For over 60 years, Network Marketing has helped to produce more millionaires than probably any other industry. It has allowed ordinary people to create wealth regardless of their background, education, race or how much money they had in their bank account.
Thousands of people have become millionaires without the normal costs associated with setting up and starting their own business.
The introduction of the Internet was once hailed as the perfect tool for Network Marketers, it changed how the business was run, operated and grown. Before the Internet, people built their businesses locally and then worked hard to build them nationally. The Internet allowed them to build faster nationally and eventually globally.
With many businesses growing globally, that in itself brought many more problems. The registration of the business in foreign countries and of course, the registration of the products. Some companies fell behind and saw their turnover dwindle. Others stepped up to the challenge and created huge companies.
Today millions of people worldwide are involved in Network Marketing, but how will it change and develop in the years to come?
From the early 2000's we saw a huge increase of companies offering natural health products. Wave after wave of new, healthier, life changing products flooded the market. Many were very good and extremely effective, however, some new companies simply jumped on the bandwagon and took advantage of the tidal wave of interest surrounding health.
From the late 2000's we saw an increase of the number of companies selling cosmetic products and once again, even though many products were of high quality, others simply took advantage of the growing trend.
Today many health companies and cosmetic companies are seeing a fall in the number of people joining and an increase in the number of people leaving. Many retail companies and corporations have developed products cheaper and just as effective. Many companies have also seen a huge drop in the number of visitors to their websites. Is Network Marketing going through a depression?
The baby boomers had a huge impact on Network Marketing. Many of the products and businesses were tailored to their needs. Now though as baby boomers reach retirement the industry is facing a new challenge. Do we cater for just baby boomers or do we begin to target the younger market and move the business on through technology?
The next two or three years will, I believe, be very important for all companies in this industry. Last year we saw the closure of a $ Billion a year company. The reasons behind the closure have not been completely published although some rumors are that the company relied mostly on its distributors to purchase products each month and not enough emphasis on new customers? If this is true, then a whole new can of worms has been opened and many companies will be running around in panic making sure they have enough new customers each month to prevent attention from the authorities.
Another rumor is that the authorities are seriously looking to prevent companies from charging their distributors automatically each month for product and income qualification. Auto-ship, as it is known in the industry, could become a thing of the past. This alone will have a massive impact, not just on the company, but also on the incomes of many distributors. Again, I stress, it is for now only a rumor.
So where will the industry go from here and how ill it cope with any new laws or forced changes it will need to make?
Regardless of what you might think, the industry is still very popular and will remain the best option for anyone who wants to move away from corporate business and work for themselves but not by themselves. There is, as of today, no other way someone can create wealth without huge startup costs.
The Internet has opened new doors for people and given them the opportunity to learn and start an online business. However, the failure rate for people starting affiliate businesses or online businesses is far higher than that of people who quit Network Marketing.
Even so, Network Marketing has to change with the times and utilize the enormous potential of today's technological world. Mobile phones are expected to account for over 70% of Internet visitors within the next five years worldwide. In many third world countries, that figure is even higher right now!
Within five years over 5 billion people will have access to the Internet. Today that figure is 2.8 Billion, so the potential for any company to progress it must be able to meet the needs of it market.
We are also seeing a slow but sure decline in the need for cash. The UK last year had less people spending cash than those who paid with cards or mobile phones. Some financial experts predict that the UK will become one of the first western countries to eliminate the need for cash within five years!
Kenya introduced mobile payments a few years ago and today most of its population use it for nearly all their purchases. It is strange to think that people do not have cash but they all have mobile phones!
Apple Pay, PayPal and other forms of payments are becoming the norm today and are all contributing to the slow but sure elimination of cash.
How though will this impact the Network Marketing industry and why is it important?
I believe the biggest impact will be for distributors. Many people are looking to build a global business and the simple truth is that if a company only has health products or cosmetics, the opportunity to build a business globally is limited. This could in my opinion have a negative effect on anyone wanting to build globally and persuade them to move to a business that has global opportunities.
Alongside that, the younger generation is more skeptical regarding so called "miracle products" today and we have seen a significant improvement in normal retail store products that offer the same for a lot less in price.
The one area where the industry will see massive growth and potential is in the world of digital currency. As we move more and more toward a cashless society, it makes sense that digital currency will eventually become the way most people pay for goods and services.
We have already seen a huge rise in the number of businesses that accept Bitcoin and that trend will only increase over time. The main product companies can offer in the digital world is of course education. Education in technology, digital currency and investing. This I believe is one area where Network Marketing has the potential to flourish and is currently making huge strides in that market.
There will always be an air of skepticism surrounding Network Marketing, even though most people do it every single day of their life. Whenever we recommend something or somewhere to a friend or colleague, we are in fact network marketing. Word of mouth has been the best form of advertising for many years and even with all the different ways companies can promote their business today, word of mouth and recommendation will always be the first choice for most people.
If you are in Network Marketing or thinking of joining a company, then do your due diligence. Do not jump in with a company that limits your potential. The next five years will see some big changes taking place and any company you decide to work with, must be in a position to not only give you the tools, but also an opportunity that will in time be attractive to everyone and not just those who want to start a business from home.