Category Archives:Software & Operations

Shave Years Off Your Learning Curve At The Direct Selling Symposium

Launching a new Direct Selling Company (home party or MLM) and getting it off the ground can be a very complex and difficult process. Especially if you’re doing it on your own. Unlike many things, the world of Direct Sales is not something that you can just YouTube and find easy-to-follow tutorials on how to effectively build and grow a Direct Selling Company. There are many areas that must be considered, such as building your compensation plan (and keeping it legal), training your field, compliance, legal, your sales pitch, how to motivate your sales force, recruiting, retention, logistics, what software are you going to use, how do you keep a balanced budget, communication with your field, customer service, social marketing, and the list goes on and on. The best practices for each of these disciplines is truly unique for the world of direct selling.  Much of what drives the peculiarities is the fact that your products will be demonstrated and sold by an army of independent field sales reps – who will make a decision each day whether or not to work their business and stay with your company.

Because of these complexities, only 20% of all direct selling startups are in business after one year.  The other 80% have failed in their attempt to launch.  However, what we have found is that if the entrepreneurs will take the time early to learn and follow proven best practices and processes for starting and running a direct selling company – that success rate is as high as 80% still in business and growing after one year.

We want more successes and less failures!  We’re sure you do to!  Failures are bad for the industry and leave thousands of independent sales reps’ dreams laying in the wake.  Successes breed confidence and good will in the direct selling industry and help independent sales reps reach their dreams and aspirations.  To increase success rates – YOUR success, we have brought together in one place, at one event, the industry’s leading experts in these different fields to educate you on Best Practices of Starting, Building, and Growing your Direct Selling Business.

The Direct Selling Symposium is a place of education, learning, and mentoring – and includes front-of-the-room instruction as well as individual coaching sessions.  It is NOT a time when services are sold – in fact it is prohibited.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur starting from scratch or leveraging your existing business by diversifying into the direct selling space – attending the Direct Selling Symposium will shave years off your learning curve, and dramatically increase the likelihood of success.  We look forward to seeing you there!100_6124.JPG

Dave Taylor

 

10 Steps Towards Launch! Part 7 - Technology

The following is part 7 in our 10-part series entitled “10 Steps Towards Launch!” by Terrel Transtrum, President/Founder of ServiceQuest. If you are thinking about starting a new direct selling company, contact us today!

 

The seventh of ten business segments that will bear heavily on the success of your new MLM business is TECHNOLOGY.  MLM Software is one of the biggest challenges for all MLM startups.  Select the right solution for your company by selecting the right technology partner.  The following best practices will help to ensure success.

 

  • Write the Requirements and Business Processes
  • Conduct Due Diligence on the MLM Software Providers
  • Develop your Plan for Network, Hardware and Helpdesk
  • Work from a Technology Implementation Plan
  • Be sure that there is Good “Chemistry” with Your MLM Technology Partner
  • Document the Training and Reference Resources
  • Create an Expansion and Growth Path for your MLM Software Plan
  • Carefully plan for the Office Software Requirements
  • Test all Aspects of Software and Technology to Assure Proper Integration
  • Implement a Fully Functioning MLM Software and Enterprise System

 

Here are examples of descriptions that you might write for your MLM Launch Best Practice:

 

  1. Requirements & Business Processes – We have completed a thorough analysis of our business processes and system requirements, and the results are documented for guiding us through implementation and beyond.
  2. Software Integration & Testing – Our accounting software, shopping cart, terminal, and gateway are properly integrated, and we have run multiple test purchases and refunds to verify that everything functions properly and smoothly.


MLM Software will present an interesting challenge, but if you hit it with confidence and resolve (and preparation), you will succeed in launching and growing your MLM business.  For more information, contact Terrel Transtrum terrel@launchsmart.com

10 Steps Towards Launch! Part 5 - Operations

The following is part 5 in our 10-part series entitled “10 Steps Towards Launch!” by Terrel Transtrum, President/Founder of ServiceQuest. If you are thinking about starting a new direct selling company, contact us today!

 

The fifth of ten business segments that will help you launch and run a successful MLM company is OPERATIONS.  MLM operations is the vehicle that can transport the vision of a successful enterprise.

 

  • Implement Business Systems that are Scalable
  • Use Wisdom in Selecting and Planning Physical Facilities
  • Plan Your Inventory Management System to align with MLM Best Practices
  • Create a Reliable Daily Settlement System
  • Track Orders so That you are Always Ready to Support your MLM Distributors
  • Set up Essential Reports for Monitoring Key Metrics
  • Implement an Operations Manual for Documenting MLM Procedures
  • Integrate your Operations with Warehousing and Fulfillment
  • Schedule Executive Meetings that are Designed to Drive Results
  • Document the Steps in your Commission Processing System

 

Here are examples of descriptions that you might write for your MLM Launch Best Practice:

 

  1. Business Systems – We are implementing the vital, scalable systems to achieve predictable results with duplicatable actions, documented for training and accountability in processing enrollments, orders, payments, fulfillment, returns, commissions, and support.
  2. Daily Settlement System – To assure accuracy, continuity, and accountability, we have set up the daily settlement system of reporting deletions, adjustments, unposted and/or unresolved transactions, and discrepancies.
  3. Executive Meetings – We have set up our meeting structure for executives, managers, and teams to efficiently and effectively report and communicate, and we follow best practices for conducting effective meetings.


The steps in your Operations Plan are vital for setting a foundation of success and growth for your MLM business.  For more information, contact Terrel Transtrum terrel@launchsmart.com

MLM Software

This article is about MLM Software.

Recruiting customers and new sales people in MLM companies is essential to grow sales of the business. As groups of customers and distributors expand, it is not unusual for an MLM genealogy to consist of thousands, even hundreds of thousands extending many “levels” deep. Some of the most complex business processes integrate order processing, payment processing, fulfillment, commissions, returns, sponsoring, leads, promotions, ranks, inventory, sales tax, and web services.

This article will give you a checklist of the basic features that you should expect of MLM software, whether you “build” or “buy” a system. Whether your plan requires MLM software or party plan software, these considerations are important.

MLM Software Checklist & Key Considerations

  • Enrollment Processing
  • Lead Processing
  • Order Processing
  • Payment Processing
  • Returns, Exchanges & Credits
  • Commission Processing
  • Customer Service Administration
  • Web Services
  • Communications
  • Fulfillment & Inventory
  • Genealogy
  • Reporting

MLM Software Scorecard and Selection

For more than two decades in and around MLM software, we remain convinced that there is no “perfect” software solution. We keep a report card of many of the party plan software and MLM software providers, and we have our favorites; we also keep our eye on the real dogs. Since we receive no commissions or fees for referring software, we aggressively support you in determining the right fit for your company.

Terrel Transtrum is the founder of ServiceQuest® and co-founder of LaunchSmart™. As a top MLM consultant he specializes in startup consulting for party plan companies, multilevel marketing, MLM and network marketing. He is an experienced advisor in MLM software, network marketing legal, party plan business, distributor recruiting and retention, operations and fulfillment and MLM legal.

To explore your most urgent questions–the stuff that keeps you up at nights–don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call Terrel at his desk.  208-529-9698.  There’s a good chance he’ll pick up!

Staff Training & Development for Network Marketing and Party Plan

By Terrel Transtrum, Co-founder, LaunchSmart™

Your staff is the lifeblood of the operation, even if you start with a few select, trusted individuals. Select wisely and then commit to a long-term training and development plan to ensure depth and breadth of skills demanded by fast growth. Systems and processes are the foundation of an effective enterprise, with exceptional people to use and manage those systems. Let’s make something very clear: Even if you created the most sophisticated systems in the world, you still need qualified, committed people, not only to use those systems and processes, but to improve them.

Systems are not designed to remove the humanity from your company. Instead, they free you and your people from daily concerns such as, “How do we get orders coming in today? How do we answer commission questions? How do we train new field reps?” Your systems tell you how. With systems in place, everyone can focus their creative energies on “How can we do it better?” rather than, “How do we do it?”

Of course, one of the most important areas requiring your attention is on selecting the right people and creating a work environment where your people can grow with you as they help your business grow.

Here’s an important truth: you cannot motivate your people to do anything. If you want it done, you’re going to have to create an environment in which “doing it” is more important to your people than “not doing it,” where “doing it” well becomes a way of life for them.

People development has everything to do with creating a workplace where people motivate themselves to do it well, where they feel valued for doing it well, and where they’re constantly looking for ways to move beyond their limitations to do it better.

Systems development is really the easier part of building a successful enterprise. When it comes to people development, the challenges are exciting. This section will give you the checklist for setting up your staff training and development plan.

Staff Training & Development Checklist & Key Considerations

  • Have we put into motion our staffing plan?
    • CEO
    • Operations
    • Technology
    • Finance & Accounting
    • Sales / Marketing
    • Customer Service
  • Do we have a staff training plan?
    • Policy Administration
    • Compensation Plan
    • Field Policies
    • Internal Systems
    • Customer Service
  • Staff selection criteria
  • Job descriptions, internal grades
  • CSR training, development, advancement, certification
  • Staff compensation
  • Employment policies, employee handbook

ServiceSmarts™

Direct selling is a relationship business. And to make sure that your staff is unified in building a successful field organization, the three-fold purpose of customer service is the foundation of the ServiceSmarts™ staff training system. The three-fold purpose of customer service is (1) delight the field, (2) improve the company, and (3) develop service professionals at the office. ServiceSmarts™ is an Internet-based training system, giving each employee her / his own training account with access to specialized interactive lessons on topics such as the following:

  • Handling Cancellation Requests
  • Increasing Average Order Size
  • Consistent Policy Administration
  • . . . 25 Web-based Interactive Lessons!

Terrel Transtrum is the founder of ServiceQuest® and co-founder of LaunchSmart™. As a network marketing consultant he also specializes in startup consulting for party plan companies, multilevel marketing, MLM and network marketing. He is an experienced advisor in MLM software, network marketing legal, party plan business, distributor recruiting and retention, operations and fulfillment and MLM legal.

(The content of this article is extracted from ServiceQuest® RetentionSmarts™ Modules. For more information on RetentionSmarts™ training and mentoring systems, contact a member of the LaunchSmart Team.)

Software & Compliance for Network Marketing and Party Plan

By Terrel Transtrum, Co-founder, LaunchSmart™

The vehicle for transporting your company’s strategic plan into reality is network marketing software and operations. The success formula of the ages is Vision + Passion + Action = Success. The surest way to move to action is to use the right MLM software and implement sound operations. The best operations practices assure efficiency, productivity, speed and accuracy.

Generating recurring income is the most straightforward and well-understood management imperative of business operations. Decades of research and in-the-trenches work with network marketing companies have shaped the development matrix that guides the establishment of goals, design, management and competencies at three levels of operations: the organization level, the process level, and the performance level.

Designed to help entrepreneurial and early-stage companies, the LaunchSmart™ framework assists owners and executives to see into the future and to design the company on a foundation that will hold up under the strain of growth. Emphasizing best practices and proven competencies, the approach is to create a scalable operation that relies on processes and systems that are created and managed by people who wish to grow with the company.

In this article we will cover the following network marketing software and operations planning elements:

  • Operations
  • Staff Training and Development
  • MLM Software, party plan software, network marketing software

Operations

Network Marketing and Party Plan

This section will give you the checklist for creating your party plan operations plan and analyzing the unique elements of your operations that will sustain the launch of your venture.

Business is not an exact science, yet time and success (and failure) have confirmed that there are specific skills, techniques, and disciplines that are common to all thriving companies. At the core will always be found competent people following well-defined and documented processes.

This checklist will help you to examine and organize the processes that will support successful network marketing operations.

Operations Checklist & Key Considerations

  • Have we put in place performance standards and processes for the following:
    • Enrollment Processing
    • Order Processing
    • Payment Processing
    • Returns & Exchanges
    • Commission Processing
    • Customer Service Administration
    • Office Administration
  • Have we allowed sufficient lead time for acquiring a merchant account?
  • Will we maintain an operations manual with documented processes and checklists?
  • Do we have our plan for facilities and equipment:
    • Phone System
    • Hardware
    • Computer Network
    • Warehouse
    • Office Space and Configuration
  • Are business controls and administrative systems in place?
    • Accounting System
    • Inventory Software
    • Business Controls & Processes
    • Banking Relationships & Accounts
    • Business Insurance / Risk Management

ServiceQuest® Master Resource™

Using proprietary techniques, this unique online resource is a key-word searchable database with more than 1,500 business operations forms, scripts, standard operating procedures, process blueprints, job descriptions, and company tools that are 24/7 accessible. These are the forms, methods, standard operating procedures, checklists, and business best practices used by the best direct selling companies. Downloadable for easy editing and adaptation, this powerful system has everything you need to shorten learning curves, sharpen understanding, and create your company’s own operations with supporting documentation for your operations manual.

Terrel Transtrum is the founder of ServiceQuest® and co-founder of LaunchSmart™. As a network marketing consultant he also specializes in startup consulting for party plan companies, multilevel marketing, MLM and network marketing. He is an experienced advisor in MLM software, network marketing legal, party plan business, distributor recruiting and retention, operations and fulfillment and MLM legal.

(The content of this article is extracted from ServiceQuest® RetentionSmarts™ Modules. For more information on RetentionSmarts™ training and mentoring systems, contact a member of the LaunchSmart Team.)