Mr “A”, Ms “D” and Gang…please give me a break…get your facts right…and please let me earn my bread !
For past 3 years, I have been a mute witness to the online and offline drama being orchestrated by a certain group of people, who either do not understand the Direct Sales Industry, or, just wish to present their own concocted version of the whole thing, for whatever short term (or should I say short sighted) financial goals they may have.
But enough is enough. Finally I thought, let me stand up, let me present my side of the story as well. If nothing at all, it should be a good read for all. For the serious ones, there are some good facts that I would like to highlight here.
A quick background about me – I am a graduate from a premier institute of the country, a pure techie guy, and have no business or sales skills, or so to say, “convincing” skills. Some called me a “geek”, a few called me a “nerd”. Speaking to people was never my forte. I lived in a simple world of binary – 0 and 1, that’s what computers understand too (“binary”), pardon the pun, all I understood was complex algorithms and writing some heavy duty compilers code. The only person I talked to day in and day out was a computer. I have dedicated 13+ years of my career to this. I would not rank myself as a social person, or someone who could “influence” people or have any significant social circle.
I was introduced to QNET and the world of Network Marketing (also referred to as Direct Sales Industry, the common lingo being “MLM” or even “chain business” to the layman), around 5 years back. Being a logical guy, I have done considerable research on the industry – its growth potential, its global reach and acceptance, facts and fiction, truths and perceptions, its state in India, on QNet as a company, and on its products. I would like to present a few of the facts here, which eventually led me to adopt this industry as a full time profession.
First, I would like to draw your attention to the global industry.
Rather than Google, I went to WFDSA : World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. It presents some thought provoking data. It publishes the global annual statistics on the industry. It puts the global industry at a revenue of $ 182 Billion (USD) for the year 2014, and India specifically at $ 1.1 Billion (USD). So, are we really saying that a $182 Billion industry is a scam ? (Source : http://wfdsa.org/files/pdf/global-stats/sales-report-2014.pdf)
It also publishes its list of global companies that it has accepted as complying its norms and standards – the “Member Directory” section. Interestingly, QNET is listed as a member. Still a scam company ?
Then I looked up DSAS (Direct Selling Association of Singapore), as I think of Singapore as a country with very clear business norms, being a global business hub. I be damned, but its Members listing also has QNET (http://dsas.org.sg/members/company-listing/) !!! Still a scam company?
Another website which has a huge source of data on the industry is Business For Home. A good website to refer. A few of its statistics are quite interesting. For example, it presents a list of top 100 solid Network Marketing companies across the globe that one could choose to associate with, and once again, I am beaten (!) as QNET makes it to this list as well (source : https://www.businessforhome.org/2016/01/100-solid-top-mlm-companies-for-2016/). Perhaps, still a scam ?
For someone who wants to educate oneself about the industry, (including our legal system and the government), I would strongly request them to check out what the EXPERTs of the industry have to say about it (rather than a bunch of self-proclaimed activists, with unknown(?) vested interests) – few that I closely follow are Randy Gage, Mark Yarnell, Eric Worre, Matt Moriss, Dr. Charles W King (Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, PhD. from the prestigious Harvard University, involved in extensive ongoing research on Network Marketing Industry), Tim Sales, just to name a few. When I started, I thought, why not listen to those who have been very successful in the industry and have made the money that this industry proclaims it can offer to a novice like you and me, with no obvious skills. If you were sick (God forbid), would you go to a doctor who specialises in your ailment, or would you go to a self-proclaimed activist ?
There is also very rich text available on the industry – “First Year in Network Marketing” by Mark & Rene Yarnell, “Business of the 21st Century” by Robert Kiyosaki, “Rise of the New Professional” by Dr. Charles W King. I preferred to read these rather than blogs from people who do not put any effort but are ready to shout out in their blogs and online complaints that this industry does not work and that I would surely lose my money if I put it into this industry.
For those who self-proclaim themselves as experts and “saviours of the masses” and say that this industry does not work, the documentary “Rise of the Entrepreneur” by Eric Worre is a MUST WATCH !
Now, let’s talk about India specifically.
The lack of any regulatory body for the $ 1.1 Billion (USD) Direct Sales industry in the country, and top it up with the rudimentary PCMCS (Banning) Act, 1978, there is enough ground for chaos, misinterpretation, litigation and mud-slinging. But is this anything new for a growing third world country like ours?
The insurance industry was once a totally unregulated sector, and then the government woke up and formed the IRDA, in 1999 (with the passing of the IRDAI Act’ 1999) – till then, was it a scam ?
The telecom industry is another example, which got regulated by the formation of the TRAI on 20th February, 1997 (with the passing of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997).
My point is, there is always a time of inception for an industry, its growth, and eventually its regulation.
But of course, I am not a legal expert or a business tycoon. As I said, I am a very logical guy. So, I refer you to what FICCI has to say about the Direct Sales industry in India, in conjugation with their study with their Knowledge Partner, KPMG.
FICCI organises an event every year to bring awareness about the industry and is also trying to mobilise the government to bring in the desired regulations – “Direct 2014” on 4th December, 2014; and then “Direct 2015” on 8th December, 2015. Both events took place at New Delhi. One must read through it. The list of speakers is very impressive, including the Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, and other senior Government officials and FICCI office bearers. The FICCI-KPMG report has presented the “real true facts” about the Network Marketing industry in India, which defies a lot of misconceptions.
If one reads through the Direct Sales 2015 report published by them it clearly states the CAGR (Common Aggregate Growth Rate) at a whopping 16% for India for the last five years in this industry, which is quite significant, infact, a better return for sincere hard work, than many traditional sectors, which are growing at single digits, and annual salary increments even going below less than 5% ! It also states the industry has the potential to grow to INR 645 Billion by 2025, which is close to a 9x growth from INR 75 Billion (2013-14). From these statistics, it looks to me a very good sector to work in.
It also talks about the social and economic positive impact of the industry on various states across India – additional income opportunities, women empowerment, development of the SME sector, employment generation, social activities, contribution to the government exchequer, to name a few. I wonder why no one has highlighted these in their innumerous blogs on the internet. These look like a very good value addition that I can give back to the society and to the country by propagating and growing this business in our country. Or, is it, still, a scam ?
The report also talks about the challenges being faced by the industry in India. I quote from the report – “…one of the most daunting concerns for the direct selling industry in India is the lack of regulatory clarity. Due to this, direct selling companies are often mistaken for fraudulent pyramid/ponzi schemes”. QNET is no exception, and is facing the same challenge. The report categorically asks for the Amendment to the before mentioned PCMCS (Banning) Act, 1978. It also asks for clear legislation, formulation of standard operating procedures, and that “…direct selling should be given a separate ‘industry’ status”.
Interestingly, Zee Business happens to be the media partner for this event and covered the event highlights in its telecast on 9th and 10th January, 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0jIjNkpV5o).
The fact that “Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Private Limited” is registered with the MCA and does a mandatory 10% tax deduction at source on the earnings of all Indian IRs and submits it religiously to the Government of India, has a clear and clean KYC (Know Your Customer) process – which mandates the PAN card before any commissions are released, deposits VAT and Service Tax on all products sold on its India website, seems to be having no bearing on its legal operational status in the country ?
Then of course, QNET has its global branding and its global ambassadors, who have their own legal teams, who would surely be moronic to partner with a “scam” company ?
I hope by now, I have presented enough facts to mitigate the “fiction” a few are trying to propagate.
Coming back to my story, I have spent huge effort and sweat to ethically nurture and grow my business. Let me state, there is no short cut, there is no “easy money”. Network Marketing takes a lot of hard work like any other businesses. However, it gives an amazing system based platform for financial and personality growth. It also provides an opportunity for you to build others around you who are ready to put in the same effort.
I kindly request you, Mr “A” and Ms “D”, and the supporting elements that be, by now, hopefully you have quenched your thirst for the limelight, and your financial interests are also covered – please stop the media and the internet circus….let me earn my bread….its credible, its legal, and its ethical.
I TRUST QNET