Productivity Tips for Achieving Massive Results

Joe Cochran transformed Northline Express, an eCommerce market that focuses on fireplaces and hearths, from a company that was based in a two-car garage into an eCommerce powerhouse that was generating over 10 million in sales. As you’ll find out, though, that didn’t come without it’s challenges.

The key to their expansion was an increase in productivity. This week Joe discusses how he learned to manage his time properly, and how increasing his own productivity was the catalyst for his company’s growth.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn

  • How to treat your time as a valuable commodity and avoid letting others waste it.
  • Five strategies that can increase productivity across your entire organization.
  • The power of being proactive instead of reactive, and how that can transform the culture of your business.
  • How to identify key impact areas and use prioritizing as a team-building exercise.
  • Two questions you can ask yourself every day to improve your productivity.

What Was Mentioned

This Week’s Contest – Win a stylish, elegant DODOcase.

This week we’re giving starting something a little different. We are going to start giving away gifts from merchants that we have worked with. We’re going to start with DODOcase, which has elegant ipad and ipod cases, laptop sleeves and more.  To enter the contest, all you have to do is give us a review on iTunes. Just make sure you leave some communication info so we have a means to contact you. We’ll pick one lucky winner and we’ll send them their free case!

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11 Comments

  1. Andrew & Joe,
    WOW! thanks for this podcast it really pushed my beliefs. In fact I just bought The Ultimate Sales Machine. Looking forward to implementing these practices into my store.

      1. As for the comment on shopping carts I believe I was referring to the fact that a lot can be gained by testing your shopping cart. I know it’s challenging and some shopping carts are not set up in a way that will allow true A/B testing to be done. But in my experience, if you’re going to implement A/B testing, the shopping cart is one of the first places to start. Either the actual check out process, adding trust badges, or removing clutter. All should be tested. Equally important is testing your unique value proposition (why visitors should buy from you). If I were starting to A/B test a site this is where I would start for the biggest potential gains.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. The Ultimate Sales Machine is one of those books that hardly even hits my book shelf. I’m constantly digging through it, re-reading a chapter, and implementing more and more all the time. Same goes for The EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber. When it comes to structuring a business the right way…these two books are just about all you need. Also on a side note, if you enjoy the Ultimate Sales Machine you can find a series of videos on YouTube from Chet Holmes from a seminar he did where he really dives deep into the concepts of his book. Like 6 or 8 hours worth if I remember correctly and they are worth a watch if you want to go deep.

  2. Hey Andrew,
    thank you so much for your podcasts. I especially enjoyed this one with Joe, as it gives a good insight about time management. I also immediately bought the Ultimate Sales Machine (thanks Amazon). I reviewed your podcast with 5 stars on the German iTunes Store but don´t know if you will get a notice of it.

    1. Hi Peter, I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast and I’m sure you’ll love the book. See my reply to Jeremy above for more info about Chet Holmes and a video series on YouTube he has if you want to go deeper.

  3. Great stuff on here, really interesting points being made. I’ve always been the type to dismiss what isn’t urgent and move-on (ie: ignoring phone calls / texts, etc.) so I definitely get where you’re coming from. But I don’t agree with dismissing vendors / staff emails. Sure, they may not be important but why not get a VA to sort your emails for you and have them respond back? These are people you do business with, you’re really just going to ignore them? How do you intend on building staff loyalty or strong relationships with your vendors. Just my two cents, appreciate your point of view!

    1. Hi Jamal, The point is not that vendors emails and staff emails get completely ignored. But I certainly don’t jump on and respond to every email as soon as it comes through to my in box. And, if I’m on a heavy project I may ignore email for days at a time or simply skim once a day for anything urgent. Hiring a VA could certainly work for you and it a great idea. Email simply isn’t an area I’ve outsourced quite yet. But I probably should.

  4. Should have included this before but I didn’t hear it until after. You said “even the best people will rob from you”. Have you ever stopped to think that that may be an error on your part in terms of the people you’re hiring? You might require a very specific type of person to work for you – which is fine – but why settle? Why not just up your screening process? Just a thought.

    1. Jamal, I guess the point of making that statement was that you have to have checks and balances in place. The fact is I have a great staff and team and without them I would not be able to operate. But I’ve also had bad employees who stole. The key that I’ve found is that you have to set things up so people can’t steal. When I say steal I mean physical assets as well as non physical assets like time. For example, we installed video surveillance so that people couldn’t do things like carry a box out to the dumpster to throw it away and then come back that night and pick out whatever product they threw away… We did this because we have seen this happen. But after that we caught someone placing an order in our system and just shipping it to a friend at no charge. So here we were worrying about people pulling a fast one with the trash and it ends up they were able to enter an order in our system for 0 cost and ship it without raising an eyebrow. The point is, you’ve got to have checks and balances in place. We have 3 divisions and in season more than 30 employees. My management team hires employees for their departments because we’re seasonal and we have to scale up and then scale down pretty fast in the fourth quarter. So finding high level employees for these positions is very though. Although, I hear of small businesses embezzled from by their accountants all the time too so I don’t know, I guess I have trust issues. Or maybe I’d rather just be safe than sorry. Time is another factor. Many things I’ve read say people are really only productive for 4 hours of an 8 hour day. We had people spending a lot of time on Facebook and other social sites at one time, until we installed surveillance software and started keeping an eye on it. Some people in our company were very offended by the fact that we were watching over them like that, others could care less. Point is, we quickly weeded out those time thieves with this practice and we put a stop to it early as new employees join the team now. I don’t really take it personally though and we have a way of dealing with things that works for us. Thanks for the feedback and I hope you got some value out of it.

  5. Thanks for taking the time to reply back. I really don’t know everything about your business obviously but I’m more so speaking from an employee perspective. That’s shitty that you had those experiences with certain employees and definitely understand where you’re coming from in trying to prevent those things from happening again. I haven’t been stolen from in business but I can imagine how it feels.

    The other point you made about having to hire people for temporary positions certainly sounds tricky. I guess my thought process is kind of like high school vs university. High school kids are watched very closely in retrospect and get punished / phone call home / detention yadda yadda if they don’t show up to class or do something bad. Whereas in University when students are actually trusted enough to get things done they tend to take the higher route. Another example are your parents. More times than not the “bad” kids are the ones with parents that haven’t trusted them from day one. When your parents trust you you don’t want to let them down. So I find the stuff about monitoring facebook at work / listening to phone calls, etc. a way of robbing people of their dignity. You might be stopping them from wasting time in the short term but you could very likely be digging yourself into a deeper hole by pissing off the people that run your business.

    As for the level of productivity being only 50% of the time or whatever the stat may be there’s a lot of creative of ways to get around that or at least minimize it. 4 day work weeks, shorter days, “no talk thursdays” where everyone is quiet and does their thing, incentives for reaching certain goals, if you recognize and acknowledge people’s hard work and reward them sporadically, say thank you and let them know they’re appreciated, etc. Make people feel important.

    Not saying this is the answer for your business but just think there’s a lot of ways to figure things out, just might have to get creative.

    Thanks again for hearing me out, all the best!