With thousands of network marketing, direct sales and multi-level marketing opportunities to choose from, finding the right one is daunting at best, and should be undertaken using careful due diligence. One quick screening method is to check to see if the company is a member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) which is the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers. If a company is not a member, your first step would be to contact DSA to find out why.
As you comb through the internet looking for business opportunities and, more importantly, ways to evaluate them, you will find many sites and blogs offering “objective reviews” for MLMs and Network Marketing companies. Some will offer, for a small price, “the secrets” to finding the right business opportunities. Eventually, you will come to realize that these sources, while helpful for gathering information, are usually trying to sell you on their business opportunity.
In my own selection process, I started with a list of objective criteria that any savvy investor or entrepreneur has employed when evaluating a business. Successful entrepreneurs and investors like Trump and Buffet will tell you that, for any business to succeed, certain key elements must be present:
Market Demand. There needs to be a demand for the product of technology being offered. If people don’t want them it won’t matter what you do. Nobody will buy them. Do the products or technology address an emerging trend that will mean growing demand or are they just a “me too” solution for an aging market trend? Are the trends supported by evolving demographics? For instance, a predominant demographic today are the 85 million aging Baby Boomers all looking for ways to look, feel and stay young.
Exclusivity. Many of the hottest new products and technologies today have been introduced through direct sales or network marketing companies. Again, with thousands to choose from, you might as well narrow it down to those companies that have a “wide moat”. That means, companies that offer products and technology that are not only exclusive to that company, but where there is little or no competition. If you can legitimately say that “we’re the only company that offers this” then you have an immediate edge.
Rock Solid Company. You can have the best products in the world that everybody wants but if the company can’t ship the products, pay its people, tell you what’s going on with your business, keep accurate records and mail the checks on time it will all fall apart. Only companies that have a well documented track record over several years should be considered. Better yet, consider companies that are publicly traded because the S.E.C. requires full disclosure and transparency of all financial information. Careful though, as some companies may be publicly traded yet their stock price and earnings projections indicate very low investor confidence. One way to eliminate all but the most financially stable companies is to star those that have a Dunn and Bradstreet rating of 51A – which is another indication of their profitability and credit worthiness.
Right Timing. Exceptional market timing is when exclusive, patented technology meets the growing demand of an emerging demographic. When you find a solid company or organization that can help launch you into that market with the right product, the proper training and support then you may just find yourself in the right place at the right time.
Leveraging Opportunity. A key element of direct sales or network marketing that differentiates it from a standard brick and mortar small business is the ability to leverage your time to create a residual income. Most of our lives we have earned an income by trading time for money. The right business model for Network Marketing enables you to leverage your time so you can build your income through the efforts of others in your own organization. The more people that you help succeed in your organization, the more residual income you can create.
The Bonus Element – Duplicatable Business Model. When all of the other criteria are met, a close examination of the business model should be the final determining factor. A part of the “start-up cost” includes the time it takes to get your new business up and running to the point where you are generating an income. While training, support and mentoring is important, if the model or system employed is not easily repeatable you will not only have a difficult time starting your own business, but you will find it very difficult to launch people below you. This would be disastrous and a waste of all of your resources.
Once you have narrowed down your choices – get a close look at the business building system. It should consist of an easy, three to five step process that is fully supported by effective marketing materials and back office assistance. These days, it would be near impossible to run a business without a website – so, make sure the company provides a free, replicated website that can be used as your internet home-base.
By applying these criteria – evenly and objectively – across the universe of companies offering direct sales or network marketing opportunities, you will find that the field narrows fairly quickly. I can tell you that, in my own evaluation, the list of companies narrowed from thousands to less than a dozen that had a least 4 out of the 5 elements. Only a few had all 5.