Monthly Archives: November 2011

I’m in Receipt Hell! What do I do?

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A lot of receipts and you don’t know what to do with them?  Find a few envelopes and we will get you square in no time!

You need to sort your receipts into different piles so you know what is what.  Here are a few suggestions – you may find you need different categories.

  • Supplies
  • Giveaways
  • Training
  • Meetings – Team members, Potential team members, customers, fundraisers
  • Utilities
  • Car Expenses

If you have a lot of receipts in a pile, then you likely want to create it an envelope for itself.  If you only have a few, then you can combine it.  You could also smaller envelopes for each category and then put them all into a larger envelope.

Label each envelope with whatever is inside it as well as the time frame.  If your receipts are all for one year, you can label it “Car Expenses – 2011” or “Giveaways/Training/Meetings – November 2011”, whatever method works for you.

Once everything is sorted and in its envelope, you need to put it somewhere so that you can input it into your accounting system.  If you do not input anything, but give it all to your accountant, then they may advise you how they would like the receipts sorted.

 

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Keeping up on your Direct Sales Accounting

While accounting is not high on most people’s lists of things to do for their direct sales business, it is still something that is important to do.  And if you do it on a regular basis, it is that much less painful at the end of the year when it has to be done.

Do What You Can – Depending on your company and your business, you may have a hard time keeping your books done up 100%.  But chances are there are things that you can keep up to date.  For instance, I update my credit card and banking records every month once my statements are generated.  This task only takes me about twenty minutes a month so they are easy to do.

Collect Data – Even if you cannot input anything for whatever reason, you can make sure that you have all the information you need.  If you tend to have receipts floating all over your house, gather them up and put them all in one spot.  Find an envelope and label it “Receipts to Input” and then leave it somewhere for you to enter when you have the time.

File – Filing seems to be one of the worst jobs when it comes to running your business, but it is important to do.  The more you pay attention to it, the less you have to do later and the less painful it is.  This is a great task to do when you are on hold somewhere or you are waiting for something and you do not have time to get into something which requires a lot of attention.

Remembering – Need another reason to do your accounting on a regular basis?  Have you ever sat down to work on the books and you look at a receipt and cannot remember what it was for?  And it was six months ago?  Chances are, you are going to give up on it and move on, and hope for a sudden brain flash later.  At least make notes when you encounter the item and input it later.

Regardless, if you only have a few minutes, you can get some basic accounting tasks done.  If you have more time, then you can get more done.  Try to schedule a few hours each month for your accounting and see how much better it goes.

PS – This is my first year doing this, in oohh.. 4 years of direct sales.  It is so much better!

 

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Using Cutting Edge Social Media To Promote Your Direct Sales Business

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Guest post by Sarah Howard

Social media is a new innovation that allows people to connect and interact in a new and exciting way. Businesses are quickly realizing the boundless power of social media and are utilizing it in their business strategies and the way in which they operate. So how can your direct sales business benefit from using social media tools?

Social media tools that direct sales businesses should consider using are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  •  Google
  • Tumblr

You can use social media to allow clients and customers a chance to preview upcoming projects and products. People enjoy feeling as if they are part of the business rather than just another number, so give them a glimpse into how your company works with photos and slide shows. Direct sales businesses may also want to ask for feedback on sites like Facebook and Twitter before launching new features to gauge public opinion before the debut.

YouTube is a great way to show off your company’s expertise in any areas in which you excel. Don’t just tell the public what you do, show them with videos. This gives your direct sales business a unique opportunity to boost its reputation and brand. Videos are also an excellent way to get people excited about new products since they get to see first hand what they are in store for.

If you’re looking to draw more traffic to your website, sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are just the social media tool you need. Digg and StumbleUpon allow users to share and recommend content with their friends. Look into installing a widget like AddThis or Facebook’s “Like” widget that will automatically link to their site.

If you do decide to use social media tools, make sure that you create an interactive experience rather than one that is one-sided. Engage your audience in conversation, answer their questions and ask them questions in return. Let the public see that you are more than just a company or a name brand, let them see who and what they are supporting and giving their money to. Business owners should also think about adding things like coupons and special online deals for their customers. Doing this can bring in new business and keep regulars satisfied and coming back as they spread the word about your excellent service.

Social media is a powerful tool, one that every business can benefit from. Do a bit of research and see how your particular company can implement your direct sales business on Facebook, Twitter or StumbleUpon, and consider posting videos on YouTube to showcase your products and projects. Put your business out there and start socializing.

Sarah writes on behalf of Team24 a healthcare jobs specialist. Team24 work within locum recruitment and are always on the look out for qualified doctors and nurses nationwide.

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Direct Sales and Your Death

I know this sounds morbid, but it is something that you have to consider at some point in your life.

Some direct sales companies allow you to register your spouse/partner as an independent consultant and share an account with you.  This means you get combined sales and bonuses.  If your company allows this option, you may want to consider doing it as the business would simple become your spouse’s 100% if you were to pass.

If your direct sales company does not allow this, another option may be to incorporate your business and have both you and your spouse as owners of the business.  This option may cost you a bit of money in legal fees though so you may want to consider it.  There are also some other benefits and downsides to being a corporation that you would need to look into.  One of the biggest being that you would potentially lose the benefits of it being a home based business and the tax ramifications.

While people do not like to discuss death, it is something that needs to be considered when you are running a business.  I have known of a least one person who passed away and her spouse was not able to access anything.

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Direct Sales Business – Making your Dreams Come True

Guest post by Amrita Saxena

Have you beеn thіnkіng if oреning  a buѕіness іѕ rіght fоr уou? If ѕо,  уоu  need to mаkе lots оf decіѕiоnѕ beforе уоur grand оpening.  You will need to mаkе dеcіsiоns аbout which produсts to sell and whеre tо ѕet uр ѕhоp.  You mау wоnder hоw cuѕtomеrs will fіnd уou.  Mауbе a dirеct sаlеѕ busіnеss іs a bеttеr chоісе? There аre lotѕ of spесiаltу businеsѕes tо соnѕіdеr.  If а flexiblе ѕсhеdulе iѕ desired, thе home pаrtу busіnеsѕ mіght ѕuіt уоur nееdѕ.

Look for an еѕtаblіshed cоmраny  that hаs а sucсеѕsful homе party plan model. Sеlling wаrеs at pаrties has bеen profitаble fоr mаny уеarѕ.  After јоіnіng thе buѕineѕѕ,  you аre сonsіdеrеd аn indeреndеnt distrіbutоr.  You wіll bе аuthоrizеd to ѕеll рroduсtѕ аnd сonduсt buѕineѕѕ.  Mоney cаn bе еarnеd frоm commiѕѕіon ѕaleѕ bаsеd on thе tоtal rеtail sаle аmоunt. When уou ѕhare thе busіnеѕѕ oррortunіtу wіth оthеrѕ, уоu can rесruіt people to become teаm mеmbеrs to ѕtart theіr оwn businеѕses.  Cuѕtоmеrѕ and extrа teаm mеmbеrs will сrеаte more іnсоme.

Whо nеeds thе hasslе of finding а buildіng tо rent?  You hаvе a home bаsеd buѕіnеѕѕ.  Makе your оfficе in yоur homе. Wоrkіng at homе іѕ сomfоrtablе аnd flеxiblе.  In yоur оffiсе, уоu are able to dеcidе how muсh іnvеntorу to kееp which allows buѕіneѕs trаnѕасtionѕ to осcur anуwhеre уоu сhооѕе.

Suѕtаining а buѕinеsѕ means ѕсhеdulіng hоme раrtіеѕ tо dіstrіbutе these prоduсtѕ.  Bу thіѕ technіquе, уou wіll hаvе accesѕ to more custоmеrѕ. As а new еntreрrenеur, уоu hаvе thе frееdоm tо schedulе your work when you would like.  You will want to uѕе hоmе рartіeѕ tо netwоrk аnd grоw уour buѕinеѕѕ.

Direct sales  businеѕseѕ аrе supported bу а largеr сomраny. Eѕtabliѕhed lаrgеr соmраnіes аre еquіppеd tо givе neеded ѕuppоrt tо іndереndеnt dіѕtrіbutоrѕ. Thеу create buѕіneѕѕ tооlѕ, cаtаlogѕ and buѕіnеѕѕ fоrms. Thе раrent сomраnу is іn chаrgе оf рroductѕ beіng offеred to meеt ѕeаsоnal trends and purсhaѕіng раtterns. This takes some of the stress off the direct sales consultant.

Cuѕtоmеr rewаrd prоgrams kеер уоur buѕіnesѕ growing.  Mоst соmpаnіeѕ havе monthlу sаlеѕ ѕpесials tо keep a fresh аnd еxсіting рurсhasіng арреаl. As an entrеprenеur, yоu hаve the rеlаtіve freеdоm tо оpеrаte уour buѕіnеsѕ tо ѕuсcеѕѕfully genеrаte unlimited fundѕ by ѕatіsfyіng yоur сustomеrs. Hаpрy custоmerѕ beсome frequent buуеrs bу ѕсheduling mоrе homе partіeѕ.

Bеing ѕuссeѕѕful in dіrеct sаlеs busіnеѕs іs а wondеrful оpрortunity tо own yоur businеѕѕ. Thе homе partу рlаn is а highly еffесtivе marketing tеchnіque tо aсcommоdаtе thе neеdѕ оf а flеxible buѕiness. Withѕtаndіng уеаrs оf survivіng іn the buѕinеѕѕ wоrld, being а hоmе baѕеd indереndеnt dіѕtrіbutor іѕ grеat орtiоn fоr some entreprеnеurs.

This is a guest post by Amrita Saxena. She is a tech freak and occasionally blogs about topics such as blackhead removal.

 

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Direct Sales Commission Statement

Statement of Work, Excel Templates

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Ahhhh… who doesn’t love a direct sales commission statement that shows us how much money we made in the month?  But as wonderful as these can be, they are not always the easiest thing to read and understand.  And without seeing your specific commission statement, it is hard for me to tell you how to read it. But I will give you some basics and ideas, and you can see if it helps you at all.

Personal Sales – The one area that will always be on your commission statement is your personal sales.  It likely will show you how much your earnings were on each sale/all sales and then how much of it you kept and how much the company owes you. If you submit 100% of what you collect to the company, it should show only how much it will be sending to you.

Overrides – If your company gives you extra commission on your sales once they hit a certain level, you likely will see a separate area for these.  Hopefully it will show you how much your sales were and what is the extra percent you received.

Downline – If you have a direct sales team, there should be a separate area showing what you made from them.  The detail you get here will depend on the software your company provides.  With my company, it shows me each person, each order they submitted and how much I made on each.   Your company may roll it all into one or just show you their grand total and the amount you made.  My company also shows each level separately so I can see how much I made off my first line, my second line and so on.

Bonus – Sometimes you receive a bonus from your company for a special sales incentive, promotions or other reasons.  If you receive one, chances are it will show as a separate line completely for easy reference.  If you cannot tell what it is for, you likely will want to contact your company for assistance and information.

Adjustments – Every once in a while your company may have to adjust your account.  Maybe you signed up when you could earn your kit for free but you had to pay up front.  In this situation, they likely will give you your sign up fees back as a commission adjustment.  Another situation might be that there was a system glitch which prevented you from getting some team or override commission which they have to give you later.

Hopefully this helps you a bit when it comes to reading your statement.  If you are still confused, you will want to contact your upline or even your direct sales company for their assistance.

 

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Targeting Men for Direct Sales

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Guest post by Derrick Cruise

Most consumers are familiar with the concept of direct sales – a majority of these products include health and beauty products, household goods, and even kitchenware. There are likely few people who haven’t been invited to, attended, or even hosted a direct sale party – if the people in question are women. Direct sale gatherings are often geared towards women, given the merchandise, and are a chance to act on deals that might not be available in retail stores. Men, however, account for about 20% of direct sellers in the United States and are clearly a largely untapped resource.

When considering direct sale offerings, products that leap to mind include those for skin care, candles, and cooking implements. While men are welcome in this arena, perhaps especially when looking for gift ideas, the audiences for these products are generally women. A direct sale company looking to appeal to men’s interests would clearly be wise to offer products that men are interested in, but to also address men as individual consumers. That is, they should approach men as the consumers they are, rather than speaking to men through their sisters, mothers, or wives and making insignificant the contributions men make to the direct sale industry.

Launched in 2009, a direct sales company called The Man Cave is on the right track when it comes to knowing its audience. Approaching men with products they’re likely to be interested in, including steaks and the accessories with which to grill them, The Man Cave is proving successful and gaining nationwide attention. The sky is the proverbial limit with a company who will probably offer more products as sales continue to rise, perhaps even eventually including a line of skin care items that a man might ordinarily shun through a “woman’s company” like Mary Kay.

When it comes to starting a direct sales career, be sure the company of interest is reputable. A little research will provide important information, such as the company’s reputation in the business world and consumer feedback about products. It is important to offer a product that the seller would personally use and to make sure sales attempts won’t be thwarted by serious issues, such as protests against the company from consumer rights groups or lawsuits. An awareness of the start-up costs is also important, as well as knowing how sellers are compensated. Working with someone who is already a sales representative with the company can be a great opportunity to gain a mentor. Get direction, advice about products that consumers are especially interested in, and even develop effective marketing strategies that will result in success.

Certainly there is vast opportunity to be realized when targeting men for direct sales, a fact that at least one company has acted upon. Consumers, whether female or male, want a shopping experience that speaks to their needs. The products may be different but the goal is the same. Target men on their level and follow the resulting path to success.

 

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Communicating with Your Direct Sales Target Market

Something that I learned in a Marketing course I have been taking is the importance of identifying the unique attributes of different generations.  Knowing and understanding what makes each generation different will aid in communicating with your customers, making your direct sales business move forward.

Baby Boomers – I know you have heard this term before, everyone has.  This generation is older – in their 50’s and 60’s.  They are looking for products that have to do with anti-aging and making them feel/look younger.  They prefer communication to be via phone or even through the mail, depending on what it is.

Generation X – These people have grown up in a repressed economy so they tend to be more cautious.  But they are also environmentally conscious and look to support companies that care for the environment.  Due to the large buying power of this age group, many companies are looking for products that they can market to this group now and as they continue to get older.  Communication is still using the telephone but they are adapting to email so you may have some luck with technology such as email or Facebook.

Millennials – The millennial is the current generation, born after 1985.  They are likely in university or just finishing up and heading into their first jobs.  They grew up with technology so much of it doesn’t faze them and they prefer communication be electronic whether it is email/texting/social media.  Your best bet to get a hold of a Millennial customer is to send them an email/text as they likely have a cell phone  or smart phone that does not leave their side.

For me, I am between Gen-X and the Millennial (due to my birth year) but I know that I tend to lean towards the Millennial traits.  If I had my way, no one would ever call me and I would not even need the phone aspect of my Smartphone.  But my dad is a Baby Boomer, and he loves his telephone and has a love-hate relationship with his computer.  For the most part, he prefers not to use it.  He tends to reply to emails saying, I will call you, if he can even find the reply button.  As you can see, the best way to communicate with the two of us is very different.

Knowing the best way to communicate with your customers can help you when it comes to follow up as well as getting repeat business.  If you use their preferred method of communication, you are more likely to get a response from them and move your business forward.

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4 Tips for Direct Sales Trade Show

Here are some tips to help you with any direct sales trade shows that you may attend.

Networking– Networking is great when it comes to a trade show and it is quiet.  You can learn a lot from the other direct sales vendors such as ideas to help your table display, where the great events are or which ones to avoid.  Not to mention information about their products which you may want to purchase.  But, the trick to this is that i

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f the show starts to pick up, you should return to your table and deal with potential customers.  If you are not there, they likely are not going to stop at your table.

Engage an Assistant – Going along with the deserted table, bringing an assistant with you can be helpful.  This person could be part of your team or a friend. The benefit to a teammate is that you can use the time for training and they can watch you in action to learn.  They can also watch the table if you want to go network or you need to use the washroom or just take a break to stretch your legs.  If your assistant is a friend who is not in the business, this is fine, but make sure that you are still paying attention to what is going on and that you are not ignoring potential customers.

Look Professional – I find it very interesting to watch how people dress for direct sales trade shows.  Usually the ones that are dressed the best are those that represent jewellery or makeup.  I am not sure if they have a required outfit from their company, but they are usually the ones you can take a lot of tips from.  Personally, I am not a dress and heels girl, so I wear business dress clothing – usually a pair of black dress pants and a logo shirt from my company.   I do wear my runners as you are on your feet a lot and people do not tend to see my feet.  If you do not own dress clothing, then wear a nice pair of pants and shirt.  If your clothing has rips or tears, do not wear it.  If you need to purchase something, keep it specifically just for trade shows and you can write it off as an expense for your direct sales business.

Draws/Raffles – A lot of vendors use raffles or draws to get customer information.  Chances are, you are welcome to enter these as well as you are a potential customer.  Be professional if you are entering and only enter if you are truly interested in the product.  You may want to confirm with the vendor that they do not mind – I haven’t met any that do mind but courtesy can take you a long way.

Direct sales trade shows can be a lot of fun and very worthwhile.  Hopefully these tips will help you to be more successful and make your goals when attending one.

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