How to Launch a Direct Selling Company

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What to Expect with an MLM Startup

There are common challenges faced by every startup: assembling capital; choosing the fastest way to market; managing inventory; juggling competing priorities; making do with a small team; and getting to cash flow and breakeven. Of all these challenges, the most pressing is usually acquiring customers as quickly as possible at the lowest possible cost. This is where the MLM startup entrepreneur has the advantage.

Direct selling is unique as the low-cost or no-cost way to acquire customers. How so? Because in most business models, the customers come by way of advertising of one kind or another, or from the efforts of a paid salesforce. In both cases, you have to put money out before sales revenue comes back. In the case of MLM, you only pay for customers after they’ve been acquired. This reduces your risk, gives you more control over your cash flow, and enables you to get to market on a lower budget than most startups.

The Power of Consumer-Driven Marketing

When you think of MLM, you probably picture the traditional model of an organization of distributors, doing everything they can to sell product and recruit other distributors. This is part of the picture, but not the whole. The heart of direct selling today is focused on the consumer. The primary engine of growth is customer enthusiasm, people telling people about your amazing product or service. That’s the foundation on which your distributor organization is built.

This is a tremendous advantage to the startup entrepreneur, because you’re tapping into the single biggest busines trend of recent years: the global growth in consumer-driven marketing. You can see this trend in the pivotal role of online reviews, social media influencers, customer rewards programs, and affiliate systems.

In the Sheffield model, all these trends are harnessed in an integrated approach that far surpasses the old world of traditional MLM.

Unique Advantages Bring Unique Challenges

It takes skill and know-how to successfully navigate the new opportunities of consumer-driven direct selling. Business leaders used to a top-down command structure can be challenged by an environment populated by volunteer distributors and vocal consumers. Old-world systems of control don’t work here. Your tools are culture, inspiration, policies and procedures, and above all an artfully designed system of compensation.

Your compensation program is the invisible hand that guides and stimulates behaviors best serving your business growth. This can be complex, because what motivates an enthusiastic customer may be quite different from what motivates a professionally experienced MLM leader. Your system needs to be calibrated to meet quite different names.

Up to 90% of the issues you deal with in a direct selling startup are the same issues you face in any company launch. But that other 10% is where your greatest pitfalls lie. It’s also where your massive opportunity lies.

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How Sheffield Can Help You Start Your MLM Company

Sheffield’s inhouse team brings exceptional mastery in the key components of your direct selling startup. For the elements outside our immediate expertise, we have developed the industry’s finest network of specialists in the resources you’ll need.

Together, Sheffield’s consultants and our extended network have you covered on all fronts.


  • Concept and Product Review
  • Compensation Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Sales Pathways
  • Product Positioning
  • Distributor Recruitment Strategies
  • Financial Modeling
  • Culture Development


  • MLM Software
  • Branding and Design
  • Website and App Development
  • Online Positioning and Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Executive Recruitment
  • MLM Law

Starting an MLM Company: Your Next Step

With the right help, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can get your new MLM company from concept to cash flow.

Your next step is clear. Get expert advice! Your first conversation with a Sheffield executive costs nothing, so now is the time to reach out and make an appointment. Simply call us, or click the message link below.

Let’s Talk About Your Business