I remember it well, it was just another day in paradise as I sat in my home office in beautiful Miami, Florida and pondered what exactly had gone wrong with the MLM business that I had joined less than 6 months ago.
We all begin our journey into the world of MLM in different ways but the one common thread is that at some point a friend, business associate, or many times a total stranger showed us the light financial freedom shining through the mist of our otherwise humdrum daily life. They had brought us the deal.
I know that for many people all it takes is one look at a photocopied check or a 3 way call with the upline to have us sharing the vision. Many times its just such an exciting product that we have one of those “WOW” moments, a shiver goes up our spine and we can clearly feel the steering wheel of the new Ferrari in our hands.
That was the essence of the company I had joined less than 6 months ago and yet I had just put the brakes on, parked the Ferrari and walked away.
I more than anyone else, a 23 year veteran of the MLM industry, a million dollar yearly income earner, should have known better. I have a pretty structured set of review guidelines that I always use when evaluating a new company, but rather than applying them to this company, the “WOW” of the product was so strong not only could I feel the Ferrari I could even smell the leather!
The other factor was that it had been brought to me by another seasoned veteran of MLM whom I had known for years, whom I had worked with in a previous company, and I respected his judgment.
We had both done a critical analysis of the business after 6 months and both agreed that the flaws we should have seen if we had looked were there. The business judgment of the owners was flawed and even through the product was still ‘WOW”, it was so much so that many prospects just refused to believe it. The real killer was that the average usage was only about $8 dollars per distributor per month and you can’t build a successful downline on that type of volume, or if you do you can’t live on the income.
Now here was my buddy Eddie Freeman on the phone again, less than a week or so after that, telling me he had found something incredible.
Now a newbe in the industry probably would have been so crushed from the loss of faith when the deal did not pan out, they would have crawled into a hole, vowing never to be in network marketing again!
The problem with professionals who have been around the industry for a few years and have achieved success is that we know the system works, even if sometime the companies do not.
That’s what sets the top earning professional who seems to go from success to success apart from the frustrated beginner……………. belief!
The professional also hit bad deals now and again, but they know when to stop and move on.
Now of course once you have been in the industry for a while you do develop a feel for what looks good and what doesn’t but it still amazes me how many professional networkers still jump from deal to deal without ever using some type of business review process to help pick the right deals. I guess its just my background in business that causes me to look at pretty obvious factors that others seem to gloss over.
This venture was called eXfuze and of course was brand new and just getting ready to pre-launch. He spun the tale well, the master distributor of eXfuze was Steve Campbell who was a 20 year industry success story. I knew Steve personally from the old days in NuSkin over 20 years ago, he was a very solid reputable guy.
The VP of eXfuze turned out to be non other than Paul Morris, a legend in the MLM industry with over 40 years of experience stretching all the way back to Amway.
Keith Halls another industry legend, who had actually been the CFO of NuSkin and helped take them public and was probably worth $50 million or so had even joined eXfuze as a distributor.
Why would someone worth that much money want to join a company like eXfuze as a distributor?
I was intrigued. eXfuze had $5 million in funding for the start up, had even enlisted a whole team of professional football players as investors, yada yada yada!
Then the red flag! It was a dam superjuice! Argggh……………..!
Superjuices in MLM were about as common as BMW’s in south Florida!
Now I know more than a passing amount about nutrition (I eat handfuls of vitamins every day that scares people when I pull them out at dinner), and I knew about the early success stories in the industry such as MonaVie, Tathian Noni and Xango.
I had even studied the Superjuice market extensively while looking at a company called Cyberwize a few years ago when they launched a superjuice product called Tunguesta Blast (named after a meteor strike in Siberia that pretty much wiped out that whole section of the country).
I had pretty much come to the conclusion after looking at the Cyberwize product that although good, the average person was still too ignorant on the concept of superjuices (“It costs how much? For juice?) and it would be an educational sale to recruit distributors and a little slow for my taste.
But it seems that I had no other good prospects that day so I dragged out my business hat and my guidelines and started to study eXfuze.
Now the four factors I believe you need to look at carefully when checking out a new opportunity are
- Product – It all comes back to the product. Has to be a hot product in a hot market segment.
- Company – Substantial funding and owners have to have substantial business background.
- Key Distributors – Need to have substantial reputable key distributors and master distributor in place with proven performance in building and maintaining large organizations.
- Ground Floor – Needs to have under 50,000 distributors in the US market.
What I found with eXfuze impressed me, all four factors lined up pretty well, in fact very well.
The eXfuze Product
In the product area, I found that the functional beverage market was exploding (Gatoraid, Red Bull, Vitamin Water, etc). Superjuices was probably the fastest growing area of the nutritional market, there was a very high level of consumer awareness of specific superjuices that was not there even 36 months ago (good grief they sell Noni at Costco!), and the only companies in the MLM industry over the last 10 years to do the flag pole run up to a Billion dollars where in fact, all single product superjuice companies like MonaVie
The eXfuze product held up pretty well in comparison to the competition. eXfuze changed the basic business plan of going out to find one new superjuice everyone else had missed and had gone with a combo of the top 7 well known juices and combined them into one drink using cold process extraction, kind of like a multi-vitamin of superjuices.
eXfuze The Company
eXfuze was founded by two brothers Rick and Don Cotton, and they have an impressive story about their fathers health and how they came to develop their product but more importantly Rick has extensive background in the network marketing industry and his brother Don a solid business background in the traditional business world that includes Microsoft and holding a CIO position for a publically traded company in the financial markets. Here was someone who might actually know how to run a business.
Initial funding to start eXfuze was reported to be $5 million, more than enough to cover a rapidly growing company during its initial shake out and explosive growth period.
eXfuze Key Distributors
eXfuze Master Distributor Steve & Melin Campbell were a good choice, they were proven performers in several successful MLM companies including NuSkin, Pharmanex, Rexalll, and ilink. I talked to Steve about many of the other MLM professionals who had joined eXfuze and I was impressed with a list of over 30+ six and seven figure yearly earners in the MLM industry had chosen to join such an early stage deal.
This of course is where the rubber meets the road. There are many good MLM companies out there with great products and I truly believe that if you learn how to market properly you can be successful with any of them. However to truly generate wealth in this industry, lets face it, you need to be with a company that goes small to large with a vengeance, and you just don’t get that with a company that is already at a Billion in sales.
From what I could tell eXfuze at the time had about 25,000 or so reps in the US and about 10,000 or so in Japan, and at the time eXfuze was at about $3 million a month in US volume which makes it pretty ground floor.
eXfuze – The Final Analysis
Some other interesting factors were found in the eXfuze compensation plan. Now I am not really big on trying to grade comp plans in MLM’s. Lets face it, there are many different versions of comp plans in the market today and people make money with them all. So I never base a company recommendation based on comp plan.
The only thing you have to be careful of is a variation of a comp plan that has not been tested in the market. With eXfuze, they used a Hybrid Binary which combines the win-win nature of the binary placement strategy with matching bonus plan based on a unilevel called the Director Check Match. Rather than try to explain it let just say we know it’s powerful because it is essentially the same comp plan that Mona Vie uses (with a slightly lower payout) and we also know that the top earner in Mona Vie made about $6 million in his 2nd year with them and it was undoubtedly the Directors Check Match that did it. Now of course there are so many variations of business model compensation plans in the world of MLM: Standard, Unilevel, Top Tier, Hybrid Top Tier (Empower Network), binary, etc, that you could write a book on them, however in the world of the standard MLM, the hybrid-binary is pretty darn powerful.
So I guess a comparison is in order here. The last major launch of a Superjuice company Mona Vie, hit $1 Billion in sales in their 5th year, so even thought there are many many superjuice companies the market almost appears to be getting even more aggressive over the years for this product segment. eXfuze distributors constantly use Mona Vie as a comparison so their eyes are definitely fixed on that same goal.
It will be interesting to see what actually happens with eXfuze, they are awash in a sea of superjuice companies which keep popping up like there is no tomorrow, but this one gives you a good gut feel.
Now there are many great opportunities in the MLM world today, and regardless of the company you choose to join, it’s critically important that you learn how to market properly.
Too many people in network marketing base the success of their business on hot product, pure luck and company momentum to make it happen for them and then once they have blasted through their warm market, they are dead in the water.
If you truly want to be successful with a company like eXfuze, then you need to learn how to successfully market you business and don’t leave your success to chance. Today of course the traffic and leads are on the internet.
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