MOST direct sales consultants have trouble setting good goals. They either don't set them high enough, and lose interest and focus because they know in their heart they'll be able to hit it without really trying--or they set them TOO high, with no real plan in place to actually do the steps that will be required to hit such an audacious goal.
For the last several years I've taught my Business Boosters training group this easy way to categorize and quantify your goals. I tell them to think of their goals as exercises they are doing from your office chair. Grasp, Reach, and Stretch. Every goal you set falls into one of these three categories.
I hope you'll keep this simple way of categorizing and evaluating in mind as you work through your plans for the year. If you are comfortable sharing one or more of your "Grasp-Reach-Stretch" goals for this year or month here in the comments, please do so! Sometimes people don't even know what to work towards, and your goal might spark one of their own. We're all in this together!
Do you have a "snag" file?
Ummm, what's a snag file, right?!
My snag file is a folder on my computer's "desktop" that I put all kinds of fun things in as I run across them on Facebook. Crafter's funnies, out-of-the-box ideas, really WOW cards, corporate shares from SU, great quotes--into the folder they go.
Whenever I make a color combo in TAMS, or make up a cute quote graphic in MDS, I make several and stash the extras in the snag file.
Then, on mornings that I'm pressed for time or just not feeling creative, I go into the snag file and there's plenty of meaningful content to choose from for my various social media accounts.
Those couple of seconds it took to right click and save the item to the snag file have paid off in many minutes saved on a morning I'm just not feelin' it. They've allowed me to remain consistent in my postings. And the photos and memes help spice things up so it's not just text-only posts getting shared around the clock.
In the old days, a file like this (an actual paper file!) was often called a "fodder" file--"fodder" for upcoming hard-copy publications such as a newsletter or newspaper column. Every time they ran across something (also in print) that they thought they could use to springboard an article, they cut or tore it out, and into the file it went.
In the digital age, we "snip" or "swipe" the cream of the crop quickly and easily with a couple of clicks. I use the term "snag" because I use it a lot in real life--but whatever you call it, it's a great concept. I guess Dora the Explorer's "No Swiping!" is still ringing in my head too loudly for me to call it a swipe file! : )
Here's a random sample of what I "snagged" just this week:
Help yourself be your own social media manager by making use of a snag file. You will love the time it saves, plus how professional it makes you feel when you quickly and efficiently dispatch your social media duties for the day in short order and can move on to more pressing matters... and more stamping fun!
As I write this, there's one week left to get your money's worth out of a month-long promotional sales bundle. Time for some of us to ask ourselves some hard questions. Yes, I'm going to go there.
If you sincerely purchased (insert promotional item or special here) as a business expense and not as a knee-jerk reaction to cuteness : ) --what is your last-minute strategy for finishing strong? Do you have one?
Did you ever have one?
How many times have I added an item to my order, thinking to myself, "I'll have a class on this!"--but never even cracked open my planner to see if I could fit one in, or called the venue to see if they were available? Not even the most basic steps were taken to turn that impulse into an actual plan.
Remember, there's nothing wrong with purchasing whatever-whenever, if you can afford it and you have the space.
But if you're telling yourself you are buying things for your business, and then never following through with events and advertising, you need to stop kidding yourself. Those are not the actions of a serious business owner.
Own your actions! Learn from the past--proceed into the future. It may be too late to do anything with this particular promotion, but that doesn't mean you can't turn it into valuable business experience, even though it did not turn into valuable business profit.
Every single one of us has ordered something with good intentions that then fell by the wayside. Yes, I do it, too. But if this is a habit with you, and there's too much rubber sitting around un-inked at retirement time, then maybe it's time to stop the knee-jerk ordering and put a little more thought into what you order to show and share.
Business demonstrators have a plan beyond just having a huge box of new goodies arriving on the doorstep. What's yours?
Let's talk labels! Here's some tips from the pros about maximizing that little self-adhesive sticker that you slap on each new Idea Book, fresh out of the boxes.
There's a lot to be learned about strategies for the new catalog--
when is the last time you tried a different way of distributing them?
The distribution of a new catalog is way to important to take casually. Your preparation in advance can be the difference between a sales season that blows your mind, and one that blows over.
First things first: if you have not ordered or printed your catalog labels, it's time! The new catalogs can be ordered or redeemed with Flex Points beginning May 3rd, 2016. Have your labels in hand by the day they arrive on your doorstep.
Many demonstrators include a coupon sheet, a book mark, a recruiting letter, or sampler with their initial catalog distribution--get those ready as well (see photo below for a quick In Colors sampler project I did last year). This makes really, really good business sense! After all, you are already paying for the shipping. I use flat-rate Priority Mail envelopes, so I can fit a lot more in those besides just the catalog, at no additional cost. I can include a Paper Pumpkin sample, a class schedule, a handmade card--whatever I want to add that personal touch.
Four Quick Tips for Creating Your Labels:
If you're printing your own, don't make the font so small they need a magnifying glass to read it! Only the top line should be bolded to catch their attention. Use a readable font style and be as succinct, using as few words as possible.
Graphic logos are great for promoting your brand, but often either don't translate well to small labels, or take up too much valuable space. Leave it off, or spring for the larger, business-card-sized labels.
If you want to use actual business cards (most of us have plenty of them!) Tear N Tape is an inexpensive way to permanently attach business cards to catalogs-- and it contributes to your sales. You can also use Xyron machines or sticker-making paper.
Something else to think about: Catalogs are meant for distribution and can be seen by anyone and everyone out there, once they leave your hands. If it bothers you to have your home address or a home phone number in public, don't put that on your labels. Order or print separate return-address labels that you only use on cards. I have different labels for the different aspects of my business: one for Etsy thank yous, one for my downline that says "with love from your upline," one for customer cards with my blog on it, and non-business ones for sympathy cards and other personal correspondence. Not everyone needs ALL your info.
One last tip: Consider a fun game for your customers at new catalog time! "hide" a label or sticker on a different page in each catalog, or say 10 catalogs out of every 40 you give out. It can be a giveaway, a special offer, or some other little bit of fun. Be sure to promote it when you hand out the catalogs so that everyone gets the word that you're playing a game. They'll POUR over those books looking for that special sticker, and be so excited when they find it!
What new catalog distribution tips do you have, that other demonstrators could benefit from? Share them in the comments!
I love Tuesdays because the Weekly Updates always infuse me with fresh energy and a renewed sense of focus. I advise my team to begin each Tuesday with not only reading the updates, but writing down one thing they will act upon for each item on the list.
Successful business people don't just absorb information--they have become experts at boiling it down to what ACTIONS need to be taken, given that information. And then they follow through and DO those actions. And they do it consistently, over and over and over again, because new information and insights are ALWAYS coming at them.
When we stop acting on that new knowledge because we've let our enthusiasm falter, we lose our consistency and very shortly afterwards, our perseverance begins to fail. Right there we have lost ALL THREE of those necessary ingredients for successful, sustainable business. We are doomed.
I do not say that lightly. The writing is on the wall if you cannot turn this ship around.
The good news is, you can turn the ship around if you can regather those three necessary components. Of the three, enthusiasm, consistency and perseverance, enthusiasm is the hardest and most elusive trait. So we focus on the other two--perseverance and consistency--and know that the other one will fluctuate from time to time.
And guess what? Consistency and Perseverance get a fresh kickstart EVERY TUESDAY. Hooray for us!
So what do action steps look like?
For instance, last month a new stamp was released (this one's easy): Will you order it? Will you share about it on social media? Will you buy an extra one and create a team incentive challenge using it as a prize? Write it down!
I read the rest of the updates for that week and then I wrote down to 1. watch the firehouse video; 2. talk up OnStage to my team; 3. make a blog post this week about the Paper Pumpkin sale; 4.mention in my newsletter that the limited-edition Sale-A-Bration items are still available for now; and blog about the weekly deals.
Five steps, counting the purchase of the stamp, that give me a direction to work in, a multi-pronged approach to my business tasks, and a regular check-in time every single week. Now, I will tell you honestly that I did not get all six steps done that week. But I got at least four more of them done than I would have if I had read the updates and gone on my merry way. And I know I was a lot happier when the next Tuesday rolled around and I was ahead of the game, having followed through on my action items.
If you continue this way each Tuesday, making note of and doing at least one thing relating to each entry in the updates, you will not only stay informed and on top of things, your business will be given a boost because you are transforming knowledge into ACTION STEPS.
The knowledge is there for everyone who cares to stay informed. We all have that same opportunity.
The difference between business and hobby demonstrators is the difference between knowledge and acting upon the knowledge. Between having the opportunity and seizing it.
Every single Tuesday you have the chance to make that choice. I urge you to choose action. And you'll learn to love Tuesdays, just as much as I do.
Dream BIG, friends!
Successful business owners work on three things at once.
They work on:
past business followup;
present business prep;
and future business ideas.
Every business work day, you should do one thing in each area. You may have to do a lot more than just one thing in a particular area on some days, but it you strive to do at least one thing from all three areas, every day, you will be simultaneously working on the past, present and future health of your business.
If you've read or seen "A Christmas Carol," you're getting why I call this the Dickens Principle! Work like the Dickens on the Past, Present & Future of your business and you can't help but move forward with success. How much further along will you be this time next year, using this organized approach?
I'm often asked about how I pack for my events. The answer is--I don't! well, I kind of don't. Because I keep a dedicated rolling tote just for shows, I've been able to streamline the packing process, make sure necessary items are not left behind, and drastically lower my stress levels before events.
Stop reinventing the wheel every month! Keep a rolling tote (or whatever kind of tote is going to work for you) permanently packed with basic necessities and you will feel more prepared, calmer, and more professional at every event. I personally use the now-discontinued Crop In Style StampStore rolling tote, with five removeable drawers that are deep enough to hold one wood-mount or two clear-mount stamp cases, two ink pads stacked, or our new flat-style locking punches. They pop up on eBay every so often, but you can use any rolling tote that works for you.
Once this bag is ready, for each event, I just check the inventory levels on the business supplies, and I only have to add my planner, a printout of the Weekly Deals, a Hostess Gift, a Door Prize, the Make N Takes, and whatever I used to create those.
Feel free to use this handout with your teams, and if you have suggestions for other items to include, leave a comment below. We all benefit when people share what works for them!