The Power of Direct Selling.
Direct selling is not an industry per se nor is it merely a go-to-market business model and channel to reach consumers. It is bigger than any of this – direct selling is people. The ability for people with entrepreneurial spirit to build a successful business, whether it be from the ground up or by representing a company’s product, is at the heart of direct selling and it is people who made (and continue to make) direct selling the successful marketplace that it is today. The direct selling marketplace is comprised of mission-driven and socially responsible companies offering a wide variety of product and services, and the list of direct selling companies is abundant with entrepreneurs who built their businesses by utilizing an independent salesforce channel to market and sell their products or services directly to consumers.
Possibly one of the most prominent of these entrepreneurs is Mary Kay Ash, a legend as a glass-ceiling breaker and a woman who built a very successful business with a go-to-market strategy of direct selling. Unlike Mary Kay Ash, however, not all aspiring business owners are willing/able to invest their savings and time on a start-up business. These micro-entrepreneurs desire to have the economic and social benefits of managing their own businesses but do not want the startup costs and demands associated with traditional business planning. As such, becoming a direct selling distributor offers a low-risk, low-cost pathway to micro-entrepreneurship.
The traditional barriers to small business ownership are removed when a micro-entrepreneur builds a direct selling business that is backed by established brands. These established brands, several of which are featured in this book, offer the micro-entrepreneurs quality products, business training, and technological resources to achieve a self-determined metric of success.
Framed within the context of entrepreneurship and an historical overview of the long-term sustainability of this business model, this book is intended for practitioners who want to read about the breadth and depth of direct selling. Importantly, this book provides considerable depth in terms of three particular issues associated with direct selling:
For scholars, this book is built on a strong foundation of valid and reliable research endeavors. The authors have published research on direct selling in high quality, reputable and peer-reviewed academic and practitioner journals. Thus, this book can add foundationally to the research efforts of academics who are conducting research in a wide variety of topics (such as sales, women empowerment, business strategy, ethics, distribution models, gig economy, and global entry – to name a few), as well as to members of the press who want reliable and valid content upon which to build their stories.
The book’s content is also particularly informative for policymakers at the local, state, national, and international levels. For students, reading this book will offer a variety of insights, particularly related to the intricacies of channel selection and design. Direct Selling: A Global and Social Business Model is a collective project from eight academics and practitioners who have dedicated much of their careers to understanding direct selling as both a go-to-market strategy and a channel of distribution and to capturing the people who are the foundation of direct selling. The pages of this book bring together a wealth of research and knowledge that can inform a broad spectrum of constituents about the economic and social benefits of direct selling, while also providing detail and clarity on key issues related to direct selling as a sustainable business model.