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December 01, 2010

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, December 2010


John FlemingExactly two years ago, the top stories were the election and the economy. As we now reflect on the close of another year, the stories that are still at the forefront in our minds are whether the leadership of this country is moving us toward recovery from the recession or whether we are still very deep into a recessionary economy.

In December 2008, I also mentioned that independent contractors would soon realize whether reduced consumer spending would impact their average order. We stated that, historically, direct selling companies tend to do well when the economy is not, but at this moment, we do not think anyone is ready to state that premise as fact regarding how direct selling companies have fared overall. In that month’s Publisher’s Note, I offered a collective point of view resulting from many conversations with friends and leaders within the industry.

“The opportunity for direct sellers will probably be contingent upon how products and opportunity are being discussed. Consumers will certainly appreciate the price/value relationship of products and services when it exceeds what others are offering.  The recruiting pool will certainly increase over the next twelve months so it is unlikely that shortfalls in recruiting would be forecasted unless the sales organization is buying into the negative tone of the press versus the positive tone of the company’s leaders and company communication vehicles. Our industry’s common formula for success, regardless of selling/recruiting philosophy/methods or process, has always been rather simple.  When direct selling companies have more people selling and recruiting in any given measurement period versus the previous measurement period (assuming no serious impact on average order) companies tend to grow!”

 As I reflect on those thoughts, I would venture to say that the success stories over the past year found a way to address some of the things we mentioned two years ago in innovative ways. In many ways, we are on a search for understanding as well as for solutions. This month’s cover story is about a younger generation that certainly impacts the way all business is transacted, including direct selling. However, many questions remain as we now embrace the “hope” of a more favorable business climate in 2011 while continuing to search for the solutions to economic recovery, regaining of consumer confidence, overall growth and the opportunity to shed the label “recession.”

Direct Selling News is also attempting to serve industry leaders this year with a more formal collection of thoughts and understanding of the current situation, what issues/changes may impact our industry’s overall results, what the growth companies are doing and what to look forward to as we now embrace the close of one year and the start of another. A small team has been assembled, including academics and industry observers. No industry executives are represented to allow for neutral and unbiased points of view. The group’s work has started, and we will continue to gather thoughts, observations and insights over the next 30 to 60 days. We will reveal the insights as early as possible in first quarter.

As soon as the year ends, we will also begin the work to once again recognize the DSN Global 100—the top direct selling companies. The second annual DSN Global 100 ranking will be published in our June 2011 issue. The celebration and announcement of the DSN Global 100 is scheduled for the evening of April 27th here in Dallas, Texas. Executives may submit their 2010 data by emailing pr@directsellingnews.com, avoiding the wait to be contacted by DSN staff.

Thanks to all of you who have, once again, helped us to do what we do here at Direct Selling News. Your contributions, ideas and suggestions, are invaluable! Thanks to our friends at the Direct Selling Association for your continuing contributions.  Thanks to all our freelance writers, copy editors and everyone else who touches the monthly publication.  Karla Garcia, our lead graphic artist, does an awesome job.  Jerry Regan is our Advertising Manager, and to each of our advertisers who are Supplier Members of the DSA, we sincerely thank you for trusting us with the privilege of being able to share your messages. Ivy Carter has recently joined our staff as Assistant Editor, and we welcome her to the team. Rebecca Larson, our Managing Editor, leads the team to ensure each publication is solid editorially and done in the most appealing manner possible.  We continue to learn from all of you, and we just cannot thank you enough!

May the spirit of the season embrace all of you! Until next year, enjoy the issue!

Enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief