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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Chapter 15

The Way Ahead

As the first decade of the twenty-first century closed and Amway celebrated its 50th anniversary, Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos pledged to continue the entrepreneurial legacy their founding fathers began. Of course, they lead a vastly different company into the future. The second-generation CEOs launched the online venture, developed the overseas empire that now dwarfs Amway’s domestic business, and have vowed to make the enterprise more about selling products and less about recruitment. Amway has said that about products and recruitment time and time again, but appealing more to consumers and broadening its customer base beyond its own distributors may be the best way to keep growing as its markets mature and the number of countries where it can spread its “business opportunity” start to diminish. Comedian Jay Leno’s late-night jokes about Amway distributors rushing into former Eastern Bloc countries after the Berlin Wall fell got laughs because it spoke to a truth—much of the world is already covered with Amway distributors, with the exception of Africa and the Middle East. Those areas pose their own unique set of challenges, from political instability to periodic or sustained violence, and economic problems. But in countries with more stable governments and developing consumer markets, dreams of owning one’s own business and making a better living continue to sprout. As Jay Van Andel once said, “Being rewarded in proportion to how much you do is a ...

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