Tag Archives: Business plan

Book Review: The Women’s Home-Based Business Book of Answers

By Maria T Bailey

I will start off by saying that the subtitle of this book is “78 Important Questions Answered by Top Women Business Leaders” so you get an idea of the type of content you are going to find.

The book focuses more on the person starting a business entirely from scratch from finding a product/concept, to getting funding, to creating a business plan and moving forward from there.

Each section discusses a concept and then is full of personal antidotes in answer to the questions posed such as:   women home based

  • Juggling family
  • How they funded their business
  • How to be organized
  • Obstacles faced
  • Secrets to Networking
  • Daily Schedules

As I stated, the book is not geared to direct sales/party plans but there is still a lot of helpful information such as information on how to create a business plan and how you can market yourself.

The author includes some ideas on how to create a daily schedule which is more suited to someone who works from home but there are likely ideas that a person can take from that an adapt.  There is also a section on different types of advertising as well as using online marketing, but as the book is copyrighted in 2001, a lot of the information is now outdated.

She concludes the book by discussing an exit strategy if you plan to get out of the business and words of wisdom from a few people.

I did not see much in the way of interviews from direct sales companies but I did not expect to see any.

I think this could be a good book if you are looking for some inspiration and are not sure where to look.  There are multiple questions and areas that may gave you something to think about and consider in your own career.

Buy:  The Women’s Home-Based Business Book of Answers

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Six Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Direct Sales Business

If you believe in your product and are willing to work hard to promote it, starting a direct sales business can be a great way to turn your passion into a profit. While direct sales has relatively low start-up costs compared to other businesses, there are a few important things you need to consider besides your initial budget to become financially successful in the long run. From assessing ongoing costs to creating your work schedule, planning how your direct sales business will work on a daily basis can help you decide if starting it is the right decision for you.

1. Will YSix Thingsour Product Sell?

You might love the product you want to promote, but will other people feel the same way? Remember to always be honest about the product’s drawbacks. Looking at the pros and cons objectively will help you decide if this product is worth your time and money.

2. Can You Afford Ongoing Expenses?

Gasoline, phone, Internet, printing toner, business cards and graphic design services are just a few examples of bills you might need to keep up with on a monthly basis. If you’re joining an existing direct sales business, rather than starting your own, you might not have as many of these expenses. The key is to make a budget and plan for any spending accordingly.

3. Do You Have the Space?

If you’re like many newcomers to the direct sales industry, you’re probably planning to start your new business out of your home. To make sure that you’re ready for growth in the future, it’s important to start thinking about it now. You’ll probably need to have a certain amount of inventory on hand so that you can easily fulfill orders for your customers. If you don’t have a big enough home to store your inventory and supplies, you’ll probably want to consider looking at local storage facilities like Extra Space Storage so that you don’t crowd your home with merchandise.

4. Are You Outgoing?

Running a direct sales business involves approaching strangers with a marketing pitch, it’s not the best field for people who are shy or who prefer to be alone. Before you invest your money and your life into this business, make sure you can handle it. If you have a friend in the business, try going out on sales calls with him to see if you are comfortable with this type of career.

5. Will You Make Enough Money?

Figure out what your profit margin will be if everything goes as expected to decide if the return on your investment is high enough to cover your time and expenses. Make sure you have a back-up plan. Direct sales can vary greatly from person to person. You could be selling the same product as another person and make double or triple what they bring in, or you could flop. It’s best to plan for each scenario and have a strategy.

6. Are You Willing to Recruit Others?

Since every entrepreneur’s goal is to build a successful business, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to handle rapid expansion if it happens. In many direct sales industries, the more people you recruit, the more money you bring in and more successfully you become. Are you comfortable talking to customers and friends about joining your ranks?

After considering the above questions and deciding to move forward with your business, you’ll want to document it with a business plan. Separate it into financial information, marketing ideas and future goals. When things get hectic, being able to refer back to an organized plan will help you stay on track. With the right tools and proper planning, you’re sure to be successful with your sales endeavors.

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Evaluating 2013 and Planning for 2014

Another consideration this December while things are slow is how your year went and what you are hoping to get in 2014 with your direct sales business.

2013 Chiots Run Calendar

2013 Chiots Run Calendar (Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

Had you set goals for yourself and your business at the beginning of 2014?  If so, you should go find them and take a look again.  How have you done with them?  Have you accomplished everything you intended to do or did you fall short?

If you did not attain your goals, take a look at them and evaluate what happened to prevent it.  Are these still goals that you want to accomplish in 2014 or do you have other goals and plans for the new year?

Want to accomplish the goals in 2014 that you didn’t quite make in 2013?  Figure out what out happened in 2013 that you didn’t make them and set a plan to accomplish them in 2014.  Was it a lack of parties, did something else happen in life that you had to take time away from your business, or was it something else that prevented you from attaining your goals?

If you did accomplish what you wanted to in 2013, what are you going to do in 2014?  Do you want to increase your goals?  Or do you want to maintain what you did in 2013?  There is nothing that says you have to do more, heck, you can decide to do less in 2014.  It is all up to you and what you want from your business.

The biggest thing to remember when it comes to setting new goals or plans, is that they have to be measurable.  For instance, you cannot just say, I want to get recruits.  You need to say, I want to get 5 recruits this year or I want to recruit 3 more people than I did in 2013.  For sales, you could say that you want to do 20% more than you did last year or set a dollar value.  It is up to you.

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Are you running your Direct Sales business how you want to?

I don’t know about you, but when I started my direct sales business I had all these plans – especially once I started building my team.  I was going to do all this training and totally be on top of it and everyone was going to be rocking the business.  But, it didn’t happen that way and now I regret it.  I know that I can still get on the bandwagon, but can be hard to go back and start new habits.

Where am I going with this post? I guess what I want to say is that if you plan to do things a certain Running your Direct Sales Businessway in your direct sales business such as checklists, it is important to start doing that and continue.  It will make a huge difference in your business and how it goes.

I was talking to someone the other day about their direct sales business.  She is busy.  She is making sales and building an active team.  She has already beaten her recruiting goals for the year.  But she said she is tired from working hard which makes sense.  Her sales are over four thousand a month and growing.

She said her biggest reasons for success though is keeping a checklist that she uses with every single hostess and coaching (yep, this was on my list of things I planned to do).  And using that five thousand pound phone!

Here are a few things she does:

  • She doesn’t let her hostesses use a Facebook page for their invitations; she gets their list instead and sends it out on their behalf.  Call it an additional service that you provide – it’s all in how you spin it!
  • Makes sure her hostesses follow up on the invitations with phone calls personally inviting her guests.
  • She screens those who join her team for those that she can work with and whatever else she feels is important.
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The Need For Organisation In A Business

Potential Pitfalls Can Be Avoided With Good Planning And Organisation   

It seems almost glib to be pointing out the importance of organisation and planning in a business; after all, businesses are often referred to as organisations and you wouldn’t even be able to begin day one without a business plan! But while it does seem glib, you would be surprised how many businesses fail to think about organisation and pay little heed to the plans that they’ve painstakingly written.

Good planning and organisation is a cultural agenda that takes time to sow, cultivate and then organically grow. Every time you bring a new employee into the team, they will be swept along with the existing employees who are in turn influenced by the agenda that you set.

An agenda for change consisting of direction, goals and reward is a must, even something as simple as a Mission Statement can help prevent confusion among staff, and a few small but significant tweaks can help you to avoid the pitfalls that come from steering a rudderless business.

First, you must start by knowing your goals; this will help feed your Mission Statement. Then think about how you want to achieve your goal. If your goal is to increase sales, think about your sales team and how you can help them achieve it. Set realistic sales targets (even a highly skilled sales team can wither in the shadow of unrealistically high targets) and distribute them fairly between senior and junior team members.

When goals are reached there should be a reward, perhaps in the form of praise and recognition? When goals are exceeded there should be further reward. In this case, a little more is required such as a set of business gifts. These small details are all part of your planning.

The example above of a sales team with unambiguous organisation, senior and junior members with pertinent targets and a clear plan with goals and reward is an example that you can translate to any team and to any industry or sector.

Without planning and organisation you are doomed to fail, or at best fail to realise your full potential – with an uncertain economic backdrop, this is not an option.

Written by Rebecca