Tag Archives: supplies

Getting Ready for 2014

As you are wrapping up things for 2013, you can start getting items ready for the 2014 year.  Some tasks can be done in 15 minutes where some are a bit more time intensive.

Oh so much to do, to do today, tomorrow, the n...

Oh so much to do, to do today, tomorrow, the next day (Photo credit: Chapendra)

Accounting

While you are sorting out all your paper work for 2013, start your folders and fields for 2014.  This is a great time to do them as you know what did and did not work for you and you can make modifications or changes at this time.  If you wait until March, you may have forgotten what you wanted to change and spend another year not being as productive as you could be.

Reorganize Your Space

Chances are during the year, you haven’t had the time to keep your space neat and tidy.  Take this time to do that.  Find those shelving units you bought but never put together, the pen organizer that is still in the bag and put all the paper away.  Put the expired books in a cabinet to be used for trade shows or other events.

Restock Your Packages

If you have gone through a lot of hostess and recruit packages, start making new ones.  Depending on the timing of your company, you may not be able to put in catalogues but you can get everything else ready.

Prepare Mail-outs

If you do a mail out in the New Year with new catalogues, you can also get these ready while you wait.  Find envelopes and get the addresses onto them.  Print out any paperwork that you put into the envelope and put it in them.  Throw some business cards into the envelope or anything else that needs to go in that you have already.

Read Company Information

If you have gotten behind on some of the information relating to your company, take this time to get caught up.  I know I don’t always read the company emails that come out (the general information ones) so now is a good time to do it.  You never know what questions may get answered when you do this.

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Get the Word Out: Fun Ways to Advertise Your New Business

One of the biggest challenges new businesses owners have is just getting the initial name recognition. One of the best ways to get people to remember the name of your business is to make sure they see your name as much as possible. Research has shown the human brain needs repetition to remember. You can use this piece of knowledge to your advantage by making sure you creatively marketing your business name in as many prominent places as possible.  

A great way to spread name recognition is through promotional marketing. By partnering with a professional printer, you can create plenty of products with your business name. Compiled here is a list of some of the most fun ways to advertise your business using promotional products:

Window clings

Window clings are great exposure, especially on vehicles. Just think about your own experience, when you are following a car on the road, do you read their window clings? Of course you do. You can’t help it. If you have lots of cars riding around with window clings of your business, people will recognize the name. Name recognition is half the battle.

Banners

Banners are a classic, but can be used in fun and inventive ways. For example, spice up your store front with a different banner for each holiday. You can also use banners as advertisements. Contact a local youth sports league and ask to sponsor them in exchange for hanging your banner in their gym or field.

Business cards

Just because business cards have been around for a long time does not mean they have to be boring. It’s still necessary to always carry business cards to present to anyone who might be interested in your business. Make your stand out by using fresh graphics. Another way to stand out is to incorporate a catch phrase from your business onto the card. It gives people a fun way to remember you against all the other similar cards they see.

Flyers

A well made flyer can really capture your target audiences attention. Make sure the flyer contains all the key information and a way to contact your business if the reader needs more. To grab attention, find a striking image related to your business or the event you would like to promote. For example, do you have a special sale going on for the rest of the week? Find an image of the item on sale and make that the focus of your flyer.

Author Bio: Annette Hazard is a blogger that is promoting booklet printing services. She enjoys writing about business related issues and is also an avid cyclist and traveler.

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Putting your Direct Sales Business Cards to Work

Chances are you have business cards for your direct sales business.  But are they working as hard for you as you as they could be?  If you are not sure, read on to determine what types of jobs your business cards can do for you beyond the obvious of sharing your information.  If your card is not doing any of these jobs, it’s not working hard enough and you may want to re-consider how you use your cards.

business-card-front

Use your business card for many different purposes

Promotion Sticker – This is a great method to use your cards as you can create whatever you want to stick onto the back of your business card.  You may want to use a single time discount at a trade show – instead of having to tell everyone what it is, write it out, print it on an address sticker and put it on the back.  Tell everyone who stops at your booth to make sure to check the back of the cards.  Maybe you want to promote a monthly special, you could write something like “This months special: Buy X, and get Y for free!” or whatever it is.  The benefit here is that you can use a box of 500 business cards for multiple different promotions without having to buy a new box each time.

Referral Card – One way to get your card working harder is convert it into a referral card as well.  On the front, you would have the usual contact information but then you put the back to work.  The back would state something like, “Do you know someone who would love this product and want to purchase or sell?  Fill in your name in the blank provided and pass the card on.  If they make a purchase/sign up, you will get a free gift.”   Of course, this implies that you have some type of referral program which is easy enough to do.  Note:  At a party, give every guest 3 cards.  Tell them to put them in their purse right away (or pocket or bra).  One is for them to keep and the other two are for them to give away.

Loyalty Card – Chances are you have a loyalty card from somewhere.  Buy X amount and get something free or get a discount on next purchase.  Why not offer one yourself?  Many printing companies have a standard one they can print on the back of your business cards.  You just have to decide what the program is.  Do they have to spend so much to get X amount in credit or a free product?  Do they have to buy 12 of Y product and then they get the 13th free?  There are a lot of different options available to you.

No matter how you use your business cards, you have a lot of prime real estate on the back that you should be putting to work for you!  Do you do something else with the back of your cards that works great for you?  Please share!

 

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How to Pack Direct Sales Orders

One of the most fun things in direct sales is to receive a box of goodies.  But then you have to go through it, sort it, and deliver it.  This can be a great way to see products that you have not seen already but if you have a large order, it can be time consuming and cumbersome.  Not only that, but how do you pack it to get the maximum benefit to your business?

English: A square open cardboard box. Based on...

Image via Wikipedia

This is the way I unpack and re-pack my orders.  This is just one idea as I’m sure others have found a method that works for them.

  • Unpack the box – locate everything that may be hiding under the packing peanuts
  • Put my re-order labels on everything that I can
  • Grab a customer order
  • Find a bag, label it with their name, and locate their products.
  • Check their products off
  • Place a copy of the order form in their bag
  • Put bag into box for delivery

Occasionally I have discovered there was an addition error on an order that requires a customer to be given change.  At this point, if I have not already calculated it, I will figure it out and put the money in an envelope.  This gets stapled to their copy of the order form.

I repeat this for all orders making sure that I have nothing leftover or missing.  At this point, if there are leftover items, I will check what I ordered from the company to see if I screwed up my order or if I just mis-sorted.  I have had both situations happen.  If I am missing a product, I will put a note in the bag and I likely will call them as well so they know I am aware of it.

Once this is done, I will go through and put various paper in the bags:

  • Product Care Card
  • Business cards (usually 3)
  • Referral Card
  • Any other information I feel is relevant.

I find it easier to do the paper all at once as then I do not have to remember who did or did not get paper.

Do you sort your orders in a similar way?  What do you do differently?

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Tips for Waiting for your Direct Sales Kit

When starting your direct sales business, it can be hard to wait for your kit to show up.  But do not despair as you expect it to take a week or so, there are many other tasks you can do while you wait.

Read – Chances are, your company has a manual online somewhere.  While it likely is not the most exciting reading, it isn’t a bad idea to sit down and read it to become familiar with what the company has to offer.

Play – Play with the company’s computer system.  Try creating a fake party and see what kind of data is required and become familiar with how the system works for inputting products that are free and those that are paid for.

Call – Contact your friends and see who wants to earn free product!  Explain that you have just started this great new business with Y Company and you want them to be one of the first to see it from you.  This approach may not work so well if you attend a party and signed up there, and you are approaching the same people to book with you.

Buy Supplies – There are likely some supplies that you can purchase to help your business out – labels to put on your catalogues and onto products as well as business cards, a stapler or other supplies. See:  Unique Ways to Save on Direct Sales Supplies for Trade Shows

Plan a Business Launch – While you are talking to your friends about booking their own party, invite them to attend a launch you are having for your business.  Ask them to come by, check out the product, and tell you what they think.  This can be especially helpful if you joined a direct sales company that is not known in your area.  Make it a no-pressure to buy event so they can check it out and then book.  This is a good route to go if you are getting resistance to bookings.

Attend a Party – If possible, attend a party with your upline or someone else in the same direct sales business.  This will allow you to see how a party works and how to take orders.  If you have not attended an event before, this can be very helpful.

 

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Where all should I put my contact information?

Short answer, everywhere you can!

Catalogues – I have a sticker that I put on the back of my catalogues with my name, phone number, email address and website.  I want people to contact me in whatever method they are most comfortable with.

Products – I put a small re-order label on all my products.  It has my name, phone number and email.  There isn’t much more room.  They are return address labels that I buy from Staples and they come 80 to a page.

Business Cards – This is a no brainer, all of the above information is on my cards as well.  I always put a few into each customer’s bag, just in case.  You never know when they might pass your card onto someone else.

Care Instructions – With my business, I give my customers care instructions for their product.  My contact information is on there as well.  I use one of the same stickers I use for my catalogues.

Invoices – I have a stamp with my name and phone number on it that I will stamp onto the customers copy.  I have also been known to just staple a business card on instead as that has more complete information on it.  Either method works but it’s about getting the information on there.

As you can see, you can put your information everywhere, and I fully advise you to.  I bought some product from a rep a while ago and I want to buy more, but she did not put her contact information on the products nor did she give me a business card so I have not been able to find her.

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Office Supplies

Office supplies of blue

Image by Lady-bug via Flickr

I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for office supplies – I love them, especially pens!  But a person needs more than just pens to keep their office and business running smoothly and productive.   If you are just starting out or you have been in this for a while, but are trying to get organized, here are some basics you will need for your office.

Holders – I have one for all those pretty pens.  I also keep my box cutter in it with the blade covered.  If you don’t have pens floating around your house, you may need to purchase some.

Paperclips – These are great for temporarily keeping things together.  You can buy something nice to put them in, but if you are trying to save money, re-use something you already have.  I use a pill bottle.

Stapler and staples – Great for keeping things together once they are ready to be filed.  I also take mine to my parties and staple my business cards onto the receipt.

Folders/Envelopes – Use for storing various papers from bookkeeping or other paper you need to keep organized.  These also work great for creating hostess and recruit packages.

Organizers – I mentioned last week that I have a three tier sorter that I use for my paperwork before I have dealt with it.  This is not something you need but something that may come in handy.  I believe I paid 3 bucks a tier at the dollar store.

Other items you may want – Binders, A marker, Rubber bands.

Some of these items are great to buy at your dollar store, but sometimes, you can actually get a better deal elsewhere.  For instance, I got my envelopes at Costco for about $10 which makes them 5 cents each.  At the dollar store, you get 10 for $1, which makes them 10 cents each.

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Not sure how to set up your display table?

Of course, how you set up your table is up to you, but here are some ideas.

Keep it simple – This means limiting how much product you put out and how much paperwork you put out.  This is definitely something that I struggle with but am working on.  Check out other booths for ideas if you are not sure or ask some of the vendors to offer suggestions.

Create Levels – I mentioned this in a previous post, but use whatever you can to create levels and interest to your display.  I use the boxes my products come in, but you can use a variety of things.  Totes can work well or anything else you may be bringing with already.  Don’t over think it too much.   Levels do not have to be drastic either, just enough to create interest and some height.

Space – Leave space on the table.  Some of the best tables only have a few products on them.  Its like when you write something, they always say you should leave white space.   Apply this concept to your table.

Get Attention – You want people to come to your table.  Give them a reason to stop by – have some candy for people to take, or if you are displaying edible products, have a sample for them to taste.  You could put up some balloons which you might give away to the kids who come by or use them for a booking game.

Information Station – Have a spot with information for those that stop by and keep it tidy.  This is going to be where you keep your draw slips, business cards, and whatever other paperwork you bring with you.

Fabric – Another method to add some interest to your table is to use different fabrics to add some visual interest.  You might drape it around some items, or create an area to highlight certain products.

Basket – Depending on your resources and what you have, you may prefer to use a basket to display and highlight items.  If your basket does not look too appealing, decorate it with some fabric, ribbons or anything else you may have to make it look better.

Is there anything you have tried on your display to make it stand out or that you have seen others do?  Please share!

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Helping your Recruit while they Wait for their Kit

Photograph of a rolltop writing desk and surro...

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While it can be very exciting for you when you have someone sign up, it’s also exciting for them.  They are likely very hyped up and ready to go, but they do not have their kit so they are a bit stalled.  If you want, you can lend them your kit so they can have a starter party before they get theirs, but regardless, there are some other things they should do when first starting out.

Training Calls – Stay in touch with your recruit – not only while they wait for their kit, but for the first few weeks while they get going.  Find out the best way to contact them and the best times.

Schedule 4 Parties – You should get them to schedule as many parties are they can in the first 30 days.  This helps them get their business going well; they will likely meet any start up goals and programs your company may offer.

Learn the Website – One of the most important things for your recruit is to get familiar with the website where all the demonstrator information is.  Make sure they can get signed in when they sign up and have them play around.  Entering a fake order to see how the order system works, download the training information, etc.  A person can spend a lot of time on this.

Promotional Materials – Order business cards and other supplies from places such as Vistaprint or through a company store.  Some sponsors will buy their recruits their first set of business cards when they sign up or when they make a certain sales level.

Learn the Product – of course, you have to learn the product you will be presenting.  You do not have to be perfect at your party.  Make cue cards if you feel that you will forget some of the details.  Learn about products that will be in your kit as well as items that you may not have but people might ask about.

Observe a Party – Invite your recruit to come to one of your parties and observe.  If this is not possible due to distance or timing, see if you can find someone else that they can shadow.  You may prefer to get together 1 on 1 and have a practice party instead.

Banking – While it’s exciting to get started, there are some practical things such as banking that have to be thought about.  It is best to open a separate bank account and get a separate credit card as well that is for your business only.  If you are using your personal accounts, you may find it gets confusing.  It also is not a good idea for tax purposes to combine.  If you cannot get a credit card, you may want to look into a prepaid credit card instead.

Office Supplies – Another practical consideration is how you are going to organize your paperwork.  It is very easy to let this get out of hand and before you know it, you have a stack of paper that you just keep running away from.  Getting a bunch of envelopes or file folders can be a great option and then you can sort things by month or by party or whatever method.   Offer your recruit a few ideas as to how to file and what works for you.

Do you have some other ideas as to what you can help your new recruit with while they wait?

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What to Provide your Hostess for a Catalogue Party

Catalogues – While these can be pricey, you want to make sure your hostess has enough catalogues to collect orders.  At a minimum, I recommend three books but you should ask her how many she needs.

Order forms – This is another no brainer.  As these are cheaper, you should give them at least 10 to start out with.  Pre-fill in the shipping rate (flat rate or %) so people don’t have to ask and mark the tax if possible (i.e. 5%).

Envelope – It is a good idea to provide your hostess somewhere to put any money and orders collected.  An  8 1/2 x 11 envelope is great for this purpose.  Depending on your product, you may want to give smaller envelopes for each order and then a larger one to collect them all in.

Instructions – Instructions on how to have a successful catalogue party as well as how to fill out the order forms.  I will discuss this in more depth tomorrow.

Samples – If you can, lend your hostess some products or samples for them to show to their friends and family.   This likely will help to increase sales as well – people need to see things to order them.  I will also discuss this more tomorrow.

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