Pitch: Direct sales and network marketing are experiencing tremendous growth in recent years on top of already massive numbers to begin with. More than 20 million people were involved in direct sales in the US in 2015 producing over $36 billion in retail sales. Many of these people are first time entrepreneurs starting a home based business with minimal tools help them succeed. We are going to build software tools to help them manage and grow their businesses: the Salesforce of the Network Marketing World.
Background: Back in the beginning of 2015, I was pulled into a network marketing company. I strongly believed in the product (which I still take every day) and signed up as a distributor to reduce the cost of my own product. I shared the product with my family, and the next thing I know, I have a team of 50 distributors selling under me. Many of these people have never sold anything in their lives but were equally passionate about the product. This particular company, like almost all of them, has terrible technology and makes the lives of the distributors very difficult because their technology is still in the Stone Age. So, we built an app that would make things so much easier for my team to grow their business. Other distributors outside my team wanted in on the app, the company didn't appreciate that and we received a cease and desist letter.
Putting aside the result from this one particular company and the failed approach we took, this is a massive market that are starving for technology to help them grow their business. They've been mostly neglected by the parent companies, and no one has yet to build some amazing software that I've seen. Massive opportunity $$$.
Tools for Network Marketing
This idea has virtually unlimited potential. If you exist on social media, you know how big network marketing is becoming. How many people have tried to sell you a product or service on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Exactly. A lot more than you probably expected. These people need help. They need software tools to help them manage and grow their business.
If we hadn't been burned by this one particular company, I'm sure we'd take a shot at this idea again. It's that good. I generally hate x for y analogies, but the easiest way to think of this is Salesforce for Network Marketing. Start with the biggest pain point for these network marketing professionals. Build some software that solves this problem for them. Charge them something insignificant that makes it a no-brainer for them like $5 per month. And watch the magic happen.
The beauty of selling to this industry, something we started to see very early on, is that there are leaders at the top of these teams that will help you distribute your software to their entire teams. It's a salespersons dream. You just have to hunt down the key people and sell to them and hundreds or thousands of their team members will follow. Seriously. I had 50 team members and I wasn't even doing anything with the business. Some of the people we talked to had a thousand distributors in their organization and were willing to let us get on their weekly team calls to talk about the app!
Start with this one pain point for one particular network marketing company. Go deep. Get to know their business, their products, their revenue model, everything. You could create an amazing business based on solving one problem for one company, but there is opportunity for vertical and horizontal expansion. You can build further products for this particular company and upsell, and you can build separate but similar apps for the many different networking marketing companies out there.
For the right person or team, this idea is a gold mine. Enjoy!