How We Chose our Business Partner

A lot of people ask me the same question and I heard it again only yesterday.  

“How did you choose which company to partner with once you had decided that the Home Based Marketing Profession was for you?

They tend to say things like, “It seems to be a  minefield, and there are so many companies out there. We don’t want to put in lots of effort to find it all fizzles out when the company leaves the country or goes out of business altogether. We’ve heard that happens a lot.”

We felt exactly the same way when we started. Over the years I had been approached to join dozens of companies very few of which are still going strong. The great majority actually folded within a very short time meaning any investment made in them has been lost.  Time, money and effort seem to be the biggest concern on the surface but the loss of credibility and the emotional expense is actually far greater, some people find it hard to get over the disappointment and some have even turned bitter against the whole profession.

Actually in its early days and with some of the sharp players who were involved it deserved its reputation and you could not really call it a profession but times have changed and now many huge corporations use what has become a perfectly legitimate method of moving great products from manufacturer to consumers.

Still I suppose it’s only human nature to be careful. Perhaps a little fear is a good thing if it makes us think more carefully next time…but too much fear could paralyse us for life. Fear and faith are polar opposites.

So how do we pick a company to partner with that will be around for years to come and will continue to reward our efforts fairly. Here are a few of the requirements we had all those years ago when we first started out. Of course times have changed, for instance the internet and social media are certainly playing a much bigger role now, but the fundamentals are still the same. Its always been a people business and it always will be. The computer is an important tool but talking to a real person on the telephone and face to face in meetings or one on one over coffee are just as important as ever, maybe even more so.

Obviously there are no guarantees, even Woolworths closed their doors in the UK, but you can still do your due diligence and give yourself the best possible chance.  If we forget about the Network Marketing type Companies for a moment and consider all types of business startups we find that most of them fail in the first couple of years, in fact 90% go under in the first 18 months and at 5 years only 1 in 1,000 is left.

Who would stake their time, money, and probably most important, their reputation and all their goals and hopes and dreams on a 1000-1 chance.

Not me or Steppy. We figured it would be best for us to choose from those companies that had overcome the early hurdles and were at least 5 years old. Actually the one we chose was almost twenty years old at that time and has gone from strength to strength since. We did not just want to build a business that would last our lifetime but we want to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren too.

Next we considered various products and services, telephones and utilities were very popular then, some of our friends took that route and one or two have done very well indeed.

We started with 12 essential ingredients which I have covered in another post, and we insisted that we should be able to put a tick against every one of them.

We did look at the utilities company. It was excellent and it did fit all the criteria, but Steppy just couldn’t get excited about electricity and gas and our last and most important criteria (not actually on the list of 12) was we must be in complete agreement. How can two walk together unless they are in agreement.

We were looking for a consumable product that if they were better than what people were using now they would come back for them month after month, year after year. The one drawback with utilities was the fact that if someone else came along with a cheaper deal many of the customers would switch again, so we weren’t keen on price alone being our USP.

We didn’t want to educate people on why they should use a product they didn’t already use, we preferred to just ask them to switch stores and try different brands that were not so different than what they were already using. Of course they would have to be top quality and they would need to compete fairly on price or why would anyone swap? There were a few companies that worked but we were certainly narrowing the field down.

We wanted a privately owned company that could prove it was financially sound and a strong, stable management team was also important. We saw lots of videos of owners and big hitters in their flashy cars and big mansions but to be honest all that hype turned us off.  When I wanted to talk to these people to ask a few questions and get the feel of how they might think of their workforce it proved very difficult. In most cases it was virtually impossible, like trying to meet Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley. So when I finally was able to meet the CEO of one of these multi-national companies and found him to be a humble, family man who seemed like he genuinely cared I suppose I was sold. His name is Frank and he brought nearly two years of research to a close in an hour long meeting. His parting shot to me was “Welcome aboard, I hope we grow old together”. I’ll never forget that. We have spoken several times since and it is always a pleasure for me, and it never seems to be too much trouble for him either.

Our choice might not be the right fit for your family but whatever company you choose let me encourage you to do all you can to get a feel for the character of the people at the top. I don’t care what car he drives, actually I have no idea, all I know is he wants me to succeed in an honest and ethical way…his motto, “Exceptional products at reasonable prices” his company Mission Statement…   “To enhance the lives of those we touch by helping people reach their goals”…and something else I have heard him say many times at various meetings and conventions that sums the man up…  “there is never any need to exaggerate, the truth is always enough”.

So let me finish there, in promoting your products and your business you will have to tell your story time and time again, sometimes to people who know and trust you and sometimes to people who you only just met but if you can’t put your hand on your heart and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about your company, then you should either pick another company or get out of the business altogether.

Network marketing has come of age, it is a worthy profession, a great way to earn a living or for those that put in the greatest effort, to make their fortune. Jumping around from deal to deal looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is not very professional…many do it and good luck to them, some do make a fast buck, but at what cost?  

As for me and my house we have chosen to build on solid foundations.