One of the biggest mistakes people make in direct sales is what I call the hobby approach. Too many of you are working your business when you have some extra time instead of making it a priority. Approaching your company like a business is directly related to your level of success. As you restart your direct sales business, consider starting out with a business plan. You can make it a “mini” plan to begin with and we can work on expanding it later.
You do not have to devote hours upon hours to your business if you are not in the position to do that. Many successful direct sellers work their business part time for many months or years before they are able to switch to full time. I have seen several articles about this topic but for some reason it is much easier said than done. The key to all of this is not the amount of time, but rather what you do and how consistent you are in your activities.
Your solution is a plan and enough discipline to stick to it. Ideally, you are operating your direct sales business with a full-fledged business plan. Not one etched in stone, but a living document that focuses your business and documents your mission, your niche market, your benefits and your work plan.
Often, when you are starting or restarting your business, you just don’t know enough to develop a full business plan. That is not a problem. Start instead with a mini plan and don’t worry about having it perfect the first time. You can revise and expand as you learn and your business grows. As long as you include the essentials, you will have a map that you can follow. This will make all the difference in bringing consistency into the way your work. Start your plan by answering these important questions:
Who is your target market?
Don’t say everyone. You’ll be much more focused and effective if you target a niche. It can be anyone you want – choose a market that fits with your product and your style. Don’t worry if it does not match your current network. Women over 50, military moms, people starting out in direct sales, millenials in college, and middle class families living in the Midwest are a few examples of niche markets. This part of your business plan tells you where to focus your marketing efforts.
What are your products?
State all the things you are selling. Are you just focusing on product sales? Do you also want to recruit team members? What about advertising revenue? Is that part of your business model as well? Give this a thought. You can start small and add more revenue streams down the road. This part of your business plan tells you what do each week and how to prioritize them.
What makes your products special?
What problems are you solving through your products? List each product category (e.g. skincare regimen, business opportunity, skincare tips). List the problems and the solutions you are providing to your customers. This will help you highlight the benefits of your business to potential customers and where you differ from your competition. This part of your business plan tells you what to emphasize in your prospecting and marketing efforts.
What are your business goals?
What do you want to accomplish as you start or restart your business? Include short term (first month, first 3 months) and longer term (1 year). Try not to go too far out in time at the onset. Write all your goals down and then make one your primary goal and all others your secondary goals. For example, a primary goal might be “$500 in sales the first month” while your secondary goal is “recruit 2 team members in the first 3 months”. Keep your number of goals to a minimum. This part of your business plan will help you prioritize tasks each week.
Your business plan can be a “mini” plan and still be very effective at guiding your work. You will revise and expand your mini biz plan as you learn and your business grows. Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to share your goals and plan with us.