Glenice Allison, is a mother of two who runs her own business around her family commitments.
Glenice originally started her Avon business when her twins were born and moved to a new area. She saw it as a way to get out in the community and meet new people while being her own boss, working the hours she chose.
Two years on, she’s running her business full-time around her children and is building a team beneath her. Glenice can see the opportunity to build her business further, inspiring others with the tools and advice they need (whether they’re looking to do it full time or part-time for additional income). Glenice always looks for new ways to be creative and move her business forward – the new online platform, My Avon Store has given Glenice a new way to reach new customers and she uses social media and a blog to publicise this. She’s able to work from wherever she is, at any time of day as long as she has an Internet connection!
If you’re looking to start your own business and work for yourself, here are a few do’s and don’ts from Glenice that may help steady your nerves and give you a little confidence during the inevitable surprises and complications you may come across.
1) Know when the time is right: Ask yourself if you are REALLY ready? Ready is a little more than just THINKING that you are ready. It’s feeling it in your every fibre of your being. Is this something that you are really ready to go into? Doubts and nerves are inevitable, but once you are ready strong motivation will make you a force to be reckoned with. Could you factor in a business around your other commitments?
2) Understand your motivation: Understanding why you want to start your own business venture is the very thing you need when the unexpected blips and obstacles pop up. If you forget why you started, you will inevitably quit when the going gets tough. That is why it is important to have a written plan.
3) Do have a plan: It is always a good thing when you have some idea of what you want to achieve. I am a huge advocate of having a business plan, but if you find such a task too daunting then set a series of mini tasks or goals that will enable you to achieve your goals. Make your goals SMART:
A SMART goal would look something like this:
“By June 2017, I want to have team sales of £3414 per campaign – a rise of 15% on last year”. You will have specified a target that is measurable; but always ask, is it achievable? Is it realistic? Can you make this target in that time?
4) Review, monitor and evaluate your progress – These are usually hand in hand concepts. From the get go, you need to mark off your progress. Do you want your team to grow? If so, at what rate? When do you expect to break even or see financial growth? Is it realistic? Once you review your progress you are able to evaluate which are your strong areas and those areas that need improvement.
5) Ask for help when you need it: If recruitment is not your strong point, you can’t understand those accounts or you need advice on how to deal with that difficult representative, look for the closest expert in that particular field. Make sure that they are a trusted source that is there to help you; and whilst you want honesty, you need a “critical friend” that will encourage you along the way.
6) Research, Research, Research: There is no point in developing a new business without researching two things – 1) if there are a million people doing the same thing you need to research why you can capture the niche in the market. 2) Research if you indeed have a market for your idea in the first place. Research gives you the evidence that your idea is either a goer or not. This will inevitably help you with your applications for loans or other types of investments, such as donations
7) Don’t believe that the bank will only look at the financial section of your business plan: The banks are happy to give loans to sound businesses and they get excited by new and innovative ideas, but as well as a sound financial section in your business plan, they also look at other things such as the management of the project. Who is going to be running the show and what experience do they have? If you want to open a clothing store, do you have retail experience? If it’s not you, how will you inject that experience into your business? Make sure that you explain this to them
8) Invest in your business: I have seen a large number of people that want to start a business on nothing more than a wing and a prayer. Every business has some form of start-up costs and you will need to invest in your business in order to see it grow. Avon has an admin fee of £16, which is split over two campaigns (£10 and £6 respectively). If you’re prepared to invest in your business from day one, this demonstrates confidence in your business. Avon is a global brand and has a broad appeal. As such it sells itself. The additional push comes from you.
9) Create great customer relationships: After a while as an Avon representative – especially if you do territory – you get to know your customers. Be flexible, look out for great deals and let them know that you are looking after their needs. So if customers miss an offer, I will always call them to let them know. If you know that it takes the ladies at the Care Home a week to complete their orders, give them a week. Accommodate their needs and always think, “What type of service would I like as a customer?”
10) Learn to love the paperwork. I meet a lot of people that love the service delivery, I meet a lot of people that love the paperwork, but very rarely do I meet people that love to do both. I’m not a fan of tax returns, but I know for sure that if I don’t do them, I will get penalised for a late return. THAT and that alone is enough for me to learn to love this dreaded time of year. Make it easy on yourself. If you don’t like to create policies and procedures, then research them online, look for the similarities and the differences and cut and paste until you’ve created your own policies and procedures.
11) Don’t be a technophobe: Start understanding the power of social media. Social media is not just the preserve of the young. Older people are involved too, but know where they are. BY doing your research, you will not only know who your customers are, you will also know where they hang out online. Use the media that best suits you, but make sure that it’s a choice that makes sense. There’s no point in using Twitter if all of your customers are using Facebook.
12) Know your customers and interact with them: I know it sounds simplistic, but you need to know who is buying into your brand. What are their buying habits? Why do they choose you? In knowing your customers, you also need to develop a following. Small businesses can ask for their followers to re-tweet their posts as a way of spreading the word; and don’t forget to thank as many of them for their support.
13) Develop a Life-Work balance: Dedicate the time to developing your business, but give your domestic lifetime too. When you start your own business, there is a tendency to make it overtake your life. It’s understandable if your motivation is high. However, life has to continue and if you have a family it is important to maintain the personal connections that you have in the real world to keep a sense of life – work balance.
14) DO expect ups and downs: Some people make starting their own business look like plain sailing. You will always hear of the success stories and very rarely hear about the mistakes along the way. However, for the majority of us mere mortals that decide to take the business start-up plunge, life looks a like the picture below. You will have good days and bad days, but how you react to the bad days is the true mark of what separates the triers from those made of sterner stuff.
15) Do enjoy every minute of this: For better or for worse, you are in this for the long haul and whilst there may be some turbulence in the beginning of your journey, once you learn from any mistakes made and you begin to develop your confidence in your business and yourself, make sure that you congratulate yourself every step of the way. It may be hard in the down times, but do it anyway
To find out more or get in touch with Glenice visit: www.glenicesreps.co.uk