Planning Your Sell-from-Home Business

“Don’t find customers for your products, Find products for your customers” Seth Godin, a famous blogger

The process of selling products face-to-face away from a retail store location, a market or, currently, from the coziness of your home, is called direct sales. When you decide to start selling something for the first time, more often than not, you do direct sales, and your first buyers are your friends, family, and co-workers. Later, you will develop your customer base by getting referrals and marketing your business.

At this moment, when you are only beginning your sell-from-home journey, you must be sitting in front of your computer screen for hours, surfing through the Internet in search of information how to set everything up.

In a perfect world, every business process begins with writing a detailed, formal business plan.

In the real world, most of us are tempted to jump right in and start building business right away, because — well, it is quite clear why. Because we need to start making money. Now.

Still, some planning has to be done if you want to succeed. Here are a few ideas how to simplify the process of planning and how to turn the boring process into fun.

(1) Think over your business opportunities. Write down answers to these questions:

  • Why do my future customers need the product that I am going to sell? (In other words, what creates the demand for your product?) Eg.: In summer, people tend to buy more water, ice-cream, umbrellas, sun glasses, hats etc. because it is hot. In the coming summer, many people may have to work from their homes, so they will be needing things like fans, air conditioners, water filters, home ice-cream machines, etc. The reason of growing demand for these products is the fact that a big [part of population will have to adapt to living and working from homes.
  • What can you offer to your customers as a solution of their problem? (What can you offer your customers to satisfy their demand?

(2) Think about your target market. Who are your potential buyers? What do these people have in common? Write down your thoughts about it. Eg.: Women ____ (ages –, interests — , preferences — etc.); Men ____ (ages –, interests — , preferences — etc.)

(3) Who are your competitors? Who is also going to sell the same products to the people in your sector of interest? Eg. Retail stores? Online stores? Other home business owners? Your next-door neighbor?

(4) Funding needed. Again, it makes sense to write this down and have a good look at your figures. Eg. $3,5k to purchase a webpage with a shopping basket, set up payment options to receive payments, to buy some supplies and do a bit of marketing

(5) Sales and marketing. How will you let people know that you are starting sales of your product or service? If your sales channel is an online store, you’ll need to consider doing specific marketing activities — they are different from the marketing that real store owners do. Write down a few things like these, to keep them at hand for the future: Eg. Set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, learn about GoogleAds, guest blogging, newsletters, Twitter campaigns etc.

(6) Financial Projections. This is the part of planning that everyone likes doing. Try putting this on paper:

  • Plan your sales for the nearest month; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years
  • Plan your expenses for the nearest month; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years
  • Plan your profit for the nearest month; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years

(7) Think about your milestones. Do not forget to write down the dates — then your dream will start looking like a plan — and see how realistic they are. Eg.: June, 1: set up payment module on my webpage; June, 15: prepare first 100 items of the product for sale; June 16: start marketing the product via social networks and among friends, colleagues, etc.; July 1: sell the first 20 items

(8) Your team and key roles. Are you planning to do everything by yourself? Will it become a family business some day? Who is going to help you and how much? What will everyone be responsible for in your business?

Young entrepreneur, teenager business owner work at home, alpha generation life style. checking parcel for deliver

(9) Partnerships and resources. Who can you attract to assisting you in developing your business? Will you need someone to deliver your goods to customers? Are you thinking about using a photographer to take beautiful pictures of your product items for your website? Will you need a packing service or any wrapping materials to buy for your sales process? Write down every item that you can think of and see which of these services/items you can get for free and what will require expenses. Decide who you can partner with in these areas and start negotiating with those people beforehand.

Well, your business plan is not something stable and done once and for all. You will need to work on this document all the time. Set a rule for yourself to look through your plan every morning, especially now, when you are setting everything up and learning a lot. The first week it may be a bit stressful, but as soon as you get into a habit of working with your biz plan daily, you will see that it helps you. It helps you to remain on track. It shows you the direction to go. Finally, it makes you feel more confident, which is so important for your future success.

“What Can I Sell with My Sell-from-Home Business?”

“Care enough to create value for customers. If you get that part right, selling is easy.” Anthony Iannarino, B2B Sales Coach

Since February 2020, online shopping has been developing at amazing speed and has actually managed to beat offline general merchandising stores (department and other non-specialized big-box stores). With so many people trying to minimize their exposure to the outside world, this trend is likely to get supercharged in 2020.

While things like groceries, household goods, medicines, health, beauty and personal care products have been resistant to the digital economy because many people still feel more comfortable picking them out in person rather than trusting the web, other groups of products like electronics and books are already purchased online as often as not. Now, a prolonged period of social distancing and quarantines may go a long way towards convincing people to try the web when buying groceries or shampoo.

Today — and day after day this tendency seems to mature — all businesses and all service providers tend to secure themselves by going online. Even those few lucky guys to still have their doors open to visitors. This whole quarantine thing has given a powerful push to moving all kinds of human relations toward online interaction.

As I spent decades of my life working as a university teacher, researcher and academic books author, I have met thousands of people who never did any kind of business and never believed they could do some. Today, when another crisis has slammed into our lives and smashed whole industries, millions of people who were used to working hard for salary have found themselves overboard, paddling helplessly, not knowing what to do.

So I have been hearing questions, like “Who will employ me now?”, “What shall I do without my office?”, “Learning a new set of skills? Hmm, isn’t it too late for me?”

People tend to develop a habit of doing things again and again: they feel comfortable and protected this way. As soon as the habitual rhythm is broken, many of us start feeling lost. This year, quite all of a sudden, the habitual pace of life was broken for millions of us. People have to rethink their occupations and general lifestyles.

Those who are familiar with doing sales from real offices and stores, as well as those who never did anything of the kind, are ready to try going online: they have no other choice! Their uncertainty often comes out in the same thing they say: “Okay, suppose I set up an online store.. what’s next? What can I sell from it?”

This is the place where our epigraph should go. Anthony Iannarino’s words about creating value for the customers are the roadmap for every beginner in online sales.They mean that one needs to find something — no matter, goods or services — that their potential customers would value and desire to own.

The easiest way to approach this decision would be to look around and ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Which of my skill(s) and knowledge can I share with people to satisfy their needs? (Think well, make a list);
  • What do people around me need most of all today? Which products or services are they eager to buy? (Think well, make a list);
  • Which items in my list are the same or somewhat similar to the list of people’s needs that I just created?
  • Do I have access (at least potentially) to any of these products or services? (Write them down and select the one that seems the least time/effort consuming to you);
  • How much effort/time/investment may it take me to set up an occupation of providing this product or service to people? (At this point, your thinking game will begin to turn into a plan);
  • Which category of people will appreciate my assistance in the first place? (Now, it will begin to turn into a business plan);
  • Here, at this step of creating your plan, I would suggest you to take a break and return to the beginning of this list. After the time break, go down it again and see if your have come up with new ideas or new items in your lists. It is always good to double check. Then, you can go forward with more confidence.

If your notes look well to you after double check, you will begin to notice that actually, business opportunities are everywhere. You only need to be motivated enough to go all the way from seeing them to making them work in your favor.

Suppose, you know that people in your area often complain about having to travel too far to buy fresh bakery for breakfast. With your online store, you could set up a system of bakery delivery requests, where your neighbors would send you requests for bakery delivery, and your only business would be to check your system for requests every evening and forward them to the bakery store, which would take care of the delivery in the morning. At first, your income on every request will be minimal, but the advantages of doing business online are evident:

  • You can do it from home or from anywhere, just keep your laptop or phone at hand at all times and don’t forget to connect to the Internet;
  • It won’t require as much of investment as a real store or office would;
  • You will always have some time left for your family and other businesses;
  • If you set up agreements with other stores and services and if you take effort to market yourself and get many people to visit your site, your income with grow with each service you provide.

This was just an example, probably not a very convincing one… but my main idea was to show you that you need to understand what people around you value most of all at a certain moment of time.

People’s preferences differ. At one moment they need beautiful clothes; in other times all they can think of is food; some want their purchases delivered right to the door; others need to request a consulting or classes online: all their desires and needs present opportunities for a business-thinking person.

Well, in 2020, the truth of life sounds contradictory, but this is how it is:

If you want to feel solid ground under your feet, go virtual! Go online!

Let us see what the coming summer will bring us. Hopefully, by that time you will already have your online business set up and going.

Set up Your Online Business in a Week!

“Business opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming.” Richard Branson

Richard Branson has a unique talent of explaining complex things in a simple way, don’t you think? Looking at his quote, one is ready to believe that catching business opportunities is as easy as catching a bus. Well, every business requires a lot of thinking, planning, effort and investment — if we asked Richard Branson, he would tell us a lot about it. But this post is not about Branson’s approach to business, it is about the first steps that one needs to take today, in the 21st century, if they want to “catch their bus”: in other words, if they want to catch a new business opportunity.

Today, when many of us are looking for ways to start making income online, I am glad to share about an opportunity that my company offers: you can have an online store set up for your business in only one week!  Having an online store would prepare you to catch up with the complex reality of life: the whole world is going online, people adapt to working remotely; services and goods are available as before, but… they are provided distantly!

The process is fast-moving, and it is irreversible. The owners of physical offices and stores are facing the fact that it is no longer profitable to keep their premises. At the same time, the businesses that already work online, are having much better times these days.

How can you catch up with the fast pace of reality? Well, the only answer is- start an online business, too! And take effort to learn how to operate it. Luckily for many newbies, many of those who have online stores or businesses are quite reluctant about learning how to promote them. If you try herd, you have all the chances to win the race. This will be your bus to catch. Just set a goal, set it up and hop on!

Well, these are the five simple steps that my company, CHI Software, offers to those who are ready to set up an online business.

If you already own a website, we can connect a payment (or/and delivery) module to your existing website; If you don’t,

We can set up a whole online business (or store) for you, and you can have it just in one week!

I won’t go deep into details here, but the idea of the service is this:

1) We meet in a chat: we discuss your needs; you answer a number of questions which will help us understand all details and peculiarities of your particular business;

2) Based on this discussion, we make you an offer and sign an agreement of services;

3) As soon as all terms and conditions have been setup, we start working and you remain in touch with us;

4) When the work is finished, we show you the result and meet you online to demonstrate how everything works;

5) You start using your new system of online sales. From this moment and during the forthcoming month, we remain in touch with you to assist you with site operations, marketing of your online services and general orientation in online sales.

Interested? Please, send me a message or email me to: iryna.tymchenko@chisw.com; I will gladly share more details and connect you with my colleagues.

setup online business and start making sales in a week!

Starting a Sell From Home Blog

This photo is a joke, it is nothing more than my little attempt to make you smile and remain optimistic through this time of uncertainty and stress.

Staying indoors may be quite hard to many. Millions of people never had such experiences before, and having to adjust to the work-from-home rhythm is quite stressful to them.

Working from home is not new to me, as is working online, but MAKING A LIVING by selling online is a different thing. It involves quite a lot of positive energy, patience, learning and perseverance. This is why I decided to start putting down and sharing my experiences of working from home as a salesperson. Let us see what it is like.

Please, leave your comments and share your experiences with me. Let us go through this uneasy time together… and win!

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