PDCA your Direct Sales Business

When I was taking under-grad classes one of the most poignant business lessons that stayed with me stemmed from Deming’s PDCA Cycle. The PDCA Cycle is a checklist of the four stages that you must go through in business to get from `problem-faced’ to `problem solved’. The four stages are Plan-Do-Check-Act.

That’s well and good, and I’m sure boring to some – but how does that relate to your direct sales business, right? You can use it with your team or with your individual business. You can use it plan and coordinate your continuous improvement efforts. (I’m assuming any good businesswoman will always strive for continuous improvement in her business and never become complacent or stagnant). Using the PDCA cycle highlights the importance of starting with careful planning that must result in effective action and must move on again to careful planning in a continuous cycle.

Are you still with me? Remember you’re a business owner. I hope you haven’t been running your business willy nilly. It’s vitally important that you run your business like a business if you are to realize sizable results.

You can also use PDCA in team meetings and working with individual consultants to determine what stage improvement projects are at (you may find you’re at stage zero), and to choose the appropriate tools and methods to see each stage through to successful completion.

Here is what you do for your direct sales business for each stage of the PDCA Cycle:

•Plan to improve your business first by finding out what things are going wrong (that is identify the problems faced whether it’s sales, recruiting, personal shyness, lack of product knowledge, computers, etc., and come up with ideas for solving these problems.
•Do changes designed to solve the problems on a small or experimental scale first. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Perhaps you just need some more one and one training with your sponsor, or re-read (assuming you already read it cover to cover at least once) the company policies and procedures, watch a video tutorial, attend a meeting, etc. This minimizes disruption to routine activity while testing whether the changes will work or not.
•Check whether the small scale or experimental changes are achieving the desired result or not. Again, I hope you’re not running your business willy nilly. If you have no way of testing the effectiveness of a change, you may be spinning your wheels for naught. Also, continuously check key business and marketing activities (regardless of any experimentation going on) to ensure that you know what the quality of the output is at all times to identify any new problems when they crop up.
•Act to implement changes on a larger scale if the experiment is successful. This means making the changes a routine part of your activity. Also Act to involve other persons (team members and potential recruits) affected by the changes and whose cooperation you need to implement them on a larger scale, or those who may simply benefit from what you have learned (you may, of course, already have involved these people in the Do or trial stage).
If you’re interested in learning more about PDCA check out `Out of the Crisis’, W Edwards Deming, MIT 1989, or `Kaizen’, Masaaki Imai, McGraw-Hill, 1986.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling candles or gourmet food or jewelry or skin care or widgets. This PDCA Cycle will work in any business, including your direct sales business. Give it a try!

About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a WAHM from Michigan. She started her first home business in 1988. As a single parent, Laurie has supported her family by working at home as an Independent Consultant and Star Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping others start a candle business. You can find Laurie at http://www.thrivingcandlebusiness.com/ and http://www.Scentsy.com/LA


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Not Me! Monday!

I did not allow my child to play in the dirt, and then make matters worse by giving her water to make mud pies and feed them to the dog! Not me! eeeewwww! What a mess!

Quality Is Everything

Giant ButterflyI love, love, LOVE scented things!  Candles, sachets, room sprays, air fresheners, car fresheners, lotions, body washes, etc……you name it!  Hence, the title of my website and blog.  I have known for a long time that scents can provoke many memories and can start a story telling pow-wow in a heartbeat.  This is also true with food.  I was watching a show on the Food Network the other day and the host, Sandra Lee, said, “we eat with our eyes first, our nose second, and then with our mouths.”  Apparently, this is a well-known saying in the food industry.  So, this got me thinking.  When I choose something….anything, really….that is scented, what is the first thing that draws me to that particular item?  I suppose the reasoning is going to depend on what the item is.  Such as, with a candle.  First, I choose the candle by it appearance (i.e. color, texture, shape, and size).  Second thing I do, is smell it.  If it doesn’t come in a scent that I’m fond of, then it’s a quick no-go, unless it matches with the decor of a room in my home.  Then, I still may get it, but I know that I won’t be burning it.  Lastly, I review the price.  The quality of a candle is going to come into play here.  I will choose a candle with high quality and a little expensive, than one with not so great quality that is inexpensive.  My Mama taught me that quantity is nothing (except with money…hahaha) and quality is everything.  This applies to numerous things in life.  So, as far as I can tell, choosing food and choosing candles are a lot alike.  At least for me, anyway.  First, I use my eyes, then my nose.  The last deciding factor is different….or are they?  When I go out to eat, I want quality food.  If the meal is expensive, I expect a great quality meal.  Same with candles!  So, yes, the last issue that will influence me, is quality.  This revelation has helped me to better understand the way a customer might think, which will, in turn, help me to provide better customer care.  And, in my business, great customer service is what it is all about!  Don’t you agree? 

To do a little research, I made a casserole that is not my family’s favorite.  It is a tuna casserole, and tuna is not a huge celebrity around my home.  Usually, I just throw the casserole ingredients together and don’t take much time to “dress it up.”  This time, I took my time and made sure that the peas were showing, to give it a little eye appeal.  I folded, instead of stirring, all the ingredients together, which made the casserole less “mushy” looking.  I applied cheese on the top and made sure that it was even.  When I served it, I placed the entire casserole dish in the center of a platter that was covered with lettuce leaves.  Oh, and instead of canned tuna, I actually seared a tuna steak I had bought at the grocery store.  Remember…..quality makes a HUGE difference!  My family is still long keen on tuna casserole, but this time, the first words out of my family’s mouths were, “ooooh…this sure looks good!”  They also know, however, that I am always using them as my guinea pigs, so their next question was, “what is it?” and “what’s in it?”  That’s what I get for raising them to always ask questions! LOL  My point, though, is that because of the casserole’s appearance, and the quality ingredients that I put in it, my family ate it with a lot more enthusiasm than I’ve ever seen!  I didn’t even have to fuss at the kids about giving their food to the dog!  hee hee

I am not a gourmet cook.  Nor, do I aspire to be.  I will choose any dish that is quick and easy, anytime!  But, I do know that I will continue to present my family meals with a little more pinache, care, and quality.  It lets them know that I care without saying a word.  Provide everyone with the greatest qualities of yourself, and they will reciprocate.  So, what do you think?  Is quality everything or do you disagree?  I would love to read your comments!  I hope you have a glorious and high-quality day!  Always remember to love, laugh, and celebrate life as much as you can!

Warmest wishes to all,

Helen T. Askins


Party Crazy!

My name is Helen, and I am a party animal! I am always, ALWAYS looking for a reason to have a party! Sometimes I don’t even need a reason! I am party crazy! Fortunately, so is my family, so I always have support from them. When I was a child, I remember my own parents would throw weekend get-togethers, and my Mama had a group of friends that would come over and play Bingo, Scrabble, and Canasta. So, I guess, I got the “party fever” way back then. Partying for me is all about the FUN! I enjoy to see other people having fun and laughing! Of course, partying should also include some great food, too! The bigger the YUM the bigger the FUN! It’s not hard to figure out, too, that the home party planning industry was a HUGE hit with me! I have had just about every home party that you can think of! From Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and Tastefully Simple….to Scentsy, PartyLite, Home Interiors, and Christmas Around the World! I LOVE ’em! I especially enjoy my home parties with direct selling companies, because not only do I get free product, but I get the chance to relax, release, and relate with my friends! It’s all about the relationships! A party is not a party if no one is there! Believe you me, I can have just as much fun at a party of 5 as I can at a party of 15! If there are at least three people there (2 friends + me), then I consider it a party! The BEST Scentsy party I ever had the pleasure of doing was with a hostess and three of her friends. We didn’t play any games, nor did we do a “door prize” drawing, and we all had a blast! I got 2 bookings from that party, but the best thing about it, was the FUN, and laughter that we all shared! We just all sat around for hours just talking, laughing, smelling ALL 80+ scents in my kit, and giving our opinions on each smell! Let me say, that it was actually the longest party I’ve ever done, too! The party itself lasted over 4 hours! We were having so much fun that we didn’t even notice the time! The party began at 6pm and I didn’t get home until 10:45pm! I only lived 10 minutes away! It was the most amazing experience that I have encountered in my 4+ years in direct sales. It had nothing to do with the sales or bookings. It had EVERYTHING to do with the relationships, the laughter, and the FUN! It was the epidomy of why I am party crazy and love what I do! So, find a reason to party and have fun! If you can’t find a reason, then party on, anyway! Friends, fun, and laughter are three great reasons to have a party! Actually, they’re the ONLY reasons!

Meet Helen Askins!

Hi! My name is Helen Tanner Askins. I live in South Carolina and I am a proud Mama of two bPICT0170aeautiful children and wife to a wonderful man. I am a stay-at-home Mom, by choice, but I still love to “pitch in” as a substitute teacher whenever I can! I have just recently started blogging on the internet and hope that I meet lots of interesting people and learn loads of valuable and interesting information from others! I am currently working as an Independent Scentsy Certified Consultant, which involves direct selling. If you would like to learn more about Scentsy, please visit my website HERE
I have worked in direct sales for over 4 years and have a definite passion for helping, meeting, and working with others in the home party industry. I am a fan of the home party industry and love to entertain at my own home on occasion. I enjoy baseball and Nascar racing. I have an absolute obsession with the beach! I LOVE the beach….even in the winter months (I’m half sure I was a dolphin in a past life!). As I said before, I love to entertain in my home, and I am always looking for an easy, simple, or plain ol’ awesome idea or tip on cooking, cleaning, or home decor! So please leave me any comments you may have. If you have one of those awesome ideas or tips you would like to share with me, I’d be thrilled to learn from you! I wish you much happiness and much success! And I look forward to getting to know you and making new friendships! Have a glorious day!

Interview with Scentsy: A Direct Sales Company Using Social Media Marketing Successfully « Di…

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I am so thrilled to be part of this exciting company! I am an Independent Scentsy Consultant/Certified and I acheived that goal within 3 months of being with the company! Scentsy allows it’s Consultants to expand their marketing power on the internet by providing very generous tools and tips on social media and how to apply these things among the worldwide web and still keep in compliance with the company’s policies and procedures! Social Media is all new to me, but I have gotten lots of tips from Scentsy’s supportive staff, my upline, and other consultants with the business, and it has been very exciting to see my business blossom!