Network marketing is often given a bad rap, misunderstood by many – so what exactly is it? In many ways it’s the forerunner to today’s ‘sharing’ and networking on social media; it’s recommending and sharing products that you genuinely love to family, friends and colleagues in the same way that you would recommend a restaurant or a film you have enjoyed.
Rather than retailing through the traditional ‘High Street’ Forever Living is a ‘direct selling’ company providing people with an opportunity to start their own business under the umbrella and with the support of a global brand; or as many of you may have heard me say ‘the opportunity to be in business for yourself but not by yourself’.
The direct selling industry is not new – you might be surprised to learn that the first direct selling company was an educational books publisher called Southwestern formed in 1855, and that Avon was formed just over 30 years later in 1886.
Forever Living, will be 40 years old next year, operating in 159 countries with the UK/Ireland being the World’s top performer for sales two years running. Our flag-ship product is our aloe vera drinking gel which accounts for half of the company’s sales globally; it sits within a huge range of aloe inspired products spanning health, beauty, nutrition, weight management and fitness, as well as products from the bee hive.
How does network marketing work?
Forever Living business owners are paid a commission on their retail sales and if they choose to grow their business further by building a team they are also paid a commission by the company on their team members’ sales. In addition the company rewards people who achieve certain volumes of business with increased commission levels, and over time, as they progress they receive other incentives including car plans and all expenses paid training/inspirational events such as the annual global rally held in a different city around the world each year.
Why do people struggle to accept network marketing?
It really is a simple model – so why do some people struggle with accepting it? Well first of all I think it’s because people are not used to a business model where people genuinely help one another. We are immediately suspicious of anything that is different, there must be some catch; it goes against everything we have experienced working in traditional businesses. We are expected to climb over people, play politics and make personal sacrifice (work extra hours, unpaid) in order to stand out and progress.
Secondly we have the term ‘pyramid’ to contend with. A term that many do not fully understand except that it’s negative; rightly so. So let’s be clear; a pyramid scheme is one where people are compensated for recruiting people rather than selling products and……they are illegal. What many people don’t know is that the UK is one of the most highly-regulated countries in the world with legislations protecting both the consumer and the business owner. We are so confident about our products that we offer a 60-day money back guarantee – you don’t find too many offers like that on the High street. We ship hundreds of thousands of orders each year in the UK and less than 10% of our revenue comes from new business owners investing in a ‘business owners box’ – which is also covered by a money-back guarantee. That should put the pyramid argument to bed once and for all.
Forever Living is also an active member of the Direct Selling Association – there are around 130 member companies globally. What this membership means is that all those companies have signed up to a code of ethics regarding best practice and high standards – http://www.dsa.org.uk/codes-of-ethics/ . Hand on heart I can say that Forever Living is one of the most ethical companies I have had the privilege to be involved in – I wouldn’t have been here over 20 years if that wasn’t the case.
Network marketing is now a mature, established industry and the best companies have strong track record, backed up by impressive financial sales statistics that many traditional corporates would envy. Robert T. Kyosaki who wrote the best seller ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ is a great advocate of this industry and co-authored the network marketing book ‘Businesses of the 21st Century’. In fact he is quoted as saying “If I had to do it all over again, rather than build an old style type of business I would have started building a network marketing business.”More about Robert Kiyosaki
Why I am so passionate about Forever Living - Bob Parker UK Country Manager
As well as the flexibility and financial rewards that are possible, perhaps we should talk more about the huge personal development that so many benefit from once they commit to this business. I have witnessed so many business owners first-hand who have become truly great leaders fulfilling their potential in ways that they hadn’t even dreamed when they first started out.
So what about those who grasp the vision and run with it? They may not fully understand how it all works but have a sense of what the ‘Business Owner’s Box’ of products symbolises – the start of something that they have control over and the potential for financial and personal reward. What I love about this company is that it is the most level playing field you will ever experience regardless of age, gender, education, nationality, there are people from every conceivable background thriving in this environment. It’s also flexible – you can start to grow something in parallel with your current commitments, existing job, and around your children. People are able to build businesses on as little as 8-10 hours a week. We all have the same 24 hours a day – it’s how we choose to spend it that affects how our lives unfold.
If you’ve read the Forever magazine then you will be familiar with the host of success stories about people from all walks of life; mums, nurses, prison and police officers, lawyers, hairdressers, dog groomers, building society clerks, beauty therapists, social workers, corporate directors, even a magician’s assistant; all building their own Forever Living businesses. The common denominator is usually that there is something in their current situation that they would like to change. They may be well rewarded financially but time poor. They may hate their job, or have little financial provision in their retirement. They may want to be able to put their children through private school or pay for university education, they may be looking for reward and recognition, they may simply want to build a business with low risk and minimal investment, creating something, and helping others along the way.
What I am keen to point out is that there is no ‘smoke and mirrors’ to this world. It is, like any other endeavour in life; a case of, you get out what you put in. As in any business it requires, commitment, time and work, belief and desire, the resolve to develop new skills. There will be challenges of course but what I do promise you is that you will also have fun along the way, experience one of the most positive ‘can do’ cultures, make life-long friends and have control over your future.