Letter from John Fleming, April 2014

Click here to order the April 2014 issue in which this article appeared.
John Fleming

For our 2014 DSN Global 100 list, the information is still being processed, and the ranking is almost complete. In a few short weeks we will announce this year’s list during our annual banquet on April 23. It’s been an amazing year with amazing results—true indicators of the role direct selling opportunities have played in the lives of people during 2013. Every time we compile the information needed to publish our global ranking, it becomes more and more obvious to us that free economies benefit enormously from the direct selling business model! Every number we process is a reflection of lives engaged and people served with products, services and, yes, opportunity! This is precisely why we are proud to tell the stories that need to be told.

The DSN Global 100 is approached with the preceding in mind. We celebrate with you the enormous achievements of all companies who collectively make the industry what it is. We especially thank those companies who choose to share with us, for the benefit of all, their accomplishments, significance and relevance, particularly in a world that needs to better understand how the masses can be engaged and rewarded through use and distribution of some of the most unique products and services available. We especially extend our respect to those privately held companies that submit their revenue even when there are decreases versus prior year. This ranking is not about the placement number as much as it is about a collective of companies that form the foundation for a most unique pathway to entrepreneurship throughout the world.

The facts are: Others are watching. And they are watching to better understand direct selling, to more clearly identify with who does what within the industry, and to determine the overall positive impact the business model may have on economies local, national and global. There are some who use the direct selling business model and do not identify with the industry, so our DSN Global 100 ranking is never inclusive of every company utilizing the business model.

It is noteworthy, however, that in looking at the data, we see the top 50 companies grew by approximately $3 billion; $2 billion of that growth comes from the top 10 companies. In 2012 the top 50 companies represented approximately $64 billion in revenue, and in 2013 that same group grew to approximately $67 billion in annual revenues. Ambit is the fastest company ever to reach $1 billion—just seven years.

Our cover story this month shares the highlights of nine direct selling companies that have surpassed the milestone of becoming a billion-dollar company. It is most fitting that these stories are being told in the timeframe of our 2014 Global 100 release. All companies in the DSN Global 100 top 10, as well as at least three others, have surpassed the billion-dollar mark, and several more are on the door step. What got these companies there and how long did it take? More importantly, what are the common denominators to getting there? You will find the answers to these questions and more as you read the article. Once again, the cumulative impact on lives engaged and often changed for the better, people served, and communities of positive, like-minded individuals developed (the sales organizations) represents far more than what the revenues of these billion-dollar companies depict.

In the shadow of all of the amazing results we will release later this month at our DSN Global 100 Banquet on April 23—we will be posting to Facebook and Twitter live from the event—is the ongoing story involving the accusations of a hedge fund manager against Herbalife, one of the top 10 direct selling companies in the world. As we prepared to go to press, Herbalife announced and welcomed the FTC investigation called for and initiated by the hedge fund manager’s accusations. Most interesting has been the recent article in The Wall Street Journal and the recent investigation by The New York Times revealing tactics used by the hedge fund manager to solicit those who have been used as complainants against Herbalife. Investigations are a part of the checks and balances built into our culture and democratic form of government. However, when accusations are built upon profit motives on the part of an accuser and turn into possible lies or misinformation or use unethical tactics, every citizen should pay close attention.

The world of journalism is often accused of focusing too much on the negative side, but there is also the positive side, which often helps to keep the scales of justice in balance. We believe this investigation will dispel much of what has become media chatter, and that is why Herbalife extended the welcome. In the meantime, the 3+ million Herbalife distributors around the world did not waiver in 2013, which is an example of what underlies the strength of all sustainable companies—a culture and community of people who believe in their chosen endeavor and the mission, principles and values upon which the company is built.

Until next month… enjoy the issue! 

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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