For some the word Network Marketing conjures up crazed friends trying to sell them a product they didn’t want or offering a dubious business opportunity. Clearly Network Marketing has stood the test of time and in one form or another has been around for 60+ years. If you look at Network Marketing objectively, it is brilliant concept. The consumer having the opportunity to be paid for products they love and enjoy when they refer them to others. Think of it as sharing the wealth with the consumer.

The beginnings of the launching of the network marketing business model is similar to the growth of the U.S. wild west. It took the adventurous to go west and settle in what was considered the U.S. frontier. Many didn’t make it, often there was lawlessness and you had to be tough to survive. During the Gold Rush people took outlandish risks in hopes of striking it rich. This is part of our American history that created the great spirit of the American Entrepreneur.

Fast forward to the 1970’s and 1980’s of Network Marketing. During these 20 years you could definitely say, the era had similarities to the Wild West. Almost an “anything goes” attitude. With the accessibility of personal computers, many companies truly started out of someone’s bedroom or living room not unlike Apple Computer starting out of a garage.

In spite of these rough beginnings Network Marketing has matured through the years and has come of age. Now with a emphasis of permission marketing, or better known as Attraction Marketing, and the marriage of network marketing and internet marketing, there is a new level of professionalism in our industry. This professionalism and huge success of Network Marketing has impacted the more traditional business models.

Concepts born out the Network Marketing industry are being adopted by the traditional businesses. Health Clubs are now utilizing “Auto-ship” programs for the health products they market through their clubs. Network Marketing Owners learned early on, to ensure long term results and convenience for customers, and long term residual income for their Associates that Auto-ship made sense. Many Network Marketing companies offer discounts even below wholesale pricing when people opt for Auto-ship. Now traditional businesses are adapting these innovative strategies. When I order nutritional supplements online through a retail website, many of these companies now offer monthly Auto-ship options. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Many companies are offering credits and discounts on their products when their customers refer new customers. Ebates is a company that offers rebates or discounts on a range of products when you enroll with them and through their portal to purchase your products, some of the member companies are JC Penny and Zappo’s etc. When you refer a friend to join Ebates, you receive a $5.00 credit towards any vendors product within their system. You can continue to refer friends and receive further discounts on products you purchase. Plus, just by using this service it will allow you to purchase a wide range of products at a discount.

Network Marketing is based on the premise that, as a consumer, you can participate in a referral rewards program. In network marketing this can range from retailing, product introduction bonuses, and referral bonuses which pay a percentage of all the sales volume generated from your sales/purchases and the sales/purchases of those you enroll who do the same. This can be staggering over time.

The cost of doing business has simply multiplied for businesses and traditional business has taken note of network marketing company’s low overhead. The Network Marketing business model realized their customers were the best referral source. Think about it. Do you make most your buying decisions based on a TV ad, Bill Board ad, or any other form of advertising? Or is it because of a trusted friend, an advisor or business colleague referred you?

Traditional businesses have marketing departments, advertising budgets and sales people. Now you can add internet marketing to the marketing budget. The cost of marketing and advertising takes a larger and larger chunk of the profits of traditional businesses.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that your best referral source is an excited customer and when properly utilized can greatly cut your overhead which means good business and loyal customers. Network Marketing is changing the face of business throughout the market place, especially on the web where affiliate programs are flourishing.

Affiliate programs definitely take their lead from Network Marketing. Paying others when they refer new customers to your product or service just makes sense. Affiliate programs pay 1 to 3 levels. It is easy to set up your own affiliate program with a shopping cart software called e-junkie and you as the business owner determine the percentage payout.

Linking to websites of companies whose products and services you believe in and enrolling in their affiliate programs is a brilliant way to do business. Now bring Attraction Internet Marketing into the mix and you have a formula for success. Creating valuable content, both in articles, videos and blogs and participating in affiliate programs can over time provide tremendous passive residual income.

You can use the affiliate referral program offline (off the web) as well. I’ve been a big participant and promoter of networking groups to build my own business. I strongly support and believe in networking groups like BNI (Business Network International). I believe BNI is one of the more successful business models for leads groups. They have chapters all over the world and each local Chapter meets once a week. These groups have one person per business category within each chapter. This is a powerful way to have other business owners and entrepreneurs connect and promote each others products and services.