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Hidden Start Up Costs

How much does it really cost to start a business?

“Start a business for only $99!”   Most direct sales companies require new independent consultants to purchase a starter kit when they start a business. Some business opportunity start-up kits are as cheap as $10 and they can range up to $1,000.   The average start-up kit for a direct sales business averages between $50-$300.

There are a couple of keywords to highlight. The first is “start”; as in Start a Business. It’s not realistic to expect that you can maintain and grow a thriving business for the mere cost of an initial start-up kit.   The other keyword here is “business”.   The sign up process for many direct sales companies requires the recruit to enroll online by clicking a button that reads, “Start a Business”. It doesn’t say “Join a Sorority” or “Be a Discount Member” but rather by enrolling as a representative for a particular company you are agreeing that you want to start a business as an independent consultant.

It’s important to know what other initial investments may be involved to start a business. Talk to your sponsor before you sign up.   Ask what other expenses you should anticipate. Look at the items included in the startup kit and then determine if the business supplies and products provided are truly adequate to get started. Continue reading

Are You Misleading People?

Competition is keen but intentional inaccurate headlines only hurt your credibility

If you provide information to someone that is inaccurate because you misspoke or were mistaken, I don’t think anyone would fault you for that. We’re all human and who among us hasn’t erred?

However, what if in effort to grab someone’s attention you intentionally post false information? Is that creative marketing or is that a lame excuse for keyword spamming? Make no mistake – that is an unethical business practice no matter how much you try to justify it.

For example, Scentsy recently announced that they’re making plans to open their business opportunity to residents of Germany and the UK. Launch is scheduled this Spring. U.S. residents will not be able to sell there but recruiting will be permitted. There hasn’t been much more information provided at this point because it’s still in the development stage. It is something that will most likely happen soon; but it has not happened yet.

I popped online yesterday to a public forum to read the following subject line from someone who held a senior ranking title:   “We sell Scentsy candles in the U.K & Germany.” Seems innocuous enough. Except that Scentsy doesn’t sell there. They are planning to, but they don’t presently. When the fact that her subject line was misleading was raised, the consultant responded, “Yup, I know.”

This article isn’t a passive aggressive attack on said consultant. It was just such a perfect, and timely, example of misleading marketing for personal gain. I could not have made up a better example. It’s also not directed toward this one particular offender; it doesn’t matter who did it.   I’ve seen others employ this type of keyword spamming too. Continue reading

Use Only Professional Marketing Materials

If you are a consultant with an established direct sales company, it’s highly likely that your corporate office provides professional marketing collateral, instructions, signage, forms and other tools to aid your business.   A professional image is vital to your business success.

Yet almost daily I am made of aware of consultants who want to make their own marketing collateral, instructions, signage, forms and other tools to aid their business. I don’t get it; I really don’t.   Why do so many insist on reinventing the wheel? Sure in some cases consultants need to pay for the professionally designed materials, but there are always costs associated with running a business.

Homemade materials generally look amateurish, cheesy and send a message that you’re not doing well enough to use professionally printed information.   Also, by the time you factor in your time to create it, paper and ink to print it yourself, and the costs associated with lost business due to the unprofessionalism, you’ll end up paying more than if you just used what was provided by your company. Continue reading

Taking Your Online Business Offline

Having an online business is a wonderful thing. At this point in my life I can’t imagine having it any other way. I have my internal customers – my downline team members, and also my external customers – those who order from my website. One of the key factors in maintaining an online customer base is going offline.

While email is so convenient and a great tool to manage a large organization, it’s missing a human element. The time that I save with emails allows me more time to write hand written notes. And I do write many handwritten notes almost daily. For example:

  • Thank you notes for online orders; and I mention something specific about their order so they don’t just think it is a generic note.
  • Follow up cards to customers who have not ordered in two or more months
  • Welcome to the team for new consultants
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Work Smarter, Not Harder – Pt. 1 Ink Stamps

The more your team grows the smarter you need to be with your time management skills.   You will have more people to manage but that doesn’t have to mean that you’ll be working more hours.   In order to survive being the leader of a large organization you need to eliminate, mitigate and delegate duties that are not the best use of your valuable time.

One of my favorite time savers are Vista Print Free Self Inking Stamps. I have a nice collection of them and am constantly adding more. Just to name a few, I have:

  • Some that have just one scent name on them. I stamp the back of my business cards annotating the name of the particular scent sample that is attached.
  • One that I stamp the back of my catalogs – contains my website address and a reminder of secure online ordering, no minimums, low and free shipping.
  • One that I use mainly for recruiting on the Getting Started brochures – with the web address of my recruiting website, my email and phone number.
  • Continue reading