When evaluating network marketing and MLM opportunities, there is often debate over what is most important when choosing your business. Many believe the compensation plan and payout is the key. Others teach that the products should be the main focus. Some prefer to look first at the longevity and stability of the company, along with other factors.

While all of these are valid considerations, the first key to success in this business is your products. Your MLM products are the core of your business and the foundation for long term residual income. Successful network marketing businesses are based around a solid product line that has lasting appeal in the marketplace. Without a foundation based on quality products, all you really have to offer in the long run is a money-making scheme. Opportunities built around mediocre products tied to highly-hyped compensation plans don't last, and should be avoided. Your products are the foundation of a strong network marketing business, and the compensation plan is the driving force that makes everything work.

Evaluate your product or service based on the following criteria.

1) The best MLM products should not be "faddish" in nature. An example could be the "latest and greatest" weight loss supplement. This might be very popular for a while, but will lose much of its luster and popularity when the next "latest and greatest" product comes along.

A good example of this is the diet cookies that were popular at one time. Entire opportunities were built around these cookies. They were a good example of fad products. If you are willing to take the chance, good money can be made quickly with hot new items like this. Just understand that your business might go away sooner than later, after you have spent lots of time and effort building it. If you want a long-term stable business with residual income, your best bet is to look for products with lasting appeal.

2) The best MLM products should be consumable. With consumable products, you can build up a customer base and enjoy repeat sales over and over. Nutritional supplements, skin care, and most personal care items fall into this category. You can make money with non-consumable products, but the residual income potential is not as good. Repeat sales will not be as high, and many of your customers will probably be one-time buyers. With non-consumable items you are always having to find new customers in order to make any ongoing income, and you will need a lot of referral business from your existing customers.

Examples of consumable items that have been sold through MLM include: nutritional supplements, skin care, cosmetics, and weight loss supplements. Legal, financial, and insurance related services could also be considered consumable since they are usually purchased on a regular basis.

Non-consumable items that have been sold through MLM include: water filtration equipment, air purifiers, and electronic gadgets.

3) The best MLM products are premium quality. They will typically have more expensive ingredients than normal off-the-shelf consumer items and the pricing will reflect this. You should not be able to go to retail stores and buy a similar quality product for the same or less money that performs as well or tastes as good. This premium quality must be real, not just quality based on claims as described in sales literature.

4) Do the products offer real value for the money? Is the retail pricing reasonable and fair for those who just want to be customers? Ask yourself these questions. Whatever opportunity you are considering, be sure to try the products for yourself before making a decision. Would you buy them at the retail prices if there was no potential for profit?

5) The products should have broad appeal with a large potential customer base. Nutritional supplements, home care, and other personal care lines are good examples of this. Ask yourself if the products you are considering are something that every home could use. How can they enhance your lifestyle? Do they really work or perform as advertised, or is it mostly hype and slick packaging?

Take time to carefully evaluate what is offered by any opportunity you are considering. MLM products are the foundation and key to your long-term success. Don't pass over this step.

Author's Bio: 

Eldon Beard is a network marketing professional who shows you how to start and build your home based business successfully. His popular network marketing and MLM blog shares secrets to help increase your income and build your business the right way.