hero image

Unprepared Ep 18 - 5 Plans That Every Business Owner Should Be Making Right Now with Rachel Jacobs


  • [00:00] Intro
  • [00:36] Ecommerce brands and agencies have paused
  • [01:09] The reason why you shouldn’t just wait and see
  • [01:35] Plan #1: Finance Plan
  • [02:32] Plan #2: Team Plan
  • [03:24] Not having a team plan can make you lose employees
  • [03:35] Plan #3: Client Plan
  • [04:23] Plan #4: Pipeline Plan
  • [05:11] Plan #5: Operations Plan
  • [06:20] Chase on Pipeline and Finance Plans for DTC
  • [07:29] Check your data to form plans, strategies, and tasks


Key Points:

  • Businesses, in general, are in a state of confusion and panic. They are in some sort of stasis in which they are paused and they don’t know what to do.

  • You can’t afford to just sit around to wait and see. The most aggressive brands right now are succeeding in their marketing efforts, especially direct-to-consumer brands.

  • Finance Plan - Pinpoint your minimum profit margins and determine the amount you need to hit to break even. Once you have that information, look at your current workflow, make a financial plan to achieve it, form strategies, and designate/delegate tasks.

  • If you can, delegate some of the tasks. Most business owners don’t use this option often.

  • Team Plan - Put a plan in place to keep your team motivated. Not everyone is going to adjust well to working from home. In order for your team to deliver well, you have to make them happy.

  • Pinpoint their potential weak spots. Example: If they are distracted at work, they can be more distracted at home. Plan a workaround for that.

  • One of Rachel's clients lost one of their star employees to another company because he was focusing so much on the business. He didn’t have a plan to look after his employees.

  • Client Plan - Make an effort to still make your clients happy, even if they’re not interacting. Put a schedule of communication to your active client to still keep in touch with them. Preferably, you should delegate this to your team so that they can really focus on communication. Make your team be proactive in reaching out through email, social media, phone calls, etc.

  • For clients that are holding out on their support/payments/subscriptions, make sure when they are ready to spend money again, your team is ready to react.

  • Pipeline Plan - Budget or allocate your efforts. Determine if you're going to spend more effort now and double down, or hold out and futureproof the upcoming quarter.

  • Operations Plan - Times of crisis like this exposes the blind spots or weaknesses in your business. Make a list of these and include them on your 90 or 180 day goals.

  • Check your analytics, form a plan, implement a strategy, and delegate if you can.


Chase Clymer  

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Unprepared. Today I am welcoming all the way from across the pond, Rachel Jacobs from Ecommerce Partnerships. How are you doing today?

Rachel Jacobs  

Doing good, Chase. How are you? 

Chase Clymer  

I'm doing fantastic. I can definitely smell something being cooked in the other room. So I'm excited.

Rachel Jacobs  

(Laughs) I smell nothing apart from fear so I'm looking forward to [it].

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So today, Rachel's gonna share with us five tactics...is that what we're gonna call them, that every business owner should be doing right now?

Rachel Jacobs  

Yeah, five plans every business owner should be making right now. I feel like right now, things are super chaotic. And a lot of businesses that I speak to, I mostly work with Ecommerce agencies, but business in general, everybody's just really confused. 

And agency owners are speaking to Ecommerce brands, and nobody really knows what to do. So everybody's just kind of paused. So I feel like when you do nothing, you move backward. 

So staying stationary is not an option right now. So the basis is do something strategic that is going to try to at least hold, kind of anchor the business right now and then future-proof for when the dust settles. Whatever that's going to look like.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think anyone that's coming to an approach at this time, like a holding pattern, let's just wait and see. You're losing market share with your business. You are losing customers to other people if the ones that are getting aggressive are actually winning right now. 

And I can, from direct to the consumer side, I can tell you that straight up there is money to be made. I have clients that are crushing it right now. But let's get back into it. So let's...the floor is yours, Rachel.

Okay, so the first one is your finance plan. I think just to simplify that pinpointing what your minimum profit margin. So what do you need to hit now just to breakeven? Look at that, look at your current pick of works, and figure out what you can do to achieve that. 

Rachel Jacobs  

So whether that's filling orders, building projects, whatever that looks like for your business. Once you know what that benchmark is, then you could have a clear plan in place to deliver the work on time and ideally under budget. And when I say put a plan in place, I mean not just at the high-level plan, actual deliverables, tasks, and action points. 

So taking your goal, your plan, then putting a strategy in place, and then putting a task in place, what those individual tasks look like and where possible delegates. I think business owners in general are notoriously bad for delegating. So delegate where possible, and then sit on top of it. 

So the finance plan is the first one. The next one is a team plan. I think in order to deliver, you need to have a happy team. All businesses now, there's some businesses that have been remote for a while, but they still have a readjustment period. And then there are businesses that just gone to work from home. 

And some people struggle with that. There's a lot of people I've worked from home for over five years. Sometimes you need to be super self-motivated to do that. But some people just not cut out for it. So I think putting a plan in place to keep your team motivated and on track while they're working from home, and also pinpointing where they are potential weak spots and putting a plan in place for that. 

For example, there may be somebody in your team that you know, when their office, they get super distracted, chances are that's going to be amplified when they're working from home. So just putting a strategy around that. 

Happy team means you can move forward and a few agencies...I just got off the phone to one of my clients who's just lost one of his star employees because he got coached by someone else. And so obviously, he was so focused on business, he wasn't looking after his agent, his employees. 

The next plan then is, the next logical plan in my mind is your client plan. Keeping your clients happy even if you have clients that are kind of stationery right now are not really too sure, kind of in limbo. Putting up a scheduled communication in place for your active clients and then delegating that to people, your team. 

And then making sure that the team then are being proactive in communicating with those kinds of depends without communication. Maybe it's email marketing, maybe it's social media, maybe it's Instagram marketing, maybe it's phone calls, whatever that looks like for your business. 

And the clients that are temporary kind of pausing and not really spending money right now, just making sure they know that when they're ready to get started again, the team is ready to react. 

And then the final two plans in my mind is your pipeline plan. So figuring out what the roadmap looks like for your business in terms of money. So what have you got in the pipeline right now? What is a pause and what can you roll over? So the kind of future proof this quarter, or at least hold tight or put an anchor on q2, and then future proof what q3 and q4 look like. 

Some of this work for some of the people that I've been working with is digging, dying or doubling down on marketing efforts or tactics that have worked before in the past and repurposed goes for specific verticals or types, client demographics that seem to be showing more spend or where there's more activity. 

And then last but not least, is your operations plan. I think a crisis like what we're going through right now will definitely highlight more you've got weaknesses are blind spots in your business. 

So if you have a process in place, whether it's HR or operations, or for shipping process, whatever it is, if you have a plan in place that works really well, a crisis like this will highlight how well it is. 

But on the flip side, there'll be areas where they're super weak. And I think as a business owner, you get so caught up in the day to day of running the business. But sometimes it's easy for the non-urgent stuff to slip off. 

And look at which of those processes or lack of processes are high. They're impacting profitability. So once you pinpoint those, make a list of what needs to be worked on, and then build those into your 90 or 100 a day goals. 

If you're not sure what 90 or 100 day to day goals are, Google it. It's very simple. It's broken down into three steps: finance, time, and create. And then put, whatever your plan is that you need to make. Just section I come to those three areas, and again, break it down into strategy and tasks. That's it in a nutshell.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think that those are fantastic areas that people should focus on. Obviously, it's skewed a little more towards kind of B2B agency perspective. But you can draw parallels between that and an Ecommerce store very easily. 

For example, if you're looking at your pipeline, that's just straight up like what can you do in your business as an Ecommerce store to turn on more customers? What is a proven tactic in the past? If you put the effort in this area, maybe it's paid ads? Maybe it's social media? 

If you put an effort here, I can get more people to my site? I can get more people to buy. What is that? And then obviously, on the first thing with the finance, what is the minimum that you need to hit? Just extracting back from there. If I need to...my AOV is X, and I need to do 10,000 of it to hit Y. How am I going to do those sales? 

Okay, how is...what's the marketing look like to hit those sales? How...it's easy to come up with a plan to keep everyone employed and everyone on the team happy. Yeah, I think, I jumped around a bit there kind of synopsizing that for Ecom. But is there anything that I that you didn't share with us today that you think would be worthwhile?

Well, I think I think everybody said this. So I don't want to be boring people. But obviously, paid ads are super cheap right now so I think you know, at the very least if you're a brand acquisition is so cheap. 

Rachel Jacobs  

So whether you're going to convert those customers, there's maybe demographics, if you look at it. Always come back to data. Look at your data and figure out which ones you're spending right now. Double down in your efforts for them and make your money off them. 

And the ones that aren't, focus your strategy on acquisitions to get more people into the funnel of a demographic that's not spending as much. So then when they aren't spending again, you've got more of them in the funnel. 

So there's lots of, I mean, there's so much business to be done, but I think we just need to be strategic about it. It doesn't really matter whether you're a brand or an agency or SM. 

It doesn't really matter what your business looks like. It's about being strategic and following the money, but at the same time, not neglecting the people that aren't spending because they will start spending again. At least not soon.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think the one thing to pull out of this is going back to the beginning. You cannot go into a holding pattern. That is a recipe for disaster. 

Rachel Jacobs  

Absolutely doing nothing is just not an option. 

Chase Clymer  

Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Rachel Jacobs  

Thanks for having me.

A few weeks ago the world changed forever. Every business, every entrepreneur, every single person was unprepared for the sudden change we'd all experience. I'm going to use this time to create content focused on what you can do right now to help your business grow. We're all in this together, we're all unprepared.