Most MLMs are Legitimate!

I know and can emphatize ... the dirty 3 letter words ... "MLM"!!!

When my friend (we have been best friends since we were 13 years old!) told me about this fabulous MLM company, I told her please do not "destroy" our years of friendship. She obligingly said nothing more ... until I saw her 5 months later - and noticed her facial skin improved dramatically ... and I mean, DRAMATICALLY!!!

I had to "eat" my earlier words, and said to her, tell me more ... about the products, that is. Hey, I wanted to save some face ... I have pride, too, you know ;-)

And so it began, my journey into a legitimate MLM company that has been around since 1999; birthed in Japan. And within a young 5 years, Naturally Plus became a top MLM company in Japan, with a SINGLE Product only, when it hit it's first HIGH! Yes, you read correctly - it climbed to the TOP with only one GREAT Product!

Hear me out, why MLM isn't a dirty 3 letter word, but could legitimately be of service to you ...

Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Defined

First, let's check out what MLM is ... understandably some of you might already know ... but what can MLM really do for us?

"Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit, creating a downline of distributors, and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation."  -Wikipedia-

Other names : Pyramid Scheme, Network Marketing, Referral Marketing, "word-of-mouth marketing", "interactive distribution", and "relationship marketing".  (source: Wikipedia)

Based on Wikipedia's explanation, MLM is one type of Direct Selling, as there are other types of Direct Selling (such as, the sales persons at the stores). Additionally, Wikipedia explains that Multi-level Marketing describes also the form of compensation, whereas Network Marketing describes the distribution system.

I have been looking for an description of MLM and I kinda like the description given by Wikipedia:

  • Firstly, MLM entails some form of strategy. This is required to succeed in any form of business or marketing.
  • Secondly, MLM is a form of compensation. Isn't compensation the reason why we are at work, or investing in business, or building assets ?
  • And the form of compensation allows us to pay ourselves after we have consumed the product(s) and, allow us to earn and gain income from it! Shop, Spend and Reward !!! -- isn't that the reason why so many of us signed up for the loyalty programs out there - airmiles, rewards points, reward dollars, etcetera.

Many MLMs, Many Marketing Systems

The Growth of MLM

"The Direct Selling Association (DSA), an American industry body, reported that in 1990, 25 percent of members used MLM, growing to 77.3 percent in 1999. Companies such as Avon, Electrolux, Tupperware, and Kirby, all originally used single level marketing to sell their goods and later introduced multi-level compensation plans. By 2009, 94.2% of members were using MLM, accounting for 99.6% of sellers, and 97.1% of sales. The DSA has approximately 200 members while it is estimated there are over 1,000 firms using multi-level marketing in the US alone."

-source : WIkipedia-

Love it or hate it, MLM is here to stay!

Honestly, MLM itself is not a bad thing. It is the abuse of this marketing system that has given it its infamous stories.

  • MLM provides another avenue for companies to market and sell their products, and thereby creating jobs in the "food chain" due to increase sales. (Company and Economic perspectives)
  • MLM provides another avenue to reach customers, especially customers in remote areas. (Customers' perspective)
  • MLM provides an added avenue for people for income, whether pursued as a full-time or part-time venture. (Job Seekers and Business Seekers perspectives)

These said, MLM cannot itself be a bad thing, right?

Yes, other Direct Selling systems provide the same good points as well, but we are focusing on MLM for the moment, and it is "another avenue" as the points above emphasized.

Since it's inception in 1945 (source: Wikipedia again), MLM has come through much transformation. Admittedly, some not good, giving this form of marketing a bad name. A couple of bad apples will spoil the whole basket load, I'm afraid.

I, like most, have often avoided it for the same reasons, it's historical infamous stories. However, the same brush should not tarnish the real good schemes or companies out there. There are still some good apples in the basket -- if you are prepared to sort them out.

At times, MLM is the only form of marketing for a particular company, such as Naturally Plus. What if the company's products are really good, does it mean we shun these products due to some marketing methods' infamous histories? Do we need to hamper ourselves from consuming these good, or even great, products just because we don't believe in its marketing method? Personally, I think not! If the products are good (or great!), we can and should consume them, regardless of how we purchase it. We don't necessarily have to take an active part in the marketing scheme. Well, that's what's happening now in this era of online purchasing!

Many people are purchasing online, and then there's the loyalty rewards system ... plus "tell a friend" system ... isn't this a form of MLM?! Hmmm ... something to think about ...

I belong to a few MLM companies just for the sake of consuming their products as I like and believe in their products, but I don't take an active part in the marketing scheme, with the exception of  Naturally Plus. You might ask "Why Naturally Plus?".

As these companies only sell their products via MLM marketing, that is the only way I can consume their products. And that's ok with me. In any case, the MLM companies I am involved in, only sells supplements and household products, relatively small dollar value products-- relatively low risks, if any. Personally, I stay away from MLM companies involving high investment of funds - but that's my choice.

Having said that, I do do my research to ensure that I am supporting a good organization in terms of other aspects of the company.

Heard of InterNETwork Marketing?

We are now in the age of Online Shopping, and online information, and online this and that ... why not online MLM?! Indeed, why not?!

That's exactly what I am doing!!!

If you wish to explore InterNETworking marketing, you will need a website. Building a website isn't rocket science anymore. I have, in the last few years tried and tested a couple of hosting sites, but non matches Site Built It!!!

With most hosting sites, although the hosting fee is low, but with the low hosting fees, what is provided are very basic. You will need apps or tools to track the performance of your site, tools to find the best keywords to use, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. As you start adding this app and that app for your site, the costs build up - I have been down that path! ;-(

With Site Built It, the yearly cost includes hosting and the apps  you need to run your site - and if you need, or prefer, 3rd party apps (I have not had the need to so far), they also road tested the 3rd party apps, so you don't need to spend hours to check a ton of reviews! - and still be unsure after spending hours reading reviews! - I have been down that path! ;-(  Time and money are best spent working and building your site!

And Site Built It also provides guidance through their articles and videos, support line, community group helpline, and much more - in the All-in-One yearly cost!

Assessing MLM Companies

What you need to look for in assessing and finding the good MLM companies:

  • Company's stability -- very important, although historical track record is not a guarantee of the future anymore.
  • How established is the company -- again, history is not a prediction of future (heard of Enron and Lehman brothers?)
  • How much is the investment required?  -- be very, very careful about this !
  • How accessible are the funds invested -- it's your money, you should have access to it !
  • What type of products -- are they ethical ? Is it eco-conscious? We, as consumers, have to start investing with a ethical view. We vote with our pockets for sure, and when there are enough votes, things will change for the better.
  • What is the compensation plan like -- even if I am not in taking an active part in the marketing scheme, I am interested in the discounts offered and other loyalty rewards, if any.
  • These are just some pointers, at the end of the day you need to do your own research and be responsible for your own investments

Even the United States Federal Trade Commission advised to "do your own research" and suggest the following areas (as a minimum, I suppose) to look into (source: Wikipedia) :

  1. Find — and study — the company’s track record
  2. Learn about the product
  3. Ask questions
  4. Understand any restrictions
  5. Talk to other distributors
  6. Consider using a friend or adviser as a neutral sounding board or for a gut check
  7. Take your time
  8. Think about whether this plan suits your talents and goals

Even non-MLMs organizations have their infamous stories, and regardless, MLM or not, the general advice are :

  • Caveat emptor
  • Look before you leap

In the world of MLMs, there are Good Apples out there and if you find them, you should treasure them.

Give Naturally Plus a research today !!!

Rare Good Apples do exist

Types of MLM

I tried to look for a list of types of MLM but I am not able to find any distinct list that's "agreed". Some authors defined them by structure, some by what's sold (Goods, Service, Membership) and some a combination.

In any case, all MLM companies would have all or a combination of these :

  • A defined structure - flat, vertical, horizontal or a combination of these.
  • A Compensation Plan - types of bonus (monetary, luxury goods, etc), commission, etc
  • Allows breakaway or not - where a sub Group can break away when it grown to become a Group on its own.
  • A defined Matrix or not - is the position dictated by a system implemented

With the mix of the above characteristics, theses are some of the more common systems adopted by some MLM organizations:

  • The Military - as the name suggest, a staggered hierarchy with ranks but no limits to each hierarchy. There are Military with or without breakaway and/or matrix.
  • The Sun Ray System - the center of the Group is in the middle and all the downlines radiate from the Group. there can be hierarchy. There is usually no limits to the number that the Group leader has nor any limits in each hierarchy if there are hierarchy. There can be breakaway or no breakaways.
  • The Binary System - only 2 "Legs". It is more of a depth structure as a natural growth as each member is limited to the 2 Legs. It can have a Matrix added to this.
  • The Stairstep - as the name suggest, a step up in each ranks.
  • The Unilevel - no limits to width and depth

There are, of course, pros and cons of each system.

Naturally Plus adopts a hybrid version of the Binary System.

Why Binary System ?

  • Binary as the name suggest, is "2". Each Member will have 2 Lines/Leg.
  • Due to this nature, Everyone in the organization inevitably shares one Common Line /Leg.
  • Due to the above 2 points, every new member added to the Group will inevitably mean a vertical depth growth.
  • In a very simplistic world, a new member will need to only recruit 2 new members. However, the compensation plan will dictate how many members is required for bonus entitlement.
  • Usually bonus entitlement is based on "balancing" the Left and Right Lines / Legs and payout will be based on the level where this "balance" is achieved.

Pros of Binary

  • In simple terms, each member need only be concern about sponsoring 2 new members. (Caveat : some MLM companies structure better rewards for greater than 2 Directly Sponsored Member)
  • Due to the sheer nature of the structure where each member can have only 2 Lines / Legs and there is a common Line /Leg within the Group, then each new member (regardless of who sponsored this member) will benefit from this new addition. This is why it is considered the more or most "co-operative" structure amongst MLM structures. (Please see illustration below).

Disadvantages of Binary

As bonus entitlement is based on "balancing" the Left and Right Line/Legs, member must be keep track of how new members are positioned. (With Naturally Plus, the Matrix built into the system helps members to balance their Group).

As the Group Grows ...

Because of Binary System, each member/account has only 2 Lines/Leg. As the Group Grows, there is a natural tendency for the members within the system to support each other:

  • As "U" adds new members, new members will be added to U's Downlines' sub-groups, and also to Upline's growth
  • As Downlines grow, this will also grow U's group
  • As Upline grows, it will also add people under "U", as well as U's downlines

This is inevitable as within each group or subgroup, they will share one common Line/Leg - be it the Right or Left.

Win-WIn-Win System

This is a Win-Win-Win system !

  • Win for yourself !
  • Win for your downlines !
  • Win for your Group !

Whether You Choose to:

  • just consume Naturally Plus' for FREE, or
  • to Build an Income Stream, or
  • to Build a Business for yourself and your family (YES, Natural Plus' income can be inherited by your family! - that's a WIN for your love ones!) ...

Why Naturally Plus?

Keen to explore?  Click here

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