Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Go off like a rocket! Get your business off to a great start!

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/
I hear again and again from consultants I wish I had gotten started with my Shelf Reliance business faster.   It takes a while to get the ball rolling and the faster you can get things moving the better off you will be.  Here is my list of things you can do to get your business off to a great start.  There is a lot of planning to be done before you actually ask anyone to host a party.  I find if you plan well then the parties fall into place. 

Get off to a great Start!
   1.  Make a list of everyone you could ask to host a party for you.  I like to fill out the 40 guest is 4 minutes worksheet.  It is on the SECOND page of the host prep sheet. You can find it here.  https://www.shelfreliance.com/pdf/parties/Host-Prep-Sheet.pdf  This is you plan of action.  Who do you know who you could ask to host a party?  You will invite all of these people to your first party.  Don’t be shy.  You are starting a new business and your frineds and family will be interested in what you are doing.  They might not all want to host a party for you, but you never know unless you ask.  Once your list is written invite each of these people to your first party and then ASK them if they would help you get your business started by holding a party for you.  Some of them will say “no”.  Try not to get frustrated, keep asking some of them will say yes.  

2.       Write a letter to your friends and family that lets them know what you are up to.  If you need help thinking of something to say you can check out this example.  If you use the example you will have more success if you add in some personal details.  You might want to include:
a.    How you found Shelf Reliance
b.    Why you decided to get involved as a consultant
c.    What your goals with Shelf Reliance are
d.    What your favorite products are and why.
Try to keep the letter brief and informative, but I think it works best when it is written in your voice. Try not to sound like a form letter. 

3.        Decide on how many parties you want to have in the upcoming month.  Right now you should be planning your August and September parties. 

Note; Remember that for most school districts back to school time will be happening in these two months. I find I get greater turn out at parties if I am not competing with these events. When scheduling with a host ask her when back to school is in her school district, and then plan accordingly. 
If you are not sure how many parties you want to have get your calendar out and highlight the days you want to have a party on.  

4.        Think about the geography of where you want to have a party.  For example the small town I live in is surrounded by other small towns.  When I am scheduling parties for the upcoming month.  I choose one of the surrounding town and find someone in that town that I can ask to have a party.  This is what I say to them:
Hey Becky I am scheduling Shelf Reliance Parties in August and I am looking to have a Shelf Reliance Party in Richmond.  I haven’t had one out there yet and you were the first person I thought of.  Would you be interested in hosting a party in August?
If they say no, ask if there is a better time for them (I have scheduled parties 6 months out).   Be sure to work around their schedule and preference.  If they are not interested you can ask if they can think of anyone in their area that might be interested in hosting a party. 
If you don’t live in a small town like me think of the surrounding areas (suburbs, cities, etc.)

Okay now it is finally time to ask people to host a party.
1.     Host your own party:  This accomplishes two things.  You introduce your friend and family to the company and products.  And you get the host benefits, allowing you to build up you stock of products.   Invite everyone from you 40 guest in 4 minutes work sheet.  When I host my own party I try to go crazy.   Ask everyone that attends your first party if they will host their own.  Here are some things you might want to think about doing in preparation for your first party.
a.    Personally hand out invitations.  When you deliver the invitation explain what you are doing and invite the person to come and check it out.
b.    When handing out invitations take around price lists and catalogues
c.    When handing out invitations take around small sample bags.  The more people you can get to try the food the better. The food really does sell itself.
d.    Use social media.  If you are a social media user this is a good time to use it.  Post on facebook, tweet, blog, whatever it is you do, do it for your party.
e.    Follow up calls.  Follow up with all of the invited guests. Remind them of the party and ask for an RSVP.
f.     If this is your first party. Tell people that.  Tell them you are trying to get your presentation down and you need a bunch of people to help watch.  Because you are and you do.  After the presentation ask for their feedback.  Anything you need to improve on? What did you do great at?  Was anything confusing?  What was the strongest point?
2.     Send out the letter you wrote to your friends and family introducing them to Shelf Reliance.  I send mine via e-mail but if that is not appropriate for your situation send a snail mail letter.  Follow up this letter and ask the person to attend your fist party or host their own.  (you need to understand that many of these people will not come to a party or host one for you.  That is okay.  But if you don’t ask then you won’t know)

3.    Ask. Ask. Ask.  Ask everyone if they will have a party.  Some of my very best parties happened as a result of me asking someone I did not really think would be interested, but it turned out that they were and they went on to have awesome parties.
a.    Be polite and respectful
b.    Be organized. When you call someone on the phone to ask if they will have a party then have your calendar right there.  Know what days you are available.  Have a plan.  Once they schedule a party tell them what to expect,  for example:
                                          i.    I will bring by some invitations about 2 weeks before the party
                                         ii.     I will come about ½ an hour early to set up
                                        iii.    What foods would you like to try?  (if they don’t have a request tell them what you plan on)
                                       iv.    Get their address, e-mail address, and phone number.  I like to write these right on my calendar.  You will need all of this info to set up a party in the back end.
                                        v.    Let them know they can e-mail friends and family that are too far away to come and take orders from those people and it will count towards their party.
                                       vi.    Explain how the host benefit works
                                      vii.    Have them set a goal.  What do they want to get out of this party?

 Follow up.  Stay in touch with potential hosts. If someone says that they can’t host a party now but want to in the further. Write it on your calendar so you remember to call them in October (or whenever they thought they might be interested)      

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