Once the windfall of sales you receive as a seller in Q4 from Christmas, what is one to do?
The first quarter (Q1) normally is the slow point of sales in a Western e-commerce and FBA sellers business.
But this means there isn’t anything to do!
It is time to INVEST in your brand and use this slow time to GROW for the long term. As a brand, your job is to invest in the brand awareness and reach to gain more eyeballs and ultimately customers.
Today we will discuss a few campaigns and concepts you can put in the works to take the new year and make the most of it:
Brainstorm & Develop New Products
Get a full year schedule of new products in the pipeline. Review what products in your catalog had the best ROI – and find ways to expand those. Make a schedule of products for the year ahead and based on your team size and capacity, decide how many you can develop and launch in this timeframe.
We use Google sheets, and you can see a quick spreadsheet screenshot here for our new case study brand Excalibur Brothers where we are doing just that!
Find a Brand Ambassador & Build Community
Many talk about KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and influencers to boost sales and reach – but we love the hidden gem of ambassadors. Not as “famous” as influencers – but also more accommodating and longer term aligned – ambassadors work with you to gain feedback on your new product ideas and be a sounding board.
Create a community group (Facebook, Discord, Slack) that fits you and your audience, and create an email and social media campaign to welcome those in your community. Setup various roles and access points where you share more insights on your brand and company to those in the “inner circle” to collect feedback from them.
And of course, use this as part of your brand launch strategy for new products.
Invest in Training Your Team
Your ecommerce team made it through Q4 – so let them catch up on some sleep!
But not too much sleep – look to invest in online (or in person corporate training) – so that you are staying ahead of the curve with your strategies. If you’d like some personal or corporate training from me – check out MichaelMichelini.com/speaking for some topics and let’s discuss!
Cutting Back On Underperforming Products
Not a hot topic discussed in the blogosphere – but a healthy brand prunes. That means, making hard cuts on products that don’t keep up with the others in the catalog.
Review the last year’s sales, as well as ROI and profitability. Determine which are your key products (stars and cash cows), and which are your “dogs” that need to be kicked out.
This is a famous product matrix to help you bucket your products.
Consider Selling Your Brand
And the final one for today is – maybe it is time to consider exiting. Are you still motivated by the brand and the product line? Or are you plateauing and fatigued?
If you are “burning out” or just want to start a new brand or new business – consider selling your current brand first. We all want to run multiple businesses and build a cash flow empire – but today there is a huge demand of investors and aggregators looking for brands in ecommerce to buyout.
Looking to sell your brand is a big decision – but getting feedback and insights is also a great way to learn what you are doing right and what you can improve on. There is no obligation to sell your brand by talking to brokers and investors – and you can change your mind if the deal terms you receive are unattractive.
Of course we’d love to discuss with you some strategies if you are looking to sell – so don’t be shy to reach out at GlobalFromAsia.com/broker
Stay Motivated, Stay Sharp For The New Year
We hope these points are inspiring! Each point is a major undertaking, so choose based on your capacity.
Taking action is the most important and not getting comfortable and complacent. Businesses that stay the same fall behind and in today’s dynamic and competitive environment if we are not innovating we are failing.
So get to work, and make the most of the slower Q1 to get ahead once this next Q4 comes along.
Episode Length 16:01
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[00:00:00] All right. Thank you everybody. Global From Asia. What episode number, Aubrey? Episode 368. It was getting up there. And it’s lucky number is 3, 6, 8, and Q1 planning, 2022. Let’s talk about some strategies for the new year growth. Welcome to the global from Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice.
[00:00:25] And now your host, Michael Michelini [00:00:30] and thank you to our sponsor. Our returning sponsor mercury.com online bank was a real bank, but you can do a totally online for US. Our blimp program participants are going through this as well. Thank you,Mercury. Travis is great.. He’s been on our show has been in our events.
[00:00:44] We’re gonna have another event where we will have them attending as well. And if you want to get a little bonus for you and us, if you sign up and do some special circumstances, so you can go to globalfromasia.com/mercury also a video tutorial that we use, even for the BLIMP people use the same [00:01:00] exact video to learn how to use it.
[00:01:01] I hope you can check it out totally free. Why not see you there? Okay, Aubrey. This is the second show of the new year. We are moving right into mid, mid, mid January, 2022. How is it going for you? Yes, it’s been doing good so far and luckily there’s still no hassle at all. Hopefully until the end of this first part quarter, it will be good to us.
[00:01:27] Okay. I don’t know if I told you yet [00:01:30] in the, in our work chat, but I get it. There’s testing every 48 hours Shenzhen, China right now, you gotta get a mandatory COVID test every 48 hours. Or you are flagged, I’m actually behind on my testing. I don’t want to get too personal, but arguments about it with my amazing wife and I didn’t go to do my tests.
[00:01:54] So I can’t go into certain buildings or certain places because I haven’t had a COVID test in 48 hours. So Happy New Year. Happy New Year. It’s crazy. I haven’t heard about that. You didn’t hear about that yet? Yeah, I thought it was sneak that in as a little fun fact for people tuning into our Global From Asia show. And, but yeah, starting the new year has been crazy.
[00:02:19] Yeah. A lot of people getting it now, at least in the US. and other places a friend have been getting it. So maybe I will just get us past it if everybody gets it, you know? Well, but let’s talk about more, more happy things or more productive things. This week show, we are talking about some new initiatives for the new year.
[00:02:40] What do you want to get us started Aubrey? Yeah. So I think it’s better to start planning first for all throughout the entire 2022 so that we can be, you know, we have the flow, we can follow something.
[00:03:00] Yep. Yeah. So just, you know, some, let’s just brainstorm some ideas. We listed out five of a different strategies or topics for you to expand your business a little bit more on the e-commerce side, but in any business might be able to learn today. So yeah, we’re just going to run down those. What do you think Aubrey?
[00:03:17] I think first one is our, commonly businesses have a flourishing sales during the last quarter, right. Especially on the holidays. And there’s such a huge amount of sales. So basically on the first quarter, Normally, it’s not that huge as well. So what do you think, how should they do, what should they do about it?
[00:03:39] Sure, sure. I mean, especially in China, you know, a lot of sellers are already like taking their holiday for Chinese new year. Cause it’s also the Western and the Chinese new year together. So there’s a lot of people who’ve been quiet lately are trying to squeeze in stuff. But I think the first thing is thinking about new products, right?
[00:03:55] I think, especially for e-commerce. New products is one common and tried and true way of growing your business. So as you know, we’re doing an Excalibur Brothers brand here with BLIMP Method, here in Global Grom Asia. So we’ll put it in the show notes. People can check out at globalfromasia.com/q1-planning, and you can see some, uh, screenshots, maybe it uses a template yourself, but we have this Google sheet we use when we’re brainstorming new product ideas.
[00:04:25] You know, Luciano, I, even, some of the people in the BLIMP program are giving ideas of products and we listed out on a Google sheet. And what we do from there is we then, you know, go into Google doc, you know, just like this podcast, put some show notes and some ideas and say into google doc, some competitive analysis, keyword research, you know, pricing how much we think we can buy it for how much we think we can sell it for.
[00:04:49] But this is the lifeblood I think, of any business and something that you can never do enough of for each especially e-commerce businesses. Yeah. So for me personally, I call it a process on getting money later, instead of focusing on money now, so yeah. So basically we need to do some things that will accumulate in the future.
[00:05:09] Right? So thank you for that. Yeah. It’s definitely a way to invest in your business. Especially a product based business. New products is, is the way to grow. Yeah. So I think, we have further discussion about it..
[00:05:29] Yeah. So [00:05:30] the second point, second idea for you in a new year while maybe sales are slow. Brand ambassadors and communities actually, Aubrey is doing great with us here. And that’s what we love to do is community building and brand ambassadorships. So again, of course, we’re talking a little bit about a scholar brothers side, but we are, we have a list of different K Wells, I guess they call it in China or key opinion leaders, but in the west they call them influencers, or just basically bloggers.
[00:06:00] [00:05:59] That have, have now maybe the website or social media channel. And we’re going to reach out to them, talking to them, of course, for some new product launches or doing a new discord. Aubrey. I like what you’re doing with some of the invites as the new members of the discord for Excalibur brothers as a brand.
[00:06:17] And, but basically building the community. Like I think of course, like the first point was product line, but in community, what do you think of that, Aubrey?Yeah. I also believe in that saying that your networth is your network, right? So building a community, I mean, they won’t just support you all throughout the business, but they will also advocate for your brand.
[00:06:40] Right. So it’s really great to have a community. Awesome. Okay. Nice. Nice. Yes. So I know it’s a little bit. I know it’s a little bit difficult for some people. And there were so many so busy, but you know, you can pick one of these points. Copies of all of these is quite a bit, but the next one is investing in your team, training your team, you know, working, maybe the team made it through Q4.
[00:07:04] Hopefully everybody’s maybe taking their rests are tired. You know, let me some late nights, but you know, what we do is we do some training here. We also have tons of SOPs and videos. I know Aubrey has gone through and courses actually just, just, I don’t know if I told you about Loui on our team. She, I got her into our SEO course.
[00:07:23] Actually I should have gotten her into that before, but she was really happy. You know, I did a one-on-one call with her and I said, Hey, you should do some training on some SEO tactics that we’ve gone through. And she was so happy. I think, we’ve been trying to do that a lot this year is investing in the team.
[00:07:39] Cause I think team is on a critical point, you know, in, in the, in the business. And, and what are your thoughts there, Aubrey? So, of course, I really am grateful that we all have those SOPs that can guide me all throughout my work process. And also those opportunities wherein I can learn, especially when you decided to include me on the BLIMP Method program. It’s really helpful.
[00:08:02] And definitely, I really want that something that we’re in, I can learn so much new things, discovering new things and experience other stuff.
[00:08:14] Yeah. I mean, Aubrey you’re, you’re, you’re definitely a shining star in the community, so, and you’re always learning. So yeah, people, people like you do well, I think at anywhere, but it’s definitely been seen growing here. I’m happier even on a podcast with us and sharing and have your insights. And, but that’s what I think.
[00:08:32] Any company or team, you know, brands, whatever you want call it needs is, is people learning and growing, uh, similar to products. Product, like in 0.1, if you don’t have a team and a growing your team and educating and improving everyone, then you’re going to not be around a long time. And I do, I do, you know, I guess we’ll plug a couple of things, but you know, I have my, my personal brand at michaelmichelini.com/speaking, where I share some topics I’ve done. I’ve trained companies and I’ve been doing it even the last couple months, so a to squeeze that in there. But, let’s move through the next point.
[00:09:13] I think we need to move forward on another topic. Another advice of cutting back on the underperforming products, right? Yup. Yeah. This is obviously not a fun topic, but. You know, it’s just like spring cleaning. Maybe we’re still in winter, but you know, cleaning, cleaning up some products, learning, what’s looking at your sales reports, looking at your data, looking at what’s the best product or what’s the ones you maybe got to cut.
[00:09:40] We put in the show notes. The, I forget, I call it the product decision matrix. I’ve learned this in college. I don’t know if you went through this Aubrey in your studies, but it’s a very common matrix I’’ve seen. They have the question mark, the star, the dog and the cow. So, and on one side is the market growth.
[00:09:59] And the other side is the market share. So a question mark has got maybe high market growth, but your market share is low. Meaning maybe it’s a new product or it hasn’t yet gotten into the market as much. So that one might be worth keeping because you don’t know what, maybe you got to decide how much longer to keep developing that product or that category.
[00:10:20] The stars are. Of course, one of the sounds by the name sounds like the best they have high market growth. And also you’re a high market share. Maybe you’re in the top of your, you know, top of the category in that product search. The cash cow is another nice one cause you’re kind of dominating that market, but maybe it’s not a high growth market anymore.
[00:10:43] Maybe it’s like a mature market where there’s not much maybe growth of, you know, more people buying, buying those kinds of products. So, I like cash cows because usually it means they’re less competitive because maybe people aren’t going to try to come into that space. Whereas a star, maybe people see that as a high, high, a growth, they want to get into that.
[00:11:03] So cash cows are nice, but they can kind of like fade away and maybe become dogs and dogs are kind of the ones you want to cut. Dogs are low market share for you and low market growth. So, usually those are ones you gotta say, like, maybe they’re not worth us working on anymore. They’re not in growing markets.
[00:11:24] They’re not, we’re not doing well in that. We’re not being found. You know, people aren’t finding us people aren’t buying our product. So that’s kind of ones you might want to cut and learn from. So I hope that matrix helps people and a again, it’s at globalfromasia.com/q1-growth. You can see that in the others. Thanks for that Mike and I think upon cutting up, cutting out some unproductive ones, I think maybe they can also consider selling their brand instead.
[00:11:51] Right. We can definitely help them. Yeah, for sure. Like Aubrey has been helping out with that with people interested. We have a Global From Asia broker service where we can help people buy and sell. And one thing we’re definitely looking for as well as many others in the industry, it’s very hot market now for buyers.
[00:12:10] If, if you know, if you’re tired, maybe you finish your Q4. Actually in China, it’s starting to happen. People are going to Chinese new year. They’re thinking about their future business. Maybe what you’re doing now is not what you’re interested in. I already know. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to at least consider your options.
[00:12:27] It’s like I said, it’s a hot market right now. There’s lots of aggregators and buyers buying businesses, especially e-commerce and Amazon brands. So, if that’s something you’re like looking into there’s tons of people would like to talk to you. Of course us in Global From Asia would also be one of them. You could fill out our form at https://www.globalfromasia.com/broker/
[00:12:45] And if anything, you’re going to probably get some good insights. From the people you talk to, especially us, you know, about the market size, your category, maybe what investors or buyers might want or not want. It’s a very good process. We’ve talked to some sellers and Dave, Dave even adjusted their strategy.
[00:13:04] Even though they might have not sold their business. Right. All right. We lost Aubrey, Never a dull day here, man. Trying to contact there. We, are we going to put this show out no matter what we make things happen here. All right. Maybe I’ll get to add her back, but we kind of wrapped up the five points. I’m just going to kind of wrap up today’s show.
[00:13:31] [00:13:30] It’s true. What they say on. I’ll just say, you know, I first came to China. Uh, this guy, Andrew called him Boozer. All right. So he’s actually passed away now. No answer. You know, he told me, he told me if you come to China and you’re trying to change so much trying to do so much, he says to me, there’s three things going to happen to you.
[00:13:57] I can’t remember the exact order, but we’re sitting there maybe at 7/11 drinking down and he says: “One, you’re going to give up and leave.” “Two, you’re gonna deal with it.” “Three, you’re going to have a breakdown.” Well, I guess I had somewhat of a mini, maybe mini mini mini one with the temple experience in November silent retreat, which I think I just highly recommend it.
[00:14:27] We all need that break, but yeah, I’m kind of learning to deal with it now while she’s not in China, she’s in the Philippines internet issues. Hopefully there’s no other major issue, but I can’t reach her. Show must go on. Life must go on. Aubrey is always amazing. I’m so happy with our group. We have a very small group of the BLIMP method for the Excalibur Brothers.
[00:14:48] I’m going to probably get them up on future shows. And talk about these things. So let’s just keep on pushing forward. Let’s keep on pushing forward. You know, let’s start off this new year. I know it’s been a little bit crazy with COVID and Omnicon all this stuff I don’t want to get into that. There’s enough social media channels talking about that crap. But, let’s just make them pick one of those five things and maybe pick something else for, from those are some inspiration for your e-commerce business for your global business.
[00:15:14] Try something totally new man. If you need to, or a woman. Make something happen. Do something. Don’t just sit in here waiting for something to come to you. Waiting for you know. If your business got totally negatively affected due to this worldwide virus, try something completely new. Don’t let things get in your way.
[00:15:31] Don’t make excuses. Don’t let other people make excuses for you. That’s it for this week. This week show, q1-planning. And, I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye-bye. To get more infor about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com. That’s www.globalfromasia.com.
[00:15:55] Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.