Managing a Digital Business

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Don and I have worked with business owners around the country for years, helping them to grow their business through strategy and sales and marketing systems. Creating and executing systems around prospecting, nurturing, follow-up, closing and servicing is most important but can be challenging.

However, a few simple habits along with a commitment to a set of basic digital tools can help you be most effective in growing your business. It also affords you the luxury of working from anywhere! We prioritize fun and adventure as a family, and so we like systems that allow us the freedom and efficiency in order to play a lot!

We choose to use Google Apps to manage our business. Here are a few tips you may find helpful:

Google Contacts

Your contact list is your biggest asset, so treat it accordingly. Take some time over a weekend and do a “deep clean,” to make sure it is updated. If you are missing a new cell number, physical address or email and are connected to them via Facebook or Instagram, reach out for the info and make sure to update it right away.  Delete those names of people you just can’t seem to remember.

Keep your contact list useful. One of the best ways to do this is choose a few simple groupings to organize them. I use, “Prospects,” “Clients” and “Consultants” in my Arbonne business. And then each day, spend a few minutes reviewing your lists. Who do you need to reach out to? Who should you add to your Prospect list? Star 5 contacts that you want to connect with today and then reach out with a phone call, a relevant article, a valuable referral, or even a surprise gift. Be creative in the ways you add value to people’s lives.

Google Calendar

The critical piece of any sale is a conversation in person. In Arbonne, we seek to educate prospects on our products and business opportunity, and that is difficult to do over text or email.

Sometimes it works to just pick up the phone and call someone randomly, but most people do not like to be interrupted these days by phone. One young Arbonne consultant from England shared humorously that her first thought when she gets a phone call is, “Is someone dead!? Did someone die?!” That’s the severity of a call to some people!

Better to try and text/email first and then schedule a phone call, Zoom call, or coffee date. Google Calendar works beautifully and syncs with all your devices. You can set it to automatically send a reminder right before the meeting. This keeps your interactions professional and also allows you both to set aside the time and attention to really focus on the product or opportunity at hand.

Be thorough in your calendar invite description – add the location and address or personalize the Zoom invitation. Sometimes I will attach the “Discover Arbonne” Presentation. Make it easy for your guest to have the info they need for the meeting.

Then deliver a killer presentation that genuinely connects, and make sure to follow up with an email summarizing your main point and next step. This keeps the ball in your court and moves the sale along.

Google Drive

We are paperless as a business and family. I use Google Drive to store all of my important documents, and I have a special folder for resources that I need to share easily with other consultants or prospects. I have the App on my phone for easy access as well.

Google Tasks

You can use Google Tasks as your “brain dump” to remember those random ideas that come to mind or things you’d like to do one day. But it’s best to also have a list or two that is very functional and that you can commit to. I have a “Daily” list for Arbonne that includes –  Look at at Dashboard, Check in with Detoxers, SAVERS (from Miracle Morning), Social Media Post, etc.- and I try to shoot for that each day. I appreciate the “GoTasks” App also that syncs with my phone so I can access my lists from anywhere.

These powerful tools really do work to give you business results. However, your commitment and consistency will be what really determines your success with them. For some people, organizing and maintaining these systems is natural and easy. For others, it’s more challenging because of their personality and bent. We’ve found it very helpful to walk people through a Strength’s Test and Consultation so they can better understand their tendencies, and we can offer creative solutions that fit their style. Would be happy to share more if interested!

 

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On the Road With Arbonne

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Last night I shared some ideas with our team about what it’s like to travel with a family while growing your business. We’ve been on a summer road trip from Colorado to DC and back through Chicago and have pretty much slept in a different bed each night! It’s been an awesome mix of visiting family and friends, seeing historic sites, and participating in Nike Sports Camps. It has been both a rewarding and challenging whirlwind!

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But Arbonne is perfect for travel as it is a lifestyle business. Arbonne makes it easy for us with online ordering and convenient packaging! Here are a few tips that we’ve learned from experience that allow travel to be a beneficial way to both grow and enjoy your business!

Be a product of your product

We use Arbonne products every day, so it only makes sense to travel with them. We bring a big bag with us of Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Powder, our Fiber Boost and the Greens Balance into our hotel or home.

Each morning for breakfast we’ll use our Shaker Cup to mix a basic smoothie for ourselves. It’s a great way to get quick nutrition (20 g of Vegan Protein!), get out the door and on the road without worrying about where to find a healthy breakfast.

I also travel with my gold bag of the fabulous RE9 Facial Care Products and love that even with long days of driving, my face doesn’t look as tired thanks to the corrective eye cream and facial day cream!

I also use our awesome big purse from GTC to store the rest of our Arbonne products like full size hair-products, Fizz Sticks, Phytosport, Digestion Plus, catalogues, and samples of RE9 sets, Protein Powder, lipstick/gloss color packets.

Be ready to share

Traveling is fantastic because every time you meet someone new, you have an opportunity to share what you do. Have your 60 second story polished to deliver with authenticity and enthusiasm. I also like to ask questions and really listen to where people are at – it’s amazing what strangers choose to share! I genuinely care about helping people feel better and more healthy, and find it a privilege to be able to help along that journey.

But depending on their needs, you can offer to let them sample products. Ask for their cell number right away so you can text them more info about what they are sampling. And ask their permission to friend them on Facebook or Instagram – an easy way to keep in touch for the long haul. I’ve done this many times on our trip. And let them know you’ll check-in with them soon to follow-up.

Visit friends and family

It’s not always easy to share Arbonne with friends and family when you are long distance, and so try to visit them in your travels! Bring them a gift – something from Arbonne and another from somewhere else like BeWee or My Intent or Mara Mugs.

Offer to make them a shake for breakfast if you stay with them. Share some of the spa products or ask if they’d like to use your RE9 set for the night/morning. Make it comfortable and fun, keeping it real.

I loved being able to be there for a grand opening for a new consultant during our visit to Austin and launch her off in person. If you’d like to be even more strategic, plan your travels around friends who are willing to host a party for you or schedule one-on-one coffee dates in advance!

And if the timing is right, be ready to pull out your laptop and help them sign up and order right away. If not, have fun growing your relationship with them virtually, continuing to follow-up regularly and making a difference in their lives.

No doubt about it, traveling is fun and memorable, and what a treat to be able to grow a business while doing it! Will share more in another article about the digital systems we use to manage it all efficiently on the road!

 

 

 

Business is About Relationships

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I recently got a FB message from a dear old friend and neighbor letting me know that she’d found me as a consultant when she was wanting to purchase some Arbonne products. It was totally out-of-the-blue and such a neat surprise!! I had not connected with her in a few years, as she moved to California and we’ve been traveling.

I gave her a call, and we were able to catch up for a while. Both of us have two boys and a girl, and it’s been neat to watch each other’s children grow up on social media. But it’s completely different to get to talk in person and have someone fill in the gaps of time for you. It was such a treat!

That is one of the main reasons I love direct sales and business in general. It offers a unique focal point, incentive, and impetus to get in touch and stay in touch with those people you care about. Life is busy and the hours and days pass quickly. As much as we don’t like it, it’s hard to consistently stay in touch with people where there is “just one point of resonance.” (quoting my friend Joyce, here!)

We find ourselves hanging with co-workers or team parents or neighbors just because of convenience. (although, we are pretty lucky to have awesome friendships with our kids’ teams’ parents and have had awesome neighbors in the past, too!)

But imagine if you got to connect regularly with those people you enjoy the most! Those that share same values and goals. Family, health, financial freedom, fun, personal growth, adventure, helping others. That’s what business looks like for me.

People are savvy enough to do a sniff test around manipulation. Business is about bringing real value. And about genuinely caring about someone else’s problems or challenges. If you listen well, you can usually find some place where you can offer help – whether it’s a new contact, a product, or a resource. Sometimes, it’s just a listening and compassionate ear. I try to always be honest, thinking about what would work best for the other person.

If that’s the way you also like to do business, we should talk. Would love to share more about an opportunity that could be meaningful and profitable for you and your family!

Best Way to Learn

…is to just jump in and do it. There are many people (myself included sometimes!) who are more comfortable taking their time, thinking about things, planning, and preparing for a situation.

And that is great. But honestly, the best way to learn how to do something is to just do it. I’ve seen this personally this month with a few things like tennis and snowboarding – and have seen this play out in business multiple times over.

I think it’s because the pressure makes us step up with a higher level of focus. When we do not have to “perform” or compete, we can be a little more lax with ourselves. In addition, reality is the best teacher. Everything is theoretical when we are in practice-mode. You discount real-time feedback or the various new emotions involved that can steer a situation.

Sure, there is that moment of fear or feeling like we are not ready yet – but once we get over that feeling, it really isn’t as difficult as we may have imagined. And really, what have we got to lose? Only much knowledge and new skills to gain!

 

Morning Routines

How do you start your day?

As for myself, I had been pretty unpredictable over the last several years of life, and would just jump into a work/homeschool/life juggling act each day. Often times, before mid-morning, I’d feel like the day had “gotten away from me.”

Over the last month or so, I’ve returned to a beautiful new habit – waking up earlier than everyone in the house and enjoying an intentional morning routine. I’ve found that it helps me to more eagerly actually get out of bed, as I look forward to those precious quiet moments. I don’t check my phone or email. But I spend some time reading, meditating, journaling, and even stretching or doing some simple exercises. It centers me for the day and helps to give me perspective. I feel more prepared and focused to tackle the variety of tasks and appointments that fill each day.

I began this as a way to get out of an emotional rut I had been in for a few weeks, and found it to be critical for change. But now that I have been practicing it for over a month, I see how it is great for continued growth in all areas of life – business and personal. I’d recommend to people in both situations – those who feel that life is out of control (in any particular or all areas) or those who are content in life but wanting to push towards new growth and bigger dreams.

One resource to start with is The Miracle Morning which gives some practical ideas for how to fill those first minutes of our day. I’d love to hear what your mornings are like and if any questions you have about kick-starting your days more intentionally.

 

Testing a Concept

As opposite as we are, Don and I are very similar when it comes to starting something new. We “test” the water before we jump all in.

Now, we are definitely not the type of people that test, test, test, test, and never really get wet because honestly, they never totally intended to in the first place. Those types are usually full of fear or need extremely high guarantees of success before they do anything.

But as an engineer and a refiner, we do enjoy building things well – companies and websites that really hit the mark.

So, we usually start small. Once there is enough evidence to demonstrate an owner’s commitment to a new idea, project, or company, we get as much information from them as possible to understand the needs and opportunities.

We map things out and set up the foundation well. Sometimes this is a branded website or new sales process.

Then we make sure there is actually a viable market for the particular service or company by testing it well. As we get feedback from the prospective clients or market, we tweak the content, layout, sales or service process with lightning speed to try and nail the target with greater success each time.

It’s really a fun way to work. Much less risk and investment on the part of our clients since we take away the pressure of the “if you build it, they will come” mentality.

Writer’s Block

I spend a lot of time working with professionals around writing and sharing their ideas online.

We help companies grow their revenue through building trust with prospects and keeping that trust with customers. One big part of that trust is grown through writing and sharing valuable content on their sites.

Sometimes it is easy for them to just sit down and write. They have earned a knowledge base through their experiences and research and can usually compose an article that connects with their audience fairly quickly.

But other times, it seems difficult to come up with a new topic.

What to do?

After the tried and true tips of going for a walk, exercising, or “clearing the decks,” I suggest thinking through the details of the week: Continue reading “Writer’s Block”