Direct sales franchises in the UK: a self-employment grey area

Brodie, S., Stanworth, J. and Wotruba, T.R. 2002. Direct sales franchises in the UK: a self-employment grey area. International Small Business Journal. 20 (1), pp. 53-76.

TitleDirect sales franchises in the UK: a self-employment grey area
AuthorsBrodie, S., Stanworth, J. and Wotruba, T.R.
Abstract

This article draws on UK data obtained from a useable sample of 673 'independent contractors' active in the field of direct sales franchising. This is a low-cost, low-entry barrier business opportunity, which, at any one time, facilitates 500,000 individuals in the UK, mostly women, experiencing selfemployment without employees. Furthermore, whilst direct sales franchises claim to be the world's largest single provider of part-time, self-employment opportunities, most of the related trading is conducted in the informal economy and is not recorded in official self-employment statistics. The article presents a 2x2, product/service, home-based/external premises, franchise typology by way of background to the principal focus of the article, which is the direct sales segment of the typology. Additionally, this discussion is conducted against the backdrop of the UK's growth in the numbers of selfemployed without employees. In the case of direct selling, we are looking not only at micro-business activities devoid of employees, but also at a sector which operates largely on the basis of part-time economic activities and which manifests attrition rates of around 100 percent annually. Finally, a direct seller typology is presented involving three distinct types:'refugees', 'trade-offs' and 'opportunists'.

(Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications Ltd from Brodie, Stewart and Stanworth, John and Wotruba, Thomas R. (2002) Direct sales franchises in the UK: a self-employment grey area. © 2002 SAGE Publications.

KeywordsDirect selling, entrepreneur, franchise, franchising, mlm, multi-level self-employment
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Journal citation20 (1), pp. 53-76
ISSN0266-2426
YearFeb 2002
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/0266242602201005
Publication dates
PublishedFeb 2002

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