I saw a great quote today by Tom Robbins.

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

I thought that this was exactly the point that I try to make to people, (but said so much better than I ever would have!!) So many times we get caught up in “the way we do it.”

Have you ever gone to church or a had a meeting you attend regularly? Have you noticed that everyone seems to always sit in the same seat? I am one of those that thinks it is fun to move around and throw everyone off.

We have a management meeting every Tuesday and my managers always come in and sit in “their” seat. If I get there early enough, quite often I will purposely pick to sit in one of their chairs just to throw the whole room off. We are creatures of habit. Most of us like to sleep on the same side of bed, have our coffee the same way and drive our car on the same road every day.

Sometimes those regular schedules or habits provide us with stability, other times it will kill us. There is another phrase I like that says,

“If you always do, what you have always done, you will always be, what you have always been.”

We should always be in a state of growth; personal, professional and spiritual. We should never be comfortable with the way things are because when we become comfortable, we stop moving towards greatness. How does one achieve greatness?? I think it is by staying committed to the decisions you have made for your life.

So many of us decide to do things (me included) and when the going gets tough, we give up.  I am sure many of you are like me and decided to “be healthier” this new year.  Sometimes at 6 am when I would rather be in bed than working out, it is hard to be committed.  When that chocolate brownie looks better than my salad, it is hard to be committed.  So, we must be flexible in our approach, sometimes I get up at 6:10 but I still get up, sometimes I eat a bite of that chocolate brownie…flexible, but still committed.

The same is true in business.  As a company we know our anchor, “To empower Direct Sellers worldwide with the best software and customer service in the industry.”  We have to constantly be flexible in how we view our “best practices.” Are there things we are doing that are outdated? Undoubtedly there are. We recently made the decision to not send out a printed manual. It seemed that as quickly as we got a new version printed up, it was outdated. While it is uncomfortable for us to give up this old familiar way of doing things, we must if we are going to be a state of the art company.  If we know what we are committed to, we can strive towards it.

Take the time today to examine your life and your position in your company and see if there is anything that you are really comfortable with. If so, look at it critically and find out if there is anything about it that is hindering your future growth. You might have found your sweet spot, but even sweet milk can go sour if it sits for too long.

Comfort and stability are good things but so are growth and flexibility. The balanced individual and company are able to create enough comfort and stability so that maximum growth and flexibility can be achieved. (over and over again).

To be successful in the future your MLM, Party Plan or Direct Sales Company must utilize mobile technology and videos.

According to studies, in June 2011 consumers spent an average of 81 minutes per day using apps on Smartphones and tablets vs 74 minutes surfing the Web through a PC or mobile browser.  This amount has almost doubled from the previous year of 43 minutes using mobile apps vs 64 minutes on the Web.

Smartphone applications give employees the opportunity to access information easily from anywhere they have access to the internet. Each week more businesses are realizing the benefits of mobile applications and web-based access.  Besides increasing overall employee productivity, mobile applications boost efficiency and internal revenues by unifying communications with the entire business structure.

Smartphone apps create a captured audience, even if it is for a short amount of time.  If an individual is using your app, they are learning about your products or your company, similar to your website, just more tailored. This can be a great benefit.

Additionally, allowing your field to have access to your company training videos over mobile technology is very beneficial.  Direct Selling companies want to be connected with their field as much as possible.  They want to encourage the field and keep them motivated.  The use of mobile technology is opening all kinds of new doors to allow this to happen.

Our Communications Platform was named Revolution because we felt like it created a Revolution in the way things were done.   Over 80% of direct sellers have additional jobs so it is vital that companies provide the field with all the info they need when they need it.  A mom can watch a training video while waiting in the car line to pick her kids up from school or while she is at the soccer game.  This in turn allows her to be more efficient and effective.   The field is on the move and it is imperative that Direct Selling companies provide access to the information they need to be successful.

Social media can no longer be something a direct selling, MLM or party plan company can do part-time. Direct Selling companies need to have at least one focused employee that serves as their social media chair. Companies that do not post regularly will not have as big an impact as those who do.

Recently,I joined the Twitter world (@Serenabydesign) and I have learned so much!  I jumped in without much direction and at times am still learning how things work. I have gained a lot of knowledge and I have learned a lot about different companies and the value they place on social media.  I follow a large amount of direct sales, mlm and party plan companies.  Some use our software and others do not.

I have found that social media is a great tool to convey the culture of your company.  A “culture” is the values and practices that are shared by a group of people.  It is important to define what is important to your company and maintain that focus through your posts and interactions.  Companies like Scentsy, Beachbody and Vemma have a very strong sense of the culture of their company.

If you follow Team Beachbody, you will notice they have a very encouraging community that is focused on fitness. Many of their top coaches, including Shaun T and Tony Horton have Twitter accounts (@ShaunTfitness, @TonyHorton). They use these accounts to share about their workouts and celebrate the success of those involved with the product. The company CEO, Carl Daikeler (@CarlDaikeler) actively participates on Twitter and regularly posts encouraging tweets regarding how their products are helping people live better lives and how their coaches are advancing.  Team Beachbody Coach Connections has a Facebook page that encourages their coaches and community.  Every post is regarding the culture they have created surrounding their values and their practices.

Social media must be embraced for companies to move beyond good to great.  In the next few years, it will become a necessity.  New product partners search the
web and facebook to see what people are saying about your company and your product.  If you begin now, your company will have a strong following and culture that will lead it into the future.

If you are unsure of how to use social media for your business, there are industry consultants that would love to help you and guide you.  I am simply an observer, these people are experts!  Jonathan Gilliam of Momentum Factor and Jennifer Fong with Luce and Associates are great advisors to companies of varied sizes. We have found both to be extremely knowledgeable.

No matter what size you company is, there is no time like the present!  Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!!

I look forward to following you on Twitter!!!

Believe your brand partners can do the impossible

Last week I highlighted some top trends for Direct Selling for 2012. I had a few requests for more in depth explanation so over the next few weeks I will address these.

Our first necessity is for Direct Selling to embrace technology.

Direct Selling must embrace technology and recognize that every company is a software company. Software is no longer a piece of your business that allows you to do business, it is your business. It is how you are viewed by the world. Companies that are on outdated technology or stay with software providers that are no longer innovative will be lost. Some of our industries oldest companies are at great risk because their software has become antiquated and bloated and is not flexible and adaptable. Older companies run the risk of being outsold by newer direct selling companies that understand a flexible platform and are able to adapt quickly.

Direct selling companies must look at their products and their sales mechanisms and consider, “Am I meeting all the needs of the consumer and my brand partners?” I know of companies that still use a lot of paper in their business. That may be acceptable for the older generation (which is a valuable sales force), but companies must put themselves in a position to be ready for the future. Younger generations are not going to fax in orders.

Direct Selling companies must use technology that creates a culture that corresponds with their products. (I will touch more on this when I discuss the use of social media.)

They need to provide easy access to info. I recently attended a home party and being in the software business, I was intrigued with how the consultant felt about her company’s software. I watched as she clicked and clicked and clicked her way through the application. I asked her what she thought about it and she told me, “It stinks!! But the good news is I can finally do it on my laptop here, a couple of months ago, it would have been useless for me to even bring my laptop.”

Direct Selling companies must consider technology as an integrated piece within their company. Most companies hire software companies like mine to meet their software needs. We strive to make sure the environment is stable, that customer support is good and that we are constantly growing and innovating, but industry software companies must build the bridge between being a provider and a partner. At ByDesign, we work hard to build that bridge. Software is about creating an integrated product that represents the client and their product partners.

I think technology must be looked as a vital part of business and future success for the direct selling company. What do you think?