A Critical Mistake 99% of New Home-Based Business Owners Make Before They Sign Up

There are many reasons why people either succeed or fail with a home-based business opportunity. However, there is one critical mistake that most people make before they sign up that will have a major impact on success or failure.

If you are involved in a home-based business you have experienced the recruitment process. You are invited to check out a home business through one of many ways including a hotel or home meeting, business presentation CD, phone presentation, or a one-on-one presentation.

The presentation, generally, is about the business and what it does to make life better for everyone using their products or services. A good presenter will show you how the business makes sense and the exciting opportunity that lies before you. By the time the presentation is over the opportunity sounds so good you can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t join and become a millionaire.

Hopefully, you have done your due diligence. You have checked out the company and its products to make sure they are what they say they are. You have experienced the products and services, believe in them and feel in time that you could develop a passion for them. And, finally, you feel confident you can go out and build a business with this company.

But wait! There’s something that is missing and it is the one critical step that must take place to make sure you have the best chance for success. You have to find out how qualified your potential sponsor is in leading, training and coaching you. How they answer your questions should be key to whether you join their team or not.

Here are critical questions you should ask:

· What kind of business building experience and training do you have?
· Tell me about the team you have built and how you did it
· Specifically, how do you build your business?
· What you do to teach your new business partners to do to ensure their success?
· How much time do you traditionally spend teaching and mentoring your new partners?
· Can I call and talk to several of your business partners to get a feel for your organization and how your work with them?
· How easy are you to contact? Will you be available when I need you?
· IMPORTANT: If your potential sponsor is new to the business, you need to ask these questions to his sponsor before signing up

Most people hardly ever ask these questions. They end up signing with inexperienced and non-mentoring business partners. The result, in most cases, is frustration and failure.

Having a sponsor with strong leadership and training experience mentor you through your first years in a home-based business is critical. Here’s why:

· Most people signing up for the home-based business opportunity have little or no business building experience
· Starting a business is tough work and a strong leader needs to be there to mentor the new business partner through the highs and lows
· You will need to develop a new set of skills: presentation, closing, training, mentoring, etc. including a proven step-by-step business building process or system
· To avoid many of the pitfalls many inexperienced associates fall into
· Help develop the right mindset to succeed

Unfortunately, most prospects are told this is an easy business to build. Anyone can do it! So, the new business partner comes in with false expectations. Only to learn, the hard way, that success comes with the price of hard work, education and commitment. For most, starting a home-based business is a huge challenge.

A sponsor must be honest. A recruit has to understand the benefits of being involved in the business, but counseled that there is much to learn and a long-term commitment to the business is required for success. The sponsor may ask for a one-year commitment with a minimum number of hours a week to work the business before signup takes place. The prospect needs to understand this is a serious business and to make serious money will require constant plugging in and participating over several years.

New partners may never have been involved in sales or recruitment, so, this is foreign territory. The sponsor must have the knowledge and experience to teach the basics and get the new business partner off to a solid beginning teaching a success system that is in place and being used by other business partners.

A leader will work directly with his new recruit to understand the business inside and out. He will teach solid fundamentals that will be the foundation the new partner will fall back to for the rest of his career. And, in turn, teach this system to his recruits, too.

Signing up with a proven experienced leader is a critical part of building a successful business. He will be your mentor, coach and trainer for you through thick and thin and lead you to success.

So, the next time you investigate a home-based business opportunity ask the critical questions that 99% of potential business partners never ask about leadership and training. It could make the difference between success and failure.

How to Find a New Business Agency

It is important to keep a good stream of customers and clients. It is very easy to get complacent when you have enough clients – but if one of those clients disappeared would your business feel the effect? Or worse would it crumble?? Working with a New Business Agency can help you win clients and grow your business. There is no denying that new business / lead generation can be time consuming, hard work and expensive but overall it can be worthwhile and cost effective.

Many Creative and Marketing Agencies work with New Business Agencies; it is an effective way to get your work in front of companies you want to work with. I wrote this article after to speaking to the Directors of Creative Agencies and other Business Development Managers. This article is for small Creative and Marketing Agencies new to new business and looking to work with a New Business Agency for the first time.

I think it fair to say in the world of new business you do get what you pay for. You can get a telesales person to call thousands of companies and pay a minimal fee, or you can choose an agency that approach new business intelligently. The second will be costly but can you afford not to?

New Business Agencies specialise in finding you clients in order to grow your business. Although agencies work in different ways, the long and short of it is that, they will phone companies on your behalf with the view of setting up a meeting between you and the potential client. Sounds simple enough, but the new business process is more than simply cold calling.

Before you jump in at the deep end there are a few factors to bear in mind when choosing a New Business Agency. They are all different and will all have diverse ideas about the way new business should be conducted. Here are a few questions to ask your new business agency before you work with them?

Question 1 -Results or Numbers?

If a New Business Agency promises to target 500 companies a week and guarantees you five meetings, be aware. This can be a potential time waster for some agencies. If a New Business Manager is pressured to get you in front of x amount of clients, they will. Whether the meeting is worthwhile or not, is not their problem they just have to reach their targets.

If the person handling your new business account is a really good sales person with a hard sales technique they may be able to force a potential client to have a meeting with you whether they have work, or you are suitable. These are good sales people, but they may not be producing qualified leads.

For example, if you are a design agency who specialises in content managed websites for small businesses, you do not want to end up at a meeting to rebrand Kellogs. Yes, this would be a fantastic opportunity, but in competition with top branding agencies do you stand a chance? If you only work for big brands similarly you may not want to show up to a meeting to discuss a £300 website.

A good New Business Manager should be keen and results driven but also able to evaluate a qualified lead. By giving too many targets you are ultimately pushing them into a corner to produce meetings. You do not want to attend any old meeting. A perfect meeting is a potential client who is looking for an agency for a particular project or looking to change their roster of agencies. A good meeting is also a simple credentials meeting with one of your wish list companies, who you plan to impress with solid ideas.

Rather than an agency driven by numbers, consider an agency driven by results. Unfortunately, but realistically, new business is not always about getting work now. It is about creating a pipeline and raising your profile. If your Account Handler has a good conversation with a Decision Maker about a suitable project which will be commissioned later that year, this is better than a credentials meeting. You can then keep in regular contact with the decision maker until that project comes up. By the time you have the meeting you will be talking about a particular project rather than running through a portfolio.

Look at the pipeline as much as the amount of meetings.

Question 2 – How Targeted is their New Business Approach?
Are you trying to reach as many companies as possible to offer your services to? For some businesses this may work but I doubt if this works for many. A New Business Agency which suggests a highly targeted approach will more than likely receive better results. For example a design agency looking to build up a client list does not want to target ‘any’ business with “we do design” it really is not going to stand out, and it simply becomes a game of chance.

A web design agency who mainly works with restaurants producing content managed websites could contact other restaurants with a similar offer. However, you don’t need to limit yourself to restaurants, always look to expand your market but do it with careful consideration. If you work with restaurants you could then aim at hotels, pubs, bars and clubs. Of course, you can always expand your market but showing a potential client experience in your field is going to be beneficial. (My next article will go further into this subject).

Look at the size of the business – if you have only ever worked with SMEs build this up gently don’t suddenly aim for Coke. Look at the location of businesses, do you have the time and money to travel from London to Glasgow for a meeting or do you need to stay local. A good New Business Agency will create a database tailored to your business capabilities. In order to tailor a database it is advisable to initially work with your New Business Agency, they should be able to give advice to you. But you need to know which direction you are heading with your business, and where you sit, and would like to sit in the market place.

Although this may sound as if I am stating the obvious, a few of the new business managers I spoke to told me stories of how their clients took little interest in the strategy and simply left to them to get meetings with no direction. These clients then refused to leave London to attend meetings and refused any project under £5000 (although they had never completed a project for this much money).

Question 3 – How do they find the Decision Maker?
When your New Business Agency is going to send your information to the company, how are they going to find the right person? There is plenty of information available on the internet these days on Marketing Directors of companies. Although it would be wonderful to gain a meeting with someone so high up in the company how likely is this?

The Marketing Director of Nike is not generally going to interview agencies for a microsite. In most cases it would be a waste of time and money trying to reach them on the phone to set up a meeting. Aim lower. Nike is a huge corporation and it will take patience and careful research to find the person in charge of commissioning microsites and it won’t be the Marketing Director.

Especially in recent years more and more new roles are appearing in companies, new media managers, advertising managers, mobile managers, interactive managers, account directors, creative directors – who are you looking to work with? Aim for less companies as research can be time consuming, but ensure your representative is talking to the right person. Letters simply addressed to the Marketing Director are hard to follow up with a phone call. Find out how and who your New Business Manager will be trying to contact.

Question 4 – Who else is the agency working with?

It is great to work with an agency that has skills in selling what you are offering, even better to get a New Business Manager with these exact skills. But if your New Business Manager is working with three Mobile Marketing Agencies is your account being kept separate? What is your agencies ethics of sharing potential clients?

Your new business account should be, if at all possible, separate to any other companies. You do not want to paying for someone else’s new business. It can be all too easy for a New Business Manager to find details of a company looking to rebrand all their marketing collateral… and keep two design agencies happy.

Question 5 – Who is your Account Handler?

Always ask to meet the person handling your account. It is your business, and they are representing you, be sure you like the way they come across. Your New Business Manager should not really read from a script and should be confident and knowledgeable enough to hold an in-depth conversation. If you are a New Media Agency does your New Business Manager know their augmented reality from their rfId barcodes, and how far can they carry on with this conversation?

In order to find common ground with a potential client it is good to know about their business before having a conversation with them. This means your New Business Manager has to be knowledgeable about the sectors they are targeting.

New Business Mangers should be versatile. They should be good researchers, communicators and able to pick up information quickly. Providing a New Business Manager has had experience in marketing or creative agencies they will understand the processes and jargon and can generally adapt to other industries that have specialist interests. Someone on the other hand, who has no background in design, marketing or creative industries in general will probably find it harder to learn everything from scratch and find out about niche markets.

If your New Business Manager has built a relationship with a Decision Maker it could be an idea to take them along to the meeting as a part of your company. Does your New Business Agency allow this? In an ideal world your Account Handler should feel they are a part of your team.

It is important for you to go to meetings prepared and know what is expected from you at the meeting. It is down to you to give your New Business Manager all the information they need. You know your market and it never does any harm to keep them updated with your knowledge of industry events. When you launch a new project let your New Business Manager know, keep them involved.

Question 6 – How do you prepare to work with an New Business Agency?

Be prepared to be involved. Most New Business Managers spoken to for this article said, “The closer they have worked with clients the more likely they are to achieve results.” Do not expect a New Business Agency to start work and come back to you a week later with lots of new work – it rarely happens like that. If your New Business Agency is starting conversations with the right people make sure you have the supporting materials. Many potential clients will ask for an email with links to your projects, PDFs, show reels or brochures – it is down to you to provide these. When attending the meetings, that you have essentially paid a lot of money to get, make sure you are prepared for the presentation. Your New Business Agency can only take you so far. Remember that if you run your business you should really be the best person to undertake your new business as you know your business inside out, your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. If you cannot get yourself a £500,000 contract don’t expect a new business agency to. Be realistic

Many creative agencies I spoke to had worked with at least a couple of New Business Agencies before finding the one they felt they could work with, hence the reason for this article. There are obviously many questions to ask before undertaking the expense of a New Business Agency but I hope this article covers a few! Please see more advice on handling your own new business on my website http://www.kerinewman.com.

7 Things to Consider When Engaging Small Business Consultants

Many small businesses are experts in their field and know their own business inside and out. However lots of small business owners lack the time or expertise required to implement certain projects. That’s where a small business consultant can step in and help.

In order to achieve a successful project it’s important to be clear about what you want your consultant to be able to do for you. Just as important is selecting a consultant with the right skills for the job, but how do you make sure you don’t get off on the wrong foot?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are you looking for a research/diagnostic approach or do you need help with implementation?

Firstly are you looking for someone to take a diagnostic approach to a business problem you are facing? For instance, which market segment should you enter? Or what product line should you sell? Or is your business need about implementation? For instance, you’ve identified that you need to be on Social Media and need a marketing consultant with the expertise to make this happen.

The two needs are different and some consultants are better in one area than the other. To find out whether your prospective consultant prefers to work on implementation projects or research projects ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specific examples of projects they have worked on and how they have tackled projects similar to yours in the past.

2. Ask prospective consultants how their clients are better off after they leave.

What sort of outcomes were they able to achieve for their clients? Look out for wishy-washy answers. Look for specific examples and outcomes. Does this fit with the sorts of outcomes that you would like for your business? Where they able to increase website traffic by a certain percentage, reduce staff turnover by a certain amount or generate more business for the client?

Picking the wrong person for the job might end up feeling like you are pushing water up a hill with a rake. Not only will the results be less than optimal but it may end up being a costly and stressful experience also.

3. Be careful of wanting champagne on a beer budget.

Do you want fast, cheap or talented? You must pick two out of the three. There is a triangle trade off here. You can get premium talent, faster results or a cheaper cost but Taylor Swift won’t teach your team how to sing tomorrow for free if you see what I mean.

Often a small business owner will set a budget and then begin the search for the best talent and/or fastest result within that budget. From my experience a budget-driven approach can often compromise results. Your best approach is to establish your desired outcome, then judge each potential candidate by how likely they are to be able to achieve that outcome.

4. Look for a solid “About Us” page.

Ask consultants about their qualifications and their approach. With so many so-called ‘experts’ out there it’s really important to identify who is qualified and able to do the job for you. Ask prospective consultants questions about their skills and experience to determine whether they are fit for the job. Are they methodical in their approach? Do have a history of achieving quality results for clients? This will help you to avoid being mislead by organisations with few processes, a glossy website and no real qualifications or experience.

5. Ask yourself whether you think you will be comfortable working with the consultant.

Do you think they are going to be the right fit for your business? Can you see yourself and your team working well with them? Sometimes it’s less about the exact industry experience they have had and more about their ability to get results.

6. Think about goals and outcomes first.

Don’t pick a technical specialist to do a job when you really need someone who can deliver a sales outcome. Think about your goal first, what are you trying to achieve? For instance, if it’s conversions and leads from your website then perhaps what you really need is a marketing consultant to advise on the layout of the website rather than just a technical person to do the build. A technical person can definitely build the website for you, it will function beautifully, but will it achieve your goal of converting traffic to sales?

7. Be wary of small business consultants who are all things to all people.

A good consultant will be honest about what their speciality is and will not simply be a ‘yes’ man or woman. They will push back on projects, ideas and suggestions that they don’t think are right for your business or are beyond their area of expertise. Look for a consultant with backbone not someone who lets you steer the project without alerting you to the danger that lies ahead because they are too afraid to question your judgement or afraid they will upset you. I’d rather have an expert question me and make suggestions than sit back and watch me sink the ship!

So whether it is a marketing consultant or a small business consultant you are looking for, many of the same rules apply. Identify what you need and look at it from an outcomes perspective, work out who has the expertise to help you achieve your goals and whether or not you are comfortable working with them. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in working with you and passionate about what they do.

Internet Network Marketing Business – Six Keys to Success

Network marketing has gotten a bad rap over the years with most companies setting you up for complete failure by telling you to make a list of all of your friends and family and then pitch them to get them involved in your business. How can that be a good thing? For most people, their friends and family are the ones that have heard them say over and over again, “This idea is going to be the big one!” just to see them fizzle out and move on to the next latest and greatest thing. So, these six keys to success in your internet network marketing business are the foundation you MUST follow if you want to succeed in your own home business:

The First Key To Success In Your Internet Network Marketing Business: you must follow the BE>DO>HAVE Formula. You have to become something inside yourself before you can have it in reality. You have to stamp the imprint onto your brain that YOU ARE NOW AN INTERNET MARKETER! This must now become a part of who you are in order to succeed in your internet network marketing business.

The Second Key To Success In Your Internet Network Marketing Business: you have to choose the right vehicle/business – tailored to your specific personality and lifestyle. For example, you wouldn’t most likely go 4-wheeling in your brand new Ferrari now would you? You would most likely choose a suitably equipped 4-wheel drive vehicle for this task. The same applies to your business matching your personality. You want to make sure that your business plan excites you or you’ll never get it off the ground!

The Third Key To Success In Your Internet Network Marketing Business: you want to have the best training available that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to become successful at your new venture AND be simple to implement as well. Most business models are great in concept, but how are they when it really counts? I’ve found from years of experience at this that most need a “superstar salesman” to make them work. You want something simple and straightforward that a “regular” person can learn and implement.

The Fourth Key To Success In Your Internet Network Marketing Business: now that you’re learning the business, you have to start driving high quality, targeted traffic to your businesses website. Notice I didn’t say “know the business inside and out” – or “analysis paralysis” as it is called – remember this: you don’t have to make it perfect…you just have to GET IT GOING! Failure to do so will make or break your internet business just the same as it will in ANY business.

The Fifth Key To Success In Your Internet Network Marketing Business: is proper communication. Once you start getting people interested in your business and they start working with you, you have to stay in touch with them, help answer their questions, teach them, lead them. Great leaders are hard to come by. Become one and you will RULE THE WORLD!

The Sixth Key To Success In Your Internet Network Marketing Business: You must never rest on your laurels and think “Ahhh, I’ve finally arrived”! Even though you’ll have plenty of freedom this is still a BUSINESS. Businesses must be operated. Usually by people! You have to continue to learn the latest techniques and stay ahead of the latest trends. Right now online, the latest trends, as you may have seen, are social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. They allow you to connect to large amounts of people all over the world – in an instant. You must continue to grow in your business life and in your personal life in order to feel like you are truly successful. My grandfather always used to tell me: “Once you stop learning, that’s when you start dying.” Trust me, it’s great advice to live by!

Well, that’s it. That is the actual outline that I live and work by. In my next series of articles, I will actually break down each of the six keys one by one in detail and explain precisely how you can use each one to start and succeed in your own internet network marketing business.

In my next post, I am going to break down the BE>DO>HAVE Formula in minute detail. OK. I’ll give you a little hint now. Here it is. Nature demands that you BE someone who does things in a certain way before you can DO those things that way in order to HAVE those results in your life. Let me say that again. You have to BE someone who does things in a certain way before you can DO those things that way in order to HAVE those results in your life. That formula alone, when applied properly, will change your life forever!

I’m also going to give you some simple techniques that, if you TAKE ACTION on them and actually practice them regularly, you’ll feel so motivated and determined that you will become a virtual cash machine! So get ready for the next installment. It’s going to be life changing! Stay tuned…