15/05/2007 - 22:00

Motivational speakers have their place

15/05/2007 - 22:00

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If there’s two kinds of businesses I have never really grasped, it’s the fields of motivational speaking and network marketing.

If there’s two kinds of businesses I have never really grasped, it’s the fields of motivational speaking and network marketing.

With most other business models, when I meet people involved, I can envisage myself doing their job.

But the concept of getting into something like motivational speaki-ng, with its attendant business activities, makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

While I know many others feel the same, armies of people would disagree with my point of view. You only need to look at the growth of this sector of the economy to understand that. The number of events has not just grown but has also diversified and become more sophisticated.

Increasingly, motivational spea-kers appear to have worked out that rather than firing up other peoples’ workforces they ought to take a slice of the action themselves.

Initially it was books, but these days it has spread much wider.

Ranging from the superb to charlatan, there are real estate gurus, business development experts and wealth management stars among the headline acts in this field.

Of course, network marketing is big in this field too, often with regular doses of communal advice, motivation and celebration hyped up with all manner of razzamatazz.

Just because it’s not my cup of tea doesn’t mean I'm instantly opposed to this, or that there’s anything inherently wrong with it.

Many people legitimately seek out this kind of service and do very well from getting involved. For many, this type of motivation has driven them to financial freedom and independence.

Others, due to naivety, desperation or their own personality, get sucked in to cult-like devotion which may ultimately cost them dearly.

As a business reporter and through my private life, I have seen the best and worst of these operations. They have their place, but I admit to being wary of them, partly due to my own aversion and partly due to the well-documented bad experiences of the past, most notably in the real estate sector.

So it was with that in mind that I received some correspondence alerting me to the activities of a Singaporean group called XL Results Foundation and its founder, Roger Hamilton.

A simple bit of research showed that Mr Hamilton bills himself as Asia’s leading wealth consultant and that XL Results is a networking and support organisation for entrepreneurs who pay around $US8,500 for a life membership.

The foundation has a growing Australian operation run out of the Gold Coast. In the past week it has run four events in Perth.

There has also been some controversy, with allegations of disgruntled members in Singapore demanding their money back.

The journalist within me was intrigued by all this and I endeavoured to find out more. XL Results’ Singaporean spokesman dismissed the negative publicity as simply the work of some unknown detractors who dogged the group wherever it was doing events.

The spokesman outlined to me more about what XL Results did, pointing out that it was also into cafes, pre-schools, finance and property, and that it was ultimately established to generate money for charity – including a recent link up with The Hunger Project to support its India Fund.

Again, all this pushes me out of my comfort zone. Businesses established for charity might sound very worthy but they don’t necessarily feature all that prominently among the top performers. Not that that necessarily means they are wrong, either.

I eventually managed to chat to XL Results local representative, John Abbott, a local and noteworthy entrepreneur in his own right as a founder of national internet software development and digital marketing company Platform Interactive, where he retains a sales development role.

Mr Abbott said XL Results had about 140 members in Perth, including people he regarded as some of the state’s most switched on entrepreneurial types. Ironically, the local names he provided to me were themselves success stories in network marketing or the wealth advice marketing game.

And why not? It makes sense that people embedded in those business models – and who probably got their start through them – would best understand and accept similar principles in another.

I don’t want to seem like I’m blinkered or stuck in the mud. This form of business clearly works for a number of people, so I pass no judgement other than it isn’t for me. I suspect many, but not all, of my readers would agree with me.

Also it’s not fair to tar everyone with the same brush. There can be a bit of hysteria around these business models because not everyone born with charisma and the ability to motivate others has necessarily done the right thing with those skills.

Like any business investment, those who are looking to get involved should do their own due diligence and consider the potential risks and rewards before signing up.

 

Budget surprises

Did the state budget surprise you?

It didn’t surprise me greatly, though it’s been interesting to see the heat emanating from the subject during the past week, especially over the payroll tax issue.

Dropping a couple of key projects is very disappointing. While I understand the issue of construction costs, delays to the Northbridge Link and the road to Cervantes are the kind of infrastructure WA needs. If we can’t do this stuff now, when will we?

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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