Letter from John Fleming, December 2013

Click here to order the December 2013 issue in which this article appeared.

John Fleming

It is the close of another great year, one in which we can reflect upon so many contributions made in support of independent direct sellers/business owners who have chosen to participate in this channel based on a very diverse combination of motivations.

Technology continues to change and enhance just about every component of the business model, and more Gen Ys and millennials are attracted to the business of “build it on your terms and your time” versus the regimented rigor of the typical workplace. Growth continues to be the big story with so many companies that have found 2013 to be their best year ever!

When direct selling companies are growing, the people who have chosen to be a part of those companies are growing. When direct selling companies build new structures, they become lasting monuments to those who became partners of the brand as both consumers and business owners. When direct selling companies utilize the best in technology to support the back-office operations, consultants find the business easier to conduct and manage. Also, consumers gain the benefit of dealing with independent business owners who are better equipped than most of the sales people encountered in other consumer buying situations.

Companies like Amazon and Zappos still represent a new gold standard in terms of quality of service and timeliness of delivery and conflict resolution. However, the day is finally here where direct selling companies are competing on all fronts. No longer is there the wait of days or weeks for delivery of product. No longer is there the need for so much paper in the point of sale transaction. No longer are direct sellers “in the dark,” in terms of the status of their accounts or the ability to push out promotions, build and manage incredible databases, or be more personal than any competitor. Yes, it’s still word of mouth in so many ways. In fact, over 80 percent of industry messages are still dependent upon or enhanced by the support of word of mouth. However, the stories of the past year reflect an industry that is resilient when confronting some of its most prominent and misguided detractors, and one that is able to grow in spite of what others who do not know or understand the business model might claim.

The recognized market indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have reflected a rather good year for business with increases of 16.08 percent and 20.35 percent, respectively, since Dec. 31, 2012. However, the publicly held direct selling companies have experienced what can be described as an incredible year with an increase of 121.07 percent.

All of what has just been mentioned plus so many other wonderful achievements in so many companies are now a part of the story of 2013. It’s a great story, one of learning and recently one of celebration for those direct selling executives and independent business owners who were invited by the Direct Selling Association to visit Washington D.C. They were able to share their stories and proclaim their commitment to business ethics, innovation and opportunity with those who represent us on Capitol Hill.

From our cover story, which explores the operational side of the business, and our coverage of the new Innovation Center at Nu Skin, to our company spotlight and recap of the Direct Selling Summit on Capitol Hill, we will reflect on 2013 as another year of learning, achievement and growth for the one business model that is truly one of the people and built by the people. Don’t miss the DSA Update as DSA President Joe Mariano provides his perspective on recent events.

With much gratitude for the opportunity to serve you, we now wish for you a most blessed and enjoyable holiday season!

Until next year… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief


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