With company representatives competing for your hard-earned dollar at every turn, how do you choose the business venture which best fits your needs, goals, and lifestyle? Becoming an Associate with an established business leaves much of the legwork and legal matters to others, while allowing you to work with pre-established training programs, business building tools, and proven procedures. Most businesses will use marketing strategies which will target your personal dreams and desires. That’s to be expected. Here, however, are some great questions to ask yourself and your potential sponsor BEFORE deciding to join an existing home business.
1. How is this business being presented to you? Did the recruiter send you a spam email or suggest that you would have to sign up to learn about the products and/or services before you have a chance to decide? Would you be comfortable presenting the business to others in this way, or does it seem a bit underhanded and shady?
2. What exactly is the business offering? Are there actual products, or would you be selling the opportunity to “sell an opportunity”? Are the products useful, sought after, reasonably priced, and free from controversy regarding ingredients or safety? Would you use these products yourself? Do you know others who might use the products or be interested in the business? Would you consider the products to be a temporary “fad” item? Do you HAVE to join or otherwise pay a fee, in addition to the cost of the products, to access them?
3. Has anyone made an income claim or otherwise suggested you could make "X" amount of money per month or per year as a representative? Businesses fail or succeed based on the efforts of the entrepreneur, period. Aside from suggestions that you can take the business as far as you desire, run from any income claims.
4. Can you afford the start-up kit? Exactly what would you receive in your kit? Are there on-going purchases you must make to stay active, or periodic membership fees? If so, will you be able to afford them? Are they reasonable?
5. Do you believe in the products and their performance? Would you still be as enthusiastic about them after six months or two years promoting them?
6. Are sponsors willing to find the answers to your questions, and respond promptly? Would there be a potential personality clash between you and your sponsor? Are your inquiries taken seriously? Has it been difficult to “connect” via phone, email, or instant messenger with your potential sponsor? Are you allowed to discuss the business with others above your sponsor, or within your your organization for additional assistance and idea exchange?
7. Exactly how much training is available to you after you join? Can you access training anytime, or only at specific times? Are there useful marketing tools and suggestions at your disposal?
8. Does it seem that your sponsor’s income is dependent on your decision to join the business? Are they bashing you over the head, trying to “talk you into it”, or simply offering sound advice to help you choose? Are others honestly making a decent living with this business? Will your income or position be adversely affected if your sponsors or your own recruits quit the business?
9. Are there perks such as additional marketing materials or instant websites to assist in your success? Do they cost anything extra? Will you have to obtain any special reseller or business licenses? How much will they cost to maintain?
10. How long has the company been in business and been successful? Are there any scam reports about the business on www.ripoffreport.com, or controversial posts on business message boards? Do you understand the differences between Pyramid Schemes and Multi-Level-Marketing strategies? Check with PSA for guidance. Is the company's reputation favorable?
11. Do you have to maintain inventory? If so, how much, and can you afford it? Will you be able to afford it a year from now? How much do you anticipate having to spend for marketing materials, business cards, and telephone charges.
12. Do you fully understand you will be solely responsible for the success of your business? Are you willing to put forth the daily efforts to make your dreams a reality?
13. Will you grow tired of this business after a couple of months and give up? Do you understand there is no such thing as a “get rich quick scheme” in which you can sign up and do nothing while the money flows in? Are you prepared to work for your success? How many hours per week can you devote to it?
14. Do you have personal or social insecurities you need to work through toward success? Would you be willing to host parties, instruct potential associates, or otherwise build personal relationships online and offline to help grow your business?
15. Are you, or could you be, passionate about the purpose of the business and the products offered? Would you set personal achievement goals and maintain contact with your sponsors for added boosts now and then? Would you become discouraged after a couple of negative responses and simply give up?
16. Is the company based on integrity, solid business practices, and ongoing support? Can you expect the company to ‘be here’ in three years? Will you feel as though you can rely on the backing of this business? Will you still be as excited about this opportunity two years from today?
Polly Taskey has supported her family through work at home since 2003. She is the Webmaster of Designing Life (http://www.designinglife.net), a site focused on empowering individuals to rebuild life and strengthen family, finances, and future through work at home, self-help, and business resources. This article may be reprinted with this byline included and all links made clickable.
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