November 01, 2013
Letter from John Fleming, November 2013
As we move toward another Thanksgiving holiday, it is a most significant reminder, regardless of what else might be going on, that there is something very real about an attitude of gratitude and that there is always much to be thankful for.
As I thought about writing my column for this month, I found myself completely ignoring the media news but reflecting on why this industry is so important to so many people. We must continue to define it over and over again because those who do not understand it are often attempting to redefine it.
In this column two years ago, I wrote about a dear friend and her family who are direct sellers. I had observed her for many years as she went about starting and building a most successful business. She believed in the dream and possibility of the business opportunity, and she understood the value of serving customers, while recruiting and mentoring others to do the same. She was always grateful for the opportunity she had discovered. My friend grew into a top leader in her company, and she developed many others who became leaders as well. She was always absolutely amazing to me as a person and was always vibrant and energetic, so very passionate about her dream. She was not a direct selling professional when she joined—few ever are when they join—but she learned quickly, grew into a successful direct selling business builder and was always motivated by her attitude of gratitude for what she had found. Two years ago, I wrote about her unexpected illness, which became life-changing. She lost her fight this past year. Today, her daughter has stepped into the footsteps of her mother in becoming a partner to her father and the business, which was started on a hope and a dream and continues to thrive and grow. What a legacy!
Every direct selling company has similar stories to the one I just told, which serves to remind us over and over again “why” a direct selling business can not only meet a need but make life better! I have always believed that one of the primary attributes of the direct selling business model lies in helping others to find their “why” in life. Where else can one invest both time and money in a business opportunity in accordance to their own desire and be governed by principles and values they can believe in? Where else can people from all walks of life find a true pathway that enables the possibility of meeting needs that must be met, not to mention aspiring to achieve dreams based upon a hope and a belief that those dreams can come true? Thanksgiving for direct sellers is probably expressed in so many ways, but truly the industry and the many companies that comprise the direct selling way of distributing products and services offer a way of “Thanks-Living.” Millions share this gratitude for what a direct selling business can mean.
We at DSN, like all of you, are busy preparing to close another year. It has been a good one for us, because once again, we were able to tell the stories that needed to be told. As we approach the new year, we will continue to do what we do but in more effective ways than in any year past. We are excited to soon share with you the introduction of our new website, which will be focused more on the news and not just the magazine. Every 24 hours, we will bring you the most noteworthy happenings from within the industry. Also, look forward to an expansion of how we are using social platforms. We will have a new look, much more functionality and greater capability to enhance the research we are able to create in support of all of you. Be sure to check out our blog as well and join the conversation. We have always enjoyed bringing you a positive and professional dialogue. In 2014 we will bring you even more!
We started this year sharing stories about economic challenges and attacks on a few direct selling companies. We now approach the close of the year predicting a year of growth and much optimism about the future from you, the leaders of the industry. It has also been a most remarkable year of performance for publicly held direct selling companies. The average increase in shareholder value since the beginning of the year is nothing short of amazing! When compared to S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ, the top publicly held direct selling companies have outperformed the market significantly. Check Stock Watch on page 46.
Save the date: April 23, 2014! We look forward to hosting the 5th annual DSN Global 100 banquet and recognizing the top 100 direct selling companies in the world. The event has grown each year, with over 500 industry executives attending last year. An exclusive and stylish evening of reception and programming will also include recognition of special achievements during the past year.
We are always grateful for the opportunities we experience in sharing the stories you create. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!
Until next month… enjoy the issue!
Publisher and Editor in Chief