Many times I hear from direct selling leaders or other consultants/vendors that they could start their own company and do a better job at it than the company they are with! While this may be true, it isn’t as easy as you’d think. But it IS possible!
The idea of owning your own company is brilliant – you can start one with relatively little capital compared to traditional enterprise; it will be built on the relationships you make with sales representatives who do all the selling for you; and you get to benefit from them building your brand – and your profits!
The direct selling industry naturally attracts people who are creative and social and who have a passion for what they do. If you have an idea for a great product that would appeal to the masses, be easy to manufacture, and that would inspire others to go out and spread the word for you, you might want to seriously consider this business model! There are a few things to consider before you start though:
Can your product be sold via in-person demonstration/experiences AND translate well to online sales?
A hybrid of both is best in my opinion. Resist the temptation to market your company as being able to be done 100% online – this rarely works out long term and companies who have said that in the past have ended up back pedaling and recommending person to person meetings, phone calls, small or large group gatherings, participation in local vendor fairs etc. so the “online only” line seems deceptive. This is a relationship business. If you’ve listened to any of my training you’ll know I am a big fan of connecting with people – online tools are great for finding them, but your representatives will always do better when there’s a personal component, whether it’s with a hostess on the phone, meeting a potential recruit for coffee, or doing a full on party plan/demonstration model.
Are there already other similar product lines in the direct sales/party plan industry?
Although you may think yours is unique or you have a different angle, when the products are too similar to another company’s it can be very difficult to get sales representatives excited. There are certain product types that seem “overdone” and the public perception will be negative when you launch – you don’t want that!
Does your product solve a problem people have?
Your business opportunity will solve people’s needs to generate income, but if the product doesn’t address a pain point in some way, it will be harder for your representatives to sell.
Is there an “addictive” quality to your product?
The most successful companies are those whose customers and representatives just HAVE to have one of everything! This creates desire to host more parties, to place larger orders, to subscribe to a product of the month program, or to sign up to sell so they can finance their “addiction!” Your product does not have to be consumable for this to occur, but it helps if you are able to come out with new products or new designs regularly.
Do you love to encourage and motivate people to improve their lives?
This is one of the best parts of being at the top of a direct selling company. Your opportunity will make a difference. If you are not the “rah rah” type person, make sure you have someone like that on your team so that your distributors feel supported and valued. I’ve seen companies flounder when the owner was all business and they did not incorporate this emotional and “fun” aspect of direct sales.
Are you willing to go all in?
While you establish your company and get to the point where your revenue justifies expanding your team, you will be working a LOT. I so often see new company owners surprised at how time-consuming the first year or two can be. It can often take a while to justify delegating to others, so be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to this venture until it’s up and running.
Are you well funded?
Yes this is a business model that can be started at your kitchen table. Yes it can be started on a shoestring. But no, it isn’t free or even almost-free. You will need to invest in software. You will need to invest in inventory. You will need to invest in training. Be prepared with some seed money as well as resources for more. One of the most common reasons direct selling companies fail in their first year is they run out of money.
Having a team of resources and consultants you can call on to guide you along the process is also important. So often, startup companies think they can do it better or faster or simpler than others who have gone before them but the common factor in those companies who succeed is that they did their research in advance, tapped into the veterans within the industry for advice, and listened to those who have “seen it all” and know what works and what doesn’t.
Every few months I am participate in the Direct Selling Edge conference in various locations. This is a great event to attend if you are considering starting your own direct sales company – even if all you have is an inkling that you’d like to do this! It is also great for those who have already begun the process, and for those who have established companies but may need some new resources or help with certain aspects of growing their companies, or who would like to send employees so they can learn all they can about the direct sales business model.
We call it “Direct Selling School” because you will spend 2 full days learning about all the important aspects of direct sales at the corporate level. Some of the topics that are taught are:
- Network marketing vs. party plan
- Tasks to do when starting your company
- How to set up your social media presence
- How to design your compensation plan
- How to handle state and local taxes
- Merchant accounts and how to pay out commissions
- Dealing with compliance issues among distributors
- How to find and establish your first field leaders
- What makes for a successful company
- How to stay safe from state and federal regulators
- And more secrets of success!
In addition to presentation from proven industry leaders, you will also have the opportunity to make appointments on site to meet with any of the speakers for private consultations so they can give you guidance for your specific situation. “Pick their brain” and get immediate feedback on your idea, your plans, or how things have been going and possible new tactics to implement. This consultation time more than pays for the conference fee itself. Companies have gotten the impetus to go forward, or to completely change directions, due to these 15 minute one-on-ones.
If you’re at all interested in this event, register now as the group rate at our venue expires soon! For an early bird discount on the event registration, visit www.DSEdge.com Bring a partner with you and you’ll be able to discuss what you’ve learned and create a plan of action to use right away.
Register at www.DSEdge.com
Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments, or use my Contact button above!
Until next time,