Monthly Archives: June 2011

Is Direct Sales Growing – Mary Kay says Yes!

The direct-sales giant last week reported signing up more than 165,000 new U.S. sales reps in April, the largest monthly amount in a decade, the company says. Since these new hires are technically independent sellers – rather than full-time staffers – the gains can also be seen as a rare example of small-business growth.

Read the whole article here:

The “Pink” Cadillac of Job Growth?

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Just Pick up the Phone

I asked on my Facebook last week to find out what the biggest challenge that direct sellers had.  One answer was picking up and using the phone.  I will admit that this is something that I am not great at either so I went searching for some resources.

Here is a great video by Julie Anne Jones with a different perspective to help you with your mindset.  This is definitely something I will be keeping in mind when I need to make calls.

Julie Anne Jones – Just Pick Up The Phone!

 

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Tax Tips for Your Business Today

I've started so I'll finish

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Are you one of those who wait until March to gather all of your bank statement, credit card statements, receipts, invoices, and bill statements? Do you wait until your accountant has called you repeatedly asking if you are going to make your appointment this year? Well stop. Chances are you might be missing something very important by waiting until the last minute. Being rushed puts stress on the body. Stress puts the brain into high access mode and you are not thinking clearly. No one wants to forget an expense or other important piece of tax information. Here are some simple tips for your business that you can get started on today to save you the stress headache during the next tax season.

Set up a file system

Most people don’t like to keep a paper trail. I can certainly understand why. It takes time to set up a file system and it takes up space to keep papers. In the world of taxes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If an audit should ever arise you will want to be armed with your papers as proof of your deductions.

To quickly get set up you will need a file box or a filing cabinet for larger businesses. The first section should be invoices. It is up to you whether you want to write PAID and the date on them. It is also up to you to decide whether you want a separate folder for each client. The second section should be bills/expenses. It is here you want to keep the internet or cell phone bill as well as credit card statements (with the expense highlighted). Again it is your choice if you want to put these all in one folder or separate them by company. The final section should be for your bank statements.  When a new one comes in you should highlight work income as deposits and business related deductions as expenses.

What about receipts?

Receipts can be a pain to keep track of but you need them as proof of payment. I carry an envelope in my purse and place my receipts in there. Every few weeks I empty the envelope.  Receipts generally get stapled to the appropriate bill when using a credit card, or filed with the appropriate bank statement.

These are the things you need to pack up and take to your accountant at tax time. The better organized you are, the easier it is for everyone.

At the end of the year you can shred what you don’t need and the rest gets filed with your copy of the tax return.

Set up a form of recordkeeping immediately.

Do not wait until we are half way through the year to pick up a copy of Quickbooks , Quicken Home & Business, or any other accounting software you decide to use.  Unless of course your business is new. In that case, start right away. Having a accounting program at your fingertips will serve as a backup copy to your paper trail and do all of your calculations for you. With accounting programs you can bill clients by sending them invoices, reconcile your bank and credit card statements, place expenses in the appropriate categories and prepare financial statements. With a software program all of your needed numbers are available with the click of a mouse.

Starting these few simple tasks today can put your business on the right track to avoiding any disaster that could occur later. Start with 10 minutes a day preparing your files, and then moving on to sorting the papers. Once those tasks are set up you only need to spend minutes a day entering the bills, invoices, checks, deposits, etc. as they cross your desk.

Chrystal Mahan resides in Michigan. Mahan is a current college student working on a (double major) Bachelors in Accounting and Business, with plans to continue forward with a Masters.

She has 20 years of experience in the Accounting industry and over 10 in the field of Tax.

Mahan has been writing short stories since the age of nine and professionally since 2005. Mahan owns her own freelance business and writing appears on various blogs and websites.

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How can I capitalize on a fundraiser?

First of all, you will have to make sure you are present when the orders are sorted.  You should be doing this regardless in case there are problems or confusion with the orders.

The most obvious thing to do is to put re-order stickers on all your products if it possible.  This does not take away from the fundraiser and their efforts but may help you to get more orders.   You may be able to convert some of those who bought simply to help the organization or those that had never heard of the product before to become customers.  You never know when someone already knows and loves the products but is looking for a new consultant.  So make sure you put those labels on!

Check with the organization to see if you can put business cards in the product bags.  This may or may not be acceptable with them so ask before assuming.  You may want to ask about this in advance when you are in the planning stages as you may need to order more cards depending on the size of the order.

If you can do business cards, you may want to offer an incentive as well.  Create business cards or a coupon that says if they have a party within 30 days of the date (stamp them with the date they are to be delivered) they will get product A for free or half off, whatever incentive you want to offer.  You could also offer an incentive if they were to book their own fundraiser within 30 days.

Do you do something different to try and get more business from a fundraiser?

 

 

Should I absorb the cost of the fundraiser supplies or should the organization?

This can be a bit of a hot topic when it comes to fundraising.  Some organizations cannot afford the initial outlay for the supplies required (order forms, possible samples or flyers) and therefore expect the consultant to pay.  But at the same time, the consultant should not have to be out the cost for possibly several hundred dollars if the organization is not successful.

The best solution I have heard to this is to have the consultant charge the organization for the supplies and they will get the funds back in their fundraiser.

For instance, supplies cost $100.  The consultant would get the $100 from the organization to pay for them.

Then, when it comes time to settle up, let’s say the organizations proceeds would be $1000.  The consultant may then choose to give the organization back the $100 for the supplies as the consultant is able to write them off as a business expense.

Another option would be to go half and half.  Using the example above, the consultant would give the organization back $50.

You could also give them a credit for all the supplies they turn back into you after the fundraiser is over.  Continuing with the previous example, if they spent $100 for the supplies, and they gave you back $25 worth of supplies (have to be in new condition) then you would give them $25.  Those supplies could then be used for another fundraiser.

I suggest that the organization pays for the supplies up front as it will be an indication of how serious they are in making money with their fundraiser.  There are horror stories out there of consultants who bring in the supplies for a 100 sellers from their funds and then the organization doesn’t bother or only get a few hundred dollars in orders.

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