A home based multi-level (MLM) or network marketing business is only as good as the company behind the products or services a new affiliate will offer, and a steady predictable flow of real customers, not just leads. Focus on opportunities from companies that offer and guarantee the best products, that provide affiliates a long term residual payout plan, and will handle all the tough day-to-day operations and shipping details that rob time from the primary business: getting customers.
Products: It’s All About Quality and Repeat Sales
Ultimately, every business rises or falls in direct proportion to whether its products and services provide real value in the marketplace. When evaluating a work at home proposition, consider these issues:
- Are the products needed, desired or both? Food and good health are universally wanted, in any economy, and necessary for a satisfying life. Many infomercial gadgets are fascinating, but people mostly can live without them.
- Do they confer real benefits? If people who make up the market perceive an item as benefitting them, they are much more likely to order again, and generate repeat sales.
- How many products does the company sell? A few is not enough. Look for a branded, consistent variety that appeals to a wide and diverse audience.
- Are the products safe, legal, ethical, and understandale by—and appealing to—an ordinary individual?
- Are the products unique or different from or better than their competition? Are they patented? If the products are science-based, as in the case of many nutraceuticals, is there genuine peer-reviewed science behind their claims—or just unfounded assertions?
- How well have the products sold in the past, and how are they selling now? Are they fairly priced? What is the reorder rate?
- Does the company support and guide its customers in the use of their products? Avoid companies that hide from customers behind non-functioning 1-800 numbers after the sale .
- Is the market for the products temporary or permanent? Is the business opportunity ground-floor in an expanding or even exploding industry? Or is it in a mature, dying market?
- Do other business affiliates actually use they products they promote and sell?
Operations: Who Does All The Heavy Lifting?
In any product-based business, production and fulfillment—making, packing, shipping, distributing—can be complex and burdensome. Ponder these day-to-day operational issues when deciding which opportunity is a good fit, especially if the customer base is global:
- Who will take and process orders? If it’s the affiliate’s responsibility, an infrastructure will be needed: a call center; perhaps a shipping and packing operation (think Fedex and UPS) with a scale, cartons, tape, and a long list of supplies; and a space to warehouse inventory (temperature-controlled for perishables). Running a product distribution or fulfillment center out of one’s home may violate local zoning laws, especially if trucks pick up and deliver.
- If the company offering the home business opportunity handles operations, how well does it perform? And at what cost to affiliates?
- Who handles sales tax, returns, credits and complaints? What about customs and currency exchange rates on international sales?
- Who processes credit cards, and electronic checks?
- What back office system, if any, does the company provide its affiliates to track orders, and manage customers and other essential business and accounting data?
Compensation: Think Long-Term, Residual Income
Programs that build sustained revenues from an expanding network of repeat customers are superior to those where affiliates must repeatedly convince prospects to buy one at a time:
- Is the payout plan self-sustaining? Most network and multilevel marketing (MLM) models collapse when downline affiliates lose interest and quit. Would the home business still thrive and the revenue stream continue even if no downline members or network affiliates promoted the products and the opportunity? Would the products continue to sell without the downlines? Or is the home business opportunity built on an inherently weak foundation that stresses network- and tier-building over product sales?
- Is the pay plan fair, lucrative and relatively easy to understand?
- Does the offering company recognize and reward superior performance?
- Does the opportunity provide residual income and more than one income stream?
- Is there an upward career path and incentive bonuses for high achievers?
A home business opportunity will more likely thrive when it promotes best-of-breed products from outstanding companies that handle all the details for affiliates—including getting them customers—all the while providing a residual income stream.