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I have a storefront selling both retail and private label herbal supplements. I am considering direct sales, where do I start?

By: Will Adams

 

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I have a storefront selling both retail and private label herbal supplements. I am considering direct sales (Multi-Level Marketing), but I don’t even know where to start.

Answer:
A. MLM Marketing Plan: Network marketing, or MLM, is now a large and mature industry with numerous offerings. Though consumer products (household items, skin care, etc.) are marketed differently than business products, certain basic marketing techniques or principles apply to essentially all MLMs. Also, MLM has two basic components – selling the products and recruiting sales reps – and many individuals have been successful in MLM, for example, just concentrating on building down-lines. Cold and warm market referrals, social and professional networking, direct sales, internet websites, home parties, job fairs, direct mail, and other marketing and recruiting techniques are used in the MLM industry.
Most MLM parent companies have marketing tools and resources for their sales associates, so you will definitely want to develop those materials for your associates to utilize and succeed. In addition, you can locate numerous articles, publications, and tools regarding MLM marketing and recruiting in bookstores and libraries and at websites like the following examples to get ideas for your MLM business growth plans:
MLM Recruiting:
New MLM Business Considerations:
B. MLM Sales Associate Recruiting: In addition to any recruiting tools and resources provided by your MLM parent company, you can review articles, information, and tools for recruiting and building a sales associate down-line through MLM industry and other websites, which include tips for down-line building and recruiting:
Compensation: In regards to compensating your MLM sales reps, MLM commission structures vary depending on the profit margins of the MLM products and/or services, what competing or similar MLMs offer, product return/cancellation policies, and other factors. To help you develop a commission structure for your MLM, you can research the commission structures of other MLM companies and review MLM industry articles and considerations at websites like the following:
C. Sales Affiliate Program Structure: A sales affiliate program may possibly be less complex than developing a full-blown MLM structure; however, you have discretion in structuring the terms of your affiliate program. Your lawyer will be the best resource to help develop a business contract and legal disclosures sales affiliates; however, to get ideas for your program’s structure and what you should include in your business contracts, you can research financial services and types of affiliate program structures, contract content, and other business terms through the following industry websites:
D. New Business Planning: MLM businesses typically have two basic activities- selling the product or service and recruiting a sales associate down-line. You will have to assess how much time you will devote to selling and recruiting; however, a written business plan is the basic tool to plan, implement, and manage a new business venture. Also, MLM parent companies typically have product/service information, marketing tools and support staff, and sales associate recruiting tools for their sales associates, which can be helpful in the development and execution of a business plan.
Generally, experts recommend that business owners begin by developing a comprehensive business plan which is the best tool to research, organize and plan a new business or business expansion. A comprehensive business plan includes market research, marketing plans, capital requirements, financial projections, business entity selection, staffing requirements, legal issues/regulations, and overall operational issues. Writing a comprehensive business plan can be a challenge; however, it is generally a manageable process with a good outline and use of other business plan tools and samples. Outlining the business sections and topics you need to cover helps you develop accurate and concise information for each section.
Third party business planning software like the software offered through our website are inexpensive software packages that enable business owners to economically complete a comprehensive and professional-looking plan document; however, you may not need to buy software for a simple Business Plan. Many individuals simply use the sample plans and boilerplate examples to prepare their own plans using word processing and financial spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Every business must prepare its own unique written text content and financial information. Purchased plan software simply provides the format and outline for this content, which you can often do yourself efficiently with Word and Excel software. You can also locate considerable information and tools on business plans and review sample plans using an internet search. The following are example websites:
Sample Business Plans:
Published: August 7, 2014
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Will Adams

As the President of Business Development at Tarkenton, Will works directly with Tarkenton’s partners to identify and understand their organizational needs. He then assembles a cross-functional team to develop and deliver the solutions to meet the needs of the partner. Since joining Tarkenton in 2010, Will has helped develop new partnerships, plan strategic growth initiatives, and mentor organizational leaders. Connect with him on

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