In an ideal world, all software would be customized. Seriously. If you had all the money in the world and all the resources are available to you, there is really only one way forward – customization. It beats everything else handily.
You get a solution that is finely tuned to the way your operation works. MLM is a very tough industry. It really all boils down to the value you provide to buyers as well as the assurance and reliability you provide to your network sellers. If people start to doubt that you deliver good products, or that you would pay on time or if you pay at all, your empire, no matter how big it is, will crumble overnight. You probably don’t need me to remind you of this fact because it happens all the time.
While there has been quite a tremendous amount of professionalism in the industry thanks, in no small part, to multi-level marketing software, we’re still aways away from full social acceptance. Usually, when you talk to somebody and ask them whether they’re thinking of joining an MLM or multi-level marketing system, those people would normally have one of four reactions. They would roll their eyes, laugh at you, get mad or get excited. Those are the four general reactions you get and, sadly, the number of people getting excited about an opportunity continues to shrink because more and more people have heard of MLM programs, and a lot of them rightly or wrongly have negative experiences.
This is why the stakes are so high. You really can’t screw up with the type of software you use to make your system possible. Sadly, a lot of people think that they just need custom solutions, and all these challenges go away. After all, no one knows their business more than them. Why not fully customize their operations?
Indeed, there are lots of off-the-shelf or “canned” software out there that really miss the mark. They don’t do a good enough job, or they’re not responsive to the needs of the operators. There are just so many different gaps there.
However, as frustrated as you may be with pre-existing commercial solutions for your MLM enterprise, at least wrap your mind around the fact that you can easily customize them. You only need to hire the right coder to customize certain parts of the platform. Many of them are built using a framework or template system where you just need to plug in the right add-ons and you’re good to go. Regardless of how seemingly complicated the novel functionality is, the framework is so adaptable and so flexible that you only need to hire the right talent to make this new functionality a reality.
This is not the case with custom software. With custom software, you have to spend a lot of money because everything pretty much is built from the ground up. Ideally, you can get something built custom that is so robust and so powerful that your business gains an almost insurmountable competitive advantage.
Of course, this is a fantasy because there’s not enough money in the world to make this happen. The business changes so rapidly that you really have to spend customization money in a fairly even clip on a month-to-month basis just to keep up.
Let’s assume that you have the money. Let’s assume that you are dead set on customization. Here are just six of the main dangers that you should be on the lookout for if you’re totally sold on a purely custom mlm software solution.
Bad Database Design
Now I’m not knocking coders out there. I’m sure there are lots of professional coders that really take pride in their work. There are a lot of people who are very, very competent; however, the problem is you’re rolling the dice. What if you pick that 1 in 100 person who just does a lousy database design? This is a serious problem because your system lives or dies by the accuracy and reliability of its database. If something is off, you can bet that your brand will start to suffer. In many cases, your brand will never recover because people think you’re running a Ponzi scheme or a scam.
Lack of Scalability
Even if your system preserves the integrity of your organization, it might not be strong enough to take to the next level. You might have to spend even more money just to plug in basic additional functionality because your network is growing. You probably don’t need me to remind you of how big of a headache this could be. You don’t want to turn what would otherwise be a very robust multi-level marketing software platform into a money pit, and that is precisely what happens to lots of custom software implementations because the scalability wasn’t engineered into the framework from the beginning. That bad design decision will continue to haunt the organization that implemented that software long into the future.
If all of these aren’t disturbing enough, do understand that software is very complicated. This should be quite obvious, especially to people who do not code for a living. Unfortunately, it’s like trying to work with a balloon. The last time you poked on one end of the balloon, another side of the balloon got swollen. This is to be expected. The problem here is that you don’t know where the swelling will occur.
This is exactly what happens with badly designed software. It doesn’t even have to be multi-level marketing automation. It can be any type of software. If you make one change, it might have an impact on other modules. Either they start behaving differently or worse yet, they trigger a chain reaction that creates really serious problems down the road. Now what makes that latter situation so dangerous is that it happens behind the scenes. It often blows up in your face when it’s too late.
Another issue that you need to be very sensitive to is the fact that if you’re going from one service provider after another, what you end up with is Frankenstein code. There’s really no other way to describe it because it’s a patchwork of various codes and modules created by different companies at distinct times. Now, it’s anybody’s guess how well these pieces of code would work together at a future point in time, especially when you hire yet another team to install even more code. You might just be setting up a situation where it would all come to a grinding halt, especially at a time that you can least afford to stop.
If all of these aren’t crazy enough, there is also the very common danger of hiring a programmer who really is very inefficient. There are many lazy programmers who basically just code a lot to make up for their inadequacies. They’re lazy not in the sense that they’re not willing to roll up their sleeves. They’re willing to code.
The problem is they’re lazy mentally. Instead of coming up with elegant code that really gets you from point A to point B with as little drama and effort as possible, they are perfectly happy to write a huge amount of code, and this is going to be a problem because the longer the code, the sloppier it is, and the more resources it takes up. It’s only a matter of time for your software to be bloated and so inefficient that it truly taxes the hell out of the server it’s running on.
Finally, if you are really set on a custom multi-level marketing automation framework, you might want to think twice because the code of the system might actually be very hard to trace. It’s not uncommon for lazy coders to copy and paste other people’s work. You might end up in court because you got sued for patent violation. This can and does happen.
Sadly, you can’t turn around and sue the programmer who caused this train wreck because either you will have a tough time tracking him down, or he doesn’t have any money. You’re left holding the bag, and it can turn out to be quite an expensive mistake for you and your organization.
Keep these dangers in mind when it comes to custom software solutions. Please note that I’m not absolutely forbidding you or discouraging you from taking this route, but you really have to have open eyes as to the extent of the risks you’re undertaking. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.