by Joe 

September 28, 2017

Q4 Prep

Q4 Prep - Get Your Business set Up To Succeed!

The web is bristling with Q4 prep checklists in every shape size and flavor listing best practice after best practice. The one conclusion that one must take away from any of them is that there is no such thing as over prepared.

My job is to see through the clutter and conjecture, creating a clear path forward utilizing skills and processes that create solid results. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. I have no issues putting in the time and research early to ensure a smoother process when under pressure.

Analyze All Options

If you are a direct competitor of one of my clients, chances are I know your strengths and weaknesses better than you do. I try to create options and plans to anticipate anything that may occur. You have to fail as you go forward to create the momentum to succeed. It is the nature of the business

There is no box in my thought process as the lack of constraint makes anything possible. I challenge you to step outside of your box, your comfort zone and consider the items below. These items, that no one else seems to be emphasizing, can create a positive outcome this year and put you in a much better position by this time next year!

Make a list of potential extremes, good and bad scenarios, completed over the course of several days. Then put the list away and let some of those thoughts simmer for a few days.

Revisit it with your key players. Review it point by point asking what can/would/should we do to handle and overcome the negative while expanding on the positive.

Once complete, consider this the foundation of a backup plan. If any of the situations arise, you can face them head-on with a plan.

The following is a real-life example of how a planning allowed us to cash in and not crash and burn. In Oct. 2008, we had an item that cost us 85 cents & sold for 24.95, Amazon put it on the front page of the home improvement section as a top 10 gift. It started raining orders. We received one order every 5.5 minutes on Dec 7th alone.

Line Up Additional Support Early On

As a four-person team with six other busy stores and one accountant, things could have gotten uncontrollable fast, except for one thing. We had a battle plan as I liked to call it then. This was their first year doing more than 30k on Amazon, and we had just broken one mil by the first of Sept. I knew what to expect but they were in for the ride of their lives.

  • We lined up extra pt help if needed
  • Had a second shipping terminal set and ready
  • January's replenishment orders were available in November if we needed them
  • Even had ordered extra office supplies to get us through, knowing we would use them anyway.
  • I had been developing that team since January, and they worked together perfectly.
  • Everyone was cross-trained, including the accountant so we could all focus on an area if necessary.
  • Be Prepared for whatever may happen

    Q4 Prep For Success

    We had our bumps. My kids, then 9 and 11, got schooled in eCommerce. We received a shipment of 200 keyboards with white keys, that were ordered black, We set up a production line and switched every letter out, not fun. We even had to send the owner to China to get product and hand carry it back while waiting for the January order to arrive early.

    We pulled it off and ended the year just under 2 mill in sales. It would not have been the same outcome if we had not challenged each other ahead of time to consider all angles.  The bottom line though, all the planning in the world means nothing if you cannot execute

    Prepare For What May Or May Not Happen

    What is the difference between a follower and a leader? A follower has someone else to rely on for setting the course; no worries, do as you always do or are directed to do. It's been said that great calamity creates great leaders. I don't agree. When the gates of hell opened, and everyone is freaking out, the leader steps it up, calm, cool and collected and leads the way with confidence. People desire the direction at that point and can be pulled together with a little motivation.

    For me, my mind is always going far down the line asking what if or how can I affect change now and benefit later. I try to impress upon my clients the importance of creating what-if scenarios in their minds long before they get to that point. If you always have a backup plan, at the very least, in your mind, putting it into action becomes much easier.

    At Ecommerce Optimizer, we have been in Ecommerce and assisting other sellers since 1999.  Our experience covers a lot of different marketplaces around the world.  We have a reputation for building brands and communities from a foundation of value and content.  We help you capitalize on the trust and authority without blowing your margins on paid advertising.  

    Amazon sellers sellers rely on our ability to be successful without manipulated reviews, rebates or excessive PPC.  For additional Amazon tips and strategy, check out our Dominate Amazon Products Series.  

    Amazon isn't the only marketplace that we have experience with.  We have as much knowledge with traditional websites and marketplaces too.  Check out our Sell On Walmart article, our list of Niche Marketplaces To Sell On as well as our article about expanding to Sell On Amazon Europe.

    We focus on helping sellers grow their businesses and diversify reducing your dependence on any 1 platform while exponentially growing the available audience.  In addition, we also have our FREE Pinterest Traffic Domination Workshop, a Pinterest Launching Service1 on 1 Coaching and several other workshops as well.  Let us help you make 2021 your best year ever!

    Planning, Strategy & Execution

    Expect to be too busy to remember details of Q4, remembering things as more of a blur than a detailed picture. Consider this step future proofing Q4. Get a notebook and note the things you're doing including dates to prepare and the changes made along the way. Note Amazon policy changes, listing upgrades, optimization changes, PPC details, ranking movement, even things you noticed the competition doing... the more detailed you make it, the greater the benefits.

    During the lull of Xmas week, review your notes, how it went including what you did great and what needs work.

    Planning-Strategy

    Lay out your business plan for 2018, including dated goals to have accomplished at certain times. This plan of action is a step in the right direction to ensure you do not make the same mistakes twice.

    The majority of sellers do close to or more than half of their sales during Q4. Focus all actions throughout the year with a common goal of affecting Q4 strategies? Looking back, the big picture, the results of your actions, will be clear.

    You will see things you didn't notice when you were in the thick of it. Rest assured your future self will appreciate any and all your efforts. Q4 planning begins on January 1

    There is a lot to do, get moving now if you haven't started as it is almost too late. This season will be harder, Amazon is facing outside forces competing for the traffic more than ever before. Those sellers that still think there is no way to make money except Amazon missed the train a few years ago. The different Amazon Business Models are great but there are plenty of ways to diversify off of Amazon.  Expand your horizons now, or the next person may and run you over.  

    I learned some of what I feel are the most important business lessons as a kid. Be prepared, a Boy Scout motto, still something that I live and breathe every day. There are many different ways to accomplish many of the tasks ahead; One person's success is another's failure. Step it up now to ensure your success. You have other people, families, the families of your employees, that are counting on you to make this a success. Set your goals now. Turn your goals into your reality. Be stubborn in your goals but be flexible in your methods and you will find success comes easier with a bit less stress!

    About the author 

    Joe

    Joe Reichsfeld is an Ecommerce Consultant with experience going back before 2000. Specializing in listing optimization and marketplace expansion, Joe currently assists clients with over 3.5 million sku's.

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    The workshops below are for leveling up your game in each of the areas of interest presented.  Many include the full processes & systems used to allow a client to stand apart from their competitors and take control of their business.   These workshops are the equivalent  of what you find others offering for between $997. and 3k.  Access all of the workshops for as low as 19.95$ monthly after a 7 day free trial.  The Pinterest Traffic Domination Workshop is available for FREE to all users.  

    Sellers interested in individualized coaching and receiving detailed game plans covering the best methods to increase sales in their specific niche and product categories will want to sign up for 1 On 1 Ecommerce Coaching which includes two - 1 On 1 Coaching sessions per month with Joe for only $199.95 a month.  Availability is limited and this price will be increasing soon so get in at this low price while you can.

    14 lessons

    Intermediate

    The half-life of a tweet is 24 minutes, a Facebook post is 90 minutes, and a Pinterest pin is 3.5 months . Pinterest is the number 1 source of FREE Ecommerce traffic since 2018 and users spend over 35% more than any other Social Media referral. As an effective visual, planning, search engine, how will you use to benefit your business?

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    7 lessons

    Intermediate

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    8 lessons

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    "In today's world, the path to success seems harder than ever before. Don't let fake 'guru's', service sellers or even marketplace owners dilute the truth.   There is enough business for all.  The hardest part is finding your audience.

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    Your success relies on understanding your audience, the best methods to connect with them and how to accomplish this without giving up control of your future.  I teach business people just like yourself how to build and expand their business despite the chatter and perceived competition around them. "

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    “Using Joe’s techniques, I was able to engage my target audience in a way like never before to create social proof for my product, gain reviews, and build traction in my niche. With Joe’s methods, I was truly able to add value to my product like no other seller in the market.”

    Adam L. (Amazon 3rd Part Seller)

    “Ecommerce Optimizer was a huge benefit to my business. Leveraging tested methods and fundamentals I was able to tune my existing marketing and add new forms to reach potential customers without wasting tons of money. My weekly sales baseline increase 3 fold over 6 months and I was able to keep my marketing budget the same. Solid business fundamental a must if you're looking to grow your business.”

    Dave H. (Amazon 3rd Party Seller)

    “We have seen substantial growth in our online sales while also expanding into markets and onto platforms we wouldn't have with ease and success.   Joes' insight has enabled us to avoid making costly mistakes while optimizing our existing listings and increasing sales on them as well.   His knowledge of how the marketplaces function saved us quite a bit, almost 100k a year in fees on Amazon alone.   This has been a very positive experience for us and we look forward to continue working together. ”

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