How to Get Your Business Plan Started

When your business is in the planning stages, you will want to focus on a business plan that helps to outline the vision of your company, and your goals for the future. It will also outline your plan of action that will help you to reach these goals.

When you are putting a business plan together, there are a lot of things that must be considered. You will need to prepare for potential obstacles that may stand in your way, allocate your resources effectively, and consider all of your opportunities. Don’t think that once your business plan is complete that you are done with it- it should be a work in progress.

Effective business plans will also include a marketing plan that will be effective in helping the business get its name out there. It also helps to give the outsiders information about your business and what you have to offer. It will be the key to finding investors that want to input their time and money into your company. Any experienced investor will want to see this plan.

How can you create a business and marketing plan that will be effective?

Start by establishing a few things:

· Business goals – You should have some clear goals for your business, and then you should do some research to find out what challenges could stand in your way.

· Target market – You should decide which markets are going to be the best for your business to target from the beginning. This could change over time, so leave room for expansion.

· Operational requirements – You will want to have a good idea as to what will be needed for you to run your business.

· Financial requirements – You need to have some strong financial points to fall back on when your investors have questions. It is key that your business plan proves that your business will be one that is profitable and worth investing in.

The best business plans are thorough and include everything that the reader may wonder while they are looking it over. This is why you will want to make sure that you develop a good business plan. You will want to have some ideas in mind before you get started. Brainstorm to think about what you hope to achieve.

Here are a few other tips:

· Include your staff when you are making important business decisions.

· Hire a professional writer to help you with your business plan.

· Factor in your market research as a part of your plan.

· Remember that the plan serves two purposes – to answer the questions of your financial partners, and to give you a guide with moving forward.

· Cover all bases, but also be concise in your wording.

· Don’t write in the first person.

The Top 10 Mistakes You Can Make to Ensure You Fail in Your Network Marketing Business

This article uses a tongue in cheek approach to point out mistakes that people make in the direct selling industry every day that is detrimental to the success of their own business. Below are ten common mistakes made by people who decide they want to own their own direct selling business and they are not listed in any specific order of importance either.

1. Lie and disrespect everyone around you (Honesty and respect).

If my lips are moving, I’m lying. This product cures every disease on the planet and on Mars. Trust me.

Truth in “who” you are and “what” you do is the foundation of the direct selling industry. You become a personal brand and represent a company, and organization, and a product line. By lying and treating people poorly casts a shadow over you, your company and the industry and people will judge everyone else they come in contact with in this industry with disdain.

You have to be the shining light for all to see that this industry is a legitimate business. People will join you and work with you instead of running the other way. Your reputation and the company’s reputation must pass the TEST so that your business grows.

2. Do not Market your products.

Now that I won my own business people will flock to me and hand me all their money and I don’t even have to get up off my lazy boy chair.

Marketing, meeting with people, or telling others about your business is the only way people know you exist. You have to get the word out about what you do and what you offer. If you choose not to do this portion of your business then you are doomed. You are just as doomed if by chance you don’t know how and are unwilling to learn just the same.

Some key examples of marketing.

  • Prospecting
  • Networking
  • Referrals
  • Word of mouth

3. Closed (do not speak with anyone).

Go away, we’re closed. Come back tomorrow.

Your hours of operation are extremely important. Why would you own a business and not open your shop? How does this apply to me? If you are not speaking to people about your business, then your business is closed. If you are not selling what you offer, then your business is closed. Get the point?

Bottom line is: Closed mouth is a Closed Business. When your mouth is open your business is open.

Word of caution: Do not vomit on everyone about your business. Learn how to work your offerings into conversations without body slamming people right away with your sales pitch. Slapping someone with your pitch before you even know who they are or how you can help them is wrong. You have to build rapport and trust as people buy you before they buy your product or business.

4. Sell for a loss or give away the store- no profits.

Don’t worry I will give you a home boy discount. I will cut you a break and pay for your products myself so you can keep coming back and basking for more.

Undervaluing or devaluing your products is not a smart move. A lot of people will offer their products at wholesale cost or even at a loss in order to attract and keep customers. The problem is that you, more than likely, do not sell enough in volume to make a profit. Businesses that don’t make a profit don’t stay in business very long.

In addition, you tell your customers that your products are overvalued and you don’t believe they are worth the suggested retail cost, and if you don’t value the cost then your customers won’t value the cost either.

5. Do not Re-invest back into your business.

Why should you put money back into your business operation? Answer… Operating Costs.

When you sell your products and you spend the money that’s not a good thing. You should set aside the money so you can buy more products, attend trainings and events, and purchase development materials for your own personal growth. When you manage the money from your sales the right way you should never have to use money from your personal accounts after your initial investment. If by chance you are not doing so, start right now. Set up your business budget with a separate bank account as you do not want to co-mingle your business funds with your personal funds.

6. Hire a ton of people.

I need a personal assistant and a driver now that I’m a big hot shot business owner. I’m CEO of my own company!

When starting out you should have no or few employees to help you in your business. In fact, don’t consider hiring for your business until you hit certain levels of success and you have steady income from your business that supports the decision of having employee support.

One are you might consider outsourcing is your personal chores. Hire neighborhood kids to mow your lawn, or delegate that to your children if they are capable and teach them how to operate their own lawn care business.

7. Don’t pay your bills and taxes.

Pay your bills. Nuff said! Hmmmph!

No joke, make sure you pay your bills and on time so you eliminate late fees. This is an area that will help you reduce and eliminate your personal debt. Focus on building your business so that you can set aside some of the money to help pay those bills. Make sure you counsel with a successful leader in your success line so they can guide you and help you to not mistakes that will in turn hurt your business and slow down your business growth.

Taxes – pay your taxes: Self-employment tax, federal, state, and local. Where applicable pay your sales tax as well.

8. Stop learning (Closed mind).

I don’t need that stuff. I’m the smartest person I know. Just ask me, I’ll tell you I’m right.

You should schedule time daily for personal development. Improving your skills or understanding is a must if you want to lead others. No one wants to follow a dummy. Ignorance is a detriment and can only be cured by you spending time reading books and listening to tapes, cd’s, and web/pod casts. Attending your support organization’s or company’s events is very valuable and important for your growth and the growth of your entire team.

If you are the only one in your organization right now, you won’t be for long. At least that’s the goal of not to be the only one in your organization. You must be able to lead yourself if you are to lead the many. Personal development allows you to relate to as many people as you possibly can. Leaders are readers and help others to see the value in personal development.

9. Don’t schedule your time (I’ll work it when I work it).

Come and go as you please, ignore your family time and play video games all day. Wasting time is a primary enemy for this industry.

As an employee we are accustomed to a time structure we must follow. You are mandated when you are to arrive at work, when to take your breaks and lunches and when the work day ends. By the time we get home, most of us don’t want to follow a schedule unless we want to watch our favorite program on TV.

You must work a calendar into your life. Set aside all the time you cannot work your business. This includes work, church, family, volunteering, and any other time that you cannot absolutely use to dedicate to your own business. Then find the time in your weekly schedule when you can dedicate to working and building your business. Hint: You are going to have to give up some TV and video game time until you are making enough money to where you can buy back time from your job.

10. Break the law; don’t follow your company’s policies or code of conduct.

Who wakes up and says today I’m breaking the law?

Keep in mind that your company may offer products in other countries. Also keep in mind that ignorance of the law of another country is no excuse and do not assume what’s legal in your host country is legal in another country.

Make sure your company has authorization to operate in a specific country before you start selling your goods there. Packaging, compensation, marketing, and distribution are all examples of key areas where laws differ drastically from one country to another, and if your company does not have an official operation in place for a specific country than don’t focus on building your business there.

In addition, make sure you know what you can say versus what you cannot say during conversations and presentations. You cannot make or guarantee income claims or health claims. You cannot diagnose or offer cures for disease or health ailments unless you are a certified medical professional.

In conclusion, evaluate your own business and your mental attitude you have relating to each are discussed and see what changes you can make to improve your likelihood of success. No one can guarantee your success and by following this article as a guideline does not guarantee it either. However, by ignoring the basic fundamentals that allow success you almost guarantee your failure. Who wants to improve their chances of failure?

Redefining Business: Direct Sales

Although there are many success stories out there, direct sales and network marketing are still plagued by a negative image. This is unwarranted and is taking away a very legitimate and potentially lucrative career option from a lot of people. My goal is to introduce as many people as possible to the facts – both risks and opportunities – about direct sales. For some of you, this business may not fit with your skillset, career goals, or lifestyle. For others, this may be just the thing you have been looking for. I am here to tell you, as are many of the leaders in the industry, that this is a legitimate business model and a growing way for sellers to get their products and services to consumers. Not every company has the same benefits and risks, but overall the industry is growing and the opportunity is real.

As you consider a direct sales career, evaluate the companies very closely. While only the legitimate companies will have long term stability and profitability, many “wannabees” enter the market to make a quick buck at your expense. While, in most cases it is not intentional, these new direct sales companies can have unrealistic sales and profit expectations that are just unsustainable and they leave the market almost as fast as they entered. In addition, independent consultants can enter the business quickly and easily as well. Instead of being selected as you would in a traditional career, independent distributors work on a volunteer basis. A new business startup investment (almost always under $1,000) is all that is need to get started. As there is no previous sales experience required and no “required” set of skills, many folks end up using the business for their own personal consumption or find out it is just not for them and try something different. This is often used as a “ping” against the direct sales industry, but in my experience, this is just not a credible critique. If you are coachable, outgoing, determined, and honest, this may just be the right career match for you.

The opportunity in the direct sales business is real. The industry is seeing exponential growth due to the surge in e-commerce and virtual retail. And with a rise in social networking, real time information, and an increasingly decentralized media (not just the television and the radio), direct selling makes more and more sense from both a corporate and independent sales perspective. The days of hitting up friends and hosting home parties are long gone. Of course networking is important and hosting events is still a successful business strategy. Traditional face to face sales work well in any business.

Direct sales is an extremely effective business strategy and is becoming a more attractive option for the independent entrepreneur. This is true whether you are offering your own product or service or if you are an independent distributor for a parent company. That’s because it is a strategy for putting your product or service in front of your consumers by driving traffic to your site, promoting your business, and building a customer base. It can be equated to a decentralized marketing strategy, where the many (independent distributors) market to a few. Collectively, they create brand recognition, sales levels, and profits that challenge the best of traditional marketing campaigns. In fact, according to the Direct Selling Association, sales in the industry grew to 29.9 billion, a 4.6% increase over last year.

Think about how traditional stores have been marketing for years. They use advertising campaigns, public information, word of mouth, promotions, and community involvement to build their customer base and promote their products and services. Direct Sales is no different. The only real difference is who is doing the marketing. In the direct sales business, you, as an independent distributor, do the marketing for your sales and your team building. So instead of spending millions on corporate marketing and sales from a small team of professionals with strict quotas, the direct sales business model puts the sales and marketing responsibility in the hands of many “volunteer” representatives. This gives you the opportunity to put in as much are as little as you want. And with most companies handling orders, money exchange, and shipping, your investment is minimal and your time is spent where it matters – marketing your business.

I invite all of you to take a look at the opportunity in a direct sales career. You won’t get rich overnight. But, with the right company, diligence, and hard work, you can work for yourself and create your own organization.