ARE YOU FAMILIAR with the Japanese word "kaizen"? I understand it is a term that, when translated in English, means 'continuous improvement'. According to Wikipedia, the concept of kaizen aims to eliminate waste -- waste being defined as 'activities that add cost but do not add value'.
This is not about looking for the cheapest way to do business, but it is about ensuring that what you are doing actually adds value to your business.
Marva Ruot, President of Success is in Order, has identified several ways individuals in direct sales sometime add costs to their business that, in the end, do not add value. The following tips are from her book entitled, Success Is In Order:
1. You buy prizes and incentive gifts you never use. They look good at Seminar, but you have not made a clear plan on how to use them. You've spent money on a drawerful of items that are now taking up valuable space.
2. You buy too many prizes. Also with no clear idea on how you will use them.
3. You plan prizes too late. Which means you order and pay rush shipping.
4. You don't file often enough. So you make tons of copies of the same thing, because you can't find the originals when you need them.
5. You overstock on items that change quickly. e.g. literature from your company that gets updated regularly. (Maybe it's better to be more realistic here, and order fewer.)
6. You make up too many hand-out packets at one time with material that dates quickly. (So you end up having to throw them out, unused.)
This is only a short list, but perhaps it will give you the incentive to take a look at the things you are doing in your business. Or your home life....Hmmm.... I notice this tip would work in my food pantry or craft cupboard too!
Think about what you are spending your money on, and where you are spending your time. Ensure that the money and effort you put into your business are giving you a good return, that they add value.