Team National MLM Business – Opportunity Or Scam?

Recently, Team National (or National Companies, aka “Big N”) has emerged as a very popular home based business opportunity. As the idea of having a successful home-based business has grown in popularity, Team National has positioned itself as a very popular (and somewhat controversial) leader in the network marketing arena.

There are also some very real concerns about starting or participating in a Team National business. I’m about to go through and give an unbiased review of the pros and cons of developing a business and see if we can find out whether Team National is a great opportunity…or a great scam.

Team National – The Good

National Companies is a company developed and chaired by Dick Loehr. At its heart, Team National provides savings benefits packages that allow clients to access discounts to furniture, jewelry, travel, insurance, communications, and more. Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Team National offers people the chance to save money, and also to recruit other people to build a business helping people save money.

The best that Team National has going is the compensation plan. With its binary matrix, it allows distributors the potential to earn a sizable commission off of each benefits package sold. It can pay high, and motivated distributors definitely have the potential to earn decent money.

Team National – The Bad

The first big strike against Team National is the cost of the packages. For a 2 year membership, it costs over $899.00. For a lifetime membership, the package costs a cool $2,199.00. If you buy a lot of jewelry and insurance, then it might be a great deal. However, most people joining a business opportunity are not looking to spend that kind of money just to get into business, especially with no guarantee of profit.

Another concern is regarding the true savings that are offered in the benefits package. In an interview with a Team National representative, I was told that the package did offer some savings, but he found that he could always find a better deal just by shopping around. So if you don’t like to shop and compare, then the benefits package is probable a great investment. But if you’re truly looking to get the best bang for your buck, there might be some question as to how much you can truly save.

Team National – The Ugly

The truly painful thing about starting or growing a Team National business is their marketing plan. Like many network marketing companies, Team National advocates that you chase your “warm market”, friends and family. They teach their distributors to use a “baseball” marketing plan that goes like this:

  • 1st Base – Call up a friend or family member, and send them to the 10 minute “Sizzle Call”, where they can hear a bunch of hype about making millions of dollars marketing the benefits package.
  • 2nd Base – See if your poor prospect is still interested. If so, 3-way them into a phone conversation with your upline, where you prospect can hear another testimonial about how they can get rich.
  • 3rd Base – If you prospect is still taking your phone calls, then you can schedule a home-viewing, where you can go over to their house, show them a DVD presentation, and do another 3-way call to your upline for extra “validation”.
  • Home Base – Closing time! This is where the deal is done.

Growing a Team National business can be a great opportunity. They have a decent (not great but decent) product, but there are plenty of companies that have great products, and many people that market good products never make a dime. There are also plenty of terrible products that generate millions of dollars in revenue (anyone remember the pet rock?) The difference is the marketer, and their ability to target their market effectively.

In closing, I would say that starting and developing a Team National business is lucrative if someone knows how to effectively use the telephone, the Internet, and other effective marketing tools. It is not a scam, but like any business, success will be determined by the skill-set of the marketer. Team National is definitely not a lottery ticket or a stock option – meaning, you do not just buy in and wait for a payout.

If someone does not have the first clue on how to market effectively, then I would suggest they either learn how to be an effective marketer, or else just use the benefit package to save a few bucks.

Coupon Shopping 101

In this tough economic time, Americans have become more frugal when shopping for groceries. While we continue to be concerned about high unemployment, the foreclosure crisis, the rising cost of food and living in general, consumers are seeking more bang for the buck. As such, consumers are clipping more coupons and saving more dollars.

September is National Coupon Month and a reminder that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save. Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Publix, Save-a-Lot, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart or Winn-Dixie, each week this month I will provide advice on how to save 40 percent or more on your grocery bill.

Clipping coupons and seeking deals remains commonplace as consumers brace for National Coupon Month for a 13th consecutive year. Both coupon distribution and use have increased significantly over the past 12 months. A recent study shows that 89 percent of Americans have regularly used coupons when shopping for groceries, household and healthcare items.

The coupon itself dates back to a handwritten one for a popular soda product in 1886. While retailers continue to allocate the largest share (85 percent) of coupons to the free-standing insert cooperative coupon booklet, Internet distribution continues to grow at a pace faster than all other media distribution. Among the most popular online coupon services is coupons.com and redplum.com.

According to an NCH Coupon Facts Report, shoppers saved nearly $2 billion with coupons in the first-half of 2010 as redemption increased 7.9 percent during that period. “While the coupon has long been a mainstay of marketing campaigns to build brand loyalty and attract new buyers, it has evolved over the course of time to reach fragmented consumers in innovative and creative ways,” said Charlie Brown, NCH vice president of marketing and member of Promotion Marketing Association’s board. “It is a core tool of today’s and tomorrow’s consumer who will continue to demand savings and value.”

Approximately 164 billion consumer packaged goods (CPG) coupons were offered by retailers in the first half of 2010, an increase of 11.4 percent from a year ago. This growth builds on record-breaking trends in 2009 when 311 billion coupons were distributed in the marketplace. In 2009, coupon redemption increased 23 percent – the second highest year-over-year rate ever recorded. The average consumer reported a reduction of eight percent on their grocery bill with a $3.5 billion savings nationwide.

There was a different mindset when the PMA launched its first National Coupon Month campaign in 1998. Aimed at heightening awareness and increasing coupon usage, the majority of coupons were in print. Today they are available from a variety of sources – in print from free-standing inserts, from the retailer, directly attached to the product, on the Internet via printable coupons or coupon codes, as well as mobile devices for point-of-sale scanning.

Not only have the delivery methods exploded, but the categories have expanded greatly from grocery stores to restaurants, clothing, home improvement and everything in between. In fact, I now find myself bargaining on everything from food and clothes, to household goods and vehicles, to my children’s private school tuition.

“Today’s shopper doesn’t leave home without coupons and actively seeks out savings,” said Bonnie Carlson, PMA president. “While the state of the economy has spurred this new shopping behavior, marketers are taking note and answering the consumers’ call by putting more coupons in the marketplace. Today’s informed and strategic shopper is here to stay as lessons learned during the recession have transformed the way they spend and save their hard-earned money.”

In celebration of the 13th annual savings campaign, RedPlum.com, is offering high-value deals each day throughout September. As one of the fastest growing online coupon and value lifestyle Internet sites, they are offering a “Dash for Deals” campaign whereby an exclusive page featuring printable coupons, coupon codes, samples or free offerings can be found at redplum.com/dash. As coupon quantities are limited, visitors must “dash” to download that day’s offer. Advertisers range from restaurants to retailers, grocery, health and beauty care, drugstores and much more.

To learn more about the Promotion Marketing Association and National Coupon Month, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.com.

Source: The Credit Report with Bill Lewis – Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune (Media General Group). http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2010/sep/05/coupon-shopping-101/columns-welewisjr/

Unique Shopping Experience in Japan

Japan is a shopper’s paradise and it offers diversified range of products from high-tech electronics items to traditional art and craft. Cameras, CD players, silk goods, watches, woodblock prints, Japanese dolls, electronic toys are some of the most preferred products bought, while shopping in Japan. At authorized tax free stores of Japan, purchases of over ¥10,000 on selected items are exempt from Japan’s 5% consumption tax. Duty-free shopping is only available in Japan’s international.

Shopping in Japan is always fun and interesting and it is known to give you a unique experience of shopping. One can buy many unique and rare products, which are not available outside the market of Japan. Many beautiful souvenirs and gifts are available in the market, which one can buy and keep it as a memorable item.

If you want to save money while shopping, you should visit flea market. Every product is available in this market from cosmetics to electronics at a reasonable price. Shopping in flea market is fast, easy and convenient. One can get effective and quality products in the market at cheaper prices. These flea markets are usually arranged in parks, department stores, parking lots etc. Flea markets are very popular among young people who do not have good source of income.

Japan has great shopping malls which attract shoppers from all over the world. These malls have collection of all types of products under a single roof. One can shop for Japanese clothing, electric gadgets, appliances, shoes, books, accessories, well known brands of the industry and products of all categories and many more at the discounted prices from such a one stop shop. These malls give you the pleasant experience of shopping with complete convenience. If you get tired while shopping, they also have restaurants and eating corners.

Apart from shopping malls and flea market, Japanese markets also have department stores for all products. Japan also has some specific local markets which are famous for particular products such as Akihabara, known for electrical items and coined as the Japan’s electric town. Aoyama is famous for traditional crafts of Japan, and eatables like fish, vegetables, fruits etc can be purchased at cheap cost from Ueno Ameyoko markets. The Japanese shopping gives you the worthwhile experience of shopping in Japan.

Japanese merchants are quite honest and fair and they do not take any undue advantage of foreign customers. The price of the products is usually reasonable and has the right value of the products. So you should not waste your time in comparing the price of a product.

Shops and stores of Japan are generally open on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays as well as weekdays. Many smaller specialty shops are closed on weekends, national holidays and over traditional Japanese holiday seasons. Departmental stores are usually open on weekends and national holidays. Each store is closed one day in a week.