I recently joined a network marketing (also called multi-level marketing or MLM) company and have been asking people about the business model to get their perception about it. One of the questions I'm asked in return is if this is the same as a pyramiding scheme. Although not too many ask this question, I find this a significant one and thus have chosen to write about it.
Business and Technopreneurship
This afternoon, I had the chance to experience first-hand Mercury Drug's latest innovation. Along Ortigas Ave., where Burger King used to be, Mercury Drug has set up one of its newest branches with a drive-thru facility. Coming from EDSA and going to Santolan, you drive through their entrance and proceed to the first window on your left where you place your order and pay. You then drive through the back and go to the other side where your order is waiting for you on the next window there. Good move on Mercury's part.
Last February 4, as part of our ENTREPS (Technopreneurship) class at Asia Pacific College, my students and I visitied Barangay Buayang Bato in Mandaluyong. Buayang Bato is a Gawad Kalinga site in Concepcion Village where my wife Queenie, and I serve as members of Couples for Christ.
I brought my students there because we wanted to explore the possibility of applying the principles of entrepreneurship that we were studying in class to promote solutions that can help a community like Buayang Bato. Our objective in going there was to simply explore and find out what problems the residents are experiencing and propose technology-based solutions. To make the solutions sustainable, the students are to then craft a business plan to support the implementation of the solution with an ongoing viable business.
I would like to start this article by quoting from my introduction to the course “Setting Up Your Own Web Development and Hosting Business”:
“Three years ago, an information technology company that I started with some partners broke up and brought me serious disappointment. I thought I would totally leave the information technology business for good and would not even dare set up a new one. But one day I discovered a remarkable opportunity that has since then set me back on the track to a revitalized appreciation of IT-based businesses. With very minimal skills in website development and without even an exceptional graphics ability I soon found out that I could very well churn out very nice websites that didn’t take too long to finish. I also discovered how to set up my own web-hosting business and was able to start and grow one with very minimal costs. Now that business is doing quite well, with a growing customer base that is giving me a recurring revenue stream that is almost close to passive income."
After reading the book "Permission Marketing" by Seth Godin and absorbing the principles it espouses, another book that greatly influenced my Internet Marketing strategies was a book by Cliff Figallo entitled "Hosting Web Communities". In it, the author expounded on principles and strategies in
• Building Relationships,
• Increasing Customer Loyalty, and
• Maintaining a Competitive Edge,
all of which are any marketer’s dream. Especially in this day and age of globality, and where the Internet has greatly altered the way we look at marketing, developing a plan that will achieve the aforementioned goals would definitely be an advantage.
But even armed with the valuable lessons imparted in the books I mentioned, I soon realized that making money on the Internet can easily turn into a pipe dream. Once you start scouring through the Internet in search of tips and tricks to help launch your online business, it is so easy to get drowned in an avalanche of e-books, tutorials, tools and other products from so-called gurus, all vying for your precious tuition fee and initial capital that you have dearly allocated for your foray into the world of Internet business.
It was good that at this point, I had already established an ongoing Web development and hosting business. My entry into it was also all quite serendipitous but it’s a whole different story by itself and one that I’m taking up in my blog under Web hosting business.