A lot of people ask me similar questions and only yesterday someone said,  “How did you select which company to build a business with once you had decided that the Network Marketing Profession was for you? It seems to be a  minefield,  there are so many companies out there.  I 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. I hear about that happening a lot.”

Sadly I had to agree. Over the years I have been approached to join dozens of companies very few of which are still going strong with the great majority having actually folded meaning any investment made in them has been lost.  Time, money and effort seem to be the biggest concern on the surface but 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. I know, it’s irrational, we don’t stop banking because Lehman Brothers went bankrupt but I suppose it’s only human nature. Perhaps a little fear is a good thing if it makes us look 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 15 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 think past the Network Marketing Companies and consider all types of businesses 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 the Channings family for sure. 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. Personally, and I did look at the concept and it was excellent and it did fit the criteria, but I just couldn’t get excited about electricity and gas. 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 either, we preferred to just ask them to switch stores and try different brands 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 fit the bill 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 showed he genuinely cared I suppose I was sold. It was actually near two years of research that ended in an hour long meeting. His parting shot to me was “Welcome aboard, I hope we grow old together”. 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 you and I am not even mentioning it here 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.