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April 01, 2010

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, April 2010


John FlemingA time to reflect, a time to evaluate and a time to celebrate! This month will be a very special one for us as we announce the results of our research—identifying the top 100 direct selling companies in the world—at our inaugural DSN Global 100 Celebration on April 7. We contracted experienced researchers for this project, and their findings will provide us with, to the best of our knowledge, the first such recognition ever published. We embraced this project to respond to questions that often arise from within the academic and private investment communities who watch our industry and our companies for potential involvement. Every other recognized industry ranks its companies, so we felt it was our responsibility to do the same for direct selling.

As we reviewed the findings of the researchers, it became obvious that there is a story behind each company that has chosen direct selling as its preferred method of distributing products and services. I personally enjoy the opportunity to reflect on data and piece together the stories behind the numbers. As the data came in and we began the process of reviewing the many companies that would make the DSN Global 100 list, we realized that we were actually identifying the pioneers in some cases, but in all cases we saw the models of excellence that lead the way for direct selling. We also pondered the timing of our project and how it might best serve other direct selling companies, and even the public at large.

As a nation in general, we are still looking for that glimmer of hope for more prosperous days after surviving what may be described as two of the more difficult years in our nation’s history. The hot topic in the news remains jobs, and the stress associated with what is being described as a “jobless recovery” will continue for those who ponder their employment future. These thoughts caused us to look for ways we might use the information we gathered to increase public awareness of and understanding for direct selling. It occurred to us that identifying the DSN Global 100 might serve those who watch us more than we had originally thought. While the job count is shrinking, direct selling companies remain steadfast in their efforts to provide income-earning opportunities and make possible a free enterprise opportunity! In last month’s “Publisher’s Note,” I talked about the fact that direct selling companies not only create income opportunities, but they also serve as a catalyst for transformation because of their focus on skill training and personal development. A must-read, in my opinion, would be Robert Kiyosaki’s, soon-to-be-released book, The Business of the 21st Century, with yours truly and Kim Kiyosaki contributing. See Robert’s article on page 60.

The first chapter of the book says it all: The rules have changed, and it behooves us all to understand what has changed and what is most important for those who want to remain in control of their lives, their destiny.

Perhaps, as we now look forward to announcing and celebrating the DSN Global 100, as well as celebrating at this year’s DSA Annual Meeting, we are also looking at a special moment. We have the opportunity to gain the attention of the masses and effectively define exactly why direct selling is so appropriate for the times, for the rules have, indeed, changed. Perhaps this is direct selling’s moment to articulate its attributes and be heard more than ever before. Perhaps this is the moment when all direct selling companies will focus on what is common to all, regardless of product or service, and in a collective manner educate the public on the merits of learning the skills associated with building one’s own business. This industry (our way of doing business) is perfectly positioned for this unique moment in time: a time that has many struggling with hardship and uncertainty; a moment when we may have our best chance of getting the attention of the masses; a moment when we can announce the contributions we make to efforts of economic empowerment, not only in this country, but in all nations that embrace our way of doing business.

Could this be when we break through the misperceptions and misunderstandings about the way we do business? Could this be the moment when this method of business becomes the preferred way of purchasing products and services by consumers? The preceding is a big vision, but why not?

Could this be that moment in time when we, the direct selling industry, grow in quantum leaps from the $30 billion-plus we do in the United States and the $100 billion-plus we do worldwide to, perhaps, a trillion-dollar industry, as the franchise industry has become? Could this be when we finally get the marketplace to understand that we create income opportunities and also provide excellence in terms of the consumer experience? I enjoy the questions, but you have the answers.

Time to reflect, evaluate and, most important, celebrate! Congratulations to all being recognized as DSN Global 100, and congratulations to the Direct Selling Association for 100 years of ensuring the health and welfare of the companies that make it all possible!

Enjoy the issue… until next month!

  

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief