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Direct Sales Guidance: One Company or Two?

I got an email from a subscriber the other day asking me about “chasing rabbits”. In direct sales, sometimes we move from company to company, or pursue more than one company reaching for success. A good leader will tell you to find one company you love and stick with it. But sometimes, that’s not always great advice.

Take a guy like Sir Richard Branson for example. Here’s a multi-gajillionaire that owns dozens (possibly hundreds, I didn’t look it up) of companies all under the now-iconic Virgin brand. That would seem to say that yes, you can in fact own and operate multiple companies.

There are a couple of instances where operating more than one direct sales/home party business can be a good thing. But there’s a sticky wicket here I want to address.

On the whole, I would say start with one company and work it like a business before you move on to another company. I have invested in at least a dozen different network marketing/direct sales type companies in my lifetime – very few did I run like a business. The ones I did run like a business, worked well for me, and the others, not so much.

When my subscriber asked me about whether or not to start with another company, I remembered the old adage: “you can’t chase two rabbits”. But like most adages, there are some exceptions. You can chase two rabbits if they’re going in the same direction towards the same destination.

Here are some questions I ask myself before moving into a new company:

1. Am I doing this just for the kit or discount? If so, make sure to let your recruiter know. And then don’t set yourself up with any false hopes of winning any trips, prizes or incentives.
2. If no, do I have the time to commit to building a new business properly? Meaning, since you’ve decided you want to build a business with this, determine how much of your life (on a daily basis), you’re actually going to spend working on this business instead of your others. If you can’t commit the time, wait – no mater how good the kit opportunity might be.
3. If I can commit specific amounts of time, what are my expectations from this company? You need to get clear about what you want from the company in terms of pay, support, recognition and any other issues that are important to you. It can be as simple as wanting timely shipping of products, or superb consultant support from the Home office. Whatever it is, get clear.
4. Can they deliver on those expectations?
Not every company can meet your expectations. That’s one of the reasons I encourage a new recruit to have a show BEFORE they sign the papers. Because then you can see what it’s like to be a hostess, a guest, AND a consultant. It gives you a better idea of how the company behaves on a day-to-day basis. Remember, your recruiter may be a great consultant that takes very good care of you as a customer, but the company may not be so great, and she’s bending over backwards to be of assistance to you. You won’t realize that until you are the consultant, having to do all the bending yourself.
5. Am I doing this because I’m dissatisfied with my current company?
If you have issues with your current company, or you’re in a slump right now, the natural tendency for most people is to develop a “grass is greener” mentality. Make sure you’re looking for another company for the right reasons. I decided I wanted to be more of a full-service image consultant and personal shopper, not just a “spa lady”. It took time to carefully lay out what I wanted to accomplish – and find companies that would work with that vision.

Being dissatisfied with your current company is usually a symptom of something else – perhaps low commissions are because you’re not follwing through, or the market is saturated in your area, etc. Perhaps it’s a leader that grates your toast or doesn’t try to understand you and just slaps her standard prescription on your specific problem. Being dissatisfied can be a great way to improve your business, but it can also be frustrating. You need to look at those issues and grow from there.

Ultimately, you have to know your true motives, needs and desires. Once you know WHAT you want, it’s far easier to get it.

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Want to use this article in your ezine or website?
I’d be honored – so long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lisa Robbin Young is Editor and Founder of “PartyOn!”, a free newsletter for party plan professionals. A personal branding coach, Lisa is on a mission to educate consultants on big business ideas they can apply to their small business enterprise for stellar success. Get your free tips at http://www.homepartysolution.com.

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