Director of Marketing, SortlyShahzad Karachiwala
Whether you sell Scentsy Fragrance, Mary Kay cosmetics, Vera Bradley purses and handbags, are building a business with Monat, or operate another type of direct sales business, you have a number of challenges to overcome if you want to build profitability and create a thriving business. While growing your direct sales business through marketing and networking are both crucial considerations, keeping your direct sales business organized is of the single largest hurdles for you to overcome.
If your business is disorganized, chaos will ensue. It becomes impossible to track even the most basic business information. For instance, do you know how much of a particular shade of lipstick or eyeshadow you have on hand? When did a particular customer last order merchandise? How many handbags did you order last month, as compared to the month before?
Organization is the key to success, and it doesn’t have to be a struggle to achieve it. Below, we’ll discuss nine of the most important tips for better organization for any growing direct sales business, including using top-notch inventory management software.
The typical business person wastes 150 hours a year (almost an entire month), searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000 a year, this loss is equivalent to $3,842 annually – Forbes
One of the most important tips for any direct sales business is to ditch that outdated paper filing system and go paperless” username. You’ll find any number of software solutions available to organize your billing, invoicing and tax paperwork. Cutting out the paper filing system does several things for you.
First, it frees up physical space in your home or office that can be used for something else. Second, the ability to search by keyword, hashtag or topic within a software suite makes it faster to find the document(s) you’re looking for.
Its also better for the environment – It takes 2.6 gallons of water to produce 1 sheet of paper (Orange County Water District).
Lastly, going paperless saves you money – In the U.S., companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which outdate themselves within three months’ time. – The Paperless Project
Do you struggle to complete large tasks or projects? You can get around that challenge by breaking big jobs up into smaller tasks. You can make it even simpler by creating an actual list of tasks that need to be completed (and their order) in order to achieve a specific goal or finish a particular project. Breaking things up into smaller chunks makes managing and organizing everything simpler and easier.
As the great Henry Ford puts its – “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”
Let’s put this as plainly as possible – if you don’t know what you have on hand, you can’t sell it. You cannot achieve success in any type of direct sales business if you’re unable to track your inventory levels, know what is selling, to whom, when, and when you last reordered supplies. Spreadsheet are too time consuming, cumbersome and not intuitive. Use a simple inventory app like Sortly to accurately track your inventory levels at all times, no matter what type of direct sales business you’re running. Simple, elegant and powerful, this solution ensures that you’re able to stay on top of everything.
Inventory management has risen drastically in value, with U.S. retailers having $1.43 invested in inventory for every $1 of their sales- SCDigest
Yes, tracking and managing your inventory is vital. However, you also need to stay on top of your audience. You need to track your prospects. Who is interested in buying what? How many of that particular item did they want to buy? What other related items might you suggest based on that purchase? Who has friends that might be interested in similar items? Running a successful direct sales business requires more than just hosting “parties”. You need to proactively track, organize and segment your audience so you can market to each person’s unique wants, needs and preferences.
Capsule is a great, easy-to use CRM system which is a good tool for small to medium-sized businesses, especially those using Google Apps. It’s not the most feature packed CRM out there, it’s extremely good value for money and perfect fro growing Direct Sales Businesses.
Whether we’re talking about perishable items (makeup, foodstuffs, etc.) or outdated styles (we’re looking at you, last season’s handbags), it’s vital that you have the means to stay on top of what’s outdated. Your inventory control app can help here, but you also need a good physical inventory system and to be able to regularly go through, pull out outdated items, and either discount them for a faster sale, or send them back to the company for a refund (if that’s possible with your platform) to ensure better direct sales business organization.
It can be impossible to stay organized with a busy personal life and a hectic business schedule. Between dropping the kids off at school, meeting your morning appointments to show off the products they’re interested in, picking the kids back up from school and handling all the extracurricular activities, things can get lost in the shuffle. One way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to create a daily to-do list. You can list what you need to accomplish, and then just mark each item off as you accomplish it.
It can be very easy for your direct sales business success to grow to the point that you actually need a helping hand without your realizing it. Take a critical look at your business and determine if another pair of eyes (or hands) would be of benefit. Then, consider your options. Would your spouse or significant other be up for the task? Do you have older children that could help? Do you have friends or family members who might be available? In a worst-case scenario, you might need to actually hire an assistant to free up time to help you stay organized.
Hiring the right assistant takes time and effort. If you need someone TODAY you may also want to explore hiring a Virtual Assistant. If you’re open to it, here is a informative post from Sujan Patel on Entrepreneur.com to help you get started.
One of the most common reasons for disorganization is simply not having enough time for it. Don’t fall into that trap. Schedule your day and make sure to build in time every morning or evening for organizational purposes.
“Surprisingly, the most neglected tool in time management is the calendar. I’ve spoken to hundreds of audiences and worked with countless clients in their office space and planning is not a major part of their day. The majority of people who do plan, plan only for meetings and appointments. They do not schedule time for the work to be done in between. They create a to-do list on paper or in their head and never plan to do it. Thus, the to-do list becomes an avoidance list,” – Patty Kreamer (Professional organizer)
How much of your day is locked up in your head? How much of your week or month hinges on your ability to remember something? Don’t do that. Too many direct sales businesspeople struggle and eventually fail simply because they did not keep a physical planner. Don’t rely solely on your gray matter. Create a planner for your day, your week and your month, and then fill in as necessary to adjust.
Finding success in a direct sales business doesn’t require that you be extraordinarily lucky, and it doesn’t require that you have a massive team supporting your efforts. Really, you just need to be better organized, and the tips we’ve covered above will help you create a thriving business.
Have a favorite method that is not on this list? Tried several and found what works for you? Chime in and let us know what you think. If like your ideas, we’ll add it to the post and continue to grow this list.
Want to get organized today? Start your free trial with Sortly!