Sometimes 3rd party validation can be beneficial when we're evaluating something of importance. Here is some information that helped me better understand how Corporate America views Networking and Direct Sales.
In a past issue of Fortune Magazine (the one with Bill Gates on the cover) there was an interesting article focusing on the sputtering economy, and the independent contractors (associates) who are re-energizing the retail industry through the art of direct selling.
Here are a few paragraphs I that caught my attention:
"Call it the age of direct selling. With its emphasis on personal, one-on-one relationships between distributor and consumer, convenience, and a high degree of consumer education, the industry may be tailor-made for today's consumer and company.
"The result: The industry, with sales of $28.7 billion in the early 2000's, up 7.5?rom before, has become a magnet for both corporate behemoths lured by its efficiencies and dozens of entrepreneurs attracted by the lower cost of market entry .
"...for example, Warren Buffett's biggest purchase was The Pampered Chef ... Hallmark's Binney and Smith is launching its own direct-selling company, called Big Yellow Box by Crayola .
"Most direct-selling businesses now employ a multilevel system, in which distributors e********y on their own sales in addition to those of people they recruit (called the 'downline') and individuals brought in by their personal recruits.
"That's different from the single-level approach, in which you only get commissions on your own sales. In 1990, about 20?f the Direct Selling Association members in the used the multilevel plan; today, it's about 80?..
"'I saw ... something that I could do with my sons,' said Russ Widger Sr., a former manufacturing company owner ... 'I thought, with this business, they could do in about 10 years or less what had taken me more than 20 years with my conventional business.'
"'[Direct sales] provided me with security that I would not have achieved if I had continued working a regular job,' claimed Meg Kelly-Smith, a former banking executive. 'I compressed an entire career's worth of earnings into about five or six years.'
"A growing number of distributors are placing orders through their company's web site instead of using the usual faxes or snail-mail orders. Distributors are using ... web sites for help in recruitment and training ... and as a channel for customer reordering.
"In 1990, Lisa Wilbur was laid off from her $15,000-a-year secretarial job, living in a 12 by 70 foot trailer with her husband, and trying her best to stave off creditors. Then she decided to sign on with Avon . Over the past ten years she's made more than $1.4 million in bonuses ... not every representative makes nearly that much money or wants to. Many reps ... get into the business with the intention of working part-time or even, say, earning a little extra around the holidays.
"Although today's economic times offer a variety of challenges, solutions are available for those individuals willing to seek them out. With direct selling companies providing alternate avenues for income generation, more and more people are able to give their current jobs the pink slip."
- Fortune, The Power Issue, vol. 148, No. 3
This industry is being embraced by not only corporate America but business minded people around the globe. Network Marketing is no longer considered fringe. It is turning into mainstream business.
If you'd like to discuss this with me personally I'd be happy to give you a call. Make sure you leave your contact information at my website and I'll get in touch with you right away.