Archive for August, 2013

Maximizing Working Styles For Success

Maximizing Working Styles For Success

MP900289525[1]When you’re in a business that requires you to work with others, it’s important to understand their working styles, as well as your own. People have different approaches to work and motivation, and when you can understand these styles, you can create an environment that nurtures success.

Which of these working styles describe you, and those you work with?

  • The Doer: These are the “aim and shoot” type people. They get to work right away on the task at hand, but sometimes forget to plan. This type of person may need to team up with someone who is a planner, and who can provide the strategic tasks to the doer that will be most successful. The doer also often needs immediate feedback and positive reinforcement, so having someone who can acknowledge the doer’s effort can be helpful.
  • The Leader: The leader is someone who loves to create the vision and inspire others to follow in a certain direction. Sometimes, however, the leader can forget the followers’ perspective, so it’s important for the leader to have someone they trust and listen to who can provide feedback on how the leader’s direction is resonating with others. At the same time, the leader thrives in an environment when he or she can think outside of the box, and explore new journeys, so it’s important for the leader to have people that support the vision.
  • The Lover: The lover is the relationship person. They love to connect with others, understand where they are coming from and be supportive. Sometimes, however, the lover spends so much time on relationships that they neglect to move forward. They can lose their way a bit in the challenges of others. Therefore, this person needs to be connected with those who are passionate about moving forward and doing the work.
  • The Researcher: This working style loves to study and understand the situation, but needs help creating the plan and following through. The researcher can be exceptionally valuable to the leader, since he or she can provide important information that helps the leader set the course for the team. Researchers often do best when they receive positive reinforcement for their contributions to the team, and can be encouraged to move forward by showing them how their research can be applied towards the goal.

When building your team, it’s important to understand that everyone has unique working styles. Successful leaders leverage the strengths of each style and team styles appropriately in order to help the entire team achieve success.

What working style are you? How do you work with other styles? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Rethinking Networking

Rethinking Networking

Business Colleagues Working TogetherAn important part of building a business is networking. Defined by as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest,” networking is a necessary activity for any business built on meeting new people and acquiring new customers. And while you can certainly network anywhere, having a strategic approach to your networking can help you maximize networking experiences and grow your business even more quickly. Here are some tips:

  1. Develop a profile of the kind of person that needs what you have to offer. Instead of trying to meet as many people as you can, pinpoint who you want to meet. Write down their needs, their desires, other interests they may have, and the kinds of social events that interest them. Then you’ll know your best options for networking places, and topics of conversation that will interest the kinds of people you’re looking for. You’ll also be better able to identify a solid prospect early in the conversation, ensuring that the time you spend networking is likely to lead to results.
  2. Start by giving. While it may be tempting to enter networking situations with the sole purpose of finding prospects for your business, be sure you are also focused on how you can help others. Networking works best when you make connections, share resources and demonstrate that you’re committed to the entire group, not just yourself. For example, a real estate agent came to a chamber of commerce networking event to find new clients. However she first listened to what others at the event had to offer, and introduced some other business associates that she knew who had a need for what others sold. By making connections that benefited others first, people in the group were more willing to introduce friends to her that were looking for new homes, which ultimately helped her build her business.
  3. Network in new places. It can be tempting to just stick with the same networking group for all of your networking. After all, you develop a comfort level with a certain group of people and don’t have to stretch so much after everyone knows you. But this isn’t what leads to the greatest growth. While it is important to develop strong, ongoing relationships with people, be sure you are also committed to consistently finding new groups of people, helping them while also gaining new contacts to grow your business.
  4. Connect online after the initial contact. You’ve likely had the experience where you meet someone, connect online, and then don’t see them again for a year or so. However, you feel more connected when you see them again because you’ve seen each other’s photos, commented on life events and generally feel more connected than with people you don’t talk to for a year. So be sure to connect with good prospects online after the initial event, and comment both professionally and personally to keep the connection going. You never know when it may lead to a new customer or prospect for your business.
  5. Host your own gatherings. In addition to seeking out networking opportunities that others provide, be sure to spend some time creating your own networking opportunities as well. The organizer role helps you to connect more deeply with participants and ensures that you will meet every single person at the event. And it also positions you as someone who is a connector and gives back, which increases your stature and the stature of your business in the community.

While networking will never replace your core business activities, it is an important task to engage in regularly to grow and expand your business connections. Try to schedule a networking event at least once per month to give yourself the contacts you need to grow.

Do you network for your business? What tips would you give to someone just getting started? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!


3 Things You Must Do Now to Grow Your Business

3 Things You Must Do Now to Grow Your Business

cheerupAs a business owner, growth is an important part of your business. And that means that you must always be coming up with strategies to grow your business bigger than it is today. There are many tactics you can employ to grow your business, but before you do any of them, it’s important to create a plan so that your efforts are efficient, and help you reach your goals without wasting time and effort.

Here are some tips for coming up with a plan to grow your business:

  1. Be specific about where you want to go. Instead of just having a vague idea about what growth means in your business, map out specifically what growth would look like. What level of sales are you looking to achieve within the next 6 months? How many people do you want to work with or invite into your business? Once you have a realistic idea of what success will look like, you can begin to plan the activities that you need to do to reach that goal. For example, if you want to increase sales by 10% each month, then you can create marketing campaigns that encourage new customers to shop with you, and create a sales incentive that offers customers a bonus if they spend at a certain level. By knowing what you want, you can employ specific tactics that help you reach that goal.
  2. Break big goals into little steps. Long terms goals are important, but a big goal by itself can be overwhelming. So break up those big goals into smaller tasks. Our free eBook 15 Days to Greater Success can help you with this. (Click the link to get your free copy.) By planning goals with shorter timeframes, you can build momentum that will help you achieve your long-term goals.
  3. Write it down. Writing down your growth plan is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Otherwise, it’s easy to get off track as demands of the business arise. So post your goal somewhere that you’ll see it every day, and be sure to plan activities daily that help you work towards what you want to achieve. This is one of the best ways you can be sure you’re helping your business grow.

Are you planning for growth in your business, or just hoping it will come? By taking a strategic approach, you can make sure your business is moving in the direction that you want it to go.

How do you plan for business growth? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Tools You Can Use: Research and Case Study Archives

Tools You Can Use: Research and Case Study Archives

researchAs a business owner, you probably already know the value of research and case studies for your business. The more you can find out ahead of time, the better decisions you can make. DSEF’s partnership with professors and researchers throughout the academic world has allowed us to compile an archive of academic research papers and case studies addressing relevant topics to the direct selling industry and business in general. And you can access them right now!

With titles such as “Redirecting Direct Selling: High-Touch Embraces High-Tech,” “When Acquisition Spoils Retention: Direct Selling vs. Delegation Under CRM,” “Multilevel (network) Marketing: An Objective View”  and “Motivation of Direct Sellers,” you are sure to find research that will help your business. Whether you’re searching for third-party validation of the direct selling business model, considering expanding into international markets, exploring how to court Baby Boomers for your salesforce, and more, you’ll find information in the archives that can help.


Tim Haran

“From my point of view, I think specific company case studies are really valuable,” says Tim Haran of USANA Health Sciences. “The direct-selling model is such that it’s tough to incorporate many of the off-the-shelf social solutions we’re presented with regularly. I appreciate seeing how similar companies — with the same business model — work with vendors to tweak platforms/software, etc. to maximize its impact for our business. It helps us better understand what might and might not work for us. Any general best-practices or tutorial-type information (consumer vs. salesman, marketing management, etc.) we can provide to our distributors is also helpful.”

You can access any of the documents in the archive from DSEF’s website, by clicking here.

Free eBook: 15 Days to Greater Success

Free eBook: 15 Days to Greater Success

What are your goals? Do you have a plan to put your goals into action?

Having a plan is very important when working towards your goals, but you need something else as well: momentum. While you may be able to get started, when there’s hard work to be done in reaching for what you want, your ability to build the momentum that keeps you moving forward is just as important as your plan.

15 days to greater success coverThat’s why we’re excited to share with you this free eBook we’ve developed called 15 Days to Greater Success. It helps you take your goals and break them down into 15-day journeys designed to help you build the momentum you need to succeed. For some goals, 15 days may be all you need. For larger goals, you can break them down into 15-day segments that lead you along the path to success. By following the plan laid out in this book, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals and enjoying the success you’re working for.

And best of all? It’s our FREE gift to you!

To get your free copy of the eBook, click here: 15 Days to Greater Success. You can download it from our Facebook Page. And while you’re there, you can download our other free eBooks too: Business Owner’s Road Map to Success, Creating Your Success Mindset, and Reflections on Success. They’re all designed to give you an edge in your business, and help you focus on the daily practices that lead to your goals.

Please share this link with the business owners you know:

How to build the momentum to reach your goals? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Ways to Get More Sales from Existing Customers

5 Ways to Get More Sales from Existing Customers

MP900178800[1]Most businesses focus on getting new customers, but retaining your current customers is often even more important. Research shows that it costs 6 to 7 times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. With this is mind, it makes sense to have a specific strategy in place to keep in touch with former customers, so that they continue to purchase from you. Here are some tips that can help you get more sales from your existing customers.

  1. Take the time to understand what your customers value. Keep a record of every customer you work with, and note their needs, challenges, and preferences. Then, when you have a new product or solution that meets those needs, you can reach out to that customer and let them know about it. This kind of attention is rarely given to customers anymore, and they will appreciate the fact that you remembered.
  2. Stay in touch on social media. Invite every customer to connect with you on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Share fun events you’re holding, and creative uses of your products. Don’t just post your catalog…rather, focus on providing value. For example, you might set up a customer recipe board on Pinterest, and repin recipes that your customers post that you think other customers might enjoy. Your customers will enjoy being featured, and you extend the value of your business to your network.
  3. Be a social connector within the community. Take some time to talk to each customer and get to know what they are involved with. For example, you might learn that a customer is a member of her local church choir. When you talk to another customer who is new to town and looking for a place to sing, you can introduce the two. This is a great way to help a new person get comfortable in town while naturally expressing the value your business brings to the community.
  4. Participate and donate. Most communities have local events and causes that are important to the community. Make sure your business has a visible presence in these events and causes. For example, one local community’s food bank was facing a slowdown in donations due to the economic collapse, and in the summer months donations were even lower. Local businesses agreed to host local food collection boxes throughout the summer, and some even offered discounts to residents who brought in a certain amount of cans. Some businesses even posted about donating on their social media presences. As a result, the food bank publicized the businesses in its weekly church bulletin, and posted about the businesses on its social media profiles. The church members made a point of shopping at those businesses, which increased the visibility and repeat purchases of these businesses. It was a win for everyone, and the food bank stayed full for the summer.
  5. Be seen often. As a small business, your best business marketing tool is yourself! So be present. Show up for as many local events as you can. Shop at other local businesses, dine at local restaurants, spend time at the community pool. The more people see you, the more they will remember your business. You can also use the time to get to know your customers better, so you can better service their needs. This all leads to repeat customers who come to think of you as a friend, and who go out of their way to shop with you.

The key to repeat business is providing a great initial purchasing experience, and then providing the personal attention and reminders that customers need to want to come back. Customers that feel like they have a personal connection to you are a lot more likely to make a point of shopping with you again and again. So build those connections! The result is a business that continues to grow as customers also refer their friends.

How do you keep your customers coming back? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

6 Ways to Work Better From Home

6 Ways to Work Better From Home

MP900316861[1]Home-based business owners have many advantages. Often the schedule is more flexible, you don’t have to face a daily commute, and you can be available for your family during the work day when necessary. But it’s still work, and your success often depends greatly on your ability to focus and remain disciplined. Here are some tips for working better from home.

  1. Dress for work. Although we often get the idea that working from home means working in your pajamas, don’t fall into that trap! Dress for work each day to help yourself make the mental shift that you’re going to work.
  2. Connect with others. It can be easy to become isolated when you’re working from home, which can make you less effective. Make time to connect with others regularly, either on the phone or by making time to get coffee. Connecting with others will help you stay sharp, grow your business, and prevent you from getting wrapped up inside your own head.
  3. Separate your work and personal to-do lists. If you were working in an office, you would very likely only have work-related tasks on your to-do list. Your personal to-dos would be kept separate. Do the same thing when working from home, and keep yourself focused on work during the time you have set aside for your business.
  4. Make a schedule. Even though your schedule may be more flexible, it’s still important to give yourself a regular work schedule, and a routine that you can get used to. This will keep you on task. You may want to schedule administrative work and other tasks at the same time the rest of the working world is working. This will also help those around you understand that you are at work, and give you more time for others when they are home from work. Lay out on your calendar when you will accomplish certain tasks related to your business, and hold yourself accountable.
  5. Communicate your schedule. If your family is home during the day while you’re working, it’s essential that they understand when you are at work. Post your work schedule so that your family understands when you are working, and doesn’t interrupt you. Close the door to your office, and put up a “work in progress” sign. If you have young children, you may want to provide a special set of toys that they may only play with when you are at work, and schedule some time after work for your kids to enjoy with you as a reward for not interrupting.
  6. Assess daily and weekly progress. At the end of each day and week, take a look at what you have accomplished on your to-do lists, and identify the places you got off track. Are there places you became distracted, or did your family need time you had set aside for work? Make adjustments regularly based on these results, so that you can be sure that the time you set aside for work is as efficient and realistic as possible.

With focus and discipline, working from home can be a real advantage. However it’s not always easy to avoid distractions and get the job done. Identify the distractions and keep making adjustments to keep yourself on course, and you’ll do a better job working from home, leading to a successful business.

What tips do you have for working better from home? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!


3 Things You Must Do Now to Prepare for Fall Business

3 Things You Must Do Now to Prepare for Fall Business

beprepareSmart business owners are always thinking ahead. It’s not enough to be satisfied with where you currently are, and the business that you currently have. If you want your business to continue at the same or better levels of productivity, you need to prepare in advance. This is how you keep your momentum going, and help your business continue to thrive.

Here are three things you should do right now to prepare your business for growth next season:

  1. Stock up: Now is the time to make sure you have on hand the products and samples you will need for the next season. So find out or plan what you will be offering for your holiday selling season, and make sure you’ve got the samples and products on hand that you need to show your customers. Remember, you are most likely to sell what you show, so be sure you have plenty to show so you’re prepared to meet the needs of your customers.
  2. Make calls and appointments to schedule fall business: Even though you may still be in summer mode, now is the time to scheduling your fall sales appointments. That way, when everyone gets back from vacation, you’ve got a full calendar and are ready to hit the ground running. So reach out to both previous customers and current prospects, and get as many dates on your calendar as possible. Use your new fall product line as a reason that people will want to make sure to get their first choice of date.
  3. Plan 2-3 marketing campaigns: Most people in sales get pretty busy during the fall selling season, with the holidays approaching. So use this time to plan two or three marketing campaigns you can implement to grow your business even bigger. You may decide to hold a contest or event, or host a boutique. Whatever you decide to do to promote your business to a wider audience, get the details squared away now, and create as many materials for the campaign as possible now when you have time to focus. This way, you’ll be better able to focus on serving customers as business picks up.

Don’t run a business built on reaction. Rather, plan for fall business so that your business grows by design in the direction you desire.

What are you doing now to plan for your fall selling season? Would love to read your comments below.

Today’s Highlighted Video from the DSEF: Product Buy-Backs

Today’s Highlighted Video from the DSEF: Product Buy-Backs

Today’s highlighted video from DSEF:

Can’t see this? Click here:

Do you know what the DSA Code of Ethics says about Product Buy-Backs?

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DSEF & BBB: Back to School? Shop Smart!

DSEF & BBB: Back to School? Shop Smart!

back-to-school-150x150By Kelsey Owen

Getting ready to go back to school? Join the crowd! In 2012, $83.8 billion dollars were spent on back-to-school shopping in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. That breaks down to the average person spending around $688.62 on their children in grades K-12.

Of course, not everyone will spend that much, but before you dive into buying new clothes and supplies, check out these back-to-school budget tips from BBB:

Make a shopping list. Even if you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other school needs. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high quality backpack will last for years).

Create a budget. Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If you goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut.

Set up email alerts at your favorite stores. Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices, popular models and links to helpful resources. These alerts will assure you don’t miss out on the hottest, and/or limited, opportunities.

Take advantage of discounts. Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will be trying to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.

Shop tax-free. Some states offer a tax-free holiday specifically for the back-to-school shopping rush in August. Check out the “2013 State Sales Tax Holidays” list to see if your state offers any tax-free shopping deals.


DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit for more information.