DS Edge Goes Country!

DS Edge - Nashville | MLM Startup
I’m incredibly excited to announce the location of the next DS Edge conference: my city, Nashville, Tennessee! It’s the home of country music and for two days in September, its neighbor (Franklin, TN) will be the home of direct selling.

Come to Tennessee to learn how to start and grow your party plan or network marketing company at the Direct Selling Edge Conference on Thursday and Friday, September 26 and 27, 2013.

This two-day educational conference is the best for new and young direct selling companies because the quality of the content presented is excellent. It is pure education.

Students Deserve Vacations

After two full days of learning, as a student you’ll deserve a vacation, too.

We’ve got plans to take you an optional excursion to visit some of the most famous honky tonks in downtown Nashville after the first day of the conference. Stay the weekend if you’d like to enjoy all that Franklin and Nashville have to offer. In your free time, you can visit the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Parthenon, and RCA Studio B in Nashville, but don’t miss the historic sites of Franklin, too.

What will you learn at this conference?

You’ll learn…

  • how direct selling is different from other business models
  • the differences and similarities between network marketing and party plan companies
  • what recent Federal Trade Commission decisions means for you
  • best practices and step-by-step instructions for creating an ethical and effective presence in the social media landscape
  • the legal limits for raising capital and the legal rights inherent with stock ownership
  • the differences between different types of compensation plans and how to assess which plan type is best for you
  • the ABC’s of successful recruiting
  • how to teach others how to sell
  • the key behaviors we need to movivate in, and the building blocks of, compensation plans
  • the science behind compensation plan design
  • how Founder Programs work and why have one
  • how to select the right MLM software
  • why you need to have a distributor compliance system for your network marketing or party plan company
  • all about sales tax, 1099′s, unclaimed property reporting, and state income taxes
  • why one merchant account is not enough
  • simple methods to keep your MLM or party plan company safe from federal and state regulators
  • how the options of pilot programs, soft launches and hard launches can be used to ignite your growth
  • common mistakes of startup companies
  • 20 secrets of successful companies

and more!

Our 8 speakers will educate you in 16 sessions, plus there are 4 round table discussions that you will fill you with even more knowledge to give you the edge you need to be successful.

Personal Appointments

At the end of each day, from 5 until 7 pm, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with conference speakers for 20 minute appointments at no additional cost! Add the four hours up and you’re easily walking away with over $1,000 worth of consultation.

Where is the conference?

The Direct Selling Edge Conference will be held in Franklin, Tennessee (just 20 miles from Nashville) at the Drury Plaza Hotel Franklin on Thursday and Friday, September 26 and 27, 2013.

Built in 2012, the new 338-room hotel offers a daily free hot breakfast, free soda and popcorn, free food at 5:30pm, free local and long distance calls, free parking, and a microwave and refrigerator in every room.

We’ve negotiated excellent rates for you. Only $119.95 per night.

Where Do You Register?

Registration is fast and easy. For tickets, go to http://www.directsellingedge.com.

For lodging, go to https://wwws.druryhotels.com/Reservations.aspx?groupno=2181246

Questions? Call Jay or Victoria at Sylvina Consulting or email [email protected].

What is the Direct Selling Edge Experience?

Here is what you’ll get…

 

Agenda

Our agenda is loaded with information specifically chosen to advance your business.

Reserve Your Seat

At $199 for your ticket and only $100 for each of your companions, this educational conference is a great value. Contact me to obtain a promo code to obtain a discount. Ignorance is more expensive than education. Information is the only asset separating you from your competitors. We guarantee you’ll get the edge you need. If you’re not satisfied with the program, we’re offering a 100% refund, no questions asked.

It’s easy to get to Nashville and the Direct Selling Edge Conference. Conference tickets are available now.

See You In Tennessee

Join me,+Kevin Thompson, and many of the top direct selling professionals at the Direct Selling Edge Conference. We hope to meet you there!

33 Reasons NOT to Start a MLM

Photo by @i am marlon

I was speaking with a prospective client the other day about his MLM Startup and on his first question, he asked, “Are there any reasons why I should NOT start a network marketing business.”  I thought it was a neat exercise.  He was clearly testing me to see if I could be objective.  After all, the MLM model is not a great fit for everyone.  See below for 33 reasons why the model might not be the best for YOU as a means of distributing your product or service.  It’s ok to launch with some of these challenges.  But if the list stacks up high, exercise caution.  And of course, it all depends on the complexity of your business.

Product

1) Your margins are too low.  It’s hard to run a legal compensation plan with anemic margins.

2) Your product is already a commodity. There’s an equivalent in the marketplace with mass distribution and lower price points. If the main driver leading people to buy your product is the financial opportunity, it’ll lead to trouble.

3) You’re solving a problem in the marketplace that you’re not personally experiencing. While you might think it’s a cool product, you don’t really understand your target audience.

4) Your business is a “Meatball Sundae.”  Just because you like meatballs and you like ice cream, it’s not a good idea to put the two together.  While your product is interesting and the MLM component is interesting, it might not be a great idea to combine the two.

5) Your product is dangerous.  The ingredients are so cutting edge, you have no idea of the long term consequences. After taking your pill, customers can’t feel their fingers for three days.

6) Your product story is uninspiring. Unless your product has unique properties with unique benefits, your distributors will choose to stay home instead of building their business.

7) You don’t own any proprietary rights to your product, leaving you vulnerable for rapid value erosion.  If a competitor can knock off your product and sell an equivalent at half the price, it places your distributors in a bad situation to make sales.

8: You’ve got a nifty pay plan with no product to sell. In this scenario, since you’re not really passionate selling a particular product, the focus will clearly be on the pay plan.  It takes more than a token product to make a program legitimate.

9) You’re inventing a new definition for “customer sale.”  Instead of requiring that your distributors purchase inventory they can either use or sell to customers in a month, you’re going to require that they purchase product and give it all away and conveniently count those “gifts” as customer sales.

Management

10) You have not agreed on equity terms with your partners. Your partner thinks he’s getting 50% while you think he’s only worth 1%.  Get on the same page early.

11) You’re an army of one. You need help!  Do you really plan on handling compliance, product development, marketing, customer support, media inquiries, logistics and accounting? There are easier ways to kill yourself.

12) You gave your younger brother an executive role in the company, despite the fact that he’s been unemployed for over five years and lives with mom.

12) You and your partners lack a good understanding of the MLM industry.  While you’re intrigued with the concept, you’ve never worked at an MLM and/or built a sales force with an MLM pay plan.  If you all are not part of the tribe, it’s going to be hard to attract top talent.  The old adage is true: “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”

13) Your executive team is not “all in.”  They’re still working their day jobs, making it very difficult to do the massive work necessary to build a large company.  This can be cured with adequate funding to account for small salaries.

14) You don’t want to be the “face” of the business.  You want to be the “person behind the curtain,” creating the system and sipping on fruit drinks in Costa Rica while your distributors do the work.  The field needs more than a product to sell, they need a leader to follow. It’s got to be you.

15) You cut a deal with a distributor that promised to deliver 5,000 new enrollees in the first 90 days of the business. He got equity before the launch with no vesting schedule and no restrictions. On day 91, he brought in 3 people, including himself. He still owns a piece of your business…forever.  This can cause problems in future rounds of fundraising.

16) You always wanted to be a world traveler.  Instead of stabilizing your business operations in North America, you’re flipping the switch and opening up shop in all countries before honoring the formalities of doing business in those regions.  This leads to a substantial increase in risk.

Resources

16) You lack adequate funding. You’ve saved just enough to cover legal, software and pay plan consulting services. What happens when the skeleton is built, the money is gone and you’ve got another several months until you’re profitable?

17) You have no capital allocated for compliance.

18) You have no capital allocated for intellectual property protection i.e. trademarks, trade secrets, patents, copyrights, etc.

19) You have no capital allocated for marketing.  While the field is responsible to tell the product story and closing sales, you’ve got to take the time to craft a brand worth sharing.

20) Where’s your logo?  The name of your company in 16 point “Helvetica Bold” font is not considered a logo. If you’re not working with a graphic designer, I like 99 Designs for this.

Operations

21) You’re cutting corners on your software.  Just because you “know a guy” doesn’t mean that you should hire him.  Programmers that are unfamiliar with the industry usually take the money up front, build something reminiscent of the 1994 dial-up days and disappear after the site implodes on day 3.  Understandably, the software can theoretically be built from scratch.  But is it worth the risk?

22) Due to the high-risk nature of your business, you’ve been approved by only one merchant account processor for credit cards.  If it goes down, you’re out of business.

23) Congratulations.  After facing several rejections from reputable banks and merchant account processors, you’ve been approved.  Sadly, the processor wants you to deposit $250,000 into a “reserve” account in their bank in Nigeria.  They sent you the following message: “Pleese snd mony too r addrsses with Western Union.”

24) You’ve setup your merchant account with PayPal because they make it easy and “people trust them.”  Since PayPal has terminated all accounts associated with network marketing companies for violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy, I strongly disagree that your business will be an exception.

Pay Plan

25) You just copied MonaVie’s plan…and you didn’t even bother changing the words.  I suspect you’ll get a letter in the mail after you highlight your new “Hawaiian Blue Diamond” qualifiers.

26) People are required to join your business as distributors before purchasing product.  There’s no customer option.

27) You’re offering training bonuses.  In order to advance in the pay plan, your people need to be “certified” by paying a substantial fee. While your distributors are strongly insisting for this sort of bonus, it’s not a good idea.

28) You did your own pay plan and you really lack the experience to craft a plan that’s appealing for distributors and easily shareable.  Your plan for a 110% payout is really not a good idea.

29) You’re not allocating enough revenue for operational costs.  While it’s good to offer a generous payout, it’s important to maintain enough cash to run solid operations.

30) Your pay plan is not generous enough. By a combination of weak margins and a flimsy math model, leaders will be more attracted to companies with a better ROE (Return on Effort). While they love your $5 widgets, they’ve got to sell a ton of those items before they can reap a decent return.

31) In order for your distributors to remain eligible for bonuses, they’re required to purchase a requisite amount of product each month…this amount grossly exceeds what a reasonable person can sell and/or use in a given month. It’s clearly a program that relies on inventory loading, which is indicative of a pyramid scheme.

32) Fast Start Bonuses are a big piece of your pay plan. And the money collected from the $300 enrollment fee is being used to fuel those bonuses. If you remove the FSB, the pay plan falls apart. And paying a bonus with enrollment dollars is illegal, which puts you in a tough spot.

Conclusion

I hope you found this article informative and somewhat entertaining.  The goal is to get you thinking through some of the details.  It’s great to have an idea, but it takes more than an idea to build a great company.   You’re definitely encouraged to share your own reasons.  Speaking of reasons…there’s one more reason why you should NOT start a MLM…

33) Passion.  There’s got to be more to your mission than just making money.  Unless you truly care about impacting lives in a positive direction, it’s going to be near impossible to create the emotional connections necessary with the right people.  At the end of the day, it’s about inspiring people to change their habits, thereby changing their lives.  If your PURPOSE is not in line with your BUSINESS objectives, save your money.

 

Direct Selling Edge Part Deux!

The Direct Selling Edge conference for MLM startups is back!  After a very successful conference in September, we’ve done the impossible by adding even more content to an already stuffed agenda.  Check out what attendees said after our last event below. The event kicks off on Thursday, March 8th in Las Vegas.  I’d love to see you there and meet you.  The details of the conference can be found on our main page here.  At this event, we’re very pleased to announce three new speakers!  MLM Consulting firm, Launch Smart, will be with us teaching about important systems for customer support, operations and distributor education / retention.  As the 2010 DSA partnership award recipient, we’re delighted to have them on board.  The value David Taylor and Terrel Transtrum bring to the attendees will be well-worth the cost of admission.

We’ve also added MLM software guru, Mel Atwood, from YourSolutions.net.  Mel brings an incredible level of commitment, energy and passion to his work for MLM clients.  Whether he’s serving as the Vice President at the Association of Network Marketing Professionals or adding value as a fellow DSA supplier member, Mel’s activity inside and outside of his software firm adds tremendous value to the industry.

At our conference, we’re covering many advanced principles in creating and launching a network marketing business, guaranteed! If you’re skeptical, check out what people said after the last one.

Some testimonials

  • Definitely worth the money. As a matter of fact, after 30 minutes, I think I got my money’s worth. I found out that my business plan was not legal and by the end of this, I’ve learned all the tools and information to make this work. It’s a really good program.  Zach Taylor
  • Thank you for the most crucial information supporting my Party Plan Business. This 2 day class was exactly what I needed! Great job by everyone! Absolutely every aspect of my business was covered. Thank you again. Cheryl Wollrab
  • I was amazed at the information. I thought it was going to be a broad stroke event to get you with different vendors. I was very surprised to see all of the targetted topics, how in depth they went into discussing very important issues, for anyone whose considering getting into the MLM business as a startup company. Mike Duke
  • At the end of each day, from 5 until 8 pm, you’ll have the the opportunity to meet with conference speakers for 30 minute appoints at no additional cost! Add the six hours up and you’re easily walking away with over $1,000 worth of consultation.

    Register Now

    Starting at just $199 per ticket, the value greatly exceeds the cost of a ticket. Purchase a ticket here. Information is the only asset separating you from your competitors. If you’re not satisfied with the program, we’re offering a 100% guarantee, no questions asked.  Join us and we look forward to meeting you. Our agenda is loaded with information specifically chosen to advance your business. Check out the full Edge agenda.

    Some more testimonials

  • It’s been a very good conference really on the nuts and bolts of trying to figure out how to turn a company into an MLM. I think these people are very talented and knowledgeable and will really help you to build your business and help you to move forward. Susan Averett
  • Jay, Kevin and all other other speakers provided us with great information, in-depth, thorough, and painted a perfect picture for us so that we have a good sense of what we’re getting into. I want to thank all of them for their time, their effort, and for providing myself and my wife with the information that we need to go forward with our company and make it grow. Thanks a lot. Stanley Chang
  • As a former distributor, as a board member for a large network marketing company, as now an owner of a network marketing company myself, this conference has been extremely helpful. Great speakers, great content, A to Z, everything that you need to know as a startup. Brad Doyle
  • Attending the DS Edge was different from any other MLM conference I had been to before. I’ve been to other conferences, They try to sell you services, they do give you information, but the difference with this one was we actually left with actual steps, tasks we can take, things we can get done to make sure we are successful, so I highly recommend it. It was a great use of time. Bethanie Nonami