SHERIDAN — A local entrepreneur has teamed up with his son-in-law to design a tool for professionals employed in multi-level marketing retail operations. Former Sheridan real estate agent and current owner of the Bramble Motel Andy Lewallen is a co-founder of www.hotlistmlm.com.

Lewallen collaborated with his son-in-law, Jamie Diamond, to develop the concept of a Web-based tool designed specifically for sales people to streamline and organize a five-step marketing process.

Multi-level marketing companies, including those like The Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Herbalife and World Financial Group. Individual sales representatives are compensated for selling the product and recruiting others to sell the same product.

Hotlistmlm.com is a platform designed to help professionals organize their contacts and ensure followups happen by sending multiple automated reminders at pre-set times established by the user.

“I was in the sales business in Sheridan for probably 25 years,” Lewallen explained. “I understand the process of how to follow leads and how important that process is. In real estate, you have a whole staff dedicated to that purpose.”

Lewallen went on to say that small time retailers, or anyone involved in MLM operations, doesn’t have the same staff support, and that’s where the idea to develop HotListMLM came from.

“After months of searching, we found out there was no tool for people in an MLM business to use,” Diamond said. “People involved with MLM are sometimes people not necessarily equipped to understand what to do next.”

Diamond said the site he conceptualized with Lewallen can be customized to suit an individual’s strategy, and is designed to be more user-friendly than other similar calendar applications. The actual website was designed by a hired programmer.

“There are a million different things people could use, and most of them are single-point solutions,” Diamond said. “Our site keeps you relentlessly tracking the five sales steps.”

HotListMLM went live approximately a month ago. It requires a monthly subscription fee to use the reminder service.

According to the Direct Selling Association, MLM products generated a total of $31.63 billion in the United States in 2013.

The Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers to stay away from MLM franchises that emphasize recruiting others to sell the same product. The FTC also points out many MLM companies are frequently subjected to criticism and lawsuits because of price-fixing practices, high initial entry costs and adopting a structural operation consistent with illegal pyramid schemes.