The June issue of Direct Selling News is always special. For months we work on identifying the top 100 companies in the world. Then the writing process begins. Our objective: Publish an authentic ranking and tell the stories behind the numbers. The ranking helps all to better understand how companies have performed in relationship to one another at a specific moment in time, and what the combined economic impact is on our global community. Behind the numbers are the many stories of people from all walks of life who are benefiting from the products and services sold by independent business owners. Other stories behind the numbers are those of companies who have weathered the storms of a turbulent economy, risen above the challenges and are the role models, the leaders, the stars that all would want to be like—inspiring us in our belief that “good things are just ahead.”
On April 16 we announced the DSN Global 100 at our annual awards banquet, which included distinguished industry leaders and executives from many different companies, some located abroad. We also awarded our 2011 Bravo Awards in three categories: Humanitarian, Growth and Leadership. We think you will enjoy reading the highlights of everything that happened and more about the honorees who received our three special awards. Most importantly, we extend our appreciation and gratitude to all who joined us that evening.
Because we introduced a new certification process for a company to be ranked in our DSN Global 100 for 2011, you will note that our list this year does not rank a total of 100 companies. However, the total wholesale revenue before commissions are paid and without value-added tax still exceeded $63 billion, which is just $3 billion shy of what we reported for 100 companies in 2010. The industry appears to be vibrant and well positioned for the times. The use of the word “social” in the direct selling business process has been a natural choice. People are being attracted to the business model for many reasons, but it is obvious that technology coupled with innovation is actually making it easier for customers to benefit and business builders to build.
While we remain optimistic about the future and inspired by the great results achieved by so many companies, challenges will always be very close because there are still so many who do not understand how and why the direct selling channel of distribution works. A recent question and subsequent conversation—during a company conference call with an analyst and shareholders—about what percentage of the direct sales organization is simply purchasing for personal use versus selling to customers outside of the company obviously impacted the stock value of some prominent publicly traded direct selling companies. DSA has argued consistently for many years that the purchase of products or services by distributors for their own use is a common and legitimate aspect of direct selling and not a fraudulent or illegal activity. In fact, what would you think of a Ford sales person who drove home in a Chevy? Personally, none of us would think too highly of any direct seller who was not their own best customer. In fact, it is one of the strongest assets of a direct selling company and one of the primary reasons for joining: the opportunity to purchase what you want and like at wholesale prices.
As this publication goes to press, so does the next Direct Selling News supplement to be distributed in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, June 8 to all U.S. subscribers. We do this because we cannot turn on our television sets and expect to hear about the positive contributions being made by direct selling companies to the people of a nation that thirst for a glimmer of hope, the satisfaction gained when experiencing a product or service that someone personally introduced, or the opportunity to learn a new skill and build an asset of their own—a direct selling business.
Our staff is delighted that we were able to partner with enough companies to make possible both the USA Today and The Wall Street Journal supplements. Our sincere appreciation goes out to all of you! The challenge of enhancing/changing public perception is a never-ending one but one that has already begun in many ways. While some want the public to hang on to misperceptions and a stereotypical view of direct sellers, today’s direct sellers and networkers are doing it quite differently and even more personably than ever before.
To those of you who read this publication to keep up with what is happening within the industry, we encourage you to review every page of this issue. Yes, we do tell stories but we tell the stories that need to be told and, every now and then, we provide through our stories some education and information that you might not find in the regular distribution of the local newspaper or the evening news. We do believe this is a time to proudly advocate the attributes of direct selling!
As always, it was a joy to see this issue come together as well as the WSJ supplement.
Until next month …
Publisher and Editor in Chief