Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Home party plans have been around for what seems like forever. They are often the first choice for women who want to own their own business. The start-up costs are usually affordable, training is usually provided and hey, your whole business is a party! What's not to love?
If you are considering a home party business, here are some things to think about:
Can you work evenings? You can hold home parties at any time, but since many women have daytime jobs, many parties are held in the evenings. In order to work your parties, you need to be able to work evenings. This means you need reliable child care if you have children. You may have other situations that would prevent you from working evenings, such as night blindness which prohibits driving after dark, or responsibilities or activities that you need to consider.
Transportation You will need a vehicle that is reliable and has adequate space to transport your sales materials. You may need additional insurance on your car if using it for business purposes. (Ask your insurance agent.) Also, you need to be able to find the locations of your hostess's homes, so map skills and ability to follow directions will certainly help.
Presentation and/or demonstration skills are the money-maker for this business. Many people think they can skip the party facet of these businesses and just have "book" or catalog parties. You can certainly do that if you want to supplement your income. But you will have the most success with parties or shows. Presentation and demonstration skills can be learned by almost anyone. It is a skill that you build on--the more you do it, the better you get. Most companies have training information or programs that will give you tips and techniques to learn how to give presentations that sell.
Organization: You will have products, orders, customers and a schedule as a bare minimum to keep up with. Some companies will ship orders directly to customers, but some will ship to you to distribute. You will have a demonstration kit, order forms, catalogs and so on to take to your shows, unpack, set up, demonstrate, and then repack. You will need a calendar to schedule parties, deliveries, follow-up and the like. Good organization skills are important in any business, and the party plan business is no different.
Math Skills You will need to help customers total their orders properly to ensure correct payment. You will need to be able to determine your earnings and expenses for tax records. Spreadsheet programs and a good calculator are a must.
Sales Skills You will to be able to sell. It is important to be able to prospect for new customers or hostesses, tell them about the features and benefits of your company, and get them to book parties. Then, you will need to be able to sell to the party guests--both products and the benefits of having a party of their own. You will need a follow-up plan to keep in touch with your customers, so they can book repeat parties, too.
Communication Skills In addition to being able to speak to small groups, you will need other communication skills. It might be good to brush up on the basics, such as being an effective listener, knowing your audience, checking for clarification, and perhaps even vocal skills such as tone and projection. Body language is another communication tool you want to perfect. Watch yourself in a mirror and look for off-putting gestures, weird expressions and poor posture. You also need to know proper etiquitte for using email if you plan on using it to communicate, too.
Passion for your Product Anything is easier to sell if you believe in it and use it yourself. That is part of the secret to the success of these businesses. The products are sold by people "just like me"--people easy to identify with. You present your products to your peers in a friendly, relaxed setting. Your enthusiasm and belief in what you are selling give you crediblity and build trust with your customers.
If you are considering a business in home party sales, there are many options today. Read Choosing a Home Party Plan to learn how to pick one that works for you. Then, read Researching Home Party Plan Businesses to find out what you need to know about the companies you are considering.
Not sure if home party plan sales is right for you? My ebook Finding the Perfect Small Business for You can help you find a business suited to your skills and interests.