Tag Archives: organization

You mentioned tracking mileage, why would I do this? And what should I do for this?

Great question!

The reason you track mileage is because you are likely running your business as a sole proprietorship, and therefore, you qualify for a lot of tax deductions.  One of them is a deduction for how much you use your car for your business.  If you do not keep track of how much you use your vehicle, you cannot reasonably deduct the use on your business.

This is what I recommend you do:

Purchase a notebook and get a pencil (helpful in cold climates)

On the first page, put your mileage the day you start your business, or the first of the year.  Record the mileage on the last day of the year as well.

Going forward record the following on each line:

Date       Starting Mileage   Ending Mileage   Destination

Jan 5       100,235                    100,263              Jane’s Party

I do not worry about calculating how much distance I went, as I enter this information into Excel at the end of the year and it takes care of the math for me.

When it comes to tax time, you take your ending mileage less your starting mileage, and you know how much driving you did for the year.  You can then take how much you drove for business (say 750) out of how much mileage you put on your car total (say 2000) and you will find 38% of the miles on your car were for business.

As a result, you can then use 38% of your vehicle expenses on your taxes.   You may be able to claim a flat fee instead for the miles you drove, which may be more beneficial.  You will want to discuss this with your tax person.

What do I need for tax time?

Hopefully you have been keeping track of all your bills for the year, and that will make your task easier.  Gather up everything that you have and take it with you to whoever does your taxes, or if you do your own, it will help as well.

Organize your paperwork by type – expenses together, sales together, etc – and add each one up.  You may also have categories such as advertising, supplies, giveaways and others.

Mileage – Figure out how many miles you drove, and what how many are business and how many are personal

Household Bills – If you can use any of your household bills, take these as well

House Costs – Depending on where you live, you may be able to deduct a portion of your house.  If so, you need to figure out what portion of your home is used for business.

Remember, January 1 is a new year, so you need to start a new box of paperwork.

  • Note:  I am not a tax accountant, so make sure to talk to your tax preparer for advice.

Are there any tricks or tips to help my fundraiser go smoothly?

How to Communicate Your Ideas

Image by kevindooley via Flickr

As with anything, the best thing you can do is communicate.  Talk to the organizer before the event and put in writing when things are going to happen when.  I have heard stories of consultants having issues with the organization so putting it in writing and giving each person a copy will hopefully help.

  • Date fundraiser starts
  • What the consultant is providing and if there are costs associated with it
  • The cost of the fundraising supplies if the organization is paying
  • Date fundraiser closes (I suggest a date a few days before you actually want to close due to stragglers)
  • What the consultant expects back and if there are costs associated with it
  • Does the organization give you one big order – 20 A, 27 B, 21 C – or do they give you the small orders?
  • How does payment work?
  • When shipment is expected (will be based on closing/ordering date)
  • Where the shipment will be delivered?
  • Who will be sorting out the shipment?
  • Are there any other things that you think need to be discussed with the organization when doing a fundraiser?
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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

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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How should I approach someone about a fundraiser?

It is a good idea to have a letter that gives a brief overview of your fundraiser that is one to two pages.  This is a letter you can give to anyone who seems interested at all.  You could also put it in your hostess packages and your recruiting packages.  A bulleted list is great for the introduction letter so they can see at a glance what it involves.

  • Organization makes 35% of sales
  • 15 of our top selling products are available to you
  • Product ships to location of your choice
  • Selling packets provided with information about product

From there, a second letter, or information packet can be prepared.  You could give this out with the first letter or you may choose to wait and see if they have an interest before you give them one.  This will be a more detailed letter which explains more about the fundraiser and how the process works.  Some suggested topics:

  • Comparison to other fundraisers (ie. Chocolate bars, popcorn)
  • Different sales levels equal what profits
  • Selling price of products
  • What will be supplied to help organization be successful
  • What the organizations responsibilities will be
  • What your responsibilities will be as a consultant
  • A suggestion for time frame of fundraiser as well as shipping
  • Acceptable payment methods
  • Information about tax exempt status is that is an option
  • Application form is one is required
  • Who pays for the supplies – ie. Order forms

What else would you include?

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How can I keep up with leads?

3 ring binder (opened)

Image via Wikipedia

Organization is not a strong suit for a lot of us, so you are not alone.  Take a deep breath and we will get you on the right track.

You are going to need your old orders or contact cards or whatever you have with these people’s information on them.

You will need a lead sheet as well which I am going to talk about next.

A lead sheet is full of information.  It is an entire 8 ½ by 11 sheet that you fill out when you are talking to people on the phone.  These are the people who are interested in something.  Whether they are looking for a certain product, to do a party, or to join your team, you want to keep track of them.

You may want to create a generic lead sheet that incorporates all these elements as you never know when someone may escalate from one area to the next.

Start your lead sheet with their contact information – name, address, phone, email, preferred contact method, preferred time of day.

Next, you are going to want to record other information.  I like to record where I have met them so you may want to leave a line or two blank here and call it “How we met” or something else similar.

From here, you want to get to the purpose of this sheet.  How you organize the data is up to you and what makes the most sense to you.  You may want to set up the following categories and then different checks after them.

  • Looking for Product
  • Wanting to Host
  • Considering Joining

Regardless, make sure you leave a spot to put general notes.  For instance, I have had people that want to host a party three months down the road because they are moving next month.  I will put a note “moving in Sept, call in Oct for Nov booking”.  This way, when I get in touch I can ask them how the move went.  This typically will get people talking and more receptive to your idea.  Or in this situation, you can ask if they were still considering having a party and giving it an open house theme for people to come over and check out the new place.

As to how to organize these, I put the “Wanting to Host” in tabs for each month.  They get filed in the month I need to call them.  I have seen people put multiple potential hostesses on a page, but then it gets messy when they require calls in different months.

When you are talking to a “Considering Joining” you can ask them at the end of the call when they want you to call again.  If they are putting it off due to a life event, as permission to call them after that event (if there is a date for it) and file the same as “Wanting to Host”.

I would set up a special area for the “Looking for product” people that you will check each time there is a new book to see if you have that product yet.

I hope this helps you get started.  Your company may already have some lead sheets created so that you do not have to create your own.  If you are not sure, ask your upline.

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Why email is important in direct sales (and truly, any business)

These days, more and more people are on the Internet and are looking to do as much as they can through it.  As a result, people are getting more comfortable with sending an email when they are looking for something or are interested in something.  Due to the Internet moving quickly, they also expect an email back within a reasonable time frame or else they will move on to someone or somewhere else for what they are looking for.

This is no different from your business and whatever you are selling.  If you were looking for something, contacted someone, and you didn’t’ hear back for a week, chances are you would be frustrated and would have looked for someone else, depending on your urgency for the product.

Therefore, I recommend that you check your email at a minimum once a day.  Sometimes this is not possible as life can throw you for a loop and you won’t be able to, but for the most part, you should be doing this so you do not pass up business.

How should I organize my paperwork?

There are different opinions in regards to this question.  The easiest answer is that you should use whatever system works for you.  That being said, here are some ideas to get you started.

I personally like using envelopes, so you will want to invest in many envelopes which will hold 8 ½ x 11 paper.  I bought a large box at Costco for around 10 dollars.

If your business is relatively small, you can likely bundle everything up by month.

Create an envelope/folder per month; put everything in it –sales receipts, purchases, bills

Label and set aside at the end of the month

If your business is bigger, and you generate more paperwork then you need to do a bit more filing

Create an envelope for each event/party you do – sales slips, purchases

Create an envelope for your expenses for the month

Put both into a folder for the month, or file somewhere by month

One tip, any receipt you get on thermal paper, photocopy or scan as they will fade over time.

Do you have a method that works better?  If so, please share or send it to me for posting!

What to bring to a Trade Show

Congrats on making this decision on expanding your circle!

The inclination when doing an event is to bring everything you have with you so you can show off everything, but in reality, too much stuff is a turn off to people.  Bring the items that will make an attractive display and not look too cluttered.

Ask the organizer how big the tables are so you can practice at home if you are so inclined.  If you are doing this, take a picture to bring with so you remember the setup that worked for you.

Things to bring:

–          Tablecloth  (it helps with presentation)

–          Product

–          Hostess Packages

–          Recruit Packages

–          Business Cards

–          Pens

–          Order forms

–          Day planner

–          Expired Catalogues (I give these to those people who want a book)