All posts tagged business

Tips for Maximizing your Warm Market List

Tips for Maximizing your Warm Market List

Any kind of business requires relationship building. Those who have great social and communication skills are a step ahead. But for most of us it’s trial and error before we develop those skills. Here are a few tips to make it easier.

  • Once you’ve made your warm market list and written down everyone you know, create another list of people you think are using the type of products/services you will be selling. Then compile a final and most likely list. These are all the people you think will purchase from you immediately and support your new business.
  • Invite the people on your “mostly likely” list to a small party or BBQ. At the gathering, announce your new business. Make it social…don’t try to sell anything yet. Just ask to make appointments to meet with them individually to talk about the new business.
  • Once you begin to follow up on your appointments from your mostly likely list, seek people who are most excited about your new business and are willing to support you. These people are those most likely to do business with you, and send you their referrals.
  • Provide your most excited people with excellent customer service consistently and they will likely be your loyal customers and repeat customers.
  • Start to connect with all the people on your warm market list on Facebook or other social networks to begin the process of building relationships.
  • Meanwhile, also call the rest of your list and ask to meet with people for coffee or breakfast to discuss your new venture.
  • Always keep your appointments social, friendly and pressure free. Ask about them first, and discover needs that your products/services may meet. Then share how your products/services help people solve their problems. So even if they aren’t interested for themselves they will see the benefits and may still give you a referral or two. Ask them to put in a good word for you to their referrals.
  • As you build your social network online, offer solutions with your products/services that solve the problems of your friends. Share tips/useable information related to your products/services without selling online. Think of social network as a subtle way to introduce your new products/services and NOT e-commerce.
  • Start going to family, friend and other social gatherings. Be social and don’t sell, but if they ask about your new business, offer to make an appointment to meet. Always have your appointment book with you, offer dates you are available and don’t leave any request for information open-ended.
  • Start getting involved with your warm market’s organizations and causes, and genuinely participate. Being with them at these events can imply you can be trusted and may help you generate face to face referrals.
  • Use the principle of quantity and many numbers. At this point you want to connect with as many people as you can through your warm market. These people are more likely to be converted because they trust you and/or your warm market referrals. Don’t rely on your salesmanship skills, rely on the numbers. This way if you get a few no’s you won’t be discouraged, because there are still a lot of people to talk to.
  • At some point you will encounter no’s from your warm market and that’s to be expected. But keep them updated with your progress. You never know why they said no in the first place: maybe wanted to see you do it first or maybe it was poor timing.

Take it a step at a time. Connect socially, develop relationships, ask for an appointment, and then ask for the sale. After the sale, follow up to make sure they’re happy with their purchase. The key to success is to go through the process, learn from your mistakes and stick with it for a while. In the end it will help you build your business skills and lead to more opportunities for success.

How do you work with your warm market? What tips would you give to someone new to this? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

13 Easy and Low Cost Tips for Keeping Customers Happy

13 Easy and Low Cost Tips for Keeping Customers Happy

In these extremely competitive times, businesses need to keep their customers happy or when they walk out the door they’re gone forever! Remember, it costs ten times as much to attract new customers than keep loyal ones happy.

Here are some easy and low cost tips for keeping your customers happy!

  1. Get involved with a community cause – Promote a donation drive where customers bring in food, clothes or school supplies for the needy, and reward them with a discount.
  1. Stay in touch with your customers – Connect with them on Facebook or other social networks. Send them a loyalty coupon or send out an e-newsletter full of useful tips once a month.
  1. Follow up with your customers – Once they’ve purchased a product/service, follow with a phone call or email to see if they have any questions. Several months later, follow up to find out if they are still happy with the product/service. And in between, stay connected more casually using social networking tools.
  1. Ask for customer feedback – Ask your customers how you could improve your products or services. Show them you value them, and their comments, and then act on it.
  1. Start a rewards program for referrals – For loyal customers who refer your products/services to someone new who then purchases a product/service, give them a reward.
  1. Re-focus your products/services to help solve problems for customers – Ask yourself what kind of problems you solve for your customers. Then offer solutions that integrate your products/services to solve those problems. Help them feel they’re making an informed purchase decision. Make your customer needs the focus of your business.
  1. Continue to network locally – Help out in community events. Support a cause and connect with as many people as possible. Distribute useful and helpful literature. This is still a great way to get your business out there. Since each person knows about 200 other people, you can spread the word about your business effectively.
  1. Make it easy for people to do business with you – Make sure the check out process is quick and easy, make sure your business is able to take orders over the phone and online, and make returns and refunds easy. Make it a pleasure to do business with you.
  1. Highlight testimonials – Make your loyal customers the celebrities for your business. It makes your customer feel special and valued and generates great public relations for your business which attracts new customers.
  1. Focus on converting every customer into a lifetime valued customer – If you focus on making customers feel like part of your family and nurture your relationships with them they will become repeat, lifelong loyal customers.
  1. Create a customer database – Keep track of what they purchase, what they like, their birthdays and any special dates. Then send them coupons, cards or specials on those days. Again it’s about nurturing relationships so that your customers become repeat, lifelong loyal customers.
  1. Do more than what is expected to set yourself apart – Go beyond the simple transactions and take customer service a bit further.  Offer free delivery or send a card. Call them up to answer any questions they may have or to simply thank them for their purchase. This kind of treatment shows your customers they’re valued and takes your business from good to memorable.
  1. Be consistent and great every time – Consistently provide excellent customer service. Customers will get used to your level of service and will not go any place else.

Using these tips will help you keep your customers happy and convert new customers to loyal customers. Word of mouth will be that your business is the place to go for customer needs and great service! Implement these tips for success because chances are most businesses will not.

How to Break Bad Money Habits

How to Break Bad Money Habits

We know how it is. You’re busy. You meant to make that bank deposit yesterday, but there just wasn’t time. Now you’re staring at $56 in small bills and have no idea who gave it to you. You’d deposit the cash anyway, but your bank, which is on the other side of town, is closed on Saturdays.

If this scenario reflects the way you run your business, maybe it’s time to take a look at your money management process as you break your bad habits. Here’s how to get started:


  • You should have a business checking account in your name that’s separate from any other personal or business accounts
  • Your account should be with a bank that’s conveniently located and has opening hours that fit your needs
  • Look into the services the bank offers — and use them! Most accounts can now be securely accessed online and via phone; some banks offer an online check deposit service

Cash Handling

  • Keep envelopes in your bag to separate cash and checks from various sources; write identifying details on each envelope
  • If you do a lot of business on a cash basis, get into the habit of making daily deposits; invest in a small safe to hold cash between deposits
  • Be safe! Make cash deposits during daylight hours when possible

Check Handling

  • Double check every check as it’s handed to you to be sure the date and amount are correct and make sure the numeral amount is the same as the written amount
  • Make sure each check is signed
  • Follow your company’s guidelines for accepting checks (ask for photo ID, stamp with “for deposit only,” etc.


How to Grow your Small Business in a Down Economy

How to Grow your Small Business in a Down Economy

Don’t let the constant drumming bad news of our anemic economy get you down. You can still grow your business in a slow economy. While big businesses are cutting back and figuring ways to save money by sacrificing customer service, your small business can pick up their dissatisfied customers. Here are some tips to grow your small business in a down economy.

  1. Maintain a positive and growth attitude
  2. Revise your business plan for the new reality
  3. Be more proactive and flexible
  4. Become more organized and disciplined
  5. Focus on your local market, but think globally for growth
  6. Be more involved in your community to take advantage of the increased exposure
  7. Get social – use social media to promote your business by word of mouth and provide even better customer service
  8. Provide solutions – don’t just focus on selling products/services…use your products/services to provide solutions for your customers and potential customers
  9. Lead with innovations – market your business by promoting new incentives and products/services
  10. Focus on your loyal customers and keep them happy
  11. Provide a easy way for customers to provide feedback, and then act on it!

The key to growing your business in a down economy is satisfying your customer’s needs, providing great customer service, developing and growing a strong loyal customer base.

How are you growing your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

Recordkeeping for your Business: What do you need to track?

Recordkeeping for your Business: What do you need to track?

As a business professional, keeping accurate records is essential to your success. Doing this allows you to:

  • Monitor the progress of your business
  • Prepare any financial statements
  • Identify the source of receipts
  • Keep track of deductible expenses
  • Prepare your tax returns
  • Support items reported on tax returns

Recordkeeping Systems
Which system works best? The quick answer is “the one that works for you.” Opting for expensive and elaborate recordkeeping software may not be the best choice if you’re just starting your business — and if your business is large and well-established, tossing paperwork into a shoebox will likely cause headaches at tax time.

The system you choose should be one that allows you to easily track your income and expenses and keep your business documents in an orderly fashion and in a safe place.

What to Keep?
Saving these items is a must as you’ll need them to prepare your tax returns (and as support for items reported on tax returns):

  • Paid bills
  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Deposit slips
  • Cancelled checks

What Else?
The links below are to sites that are great sources of recordkeeping information. They’ll help you determine exactly which items you need to keep to ensure your business runs smoothly — and legally!

  • Moneywise Women Get SmartFree monthly educational teleseminars on a range of financial topics.
  • The IRS Which records to keep, how long to keep them and why. Articles, videos, publications and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • SCOREThis nonprofit resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides info on local-area recordkeeping workshops and more.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration Information on how to manage your tax obligations, tax recordkeeping and more.

Getting Your Kids Involved in Your Business

Getting Your Kids Involved in Your Business

Life is crowded, and if you’re a business owner, you’re busy! You may be a parent, a spouse and a business owner.  How do you juggle it all?  And how do you help your children understand that what you are doing is important?

One way is to include your kids in your business.  Show them that what you are doing is worthy of your time, and important to others.  When you include your kids in your work, you demonstrate that they are important to you, and you invite your kids into your day-to-day. This brings huge rewards!

How do you do it?  It’s not as hard as you think.

  • Talk to your child about what you do. Make this a natural part of your day.  Over dinner, ask your son or daughter to tell you about his or her day, and tell him or her about yours.  Use simple terms.  Talk about the good that you do.  Talk about the struggles you have.  Talk about your task at hand.  Children learn so much from you and your example.
  • Show your child what you do. Maybe you work from home and you have an office set up right in your house.  Show your child how you set it up and why.  Show her that there are special programs you use for different tasks you accomplish during your day.  If you work in an office, bring your child to work with you.  Show him the different offices and explain what each employee does and why.  Keep your explanations simple.  Depending on his or her age, the details may go over your child’s head, but he/she will get that all these different people and all of the different software and computers you use get your task completed.  This makes it personal for your child.  It makes your child feel connected with your business.
  • Let your child help you. Every child learns differently.  But most children, most people, learn by doing.  Find some small way that your child can contribute to your business.  Maybe your son can deliver supplies to your employees or come with you when you purchase items for your office.  If your child is older, maybe she can assist as you do some number crunching or word processing work for your company, or help you with some internet research.  These are all great life skills and they also connect your child to your business in a personal way.

Connection is essential to making your business important to your child.  You are busy and your son or daughter is busy.  You already know your child is priority number one.  Now it’s time to show your child that they can be part of another of your priorities.  Make the time to connect them to your business.  You will teach your child life skills that last a lifetime.

How do you help your child feel connected to you and your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Online Resources for Women in Small Business

Online Resources for Women in Small Business

Are you a female small business owner?   Are you looking for a pool of resources that will be able to advance your growing business?  Well, look no further.  There is a wealth of information on the internet that can help you grow your business and do it quickly.  There are plenty of on-line resources that are safe to access and right at your fingertips.

  • MoneyWise Women Get Smart – Sponsored by the Direct Selling Education Foundation, this free teleconference series helps you make smart decisions about money. Held the 2nd Tuesday of each month, you’ll find amazing content delivered by experts to help you make better decisions, and more money! Register here:
  • Women’s Business Centers – Since it was established in response to an executive order in 1979, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership has fostered the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded. OWBO reaches out to women entrepreneurs through a number of programs that are coordinated through every SBA district office. OWBO’s programs provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities, including federal contracts.
  • – is a resource that has a specific link for women in business   This site is updated regularly and has tabs entitled: Start-up and Funding, Manage and Grow, and News and Legal Issues.  It takes you from the start-up practices you should have in place and maintains support of your business with helpful hints and insights. also offers examples of commentaries on successful women in business.  They are both insightful and inspirational to the entrepreneur.
  • Women Grow Business Blog – The dynamic experience of how women emerge their business is the primary conversation of the Women Grow Business blog. With articles contributed regularly by successful female entrepreneurs, you are sure to find daily insight that will support you as a female business owner. Find it at
  • – is a comprehensive website that offers you a wealth of information and resources for your growing business.  There is information regarding grants and bloggers input as well of business owners just like you.  Articles contain information and frequently asked questions regarding typical success strategies as well as articles regarding typical challenges for the small business owner are also here.
  • NAWBO – The National Association of Women Business Owners is a dues member organization that prides itself on supporting women business owners across the country by providing the most recent information and resources available as well as providing a network of successful women as a support structure for those women starting out. Check out all the valuable resources here:

There is a wealth of information for women in business online.  Whether you are researching on how to get started or trying to find tools to help your business grow, resources are a click away.  Take advantage, and watch your business grow.

What are your favorite online resources for business? Please share them in the comments below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Business Tips for Staying Motivated for Success

Business Tips for Staying Motivated for Success

It’s summertime! We look forward to the summer to spend time with family and friends. We kick back a little. And unfortunately, when that happens, our business can suffer. But in order to have a strong holiday selling season, you need to be active now, building the contacts that lead to new business.

Here are some tips that can help you stay motivated through the summer months, and throughout the year!

  1. Create a success chart – write down and highlight every success no matter how small or large and hang it next to your calendar.
  2. Just like you frame your diploma or degree – In large bold type frame WHY you do your business and why you want to succeed.
  3. As you chart your successes – visualize, journal and enjoy every intimate sense of your accomplishment.
  4. Acknowledge and be realistic about the challenges your business faces, but also consider all the benefits of every business decision you make.
  5. Do not waste your time worrying – the more positive you are the more opportunities you will discover.
  6. Embrace every mistake or misstep as a learning experience – focus on how you can learn from the experience, what you’ve learned and how you can overcome it.
  7. Create a community of supporters, mentors, business associates and share your experiences with them. Enable them to chart your successes, share your learning experiences and celebrate with them.
As a business owner, you will of course face challenges along the way. That’s why it’s important to be mindful about keeping yourself motivated. By taking some time to keep yourself on track, you’ll enjoy greater success!

Online Advertising and Marketing: A Checklist to Protect your Business and Consumers

Online Advertising and Marketing: A Checklist to Protect your Business and Consumers

These days, it seems like everyone is marketing online. From Facebook Pages, Google Adwords, blogs, and more, there are seemingly unlimited options when it comes to promoting your business online. Yet online marketing provides some challenges as well. Since there is some anonymity built into the internet, ethical considerations become even more important.

Here are some guidelines for business owners to remember when advertising and marketing online. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has provided these guidelines to protect businesses and consumers.

  • Maintain credibility on the Internet. The honest and ethical practices you maintain in your offline business must also be adhered to online. So be sure that your marketing doesn’t mislead, or contain omissions that prevent consumers from making informed choices. Make sure that people know exactly where they’re going when they click on your ad, and help them feel confident that they’re dealing with an ethical business person.
  • All claims must be substantiated, especially concerning health, safety and/or performance. The evidence will depend on the product, the claims and what experts believe necessary. Testimonials and endorsements must reflect typical experiences, unless clearly stated, and cannot be used if the advertiser itself cannot substantiate it. So don’t claim that your product cures a disease if you don’t have a clinical study to back it up. When in doubt, check with your company so you only post what you’re allowed to say.
  • Sellers are responsible and liable for all claims about their products or services. If you’re even slightly unsure whether you should say something, you probably shouldn’t. After all, you could cause serious trouble for your business.
  • Disclaimers and disclosures must be clearly stated. While there are many facets to this, one important one is that government rules require that you disclose your relationship with any company where you’ll profit through a recommendation. This means that if you recommend a product, people must clearly understand that you’ll make money if people follow your recommendation.
  • Advertising directly to children involves special rules. So if you’re sharing your information on a social network where children are allowed, or your products are for children, be sure to check with your company to find out what you can and cannot say legally.

For more information about marketing online legally, visit Here you’ll find lots of resources that help protect you, and your customers!

Our mission at the Direct Selling Education Foundation is to help protect your business and your clients, and provide crucial education for your business success! If you find DSEF a valuable partner for your business, please click here and make a donation. Your support makes all the difference in our ability to support you!