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BusinessIs network marketing a good business opportunity?YOUR MONEYWith Cherryl Hanson-SimpsonThursday, June 25, 2009Earning additional money has become a necessity for most people in these tough financial times.

Gone are the days when persons could feel comfortable with a single source of income - for some people, a nine-to-five job has almost become an endangered species.As people look for ways to supplement or replace their salaries, one business opportunity has risen to the forefront as a viable option.

Network marketing, also called multi-level marketing (MLM), is now being seriously considered by many people as a route to starting their own business.According to Wikipedia.com, network marketing is a selling strategy that compensates promoters of direct selling companies for product sales they personally generate, and for the sales of others they introduced to the company.

By using referrals and word-of-mouth promotion, independent business owners receive compensation for the volume of sales they and their down-line team can generate.Marketing concept or money scam?This alternative method of marketing products has been underutilised by many people due to their ignorance of how it operates.

Direct selling simply allows consumers to benefit from buying or selling products straight from the manufacturers or large distributors.

The money that would normally be paid to wholesalers, retail outlets and advertisers can now be passed on as commissions to the end users.Over the years, the network marketing model has received a bad reputation due to the actions of pyramid scheme operators claiming to offer legitimate MLM opportunities.

Pyramid schemes entice people to join them by offering a monetary reward for enrolling others into the programme, without any product or service being consumed.To distinguish a viable network business opportunity from a pyramid scam, you have to ensure that the main source of the commissions is coming from the sales of the company's offerings.

If the plan offers impossibly high compensation payouts that are tied to pricey entry fees from new recruits, it may be a sign that the business is likely to be a non-sustainable operation.The reality is that the multi-level rewards concept already exists in many organisations.

Sales people earn commissions on their individual efforts, while their sales managers and their bosses also earn bonuses from the combined efforts of their teams.For people who like helping peopleNetwork marketing operations are, however, fundamentally unlike other businesses.

Regular business owners may be accustomed to competing with others to ensure that they come out on top.

On the contrary, being successful in network marketing requires that you work with others in your team to help them to build their own businesses.Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad's Business School for People Who Like Helping People, confirms that "If you are a person who truly wants to help as many people as possible achieve their financial goals and dreams, then the network marketing business is worthy of your time".

Kiyosaki reveals that network marketing offers several positive values that can make it fulfilling for the right people.Good MLM opportunities will help you to develop your sales abilities, which Kiyosaki insists is the number one skill that all business people must have.

He notes that most people aren't afraid of selling, they are afraid of rejection; and points out that the leaders in the business should help to guide you in facing and overcoming your fears about being rejected.A creditable networking business should also offer education in areas such as leadership skills, communication skills, people skills, time management, money management and investing skills, goal setting and accountability.Is this the business for you?When evaluating a network marketing opportunity, here are a few questions to consider:- What is the product or service being offered? You need to decide if the company's offering is something that you will personally use and feel comfortable recommending to others.- Who are the principals in the organisation? Investigate who is in charge and their track record of success in business, just as if you are checking out any other business option.- Are you comfortable being trained by the person who introduced you to the opportunity? If your potential sponsor is new to the business, can you get access to others in the line of sponsorship who can guide you?- How is the money made? Make sure you have a clear understanding of how the compensation plan is designed.

Is it possible to make a living doing this business full-time, or will it only bring in part-time income?- Are you willing to do what it takes to become successful? Many people fail at network marketing, not because the business model or product line was not viable, but because they did realise that it required education and proper work ethics to succeed.As you look for ways to increase your income, remember that network marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme that will effortlessly make you money overnight.

However, if you're willing to be trained, and to then teach others to become successful in business, it just might be the opportunity you've been waiting for!Cherryl is a financial consultant and money coach, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T.

Services.

Get free financial tools and more practical advice at www.financiallysmartonline.com.

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http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/Business/html/20090625T030000-0500_154160_OBS_IS_NETWORK_MARKETING_A_GOOD_BUSINESS_OPPORTUNITY_.asp
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