The more things change, the more they stay the same. With all of the exciting things happening today, it’s easy to forget some of the longstanding issues that aren’t going away.
Business opportunity companies that give our industry a black eye are still with us, and some of them are using new marketing tools like the Internet very aggressively.
Business opportunity companies that entice investors with promises of fast, easy money have plagued the vending business from its very beginning. There is not a lot that our industry can do to prevent people from chasing their dreams.
As an industry, we need to do what we can to educate the public about the facts of our industry, not the fantasies.
A new player called Healthy Coffee International, Inc. is launching its automatic vending machines in the U.S. and Mexico. The company’s Website, www.healthycoffee.com, outlines a multi-level marketing opportunity for proprietary coffee, tea and energy drinks. The Website states the company “uses a simple and unique Internet-driven international business model that allows the average person to own and operate a local, national, or international coffee distribution or coffee house business with very little capital investment or overhead.”
This company’s founder and CEO, in an introductory video, claims his coffee vending opportunity is the “easiest and simplest business that you will ever do. All you have to do is ask people, ‘do you drink coffee?’”
After letting the people taste the coffee, he says you go for the closing question, “Would you like to learn how you can make big money in the coffee business?”
This Website is very professional. It uses social media aggressively. The company is publicly traded.
Most of us in the industry agree vending and refreshment services are good businesses. Where we take issue with business opportunity companies is their claim that the business is easy.
As vending and coffee service has evolved, operators need more training than ever. They need more financing than ever. And they need to be better at what they do than ever.
The established players in vending and coffee service today should welcome new blood into the business, not discourage it. But companies that claim it’s an easy business will hurt our industry more than help it.
Established industry leaders, along with the national trade association and VendingMarketWatch, believe newcomers must be focused on operations quality, product quality and service quality.
The Website for this and other business opportunity companies, by contrast, focus people’s attention on financial rewards.
The vending and coffee service businesses are based on commitment to good customer service, first and foremost. The financial rewards come later. Any marketing pitch that focuses people on the financial rewards first should be viewed with skepticism.
The vending and refreshment services industry needs to continue its efforts to educate the public about business opportunities.
Prospective investors reading this blog are encouraged to access the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s Website, www.vending.org, and go to the “government affairs” button, and then go to “Business opportunity awareness.”
A good overview of the business can be accessed at the following link: http://vending.org/industry/vending101.pdf