we, whatever we would buy, we’d sell, sell everything out, no marketing required or anything. And so we got in this habit of ordering, whatever we could get, didn’t matter what the brand was, what cost we were paying, and prices went up a lot for for us from all our different suppliers. So the problem we have right now is because of our attitude of scarcity, we purchased way too much inventory. So right now we we have so much more product than we’ve ever had, you know, for the financial cash flow issue, that’s an issue. So So that’s, that’s my advice. Don’t try to grow too fast. Just because you have success right now. The biggest lesson as well as some of my other businesses is just the people it’s so important to have good people, people you get along with and work with, and it makes your life so much better. If if you have good people and if you don’t have good people, if you don’t have motivated self starters. It’s hard to get anything done. entrepreneur mindset is a little different than that, I would say the majority of people who need to be told something to do versus Okay, I see a problem. I’m going to solve it myself.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So are you I’m assuming you don’t look for entrepreneurial minds mindset people. Do you look for art? Because there’s a risk in that right?

Alan Barker  

Yeah, most likely an entrepreneur mindset, they’re always moving on going to want to try something new. So So I got really lucky and and I suppose this was a guy hired just, you know, young kid, and just to fulfill orders, but he had a lot of talent. Meanwhile, his dad used to do was in the CD business, owned a record label. And so he had his own business but as you can imagine, the CD industry kind of died. And so he really talented but he needed a job so he started working for me back in the early days for almost nothing just because something to do as his previous business had failed. And but he’s he’s amazing and has brought lots of innovation and is just passionate about it and works crazy hours is if he is if he’s the owner. So for the most part, we we haven’t looked specifically for the mindset we just hire people to do the day to day desk tasks. And then as as they’ve shown potential, we’ve created positions for him we live in a college town in Logan, Utah and so you know, there’s a lot of bright people who are willing to work for low wages and then as they’re ready to you know, as they’re done with college and ready to move off off in the world. A lot of time we’ve we’ve just kept him here in house.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Cool. So I’m going to move on to our rapid fire round round. And in the in the segment, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions and you have to answer them maybe in one word or two words. So really quick, one book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs or business professionals in 2022 And why

Alan Barker  

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and this I actually read it when I was in high school is part of a class and it just teaches good principles for time management for setting yourself up for success.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

An innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about.

Alan Barker  

Ah yeah, I’m gonna have to I can’t think of anything so zero words

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip.

Alan Barker  

So I have one for E commerce that I use currently the that’s kind of been a game changer is called sell bright and what it does, so primarily our businesses, our own website infinite disk.com But we also have are products that we try to sell on third party sites, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, there’s numerous others in and celebrate so that that product allows me to list inventory in one place that’s then shared to all those other websites.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I believe it’s called a channel management software, right? A startup or business in E commerce retail or tech that you think is currently doing great things.

Alan Barker  

Okay, not a startup. And something that I think is not doing great things in some ways, but great things in others is, is Amazon. And just the way they’ve dominated every aspect of E commerce. The thing that I think that’s so bad, these are supposed to be rapid fire questions I’m offering good explanations is the way Amazon is turning our world from from my industry, and I imagine others is, it’s impossible to have any product that’s not made in China, just because the prices need to be so cheap to be competitive on on that, and Amazon has a lot of fees. Other thing that makes it so hard in E commerce with Amazon is that whole false notion of free shipping, shipping is expensive, it’s not really free, and so that people are reliant and expectant on that and so, so Amazon, it’s great. It’s made our lives easy. But in many ways, it’s it’s changing the world. And it’s making it really hard. So most Disc Golf discs are manufactured in the United States. And even though it’s a fairly simple product, it’s really hard to be competitive on Amazon with so many Chinese products taking over.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Appear entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you.

Alan Barker  

Yeah, I’m gonna blank there. I guess I’m too involved in my own my own world to pay attention. We’ll just say Elon Musk, because it’s amazing.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I mean, I guess that’s the default answer for me. Best advice you ever received, or you would give to other entrepreneurs?

Alan Barker  

Okay, I’m not very good at making things one word. I so so I’m gonna say so the key, the reason I’ve been able to have businesses is by having money. So my key is don’t spend money for things you don’t need. So, tell you the story. We’ll go back to the beginning, I when I was in college, I started selling pest control, and Dish Network Satellite Systems door to door, and I just saved all my money. So I had lots of money, you know, just in the bank. And suddenly, when the time came, when I found opportunities for my own businesses, I was able to, to do them. Because every business I’ve ever started, I’ve had to work for free for like two years, no, no pay, I couldn’t take anything, otherwise the business wouldn’t survive. And so don’t spend money, save your money, because otherwise, you can’t take advantage of the opportunities when they come.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah, I think that’s a very, very good advice. So thank you for sharing that. Those were all the questions that I had. Alan, thank you so much for sharing your story today for sharing your business strategies and tactics, how you grew your business. So really, really appreciate your time. If anyone wants to buy your products, how can they buy them? How can they get to get in touch with you? It’s it’s your time to share your website. Yeah, infinite

Alan Barker  

discs.com. That’s discs with a C is the website and we have all sorts of products for new people or you know, you can see whatever’s on the banner on the homepage is probably something really cool that you need to have whether you know it or not.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Perfect. Thank you so much, Alan really, really appreciated. Thank you again for your time today.

Alan Barker  

Hey, thank you. It was fun. It’s fun talking about the business and thinking about where it started to where it is now. So appreciate the reminder. Thank you.

Also, get inspired to Create a Profitable Online Business with Dinesh Tadepalli – Bringing Edible Spoons to Market to Reduce Single-Use Plastics


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