Is direct sales and network marketing really boosting your revenue or potentially compromising your brand?
Revenue can be a risky situation. Right off the bat I know this might be a touchy subject matter for some entrepreneurs simply because direct sales and network marketing (DSNM) is a fundamental form of entrepreneurship.
However after extensive research on the topic, I’m left to determine whether DSNM is the best decision for my business and me. As an entrepreneur in the health and fitness industry, I keep an open mind for opportunities to expand my business as well as boost revenue. Therefore, I was eager to explore the world of this $30 billion dollar industry.
DSNM simply means offering products directly to a customer away from a fixed retail location.
Direct sales, independent distributors, sales representatives or consultants market their products in a variety of ways, including one-on-ones, home parties and the Internet. Most direct sales firms are multi-level marketingcompanies (MLMs).
Some examples include:
- Mary Kay, and Isagenix
My introduction to DSNM started six months ago when a Juice Plus distributor contacted me through a LinkedIn College Alumni group.
We connected and after speaking with her, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. So I began to investigate the DSNM industry as a whole. My ears and eyes were open.
Could it be too good to be true?
Since then various DSNM distributers approached me through Facebook, LinkedIn, Alumni Associations, Professional organizations, church community as well as the local grocery store.
I started feeling like a MLM magnet! Herbalife, Beachbody, Mary Kay, LifeVantage and Genesis Pure all extended generous invitations to become distributors for their company. Although I was somewhat flattered by the attention, I was much more cautious on proceeding with anyone’s offer.
Through my research, I discovered the nutritional supplement group or more commonly known as Vitamins, Minerals and Supplement (VMS) was one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
This industry produced about $32 billion in revenue for just nutritional supplements alone in 2012 and is projected to double that by topping $60 billion in 2021 according to the Nutritional Business Journal. With these types of robust statistics why would I not consider expanding my health coaching business to include similar products through DSNM?
It seemed a logical fit.
Was DSNM really a logical fit for my business that I just overlooked?
Would endorsing and distributing a product help increase my health coaching & personal training service sales?
It was time to revisit the Q Movements business plan. I was confident a quick refresher would certainly clear up and confirm the right path for me. As I read through the Executive Summary I was reminded Q Movements was established to increase health and wellness through my services and not someone else’s product.
There was my answer.
Although its feasible DSNM products are viable for helping support the mission of Q Movements, I strongly believe Q Movements needs and deserves my total attention to reach its full potential.
My brand as a health coach and personal trainer :
- I have a responsibility to my clients to ensure any and all my services are safe, effective and sound.
- I’m able to achieve this service level of competence and confidence through education, certifications, trainings, experience and continuing education.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the same type of control with DSNM products and companies. I feel I’m risking my brand, business and livelihood on a product or company I don’t fully control or own. I have too much invested in Q Movements to potentially jeopardize it by some mishap or misconduct from another company.
Before shutting the book on DSNM, the Libra in me is seeking the need for balance in this examination. My investigation did reveal some notable learning moments for this budding entrepreneur. The most valuable lesson was the exposure to new marketing skills and techniques.
Part of my DSNM exploration included attending meetings and training sessions for a couple of the products.
I was surprised on the enormous amount of training DSNM provide on sales and marketing. I know it sounds redundant but the level and extent of training is remarkable. DSNM definitely provide their sales distributers with abundant live and virtual online trainings opportunities. There is no doubt in my mind DSNM prepare their sales team for success. The challenge is ensuring you have the right players in the game.
I’m satisfied with my decision to solely continue my focus on Q Movements during this first year of business. Although I acknowledge there is potential for DSNM to boost my revenue, I trust focusing on Q Movements will do more for me in the long run.
I encourage other entrepreneurs to do your research and review your business plan when considering new business ventures and make the decision that is best for you.
Even though I’m not expanding my business through DSNM products, I was inspired to start developing my own products for Q Movements. Looks like it’s time for me to update my business plan.
Remember you never know how and when your entrepreneurial spirit will be sparked.
Article published on Latin Business Today website: