The concern, the cure

Melissophobia is the fear of bees; blennophobia is the fear of slime; and chorophobia is the fear of dancing. In fact, from A to Z, clinical names for numerous fears exist.

In the 2010-2012 editions of Amway’s Entrepreneurship Report, the “fear of failure” was consistently among the highest obstacles to becoming self-employed. We believe this fear leads to a high gap between people who can imagine starting their own business and those who actually do.

So in our 2013 report, we took a closer look. We wanted to know: Did the fear exist because people did not believe in their abilities, their networks and ideas? Or because they did not feel supported by their environment?

Among the polled countries worldwide, 41 percent of respondents feared “financial burdens up to bankruptcy.” For 31 percent, “the economic crisis” turned out to be a considerable obstacle (even truer in the European Union). Non-financial fears included disappointing one’s family, loss of reputation, and and not being unable to handle the high level of responsibility.

The percentage of respondents who are fearful of starting an enterprise is represented below for six of the 24 countries studied.

These fears may not have clinical names, but at Amway we seek to “treat” them with a business model that is low-risk, low-cost and has built-in mentorship and support. And fear not, if it doesn’t meet a person’s expectations, it has a money-back guarantee.


More than a number

When Amway releases its annual sales, people focus on the big number,  sales of USD$11.8 billion for 2013, another record for the company.

But we measure our accomplishments in smaller terms – the individual successes of a lot of ones, twos and threes.

Ones, such as Patrice Deibert of the U.S., who has built a thriving Amway business in Japan.

Twos, including Vladimir and Elena Sidorov of Russia, who found an outlet for their entrepreneurial spirit in Amway.

And threes, like Minnie Wen, Li Man Bong and Roy Li of Hong Kong, each of whom started a promising career but wanted more control over their future.

Millions of people like Patrice, Vladimir and Roy are achieving their potential through their Amway businesses.

That’s why our annual sales are more than a number.  They represent the collective achievements of our business owners all over the world, supported by our more than 21,000 employees.

To them, we say thank you, and congratulations on another amazing year.


Reporting on Russia

In just three months, Moscow will play host to the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, an event with goals that are very much aligned to that of our recently released Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), including:

• To exchange ideas favorable to entrepreneurship.

• To show entrepreneurs how collaborative communities can help them launch and scale.

• To increase global recognition of entrepreneurs for the important role they play in society.

In fact, Russia was one of 24 countries we studied, and our findings could be useful in shaping the nation’s policy, education and image-building for entrepreneurship. For example, we learned that positive attitudes toward self-employment in Russia are declining, down from 73% positive in 2012 to 65% in 2013. And that the Ural and Northwest regions were nearly 20 points lower in positivity than in Siberia and the South.

Alarmingly few females in Russia said they could imagine starting their own business (26%), which is surprising given the independence and mobility of Russian women.

This warrants discussion during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress and beyond about how to strengthen and nurture women’s entrepreneurial spirit and meet the particular needs of would-be female entrepreneurs.

We’re committed to these conversations, to the actions that can come as a result, and most of all, to our amazing Amway Russia Business Owners – people such as Mark and Marina Kaplun and Vladimir and Elena Sidorov. They stay the course, encourage others to define themselves through entrepreneurship and, along with other direct sellers in Russia, help build better economies and communities.


Diverse Perspectives: Our Annual Entrepreneurship Report

In 24 countries and from 26,000 people, Amway recently sought opinions on the attitudes, concerns and desires of would-be entrepreneurs.

Titled the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, the study provides an up-to-date view on self-employment potential and obstacles hindering entrepreneurial activities in Australia, Austria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

The good news:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship, a 1% increase over 2012 data. Even more encouraging? Nearly half of them can imagine starting their own businesses.
  • Respondents from Denmark have the most positive attitude toward self-employment (89%). Finland follows with 87% and the Netherlands rounds out the top three most positive countries.

The rest of the story:

  • We found that 65% of would-be entrepreneurs were motivated by the desire to be independent. People want to control their time and their futures. They want to set their own hours, goals and priorities — be their own boss.
  • For years now, our study has shown that fear of failure is the biggest obstacle to becoming self-employed. The fear to fail has lead to the gap between the number of people who can imagine starting their own businesses and the number who actually go for it.

So what?

  • We believe it’s urgent to support the activation of potential entrepreneurs by jointly raising awareness, encouraging further debate and doing anything we can to negate fears.

Amway offers a unique business opportunity and we take seriously our responsibility to engage in the public discussion on entrepreneurship. The Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report is one way we do that. It provides decision-makers in the realm of politics, economics and education with real data to inform actions that encourage the foundation of new businesses.

After all, the more entrepreneurs, the merrier!


Their time, their priorities

People who start any kind of business quickly realize: There’s a lot of work to do, and they are in charge. On Day One, it becomes their turn to call the shots, decide how to use their time and set the goals and priorities.

Being in charge of the priorities is one of the things Vladimir and Elena Sidorov appreciate most about being Amway Business Owners.

Before they joined Amway Russia in 2005, the Sidorovs held many jobs in their small village in the Altai Mountain region of Siberia: producing snake venom, growing mushrooms, delivering coal, working in retail.

When he heard about Amway, Vladimir felt he’d discovered a business opportunity that plays to his entrepreneurial streak and preference for working independently. The couple embraced the responsibility of owning a business and the success they have enjoyed from their own hard work.

So what advice did they have for their son Ilya when he became an Amway distributor at age 19? “Stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like a leader,” Vladimir says.

That can be a daunting change for those used to having someone else control their time and activities. In direct selling, newcomers typically find help in that transition through training and mentoring by their leaders. However, it still takes discipline and the willingness to accept that rewards are commensurate with the effort they put in.

The Sidorovs find their work hours aren’t fixed, but they don’t mind. Through their business they spend a lot of time together and with other successful people.

That’s a priority achieved.


Colossal pasta

You’re going to need a bigger plate if you want some of this ravioli.

At 29.28 meters long – more than 96 feet long – it’s the newest Guinness World Records™ entry for world’s longest ravioli. It was cooked up by Amway Russia in St. Petersburg on August 3, shattering the six-year-old previous record by more than five meters.

For perspective: 29 meters is the equivalent of 16 men lying head to toe.

It took 10 Amway Business Owners and journalists 90 minutes to roll out and stuff the colossal pasta. They worked under the leadership of iCook™ cookware expert Alexey Semenov and three professional chefs. The ravioli weighed 20 kilograms (more than 44 pounds).

The St. Petersburg event also included 100 Amway Business Owners and journalists vying for top honors for the best ravioli cooked in the iCook pasta set. Judges included TV anchor and culinary blogger Elena Usanova and Amway Russia leaders.

Guinness adjudicator Jack Brockbank was on hand to make the world record official.

Guinness World Records is universally recognized as the authority on record-breaking achievement. Its mission is to inspire ordinary people to do extra-ordinary things. For Amway Russia, mission accomplished!


Healthier habitats

This year Amway Russia granted a total of  $161,000 to the World Wildlife Fund to support 11 projects that protect endangered and water-dependent species such as muskrats.

Due to the loss of habitat and pollution, the muskrat population in Russia has declined rapidly.

Fewer than 100 muskrats live in the Khopyorskij Nature Center in the Voronezh region.

Amway distributors and employees recently volunteered to clean the wetlands surrounding the Khopyorskij Center,  providing muskrats with a cleaner and healthier environment. They removed two truckloads of plastic fishnets left by poachers, as well as other non-degradable waste.

Taking care of the environment has been a priority for Amway since 1959 and Amway Russia is continuing that commitment today.  In a few months, Amway Russia will coordinate volunteer clean-up events in several additional  nature centers to help create safer and healthier habitats for other endangered species.


Keeping it clean


Amway Home products are top of the line, but don’t take our word for it. Check out a product demo and see for yourself.

To prove the effectiveness of our products, our Research and Development team creates product demos that compare our product performance to that of our competitors.

The Permanent Marker Demo, featuring our L.O.C. Kitchen Cleaner, is a favorite of the Home Care Product Development group. This demo shows a quick and simple solution to an everyday household problem – removing permanent marker from countertops and other surfaces.

Product demos are a powerful tool for our distributors to use in selling our products to customers. Russia and China reported that most distributors in those markets rate product demos as “important” or “very important” to their business. After the permanent marker demo was released in North America, we saw a significant increase in L.O.C. Kitchen Cleaner sales.

See for yourself the demonstrable quality of our products.


Transforming for Success

Three Amway leaders recently shared their experiences and tips on what helped make their markets successful.  Responding quickly to the needs of a specific market is a common thread, but what that looks like in different markets is, well, different.

At Amway Russia, it meant quickly expanding the support network – stores and staff included – to provide distributors with products as their businesses grew exponentially when this market opened, general manager of Amway Russia Richard Stevens told The Voice of Russia.

For Amway Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of distributors are age 35 or younger, success required providing them with meaningful ways to interact with the company and its products, said Amway Malaysia’s Paul Yee in an interview with the radio station BFB 89.9. For example, Amway opened experience centers and stores so distributors could get the “touch and feel” experience they prefer.

Amway Vietnam has focused its efforts in educating the public, government officials and the media about the direct selling business model, which until recently was largely unknown in that country, general manager Kam Chiong told The market also has provided continuous training to its distributors to ensure they have the best tools to successfully build their business.

Leveraging these differences supports active entrepreneurs and helps our businesses grow stronger together. How has innovative thinking helped your business transform?


Amway among top charitable companies in Russia

Amway has been cited among Russia’s most charitable companies for years, but this month was named one of the top 10 corporate social responsibility (CSR) businesses in a ranking published by Vedomosti.

This year Amway moved up 20 spots to 6th on the list.  The Vedomosti ranking is based on company size, corporate social responsibility budget and the effectiveness of the budget in meeting c ommunity needs.

Amway Russia’s One by One Campaign for Children programs range from a mobile play center to a friendly soccer competition  that gave kids with disabilities the opportunity to hit the pitch.