Business Development Agreements (BDA) Just Business Or Fraud?

Business Development Agreements (BDA) Just Business Or Fraud?

A Business Development Agreement (BDA) also called back room deals or Bridge money. Business development deals will always be a part of the MLM – Network Marketing profession, if you like it or not.

Under a Business Development agreement, a company, or top earner pays a leader $ 5,000 or $10,000+ per month for 3 – 6+ months to come over. In general its not disclosed.

Most top earners has been offered such a deal somewhere in their career. Some do it, some don’t. There has been a fierce discussion if this is an honest way to build up a network marketing company or not.

Top earners as corporate executives commented as follows:

In Favor of Business Development deals:

  • “I think it depends on certain leader how the person use this money. I see it good if the person is willing to invest all this money to help other key leaders on the team to kick off the business. Fact is that you can build business way faster from the get go if you have financial support. Now if you get it from the company or if you are a leader who should already have this money saved from previous businesses thats another story…”


  • “It is just business. In normal jobs, there is sometimes also signing bonus. Nobody is concerned about that. Talent has a price.”


  • “Just like any industry. You try to assemble the best team. People overpay for people. It’s just business.”


  • “The difference between a BDA in MLM and a signing bonus corporate America is that no one in corporate America is busy making income claims in order to entice new recruits to work for the company. You apply to work at a company based on what YOU expect to be paid, not some highly scouted executive that the headhunter negotiated to bring in.If you are busy promoting a new “leader” on stage, and the leader is busy talking about how great the comp plan is, how the company has the best products, etc, but they would not have joined but for the BDA, then both the company and the leader are disingenuous.And there’s a really simple fix for the honesty issue here: disclose the deal and let folks decide for themselves whether that affects the leader’s credibility or not.Of course they dont want to do that because it undercuts their message of how anybody can do it … and that’s exactly how you know it’s an issue.Now am I mad at companies and leaders that participate? I have more things to worry about than jealousy. But I also would not put any stock or credibility in a leader’s endorsement of a company unless I knew 100% that he or she didnt take a BDA.”

Against Business Development deals:

  • “There really shouldn’t be much debate about this. It is not ok in ANY situation, but especially if those receiving BDA’s claim everyone else has the exact same opportunity. That is simply a straight out lie, and one of the reasons the entire industry has the reputation it has. I’ve heard “leaders” claim that it is no different from a baseball club offering millions to a proven slugger. Ridiculous — it’s completely different. That baseball player isn’t telling others that they have the same opportunity. He isn’t building his business based on fabrications. We either learn to self-regulate and stop the garbage or we will disappear, and rightly so.”


  • “If you sign a BDA or contract congratulations you just SOLD your will…someone owns you now….”


  • “It’s also called raiding and is unethical. If the company compensation plan is that good, there would be no need for “business development deals” as real leaders would recognize that either they get in first and introduce the opportunity or they become their downlline’s downline in the new opportunity.”


  • “Get those offers often and know of many so called leaders who take these deals and once the contract is over they jump into another deal /another company. Then another,  Then another, While people following them keep getting hurt.”


  • “One of the bad things about this industry, but it seems to work for the company to build a network fast. But I really hope it dies out or become public. Too many people don’t know about it and don’t see the whole picture.”


  • “Many times these deals are based on desperation instead of logic.”


  • “We all know and have been offered to. I believe it doesn’t work, I could never work with a company that will try to buy me in…. Freedom for me is key and being paid is like being employed to performed something that should be natural and profitable.”

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Comments (7)

  1. To my knowledge top earners are paid up towards a million USD to join a new company, never heard anyone consider it for 10 000 even if the amount grow if you get it for 5-6 months. Why would anyone walk away from earning 100K per month for 10K? But this is a real problem for the business, people trust their leaders, there is not much trust left when they are bought by another company.

  2. The funniest part about the MLM Industry is amount of contradictions that exist. The same people that appose these types of deals are those screaming “you’ve got to treat it like any other business”!!! These types of deals go on in other Industries ALL-THE-TIME so lighten up because some may not like them but they have and will continue to happen for as long as the Industry is around.

  3. It’s a sleazy practice if the company or recipient isn’t upfront about it. The majority of rank-and-file distributors have no idea it happens. They genuinely believe that MLM is a “level playing field”.

    Oftentimes, it’s a sign that the company is in trouble. A healthy company doesn’t need to pay leaders to join. LIFEVANTAGE has been doing it for years because no leaders will join them. They have to acknowledge it, probably because they’re publicly traded. They call it their “Red Carpet Program”.

  4. It has proven over time no matter how much they offer even 50 to a 100.000 a month with on top a large signing fee, that you don’t buy loyalty. I personally know several leaders very active on social media that have changed the last 5 years to 3 or 4 companies each time with a BDA.
    What does this say about them? What does this say about the comapny offering them.

    Today some companies have a multi-million dollar BDA budget a year per region, just to keep the value of their share worth up towards the shareholders, because their regular sales and recruting are declining. By buying leaders and Teams they move in new volume fast to balance the numbers and finish quarters and years on a high. It’s pure manipulation, they probably learned from the Wall-Street sharks.

    To me the bigger the BDA’s offered by companies, the weaker their ownership and leadership seems.

  5. All about $$$ for ME. There is no “we” in a join me bonus. I see it as pay for leadership performance in front of an audience instead of a heart centered commitment to good of the Whole.

  6. This is great to know and something not disclosed to the general public.

    Good to see BFH is being transparent about this subject.

    A great question to ask would be, “What if companies and/or top distributors started to disclose these additional advance payments made to certain individuals to the public?”

    “Would it hinder or help business?”

  7. What this article failed to mention was the fact that when an announcement is made that a top earning individual achieved a high ranking and experienced “explosive growth” within a few months, it was due to the individual’s previous large following from another company whom he/she was able to contact via email or social media posting.

    In essence, this individual was advanced big money ? (BDA) to bring his/her large group to the company.

    It sends a message to the potential distributor that the same or similar achievement is possible if they “join the company right now” and “make a list of 100 people they know.”

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