Where to Focus your Time and Attention (E157)

  • Chloe Thomas
  • Author & Host of eCommerce MasterPlan

Show Notes:

  • Think in quarters
    • Focus on 3 things
    • Traction – https://amzn.to/3tJZ1Y1
    • The 12 Week – Year https://amzn.to/373dIvk
    • eCommerce Marketing: How to Get Traffic That BUYS to your Website – https://amzn.to/3a8Hy3B
    • Productive Planner – https://amzn.to/2Z4XDRA
  • The Customer Master Plan Model
    • Customer Journey
  • Themes
    • Traffic
    • Conversion Rate
    • AOV




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the business. E-Commerce I talk with Chloe Thomas about choosing where to focus your time and attention. This is a business e-commerce episode, 158. Welcome to the business of eCommerce the show that helps e-commerce retailers start launch and grow your eCommerce business. I’m your host, Charles Palleschi and I’m here today with Chloe Thomas. Chloe is an author and the host of the eCommerce Masterplan Podcast, where they provide online training, advice and information for growing e-commerce businesses on the show. Me and Chloe go really deep into the topic of mindset and specifically choosing where to focus your time and attention and how to focus that attention. I think this is super helpful for anyone, and this is a big topic that I think this is often overlooked and it’s really one of those things. If you get this right, it doesn’t just have linear effects, but it also kind of multiplies and it, it can really move the needle. So super interesting interview is a bunch of book recommendations that I definitely think you should check out and I’ll drop those all in the show notes. So let’s get right into the interview. So, Hey Chloe, how are you doing today?

Chloe (01:14):

I’m good. Charles, so it was great to be here getting to talk to you about all things e-com

Charles (01:19):

Yeah. I love having also another podcast or on the show. You are the whole, you’re an author, right? But also the host of the e-commerce master plan.

Chloe (01:29):

I am, yeah, yeah. Hosted the e-commerce most fun podcast, which is a we’re in a few retailers and of the keep optimizing podcast where we focus on a different marketing method each month with mainly supplier side guests and experts. So, so yeah. Podcasting seems to take up a huge amount of my time these days.

Charles (01:47):

Yep. Nice. I like, yes. Well kind of we were talking earlier before the show two ideas and I mentioned kind of the whole going into the mindset and every once in a while, I, I love talking to someone about this exact topic just on, I feel like it’s, it’s like a force multiplier, right? Like you can talk all you want about like Facebook ads and like that works. But like, if you want to make any sort of large shift, it always comes to changing just like a complete mindset change, a direction change. And the easiest way to do that is changing your mindset about what direction you should be moving. Do you agree? Or,

Chloe (02:22):

Yeah, I think it it’s. I mean, I’ve been been helping people solve their marketing problems in e-commerce and their e-commerce problems in general for about 15, 16, 17 years now. And there’s kind of two questions that everything I ever get asked, get boils down to, and one is Chloe, what should I be doing? And the other one is glowy is what I’m doing, what I should be doing, because I think it’s, there’s so much we could be doing success comes from focusing in on the right things. And unless you’ve got your head in the right space, you know, you know what you’re trying to achieve in your life for your business, you know what your strengths are, your weaknesses on you, what your head in the right place, unless you’ve got all those things in place, you can’t make good decisions about what you should be focusing your time and effort on.

Chloe (03:09):

And it’s, it’s very easy to spend, you know, an I, I fall in this trap about once every couple of years and have to, can I kind of hit myself on the head and go, God, you’re doing it again. Which is to think that busy means successful. And they are two completely different things. They’re not even on the same scale, how busy you are, has got nothing to do with how successful you are. But it often, often we think as long as we’re filling our time with something we’re doing okay. So I think mindset, it’s kind of like the bedrock on which we build everything else.

Charles (03:42):

Yeah. I like that. Yeah. I think we kind of grow up in school and kind of learning on like, you know, people do well, the kids that are sitting there, like with their flashcards before the test, and they’re like stand up all night and you go to college and it’s like the same thing. And then you kind of realize when you kind of get into the field, that if you’re just sprinting as fast as you can, and then some unbelievable opportunity comes along, you’re already going full throttle and you don’t have any way to like scale up to that thing. So it’s always like, you need to leave some Slack.

Chloe (04:11):

Yeah. You’ve got to, you’ve got to make space for good stuff to happen as well. You know, I’m, I’m very much not in the camp of fill every waking moment with something, you know, I’m very much not in the camp of you should be working seven days a week to make a business successful. You’ve got to have that downtime to let the unconscious have time to kind of work its way through things. And, and I’ve often found that, you know, forcing myself to make space rest, you know, saying you will finish at this time every night, you will not work. Weekends has often created the situation, which, which has bought me the greatest success in all aspects of life and business, because I find it very hard to say no to things. And by focusing in on, right, you have, you can only do X number of hours a week. It’s like, well, I’ve got to say no to some things. And it really focuses the mind on making better decisions around that too.

Charles (05:04):

This week’s episode is sponsored by Prisync. Prisync is a competitor price tracking and repricing tool that helps e-commerce companies make intelligent pricing decisions. Using the dashboard and daily Excel reports Online sellers can monitor price changes and immediately make pricing adjustments. Here’s some features that I love about Prisync. First is smart match. What smart match does is allows Prisync to search for our competitors and attach their prices right on your dashboard. So you can monitor their pricing changes against competitors. You already know about, they find competitors. You didn’t even know existed. Once you have that, you can configure your repricing rules. What this does is you can now set your prices to be based on the average price, the lowest price, the highest price of your competitors go up and down. And also you can say, don’t go lower than my cost by plus $5. Whatever you want to do, you can set these rules and pricing will automatically adjust your prices. Next is price change notifications. You can set rules to when prices change pricing will send you a notification alerting you of your competitors. Prisync changes last, but not least is a price history. You can then go in to the dashboard and look up all the pricing changes over time, the price, and because of monitoring that way, you know, just because it’s slower today, they might just be having a sale and it might come back tomorrow. You can see all your competitors on one charge. Super cool. I urge you to check it out. Thanks again for Prisync, for sponsoring this week’s episode. Now back to the show.

Charles (06:42):

Now back to the show We’re talking about for the show and I sent you a tweet, actually, it’s something I had kind of in my little Twitter drafts for awhile. And it was, then we were talking before I was like, you know what, I’m going to actually publish it today. I’m kind of just reading it two of the most important to the most important, you have difficult things for a founder to do are choosing the correct things to focus your time and attention on and to focusing on that thing. How do you kind of feel about that?

Chloe (07:10):

Oh, Oh totally. We S I think it’s, it’s kind of worse in the e-comm space too, to be able to work out what to do and then to focus on it. And if I focused on, if I focus on the focusing part here there are, we are surrounded by an industry that likes to create content and distraction. You know, it’s, especially when we’re in this world, a pandemic everyone’s creating online content. It’s not the offline events anymore. It’s all the webinar on this. And you must know about that. And of course, marketers are trying to get you to read their blog, to attend the webinar, to watch their video, to listen to their podcasts, because it is crucial for you to listen to you, but you have to see it all through this, this kind of filter of what’s relevant to me. And it’s so easy to get sucked into.

Chloe (07:59):

This is very cool. That’s very cool. I think I said, said to you beforehand, last night, I was chairing a conference that a friend of mine runs and it was on a new platform that I hadn’t used before called. I can’t remember the name of it now. And it was, it was like super cool new platform where you can put banners in and all this cool was that no, no, this wasn’t clubhouse. This was a, it was a streaming service. And we were doing like a, like a virtual summit, a live virtual summit. And it was, it was just such a cool platform that I got so totally distracted by it. I was almost, you know, during sessions, writing plans of how I’m going to run loads of events. It’s like, offense is not in your plan for 2021 glory. You spend ages working on this plan and one cool piece of software, which you’re going to get to use every month as part of this conference series that someone else is running.

Chloe (08:52):

You you’ve just completely ignored your plan for the year. And just got excited about a whole other strategy, which doesn’t fit with any of the aims or objectives. It was just a cool business per se. I say that because just to show how easy it is, you know, and you have to create that filter based on what you’re good at, what’s right for your business, where you’re trying to get to, and then you can kind of filter through what you should be buying, what you should be using, what you should be paying attention to. And that will help you stay on track, but you can’t focus unless you know what you’re supposed to be doing.

Charles (09:26):

So actually that’s the first part. How do you know what you should be doing then? So you said you sat down and come up with a plan you’ve been doing that. I feel like you go to, so you go to these online summits and there’s someone up there saying like content blogging. And you’re like, great. I’ll definitely do a lot of blog. And they’re like, Facebook ads, like definitely do that toe video on YouTube. Yeah. Tech talk. And you’re like, obviously I’m going to detect it. And like clubhouse and like, got to do some of that. And then by the end, you’re like, all right, I’m going to do none of these. Like, this is insane. So like, how do you in the thing is each one of those folks kind of went up on stage and a virtual stage right now and said, like this worked for my business.

Charles (10:01):

It was great. It did, that’s the thing, but how do you know, okay, what’s one of those, should I be doing? Like, you can’t do all of them. So how do you know where to focus your time? And should you even be focusing on that sort of growth, like marketing side or should be doubling down and saying, can we smooth our customer service out, you know, smooth our logistics side, like, cause there’s so many other places internally that maybe paying all this money to kind of bring leads in. But how do you even know? You know, maybe they’re not checking, they’re not converting. They’re not, we could be upselling the better we should be doubling down after the checkout. Like how do you know that part of it

Chloe (10:34):

Back in the day I used to one-on-one help people to work out what they should be doing, you know, and what I’ve spent kind of like the last, maybe six, seven years is trying to turn what I used to do. One-On-One to Pete, for people into some models and systems that businesses can use themselves. Business owners can use themselves. Marketers can use themselves in order to connect the dots in order to make those decisions. And then, you know, I’ve tried to design them to keep people on track. And I guess it’s kind of, if we go go through three of them, I think this will, this will help everyone out there. So the first one is, think in quarters. So think three months at a time and focus on something, whatever it is you’re doing for a full three months, because one of the, one of the stupidest things we do as human beings is we go, right.

Chloe (11:28):

I’ll spend Monday working on that and do a little bit. And that was when Tuesday working on this and I’ll do a little bit on that. So maybe you spend Monday and you write half a blog, post Tuesday, you set up some Facebook ads, but not as far as you can put them live. Then Wednesday, you, you got obsessed by tech stocks. You spend the day trying to work out how to record a tech talk video Thursday, you then go, Oh my God, we need a new courier. And then Friday you, I don’t know, it’s implode or something and nothing’s finished. Everything’s half done. And you’ve not really immersed yourself in properly learning it because all these marketing channels we’re talking about, if you want to do them well, you’ve got to test and optimize and test and optimize and learn and test and optimize.

Chloe (12:08):

And it, it takes time to learn it. And if you try and learn three at once, you know, you’re deemed failure. So my first thing is to think in quarters and across a quarter, think about maybe three things you’re going to focus on. That’s what I try to do. I try to focus on three things and that might be this quarter. You’re going to master Facebook ads and you’ve got to sort out your pick pack and dispatch process. So as you can get some time back from that. And then the third part is that you’re going to, I don’t know, something else, you know, find a new product range or expand the business or something, you know, so you try and limit it to three. And those are the big things you’re going to focus on for the quarter. Then you can master them. And whilst you’re working on those still, okay, to get inspired with cool things and cool ideas, but have a list of stuff you’re not doing this quarter.

Chloe (12:57):

I do mine in a Google spreadsheet. You might do yours in a notebook. I’m an Evernote, a Google doc word, doc, doesn’t matter. You know, it could be a list on your phone, but keep a list of cool things that you might do in the future. And then when you get to the end of the quarter, you can kind of bring that back and go brilliant. I’ve got a big list of ideas, which 1:00 AM I excited by? Which one do I think is going to make the difference. So that’s kind of, that’s, that’s the first model tells you, okay. If I go into the second model.

Charles (13:28):

Yeah. And it also just reminds me the place, the book traction. I’m guessing. You’ve read that. Yeah. That makes me, and I’ve mentioned this before in the show and it’s, it feels like every time someone talks about this, like planning, traction is like this like thread. Very, I always see these common things that run through that book and what people successful plans basically on break stuff into quarters and I’ll link to that. And if people haven’t read it, they have a whole framework around this. And I think it’s fantastic. All right.

Chloe (13:57):

The book on getting focused in courses is called the 12 weeks. Yeah. The 12 week year. And it’s by Moran and Lennington, and they’re taking lessons from the big sports companies and those of you on the video, you can see I’ve even got tabs in this. This is how many times I refer to this book genius book for focusing on courses. I’m talking of Berks. My second one, my second piece of advice for your listeners is in this book, which is my most recent book been a bestseller in the UK for the last 12 months. And it’s called e-commerce marketing. How to get traffic that buys to your website. It’s I like to think it’s a little bit like the traction for e-commerce, but coming at it from a very different angle in that I’ve got chapters on different marketing methods. But traction is such an amazing, I’m not sure one can ever live up to it.

Chloe (14:54):

Anyway, before I convinced you or not to read my book I’m just flicking through to find the model. I want to tell you all about, because this I think is, is crucial for the world to be commerce. And it’s is a model. I call my customer master plan model, and I’ll talk it through for those of you who are listening. So it’s, it’s, e-commerce drilled down into six circles and a number of arrows. Okay. So if you imagine left to right gain, cross your screen, you’ve got six circles left to, right. We’ve got the world visitors, inquirers, first-time buyers, repeat buyers and regular buyers. None of those phrases should be a surprise to anyone listening in the world of e-commerce and these circles of the customer relationship level. So all the people in the world fit into one of these circles for your, your business and that relationship with you and where we focus as e-commerce people is we focus on moving people between the customer relationship levels.

Chloe (15:49):

So when you’re thinking about those quarter’s work out, where are you weakest? You weakest in getting people from the world to visit your website. Are you weakest in getting their email address once they get there, you weakest in turning them into a buyer, or you weakest in turning them into a repeat buyer, into a regular buyer. Where’s your weakness, or where’s there the great opportunity and then focus on that stage and fixing it for the full quarter. And that could pull in marketing ideas, website improvements, UX improvements, customer service improvements, packaging improvements, whatever you need to do. And if you focus on one for a whole quarter, you’ll make sure a big improvement.

Charles (16:29):

Yeah. I like the idea of doing that because you can always, you kind of have to tic talk back and forth. There’s going to be some point where you’re like, we just don’t have enough traffic. Okay. We need more traffic. Like we just need to figure this out. And then at some point you get enough traffic and they like, well, why didn’t they check it out? Okay. We need to figure that out. And it that’d be, if, if you’re successful, they get to a point where they’re like, okay, the fulfillment, the logistics is just like crushing us or the support after the fact, it’s just, it’s beating us up. So you need to almost like it’s just like pendulum back and forth. And then at some point, okay, I get that. I got after the checkout figured out, that’s nailed down. And you’re like, let’s see, I have more traffic. And you kind of have to swing back to that direction. And as soon as you do that, you’re gonna break something else. And you’re just in this constant breaking, fixing, and coming back and breaking it again. It’s a process.

Chloe (17:13):

It’s a bit like playing whack-a-mole. But I guess what I try to do is to, is to make the whack-a-mole focus, be on a slightly larger area and encompass a longer time span than every day, whacking another mole. Because I think otherwise you, you never get out of that cycle of prop of urgent problems. You want to get into improvements rather than fixing errors, I suppose. And I think focusing over a longer time period, and in one of those key stages between the customer relationship levels really is a good, is a good way to go about getting out of just the firefighting scenario. Yeah.

Charles (17:50):

Every day I try to remind myself to, you know, spend some time focusing on the focus on the important, over the urgent cause the urgent is always going to be there and you, you know, open up your email and there’s, you’ll find some, someone has something urgent they going to send to you. And sure. I could definitely be doing that. But the important stuff, that’s the stuff. No, one’s going to be coming to you going, like, you need to do this today. That’s up to you to sit down and say and sit back and kind of push back a little bit away from the desk and say, w what’s important right now. And not just let’s open the email and let’s figure out the next let’s like, let’s, you know, slim a coffee back and we’ll go, go, go.

Chloe (18:24):

Yeah, it it’s. Like I was saying earlier about how you can get you get obsessed by being busy in order to feel like you’re achieving something, the others, it feels great. It’s addictive. It’s like some days I find myself almost like flicking through LinkedIn to email in boxes, in Twitter, almost waiting for something to happen. So I can feel like I’ve achieved something. And it’s like, it’s those days. I’m like, yeah, I need to finish on time tonight because I’ve reached a point. I’m just scrolling through, looking for something to respond to, to make myself feel like I’ve achieved something. And that’s, that’s a sign you need some time out, everybody.

Charles (19:02):

It makes me feel like I’m a dopamine junkie or I’m just waiting for that next hit of like some something on Twitter, something popping up. And I’m like, I’m going to do this since. I mean, I’m going to get that little rush and like, yeah,

Chloe (19:12):

Irrelevant, please try and get all my podcasts. It was like a reply to you. Like,

Charles (19:20):

Yes, I a hundred percent agree. So yeah, I like that of breaking it up into quarters and kind of looking and that kind of gives you a longer and less whack-a-mole so at least, yeah, at least that you can sit back and there are certain things that you can’t really get into unless you really put some distance between you and those urgent things on you might need to sit there and think through something, journal, whatever, you know, whatever you have thought processes like the whiteboard something. And if you’re sitting there just like crushing emails every day, you’re just, you’re not going to do that.

Chloe (19:51):

You’ve got to create that brain space views. And I personally, I find, you know, diary blocking can be a great way of doing that. You know, looking at the week, you’re on a Friday, sit down and go, right next week, Monday is going to be about this. She used, there’s gonna be about this. Wednesday’s gonna be about this. And, and even if you do that, trust me, you’re probably gonna need to go that Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I’ll deal with the inbox thoroughly. Otherwise, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be like those things in the inbox and you can’t concentrate on anything anyway. So see, I try and work out with them. The works,

Charles (20:19):

If everyone’s watching on video, since we’re just pulling random books off camera, I just want to actually I happen to have that I’m telling you. So they sell this productivity planner, it’s they break up the week and they literally give you a space where you write out your weekly plan and then you break that into each day and you set your most important and every week the goal is and take stuff from last week. Figure out what’s important that week. And it kind of fits with the whole traction model of taking your quarter, then breaking it down. Okay. I know my three year goal. I know now what’s this year. Okay. What’s this quarter. Now it’s come up this, you know, sit down on a Sunday, come up with this week plan. And now when you come Monday morning, you don’t just get, you know this is like whiplash on like art, which I work on.

Charles (21:04):

And like you open your inbox and you’re like, let’s do that one, right? That you sit down and Monday, you know, here’s what I work on. And then when I’m done, okay, I’ll the email will still be there. Like the IMS, what everything will still be though. But at least it gives you something to, these are the important things I’m going to get done. And there’s only, like you said, there’s only going to be a few of them. There’s some overall larger ones. And then here are the big to do is to move forward. And so I love that concept. So I, I derailed you a number two though. So what was, was number? What was number two?

Chloe (21:33):

So number one was thinking quarter’s number two is the customer master plan model to make sure you’re, you’re segmenting your e-commerce work based on where your customers are in that journey. And then the third one is one which I got from a podcast guest an amazing lady who runs a business, selling goat, milk products of all things. And she does this and I think it’s so genius. I keep repeating it to people, which is when you’re thinking about those, when you, when you think about e-commerce, there are, you know, the basic equation is traffic times conversion rate times average order value equals sales, right? So we’ve kind of got three things we can do to grow. Our sales. One is improve. The conversion rate. One is improve the traffic volumes and the other one is improved the average order value. And she likes to think across the year of each quarter, she works on one of them.

Chloe (22:27):

So it comes back to the quarterly planning again. So think of a stage you’re going to work out in that customer master plan model, my number two, but then also think about, are we working on traffic? Are we working on conversion rate? Are we working on average order value? Partly because if you try and work on two at once, you won’t know which one’s working. But also because then you really, really get to grips with what for my audience is going to improve. The AOV is going to improve the traffic. Now the chances are you’re going to, you’re going to do traffic twice in a year and you’ll work on the other two for one or each, but it’s, it’s, it’s almost giving you the freedom to go. I tend to worry about average order value until next quarter. I’m just gonna focus on traffic. I’m just going to focus on this and clearing stuff out of the way can be really great way to give you that mind space to actually make the, make the improvements that work.

Charles (23:22):

I like that. So you kind of, you’re saying having some, like, almost like themes of the quarter, so here’s the theme you know, traffic and the type where the customer is in their journey and then just focusing on it for that quarter and kind of digging deep into that.

Chloe (23:37):

Yeah, exactly. It’s it gives you so much clarity on what to do and it makes it so much easier to decide what should I doing at this point in time? What’s the most important thing I could be doing?

Charles (23:50):

I think sometimes the difficult, the thing that people run into when they’re trying to do this is they set these larger themes up, like you’re saying and that day at that moment, they’re blocked right there. There’s something else happening where we’re doing a CMS migration the other day and it was, you know, consultants doing this and also it’s specs spectrum out. And then they were all just working. And for me personally, okay, I’m just kind of waiting and like, all right, I can check in with them each day, but like, I want you to actually, you know, you’re just being annoying at some point. So you’ve done all, you’ve done a lot of work upfront and now the balls, a lot of balls are in someone else’s court sort of thing. What do you do with those days on? Because if you start, if you’re like, Hey, I should be busy. Cause that’s like what I’m told to do, you’re going to just start going back to your old habits and get busy. And then when the consultants come back and say, Hey, can you review this show? Like I don’t have time you know, check on her, visit the unemployment stuff. Yeah.

Chloe (24:46):

I think part partly it’s just being aware. You have that kind of a tendency and then checking yourself again. Actually, it’s also about looking, you know, you were saying about, about, you know mapping out your weeks for the quarter and looking when the different projects are going to need you, when are you going to be needed to do this? Because if, if you, you know, if you, if you using consultants, et cetera, then you know, when something’s going to be coming back, well, you should have a pretty good idea when something’s coming back and you need to worry about it. So if you put that, if you know that next week, XYZ ed consultants coming back to you with something, you’re either going to need to action or review or sign off or test or something, you go, okay, next week I’m two days down.

Chloe (25:28):

So what should I be doing this week to make sure I’ve got two days to deal with it next week? So it’s always a case of kind of am I, am I putting things out to other people or am I making space to deal with the stuff that comes back from them? And it’s, it’s about taking a step back on quite a regular basis, go what actually to achieve what I want this quarter. What do I need to do this week? I know what I should also say is things change. And what you think you’re doing in week 13 of the quarter bit in week zero is probably not going to be the same thing because something would have taken longer. Something will have taken less time. So you will probably at least once a month, if not almost every week, be slightly retweaking those deadlines because there’s nothing worse than discovering in week two that something’s not going to be achievable in the quarter, but leaving it there as a goal, because it’s just going to make you feel awful, you know, and under pressure and, and, and failing. So always tweak these things based on what you learn as you go through the journey, because in a quarter you’re going to learn an awful lot about what is and isn’t possible. So do adapt.

Charles (26:33):

Yeah, that was actually one of the questions I was writing down where it’s, when you were saying that, that, you know, you have these great plans. W what was it Mike Tyson quote, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face and you have, I know, I think it’s Tyson, but yeah, everyone has this plan until you punch in the face where, you know, you come up with these great plans. And this was, I think last year where I had a plan for the quarter, and we’re going to focus on this. And there was some huge infrastructure, like meltdown, and we need to migrate a database. Like it went from thinking like, Oh, we have like quarters to like, no, like this week, this is happening. And so like, you know, all of a sudden it’s like, no, this is all hands on deck.

Charles (27:09):

This is just what we’re going to be doing. Bring a DBA on. And that’s that. And so there’s no, like, there’s no optionality. You either do it. Or like, you just do it. There’s no choice. Right. So that whole plan just gets flushed out the window. And I think that’s, that’s tough sometimes because you come up with these plans and if you plan too far out, then all of a sudden now you’re like, all right, I have to push out every day. And I think we have a tendency to, when you said three things that, that gives you that Slack, that you need. Right. So if, when you do get punched in the face, it’s, you know, it’s not gonna ruin all of a sudden, okay, we’re missing everything. You know, we had 50 things we’re going to do. And 49 of them are just out the window. Now, three you’re building in some, some slacks and margin. And I think that’s what a lot of people do is they over estimate their abilities. I do a toe feel like I’m going to do, I’m gonna move the world. I’m gonna like move this. It’s going to be huge. As in you just feel like sad after that. Okay. I didn’t, I didn’t do 50 things. That’s terrible. But if you sat down to something reasonable that gives you that like room to expand and contract when needed

Chloe (28:16):

Oh, completely. And whilst, you know, you, it sounds a bit crazy. We’re going to create this plan, but we know it’s going to change. It’s an awful lot easier to change if you’ve got a plan in the first place. Whereas if you have a, you know, a blank sheet sheet of paper and you’re constantly firefighting, and then something like that, massive site server migration comes along. Then you, you kind of like you gets the end of the server migration. You’re probably a little bit worn out and frazzled around the edges and you’re going, what should I be doing? I can’t even remember what I should be doing anymore. So you just fall straight back into firefighting. Whereas if you’ve got a plan, you can at least go back and go, what should I have been doing last week? Right. What’s the best way for us to recover from this? Not what’s the best way for me this week to do all last week’s work as well, but how do we rejig it to make it possible for us to sell, to do great work?

Charles (29:03):

Yeah, that’s a good point. And I think the hard part about all of this is we’re all, you know, in this kind of digital world addicted to that dopamine, right? That rush of like, if you’re a founder, whatever you’re doing, even just anything now, you just you’re addicted to just like producing, producing. And when you have to you, it feels like you’re, it feels almost wrong. Sometimes you have to really like teach yourself to slowing down and planning. Planning is still work, but it doesn’t feel like work on that planning day. That planning time feels very different and it doesn’t give you that same high, but you have to kinda, you know, do you have any tricks to kind of reminding yourself that like this planning work is actually planning to work on the right thing is actually like more important than a lot of cases than just doing a bunch of work, just because, yeah,

Chloe (29:48):

I see, I see that my, my problem is that I could spend all day planning and never actually get anything done. It’s probably my most favorite form of procrastination, but then you realize that about yourself and you’re trying not to spend too much time planning, and then you realize you should have spent more time planning. So it’s kind of a vicious circle. So what, what I try to do is I try to have a rhythm across them the month across the quarter of when I do certain things. So, you know, on a Friday, Thursday or Friday, I’ll plan, the following week’s work with that’s when I get in depth into what the following week is going to be at the end of each day,

Charles (30:23):

Have this blocked off, blocked off in your calendar, sort of thing. Like this is my Thursday planning time.

Chloe (30:28):

It’s a standard task for ideally for Thursday, but often it falls into Friday and that’s okay in my world. So it’s, it’s not quite a blocked off space, but Fridays, I always have no meetings. And that’s when I set, you know, deal with podcasts and various other things, but fits in that day of tasks. And then that sets up the week. And then in the last two weeks of the quarter is when I’ll start looking at the following quarter. Cause there’s no point in looking at it sooner than that in my business, in most businesses. And there’s no point in fully fleshing out what two weeks from now looks like I’ll dump stuff into two weeks from now and four weeks from now and five weeks from now, depending on things that I know have to happen then, but I’m not going to go in depth to it until the time comes. So that’s so it’s, it’s kind of spacing out the diary in that way I find is, is the way to do it. So a regular, weekly check-in, and some point was the end of each day, do a detailed plan for the following day because things can even go awry in a week, you know, and you may have to revisit your actually, I may have wanted to work on that awesome project tomorrow, but I’ve got this problem that I’ve got to solve. That’s more urgent. So I’ll, I’ll realign my, my goals around that one.

Charles (31:42):

Yeah. I think it’s important too, for anyone listening. A lot of this comes down when we say in a week or a month or a quarter, a lot of a quarter is kind of a natural time. Like, I, it sounds very like businessy, like what’s your Q1 plan, but it’s just nice to break up. It just, it actually feels kind of natural. I see how that, I see how it’s folks decide to break up years into quarters. Cause it just feels like it makes sense, but some of it does come down to scale, right? Like I’ve talked to retailers that, you know, they’re in the hundreds of millions of revenue and they look at stuff to building a warehouse and like planning alpha, like you’re their thought is just going out into five-year plus plans at all times. Cause like if you’re building physical structures and just moving and you’re doing that sort of level, you have to think further out. And also when the business was small, I would also think out by like three hours and like, it was just a constant cause like literally the entire business could change in a matter hours when we’re of a certain scale. And yeah, so part of it is just depending on scale as well too.

Chloe (32:45):

I, I think, I think it’s you’re right. Sometimes there are those much, much longer term projects, you know, pro if you’re developing your own skincare products, that’s, you know, longer than a, than a month or a quarter to get that done and such things. But, but I think I generally come at things from kind of the marketing standpoint and I think very few businesses can outline exactly what their marketing plan is going to be 12 months ahead these days, you know where you were, you mentioned clubhouse and I didn’t know, clubhouse existed a month or so ago and I’ve had two past podcast guests get in touch and ask me why I’m not yet on clubhouse that never happens. So that’s, that’s been one of the curve balls I will be paying attention to in the next couple of weeks. But it’s you say marketing?

Chloe (33:29):

I don’t think even the biggest business can really go out much more than a quarter at a time in any depth in retail. And I think the smallest business should be thinking of quarter at a time, even though they feel like it’s, you know, they’re, they’re probably still, it’s still feeling, I suppose they’re going, Oh my God, it’s Friday. And we haven’t sent an email this week. We better send an email or Christ. It’s been, it’s been two weeks since I looked at my Google ads. You know, you, you need to be looking longer than just those, those short time span. So I think for marketing most businesses, a quarter’s a really good way to be structuring things, but then, you know, but then you and the business, you may have those bigger projects, like warehouse moves, et cetera, which, which have to be looked up over a longer time span,

Charles (34:14):

I guess that’s to be looked at over a long time span, but you can logically still break up pieces of that into the quarter, right? Like, you know, you going to want to migrate from Magento to big commerce or whatever it is, and that might take six to 12 months or whatever, whatever that is. And you can, but you break that up into, okay, what are we to get this big 12 month project going this quarter? What is the quarter piece of that project? So you can still bite it, break it off into little bite-size chunks. It sounds like. And then it’s a little more, you can wrap your head around mash

Chloe (34:45):

Completely. So it might be, you know, Q1 is about working out exactly what you need from the new website and scoping out, making the decision to you, go Magento, big commerce, Shopify, or something else, and create your short list of agencies that might be your Q1 task. And then Q2 will be about identifying which agencies building it. Q3 will be about actually building. So you can, it might be one of those three things. So you might have Facebook ads, you might have we’re going to focus on turning inquiries into buyers. And then the other thing which we’re going to do is we’re going to work on this big project. So it could be within the quarter, but you want to have some definite goals that happen within that quarter.

Charles (35:26):

I like, yes. Awesome. This is a good place to end it. I think that was super helpful. I’m going to link to a bunch of good books in the show notes. So if I want us to check any of those out if also want to kind of find

Speaker 3 (35:38):

You check out the podcast, check out the book what can they do that?

Chloe (35:41):

I mean, you can learn everything I’m up to at e-commerce master plan.com. There you’ll find links to both the podcast and all the books I’ve written. You’ll find links to information about the models I mentioned, and you find out how to get in contact with me too. So e-commerce master plan.com.

Speaker 3 (35:59):

Awesome. I’ll link to that show notes. Thanks a lot. Come on. It’s great Avenue.

Chloe (36:01):

It’s been brilliant to be here and been a really interesting discussion. So thanks for having me on.

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