A Review of the Lightyear Alliance Income Opportunity

Digital phone service, digital cable, cell phones, high-definition television…thirty years ago all of this were still ideas one saw while watching the ever popular ‘Star Trek’ in all its recreations. Now, it is all possible and growing by leaps and bounds into newer and more exciting technology.

Lightyear Alliance, the direct sales portion of Lightyear Network Solutions, was launched in 2003. It is the parent’s company fastest growing division and quickly becoming one of the largest providers of digital phone and broadband internet to residential, small office and home office customers. The company believes in philanthropy and is affiliated with USA Harvest, an organization dedicated to feeding the hungry across the United States.

The leadership team has numerous total years in the phone and Internet industry and includes a representative who is working on expanding the company to reach Spanish speaking citizens. The company has also been featured in a variety of articles from magazines such as USA Today, the Economist, and Red Herring, all of which can be found in their news room section.

The company offers consumers digital broadband phone services and broadband internet. They offer local and long distance packages as well as various options such as 3-way calling, call waiting, call forwarding and other commonly found services. They also offer wireless service from major U.S. carriers and unlimited calling to the United States and Canada.

Cost for the services they offer? With the exception of the digital phone service (the cost of which is actually found under products and services on the opportunities page), everything else is unknown. The website requests that the customer contact them for more information.

Lightyear Alliance sells their products via independent sales representatives. These representatives are paid on a weekly basis on the items they direct sell and are given a program called MyLightYear, an internet marketing tool, to use for their business. More information on the sales representative opportunities can be found by clicking a link on the home page of the website.

This is an aggressive sales structure and of course, the more people a representative has working under them, the more they will make in both commissions and bonuses. The .PDF presentation found on the page goes into more details. There is a demo of the MyLightYear system also available from the opportunities page for the prospective salesperson to view. There is no information available on what type of training is given to the sales representative.

Review of the website leaves an interesting question for any prospective customer or sales representative: are the services they offer comparable to services that can be purchased elsewhere? Without a good deal of cost comparison, it is hard to tell whether or not this business is truly worth getting into.

There is no information about what a sales representative has to pay in order to get started. The services the company offers may or may not be worth switching to. Doing the homework and actually speaking to someone who is involved as a representative and as a customer would be the best course of action before signing up to promote these products.

Joint Ventures, Affinity Marketing, Strategic Alliances, and Fusion Marketing – Is it Right For You?

Wow, those are a lot of words to consider all at once. They really have a lot in common, so let’s break this down and take a look at what it can mean to you, the small business owner.

Online marketers are very familiar with the term joint venture. Offline marketers are more familiar with the term “strategic alliance,” or “affinity marketing.” Fusion marketing may be a new term for both arenas.

In online marketing, a joint venture is when two people who usually have skills or products of equal value, create a product together and sell using both mailing lists. This sort of thing requires some real planning and special considerations such as who will handle the money, etc. I wouldn’t recommend doing it without some instruction from someone much more skilled than I am.

As far as offline marketing, consider this scenario: You move to a new city. As soon as you’re unpacked, you get a notice in the mail from a major retailer, welcoming you to the neighborhood and giving you a discount coupon. You scratch your head – how did this major retailer get this information? Did you accidentally send them a change of address? But wait – what’s this in today’s mail? It’s a change of address confirmation from the United States Post Office. Is this coincidental? No, of course not. The government and this major retailer have what we call a “fusion marketing” relationship. It’s really just a fancy name for a strategic alliance. Webster’s Dictionary says this about a strategic alliance: “…a merging of diverse, distinct and separate elements into a unified whole.” If you do this with a business relationship, it’s more aptly called fusion marketing.

Fusion marketing works best when the target markets are similar. Let’s look at some examples of fusion marketing for “bricks and mortar” businesses.

  • If you own a printing company, a graphic designer would be a great team.
  • An architect could work with a construction firm.
  • Here’s a classic – realtors and mortgage brokers.
  • How about a travel agency and a local resort? (or even a large hotel chain)
  • A local telephone hardware vendor with a Music & Messages On Hold studio.
  • An interior designer and a custom cabinet or furniture designer.

Are you beginning to see the picture? The only limit to the fusion markting possibilities is your imagination. It could be something as simple as your local eatery offering coupons at the cash register for the florist two doors down. I believe every business will find that strategic alliances, affinity marketing or fusion marketing is right for them. Of course, all this starts with networking in your community. I have prepared a special gift for you if you would care to learn more on this subject. Just click on Make Referrals Work and receive some high-quality training videos at no cost to you.

The Lone Ranger Forms Alliances to Do Business Today

“The Lone Ranger is dead.” Jan walked out of the room and I paused to consider that she’d labeled me as an uncooperative maverick. Her impassioned plea for me to consider doing business differently focused on the fact that tighter and closer relationships can ensure continued growth.

Like many Boomers, I enrolled in The School of Hard Knocks. Throughout my career, as an employer, employee, owner or partner, I integrated lessons and focused on improving my game without giving much thought to alliances.

“A strong alliance is greater than the sum of its individual parts,” Jan said. Alliances offer a way for sole proprietors to grow quickly, I reflected. For example, networks can frequently be building blocks for future alliances because they expose you to market or product opportunities you wouldn’t ordinarily encounter.

A networking alliance such as Business Networking International (BNI), encourages formalized referrals within its membership. Other networks such as Costco, offer member discounts on operational costs such as insurance, shipping or office supplies. Other networking alliances easily encountered include involvement in neighborhood associations, trade associations, local community/state meetings or forums and continual contact with a set of core, industry professionals.

The alliance you form could be simple; get your landlord to display information about your business to augment your marketing plan. Or, you might offer a coupon/membership discount for the purpose of encouraging referrals. Think about a professional network to which you belong or would like to belong. Consider the real benefits that you might garner from the relationship.

Is there information you need regarding political or legal issues? Does your business need exposure to market or product opportunities? One small manufacturing operation had the opportunity to be part of a national trade show at a fraction of the cost as a result of state alliance that they formed. Those leads developed into additional sales and new profits.

Alliance structures can range from the informal to the structured and complex. Fed Ex/Kinkos, for example, took product delivery teamwork to a new level with the most aggressive of alliances, a merger and acquisition.

A coop alliance lets two or more firms share in the distribution/marketing costs of each others products or the purchases of commonly used resources. Val Pak coupons are a form of co-op direct mailing.

In the last decade, supplier alliances have become increasingly critical to sustainable business growth. Depending on the firm, a supplier alliance can take the form of a strategic long term contract, a joint venture or a partnership. In either structure, interdependence between firms is created and both the firm and the supplier seek methods to maintain or enlarge market share, improve product offering and respond to market changes.

I returned to reality with a start. It was suddenly clear to me that no matter what type of alliance formed, a successful alliance requires hard work, continuing analysis of goals and marketplace conditions, ongoing and timely communication, resource allocation and a sincere commitment to a win/win outcome.

I smiled to myself as I assigned the Long Ranger the job of staying informed on the alliances that could best serve me going forward.