This video explains what happened in South Africa when we launched the Township Strategy, bringing the Amway Business Opportunity to the rural communities.
Here’s an excerpt from the report:
We used innovative strategies and alternatives to product sizing, pricing and bundling that resonated with individuals in these outlying communities. Physical presence and mobile marketing positioned the Amway Business Opportunity as viable and vital for this more financially challenged population.
In just three years, Amway South Africa has accomplished two significant results: increasing business and helping people to move up the economic ladder. Thanks to the Township Strategy, the Amway business in South Africa leapt by more than 200 percent and showed many low-to-middle class members of society a way out of poverty.
A distributor from Soweto featured in the video describes it like this: “From my personal experience, I can say that Amway is helping us to create real change in our lives, in our families, in our communities and across the world,” she said. “In previous years, Soweto was seen as nothing more than a holding area for cheap labor. … Now, Soweto is changing. And with Amway’s assistance our lives are changing. We are going up in the world.”
Watch the video to see the full story of empowerment.
Yesterday’s Financial Times featured this article (registration required to view in full) about Cecilia Qing Tang, one distributor who has made her way in a new country by leading and growing her Amway business.
Amway United Kingdom General Manager Andy Smith is also interviewed about the growing trend of migrants exercising their entrepreneurial spirit through direct selling.
In four years, Cecilia has defined her own success. We applaud her, along with the millions of other Amway distributors worldwide who focus their time, talents and energy on their Amway businesses.
Last week, Entrepreneur.com posted “10 Questions to Ask Before Quitting Your Job to Start a Business,” designed to help readers know when the time is right to make the leap from employee to self-employed.
Of course, the author is referring to the type of entrepreneurship that many people think of when they hear that word: start-ups. But when we hear entrepreneurship, we think of the millions of Amway distributors around the world who represent and sell our products.
Entrepreneur.com suggests a self-assessment with questions like these:
• Are you miserable in your current job? They advise developing a strong business plan before jumping ship. Our advice? Yes, do that. You might also consider direct selling to test your true appetite for talking to others about your business and selling your products or ideas.
• How will you raise money to keep your business going? Most new businesses aren’t profitable right away. For start-ups, it takes an average of three to five years to benefit financially. And living without income isn’t feasible for everyone. But in direct selling, you immediately earn retail profit when you sell to a customer. You can keep it or reinvest it, whatever works for you.
• Who are your future customers? Says one expert interviewed, “If you’re not quite sure, consider pursuing your idea part time.” That’s perfect advice for any entrepreneur and direct selling fits right in.
When starting a direct selling business like Amway, some of these questions apply. But some don’t – and that’s the beauty of it.
Image courtesy of this video on female entrepreneurship published by The European Direct Selling Association (SELDIA).
Amway President Doug DeVos, in the April 2013 edition of Harvard Business Review, shares the lessons Amway learned working through China’s direct selling ban in the 1990s.
“The idea that direct selling could be outlawed was incomprehensible to us. This method of marketing was the foundation of Amway’s business—it had been tested and proved over time and across borders. And now it appeared that we could be put out of business, despite our commitment to and investment in our China operation,” he writes in Harvard Business Review.
In “Amway’s President on Reinventing the Business to Succeed in China,” Doug describes how Amway worked with government officials to create strong direct selling legislation and made significant changes to the way it did business in China, such as opening stores. Doug details four key lessons – understand the market, stay true to your mission, build strong, trusting relationships and take a long-term view – that helped Amway become the industry leader in China.
Doug’s column also appears in the China edition of Harvard Business Review in April, along with a story about Amway China’s innovation and growth strategies.
Wikipedia defines a guide as one who leads others through unknown or unmapped territory. And as the direct selling industry looks toward 2013 and beyond, two prominent Direct Selling Associations (DSAs) have elected Amway executives as guides at the helm.
From financial planning, strategic thinking and operations to managing information technology, membership and marketing, it’s no small task to lead these groups that provide consumer education and protection, proactive and reactive communications, and ethics training and guidance on a daily basis.
It’s a commitment – one that more than 50 Amway company executives, including Andy and Louisa, have made to the industry and the associations that represent it around the world.
Ideally, the news industry and fact checking go hand in hand.
In the 1930s, having a full-blown fact checking department was a badge of honor for any newspaper or magazine and today, German weekly Der Spiegel (The Mirror) has the world’s largest operation dedicated to getting the story straight.
The United States Direct Selling Association (DSA) understands that finding valid information on how direct selling contributes to the strength of an economy isn’t always easy. But those who try will find new videos linking direct selling to economic recovery and underscoring the industry’s unique value in a marketplace crowded with product options.
As DSA spokespersons note, “You can imagine the echoing effects . . . ” of an industry where millions of people are either earning a few extra dollars to help their families or are building truly large businesses. Not to mention all of the people involved in inventing, manufacturing, transporting and otherwise supporting direct selling businesses around the world.
These are the facts. We wanted to share them, and we hope you will, too.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Amid strong growth in the direct selling industry, Amway President Doug DeVos wrote about the importance of that first impression in the current issue of Direct Selling News.
“As we look to share our businesses with even more people around the world, the first impression is always the most important and the most lasting,” he said.
That is why ethical business practices are so important. Amway is proud to be a member of the Direct Selling Association, which features a powerful Code of Ethics emphasizing the importance we place, as an industry, on ethics.
“The expectation is that distributors can rely on leaders in their organizations to uphold the highest levels of honesty, integrity, responsibility and accountability,” DeVos said. “At the same time, consumers should be able to trust that people in this industry possess strong principles, moral character and sound judgment.”
Milan, Italy is home to some of the world’s most well known entrepreneurs in fashion and food.
And it is there, last week, that Amway Europe Corporate Affairs Vice President Michael Meissner was on stage at the SELDIA (European Direct Selling Association) Annual Roundtable on the Future of Direct Selling.
The study, in partnership with GfK Market Research and the LMU Entrepreneurship Center, surveyed nearly 14,000 people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Key findings included:
Half of 14-29 year olds can see themselves as entrepreneurs in the future.
Positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship are growing throughout Europe, but most significantly in Great Britian, Austria and Ukraine.
To encourage entrepreneurship, we must remove the stigma of failure and increase mentoring and education.
Denmark is the country that sees self employment the most positively.
Non materialistic reasons, such as work-family balance, are gaining ground as top reasons for becoming an entrepreneur.
Then, Meissner participated in a panel discussion with Italian academicians, consumer advocates and government officials on actions that could be taken across the European Union to foster more entrepreneurship. Participant Maria Ida Germontani, a member of the Italian Senate Finance Committee, said something we really liked: that “vision, farsightedness and determination” would help people translate their talents and creativity into real, viable businesses that would drive the worldwide economy.
As an incubator of the entrepreneurial spirit, Amway – and we’re sure our distributors feel the same- could not agree more.
Earlier this year, when the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) announced its new Global Statistical Report, our industry celebrated documented growth in both the number of direct sellers worldwide and the sales dollars they generated.
But the good news goes even deeper. According to a WFDSA blog post, written by Amway Consumer & Market Insights Lead Judy Jones, sales for our industry were up in all major regions. In Asia, they were up by 12 percent. In Europe, 4 percent; and in the Americas, 11 percent.
Sixteen of the the industry’s top 22 countries reported sales growth in 2011.
Two new countries entered the list of those reporting annual retail sales over $1 billion USD: Turkey and Indonesia.
Three of the top five direct selling markets are categorized as emerging economies, including Brazil. This shows the propensity for direct selling to bring citizens to higher levels on the economic ladder.
Certainly, the numbers tell an optimistic story – but it’s not the whole story. For that, the WFDSA publishes socioeconomic impact studies, covering the contributions our industry makes to the betterment of individuals, families and communities.
Here’s a bright note that doesn’t often make reports on employment conditions in the UK: self-employment is at an all-time high of 4.16 million.
Direct selling is part of that growth, with nearly 400,000 people working in the industry – and contributing £390 million annually to the UK economy. Just this year, Amway UK has seen 26 percent more people signing up to start an Amway business.
Direct selling often is called recession-proof, offering an income opportunity even in tough economic times. It also appeals to budding entrepreneurs, and to those looking for a flexible second income option that works around other commitments.
New shopping concepts are attracting more people to direct selling as a convenient shopping solution, too. Amway UK is pioneering a new kind of sophisticated retail experience at its refurbished London Flagship Experience Centre, where consumers can try products before they buy.
Such innovations help Amway business owners grow their businesses…a bright note all its own.
Disclaimer: The authors of these blogs are Amway employees. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of Amway or any other person or company.