The $100 Million Growth Club

by Teresa Day

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DSN Cover, July 2014

Several years ago, the staff at Direct Selling News began the research necessary to create an industry list that demonstrated the impact and contribution of direct selling companies worldwide. The DSN Global 100 list has become a respected ranking, and each year the research team increases its ability to gather the necessary and relevant information. This annual list creates an opportunity to understand the significance of our industry as a whole, and showcase companies above a certain revenue threshold, which marks them as significant contributors to local and global economies.

We have been very pleased to hear that “making the list” has become a goal for many company executives as they work through their strategic planning for growth. Though the Global 100 list only presents 100 companies, we recognize that there are hundreds of smaller companies all working within our industry that offer excellent products and services, and serve both the needs and dreams of customers and representatives alike. We celebrate and salute them all!

While at work on the 2014 list (which is based on 2013 revenues), the DSN research team recognized a remarkable pattern emerging among a significant number of companies—18 companies, to be exact. These 18 companies achieved such a remarkable milestone during their course of business in 2013 that we knew we had to write about it and share this achievement with you, our readers.

In fact, the achievement appears to be so rare in the general business world that there is actually little written about it anywhere, furthering our decision to bring the information forward. The achievement is this: Eighteen companies on the Global 100 list grew by over $100 million in one year.

While we were, at first, definitely impressed as we saw this pattern and thought about these 18 companies, it was in doing further research on the growth of companies in general that turned our admiration into downright astonishment, and ultimately, extreme pride in their achievements.


Very few companies in any industry ever achieve a growth level of $100 million or more, much less in a single year!


Here’s why: Very few companies in any industry ever achieve a growth level of $100 million or more, much less in a single year! With that knowledge we, of course, felt compelled to call out and celebrate this achievement, and further, discover what we could about how and why these companies could reach such a milestone.

However, before we move onto the commonalities of these companies, let’s point out a few pertinent differences. These companies range in age from 2 years old to over 50 years old in operating age. These companies sell vastly differing products, from jewelry to health and wellness and from energy and essential services to cosmetics and skin care. These companies operate in one market to dozens of markets. They are headquartered all over the U.S. and even the globe—Noevir in Japan, Vorwerk in Germany and Telecom Plus in the U.K. Maybe the most apparent and extreme difference in these companies is their size—companies that grew over $100 million ranged from those producing $24 million (Origami Owl) and $37 million (Plexus) in 2012 to five companies already in the billion-dollar range.

We point out all of these differences to emphasize that remarkable growth is possible, regardless of product offered, number of markets served and even company size. In other words, remarkable growth is not only the purview of an already giant, established company.

As we considered this growth number—the $100 million threshold—we found some very interesting commentary on the validity of this number measuring something important. Paul Kedrosky, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, contributing editor with Bloomberg Television and founding partner at SK Ventures—an early-stage venture capitalist firm—has written about and studied this $100 million number in conjunction with business growth, and his thoughts on the subject are quite revealing.

In a report issued by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in May 2013, titled “The Constant: Companies that Matter,” Kedrosky writes, “There are few constants in entrepreneurship—perhaps none. That is why when something appears to be even semi-stable across meaningful periods, it is usually worth further investigation.” The “something” he is discussing in his paper is the question of how to measure a company “that matters.” In Kedrosky’s estimation, a company that can promptly go from founding to $100 million in revenue qualifies as a company that matters. Why? Because these companies impact the economy. Because these companies create jobs and wealth for stakeholders. But primarily because so few actually do it.

According to Kedrosky’s research, which is presented in this Kauffman Foundation short paper, there are roughly half a million (552,000) new “employer firms”—those that employ others as workers—opening in the U.S. each year, every year. Since 1980, the number of those firms that reach $100 million in revenue at some point has been pretty stable, and it’s a very small number—only between 125 and 250 firms out of the entire half a million.

Let’s break that number down into a percentage. If half a million employer firms are created every year, and at the high end, only 250 of them ever go on to achieve $100 million, that’s less than one-half of 1 percent. Supporting data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that even during a six-year window, only 175 companies out of the half a million new ones every year ever achieve the $100 million mark. No wonder Kedrosky uses this achievement to qualify a company as one “that matters.”

This data says that ever reaching $100 million in annual revenue marks you as a company that matters; a company that has significant staying power; a company that puts you in the top quartile of companies within your industry, no matter what it is. But we feel that this stunning statistic makes our $100 Million Growth Club even more of an outstanding achievement for these companies, because not only have they achieved and exceeded a mark that less than one-half of 1 percent ever reach, but they have duplicated that effort in a one-year time frame! We again salute and celebrate these 18 companies for a truly remarkable achievement.

Of course, the natural next question is how on earth did they do it? So we took a hard look at this group of remarkable companies, and though they are incredibly diverse, we found that they did, in fact, have some best practices substantially in common.

  • They have tremendous focus on their brand and product.
  • They utilize tools for their salesforce.
  • They invest in customer acquisition.
  • They emphasize personal development in their culture.
  • They focus on developing strong leaders.

Focus on Product/Brand

Staying focused has the natural result of bringing things into alignment, and since you can’t be focused on multiple things at once (focus just doesn’t work that way), staying focused automatically generates simplicity.

Peter Drucker, hailed as the father of modern management, very precisely puts it this way: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” In addition to identifying what should be done, focus helps identify those things which should not be done.

Staying focused requires discipline and attention. It can be difficult; it can feel ”boring”; it can feel like putting a straitjacket on creativity; it can feel too simple; it can feel that opportunities are passing you by as you focus on one main thing; however, those companies that have been able to do this have reached this remarkable achievement. Their leaders would tell you that the benefits of the discipline far outweigh any opportunity that would have distracted you.

It Works! is one of the 18 companies in our $100 Million Growth Club, and CEO Mark Pentecost is one executive who set his sights on “making the Global 100 list” a couple of years ago. Prior to this decision, it’s important to note that It Works! had been a successful company for nine years, and had grown at a respectable rate each year to $45 million in 2011. Placed against the data presented in this article, It Works! had already achieved success. But Pentecost wanted more, and he knew that by creating a simple message and staying focused upon it, his team could achieve it.

Pentecost says, “I’ll never forget that day near the end of 2011 when I met with members of our team—both corporate and in the field—and we made one decision that will forever be a milestone in our company history. We set a goal to double the company in 2012. That was a big goal. That meant we would create over $100 million in sales in the next 12 months.”

With singular focus, the small, respectable company truly exploded into growth. In 2013, the company debuted on the Global 100 at No. 56 with 2012 revenue of $200 million. This year, it moved up to No. 26 with 2013 revenue of $456 million.

“Anyone can complicate things,” Pentecost says. “It takes genius to simplify it. We had one message from the top down, and we worked hard to stay focused. We said no to anything else that came up.”

Researcher and celebrated business author Jim Collins writes about the “Stop Doing” principle, something he learned from a grad school professor at Stanford and has applied ever since to his own thinking. He writes, “… the ‘stop doing’ list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year’s resolutions—a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.” Collins also incorporated the Stop Doing List into his criteria of what makes a company great in his celebrated book Good to Great, giving examples of great leaders who were able to make big decisions about what to stop doing in order to achieve the greatness they were capable of.


“Anyone can complicate things. It takes genius to simplify it. We had one message from the top down, and we worked hard to stay focused. We said no to anything else that came up.”
—Mark Pentecost, CEO, It Works!


Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt and his team utilized the “Stop Doing” principle when they scaled back their products and brands to one anti-aging line, AgeLoc. The focus has clearly paid off. It was however, a very big decision. Nu Skin had expanded its operations to include three distinct opportunities: Nu Skin products, Pharmanex and Big Planet. Different management teams ran each division, and they competed with one another. Hunt decided to focus the opportunity on one path.

Hunt says, “We took advantage of that moment in time to evaluate all business issues. There were no sacred cows, and it resulted in an overhaul of our organization and strategy. The process was not without pain, but it was also clearly a key point in the growth of our company.”

Two companies among the 18 are exceptional primarily because of their extreme focus on offering one product in one market. Interestingly, the two companies couldn’t be more different—one is skin care, and one is energy. Nerium achieved over $200 million in revenue in its second full year with only one product in one country. Ambit has been the fastest company to achieve the billion-dollar threshold—within seven years—in only 14 states in the U.S. with one product. Focus clearly has played a central role at both of these companies.

Tools for Salesforce Support

Applying disciplined focus to your product line and brand will only get you so far if you don’t also carry that focus into your field support and training. No matter what product or service is being sold, every sales field needs simplicity and clarity in order to achieve the kind of growth our 18 companies achieved. It’s important to remember that those entrepreneurial souls who are your brand ambassadors are also very creative. In the absence of simple, clear and duplicable tools and systems, creative salespeople tend to create their own processes and selling methods. While this may produce enormous success for one or two individuals, it does not translate across the field to everyone. In order to achieve uniform success across the entire salesforce—which is necessary to generate $100 million achievements—the field needs simple and duplicable systems.

In just two remarkable years, Nerium has developed an expert ability to provide its salesforce with simple and duplicable tools. By so doing, they have maintained incredible consistency for their independent representatives in the form of support tools, training materials and back-end support, enabling even brand-new IBOs with no experience the ability to set up shop quickly and dive right into their businesses.

Each new representative receives the same starter kit, which includes a DVD that trains the individual on company business practices, along with other standardized materials to get them and keep them on the right track. From their first day in business, each representative has access to online support tools that are personalized for them. Every representative has the same experience, and every customer has the same experience, enabling the company to present a uniform, and clearly successful, approach to the business.

With two decades’ worth of experience in creating back office systems for other direct selling companies, Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis were well-versed in tech support tools when they decided to launch Jeunesse, the anti-aging skincare company, which grew from $126 million to $267 million in 2013 (growth of $131 million) and was seated at No. 46 on the Global 100 list. Their prospecting system easily allows a distributor to share a video on any social media platform, and the viewer can immediately request a free sample (paying only shipping). The company’s extensive tools support allows a distributor to enter the business and share products from almost anywhere in the world.

Most, if not all of the 18 companies on our list use consistent and simple tools to support and train their sales field such as DVDs, magazines and brochures, mobile apps and websites. Herbalife’s President Dez Walsh told DSN that he believes the continued use of systemized training methods to support distributors is a primary reason for his company’s sustained growth.

Investment in Customer Acquisition

Though in our industry many distributors are also customers, a business can’t grow to the levels we are discussing without creating a strong customer base.

In looking at our 18 growth companies, we found they had various means of reaching new customers, including investing in technology and reaching out to Gen Y, expanding physically into new markets and territories, and reaching out to new customers through sports sponsorship programs.

In all customer acquisition strategies, it is imperative that the company follow the customer. A company can no longer insist that a customer follow them; the balance of power has shifted, and it is now necessary for the company to meet the customer where they want to be met, whether it’s on Facebook or literally in a new market.

For example, Vemma has developed a customer acquisition strategy targeted at the very tech-savvy 80 million Generation Y’ers, the oldest of whom are now in their mid-30s. According to a study produced by Oracle on Gen Y’ers’ banking habits, their annual spending next year is projected to be $2.45 trillion. They don’t read newspapers, they don’t pay attention to TV advertising and they pretty much disregard anything that isn’t digitally produced. Vemma has captured their hearts and minds by tailoring the message and the messenger to be exactly what they want. Once these young people got their own revolution going at Vemma (YPR—Young People Revolution), they propelled an already somewhat successful company onto the Global 100 list at No. 81 with $117 million in revenue; and then skyrocketed the company to No. 53 on this year’s list with over $100 million in growth.

When Herbalife came to understand in some of their markets that people don’t shop the way Americans do—by stocking a pantry and large refrigerator with days’ and days’ worth of food—they made an effort to understand what was happening, and why. As a result of understanding their customers’ habits, they created a daily consumption model that mirrored the way people actually behaved in those markets.

The daily consumption and nutrition club model has also revealed additional benefits for Herbalife that have aided in their sustained growth. A social aspect has developed around the clubs, producing more and more frequent customers; and customers go to the distributor—rather than the distributor going out to them—which creates great efficiencies for the distributor.

AdvoCare puts its brand in front of millions of fans of NASCAR racing, professional soccer, and both college and pro football through its sports sponsorship programs. AdvoCare is the first-ever jersey sponsor for the Major League Soccer team FC Dallas—prominently displaying the company logo at every match, including those broadcast on national television. Other sponsorships include the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2014, driven by the youngest-ever winner of the Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne. Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and MVP of the Pro Football World Championship Game, is AdvoCare’s official National Spokesperson and helps lead the AdvoCare marketing efforts.

Expansion of the customer base is a foundational practice of each of the 18 companies on our list, regardless of their product, markets or even methods.

Emphasis on Personal Development

Today, personal development is an integral component of most direct selling companies, and its roots can be traced way back to the inspirational and motivational leanings of David McConnell, Mary Kay Ash, Mary Crowley and others who forged our industry.

Including a personal development program for representatives actually provides the company with great benefits. Mary Crowley, Founder of Home Interiors & Gifts in 1957, said, “If you grow your people, you will grow your business.” Many executives can testify to the truth of this statement. The 18 companies on our extraordinary growth list all pay attention to the personal development and growth of their salesforce.

Giving your salesforce access to personal development materials can take many forms, including utilizing tools, speakers, systems and opportunities to create a culture based around personal growth and awareness. It’s a cultural mindset and requires investment—just as product development and marketing efforts require attention and investment. Access to personal development material should be a critical part of the new representative’s first experiences. This can be accomplished by including CDs, DVDs, reading material such as magazines, or access to subscription services for personal growth.

Personal development and culture development can also be facilitated by your event strategy. Great events on consistent rhythms create great cultures. Great companies have powerful cultures. In fact, it’s that unique culture of your company that attracts the people you want in your organization and keeps them there.

ACN’s large-scale quarterly events represent an essential component to the company’s success system, which is why event after event, year after year, IBOs turn out in droves for its events. Almost 20,000 of them from around the world flocked to ACN’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, for the company’s International Training Event last September, and they continue to host sold-out events quarter after quarter.

“It’s not a coincidence that the top people in ACN never miss an event,” observes Greg Provenzano, President and Co-Founder. “We hold them quarterly and they truly provide the motivation and fuel our IBOs need to build their businesses. For a brand-new person, there is nothing quite as powerful as walking into an arena of 20,000 excited, supportive IBOs. It truly is the best way to be exposed to our opportunity and to see the big picture of ACN firsthand.”

Vemma and It Works! recently went from a one-event-a-year system to four events a year. Many of the other growth companies are having at least two events a year on a national basis, plus regional and leadership events. These companies are creating consistent local, regional and national rhythms with their events as they try to build their culture and build their companies. By staying in front of your people, you can keep them engaged, keep them motivated, keep them fired up, keep them going when they don’t feel like it. We all know great events and great rhythms build great cultures. They also create an emotional attachment between your salesforce and the company—and the salesforce among themselves.

Focus on Developing Strong Leaders

Great cultures also create great leaders. The 18 companies in the $100 Million Growth Club all adhere to one final best practice: They create positive environments where people, particularly women, have the ability to grow into strong leaders capable of successfully replicating their business opportunities through others.

That positivity derives from the shared belief that anyone has the potential to succeed in direct selling. Two of the Global 100’s top 10 companies—one a network marketing company and the other a party plan company—have proved over the last half-century that focusing on leadership skills strengthens not only the individual but the business itself.

The No. 1 direct seller in the world, Amway, was founded by Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel with the core belief that people, not products, were the greatest resource. The company, which recorded $11.80 billion in net sales in 2013, embraces “diversity of opportunity” which, according to current Amway President Doug DeVos, “enables stronger global expansion and [helps] manage change and opportunity.”

Amway IBOs are provided with leadership skills training upon joining the company and as they climb through the different levels of the organization: Platinum, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond and Double Diamond. They are also provided with the assurance that leaders in their upline maintain the highest levels of honesty, integrity, responsibility and accountability. “They can count on these values to be placed front and center when it comes to ensuring products are safe, individuals are reliable, compensation is fair, training is effective, and support and guidance are readily available,” Doug DeVos states.

Mary Kay, which broke into the Global 100’s top five this year with $3.60 billion, has since its inception been an organization that has grown exponentially because of its development of female leadership. Of course, such skill training was of the utmost importance to its founder, Mary Kay Ash, who in a 1985 Inc. interview stated, “I feel like I’m doing something far more important than just selling cosmetics. I think we’re building lives.”

Today the company’s beauty consultants can count on leadership training as they progress from consultants to sales directors and national sales directors. “You cannot keep a determined person from success,” Mary Kay once exclaimed. “If you place stumbling blocks in her way, she will take them for steppingstones and will use them to climb to new heights.”

The Clues of Success

The 18 companies that achieved over $100 million in growth in a single year did something so remarkable that very little is written about it. We hope this brief article showcasing these companies and sharing some of their common strategies will inspire many more to focus on a similar achievement for themselves. These companies have not been successful by accident; they have left clues for everyone else to see and follow.

We expect that next year even more companies will achieve the remarkable milestone of growing $100 million or more!


The $100 Million Growth Club

Direct Selling Companies Win Big in Digital Media Awards

A handful of direct selling companies collected 43 awards altogether in the 2014 AVA Digital Awards, an international competition recognizing excellence in digital communication.

Ten years ago a Harvard University student founded a little social networking website called Facebook. Today, Facebook is a global Internet phenomenon with 1.2 billion users. More than 200 million active users are posting photos and videos to Instagram, and 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone.

With the speed and flow of information through these new technologies, audio-visual professionals are constantly innovating to engage audiences and communicate effectively. The AVA Digital Awards honor the people who are ideating, directing, designing and producing the best in digital media.

The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals administered and judged 2,100 entries in this year’s competition. Entrants included production companies, web developers, advertising agencies, PR firms, corporate and government communication departments, and a slew of independent creative professionals.

Gold Awards honor companies for exceeding the high standards of industry norms, and Platinum Awards recognize excellence in terms of quality, creativity and resourcefulness.

Direct selling companies among this year’s AVA winners include:

  • ACN—7 Gold, 10 Platinum
  • LIMU—2 Gold, 4 Platinum
  • Origami Owl—2 Gold, 3 Platinum
  • USANA—9 Gold, 6 Platinum

Direct Selling Brands Take Home 2014 Communicator Awards

For 20 years the Communicator Awards have recognized big ideas in the world of marketing and communications. This year’s competition awarded several direct sellers for creative excellence in telling their stories.

The judges at the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA)—whose membership consists of leading professionals in media, communications, advertising and marketing—recognize work that makes a lasting impact on its audience. From a pool of more than 6,000 entries, the Communicator Awards honor companies and agencies of all sizes that succeed in connecting to people through their work.

“We are both excited and amazed by the quality of work received for the 20th Annual Communicator Awards. This year’s class of entries is a true reflection of the progressive and innovative nature of marketing and communications,” noted Linda Day, Executive Director of AIVA.

The following direct selling companies received recognition for audio, video, print, web and mobile marketing. View the full list of 2014 Communicator Award winners for more information.

  • ACN – 1 Gold Award, 6 Silver Awards
  • LIMU – 2 Gold Awards, 15 Silver Awards
  • Market America / SHOP.COM – 2 Silver Awards
  • USANA Health Sciences – 4 Gold Awards, 2 Silver Awards
  • Vemma – 5 Gold Awards, 6 Silver Awards
  • Vemma Europe – 1 Gold Award

ACN Celebrity Golf Tournament Benefits Ronald McDonald House

Nearly 150 golfers teed up for ACN’s Ronald McDonald House Celebrity Golf Tournament held May 5 at Trump National Golf Club in Mooresville, N.C. The fourth annual event, presented by DISH Network, raised more than $228,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in ACN’s hometown of Charlotte.

Looking to partner with a charity that helps families with children, ACN began supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2008. The houses offer a home-away-from-home to the families of seriously ill or injured children, providing home-cooked meals and a place to stay as they focus on their child’s health.

Through its Global Reach Charities, ACN has made a point of contributing to local efforts like the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. Giving back to the community is essential to the company’s identity and civic philosophy, says ACN President and Co-Founder Greg Provenzano. “It’s never been about the recognition or the positive press, as those things don’t matter,” he told DSN in an email. “What matters most is being part of something bigger than ourselves, and if we can pay it forward to just one individual, then our efforts have been more than worthwhile.”

The company paid it forward in a big way at this year’s tournament, where celebrity captains included business magnate Eric Trump, Gerald Henderson of the Charlotte Bobcats and NASCAR’s Greg Biffle. Although ACN sponsors over 50 other charitable events each year, none involves more effort or reward than the celebrity golf tournament. “Focusing on this event allows us to put forth the effort it takes to get the big results,” said Provenzano. “Being able to hand the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte a check for over $220,000 at the end of a one-day tournament is an incredible feeling.”

2014 DSN Global 100 List

DSN 100


Since 2004 Direct Selling News has been dedicated to telling stories focused on relating the opportunities direct sellers provide to millions of independent business owners around the globe. So it seemed only fitting for DSN to further recognize the industry by compiling a comprehensive list, starting in 2010, of the top direct selling companies in the world.

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact of the industry on economic and social realms. It provides a range of mutual learning not only for industry members but also for researchers, investors and—most important—those seeking opportunities within the industry. In an effort to support transparency and verify authenticity, DSN implemented a new standard for the 2011 ranking, which we have continued each year since: the Revenue Certification Form (RCF). In addition to an updated profile, each company is asked to submit an RCF signed by the CEO and CFO or designated agent. Some privately-held companies choose not to participate in the Global 100 process, and therefore do not appear on this list. We encourage all companies to submit the required forms. We thank all the companies that willingly participated in our survey as well as our dedicated team of researchers who helped us present to you the remarkable achievements of direct sellers around the globe. The following contains the ranking for the 2014 DSN Global 100 (based on 2013 revenues), our annual list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. The list is published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.


Click here to celebrate your company’s achievement with customized recognition prints.

2014 Rank

Company Name

2013 Revenue

1 Amway $11.80B
2 Avon $9.95B
3 Herbalife $4.80B
4 Vorwerk $3.70B
5 Mary Kay $3.60B
6 Natura $3.20B
7 Nu Skin $3.18B
8 Tupperware $2.67B
9 Belcorp $1.96B
10 Oriflame $1.95B
11 Primerica $1.27B
12 Ambit Energy $1.20B
13 Telecom Plus $1.10B
14 Stream Energy $867M
15 Yanbal $848M
16 Miki $783M
17 Thirty-One $763M
18 Blyth (PartyLite and ViSalus) $750M
19 USANA $718M
20 ACN $700M
21 New Era $678M
22 Market America $547M
23 Amore Pacific $520M
24 Forbes Lux $489M
25 Scentsy $485M
26 AdvoCare $460M
27 It Works! Global $456M
28 Noevir Holdings $455M
29 Isagenix $448M
30 COSWAY $440M
31 YoFoto $428M
32 Arbonne $413M
33 Better Way $407M
34 Nature’s Sunshine $378M
35 For Days $376M
36 Apollo $340M
37 Team National $332M
37 KK ASSURAN $332M
39 Team Beachbody $328M
40 LR Health & Beauty Systems $323M
41 4Life $300M
42 Longrich $292M
43 PM-International $284M
44 Neways $280M
45 Viridian Energy $267M
46 Jeunesse $257M
47 North American Power $256M
48 MENARD $255M
49 Southwestern Advantage $253M
50 Elken $233M
50 Origami Owl $233M
52 Take Shape For Life $229M
53 Vemma $221M
54 Nerium $219M
55 LG Household & Health Care $215M
55 Organo Gold $215M
57 Naris Cosmetics $214M
58 Charle $208M
58 LifeVantage $208M
60 Pro-Health $204M
61 CUTCO $200M
61 HEIM & HAUS $200M
63 Naturally Plus $199M
64 Rodan + Fields $196M
65 WorldVentures $195M
66 Family Heritage Life $192M
67 JAPAN LIFE $188M
68 Huis Clos $184M
69 GNLD $178M
70 Mannatech $177M
71 Giffarine $176M
72 Enagic $170M
73 Diana $166M
73 BearCere’Ju $166M
75 Hy Cite $164M
76 Plexus $160M
77 Princess House $154M
78 Gano Excel $150M
79 Zija $144M
80 KOYO-SHA $141M
81 Zhulian Marketing $127M
82 Univera $118M
83 Nikken $115M
84 5LINX $112M
85 Vision International People Group $96M
85 Arsoa Honsha $96M
87 New Image $95M
88 Nefful $94M
89 Youngevity $86M
90 Akasuka $83M
91 Tastefully Simple $79M
92 Kleeneze $76M
93 ENERGETIX $75M
94 Chandeal $72M
95 Momentis $71M
95 Seacret $71M
97 Ion Cosmetics $70M
98 Reliv $68M
99 CVSL $65M
100 Zurvita $63M

Click here to celebrate your company’s achievement with customized recognition prints.

Sports Partnerships Power Philanthropic Efforts

Direct sellers have a rich history of supporting philanthropic efforts around the world, such as aiding Philippine victims of Typhoon Haiyan and building nutritional kitchens to feed and educate rural Chinese children. One way that companies are making a lasting impact—both in their own communities and beyond—is by teaming up with local sports organizations.

ACN recently teamed up with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats as a top sponsor of the Cats Care Foundation’s 2013 My Hero Gala, an annual event hosted by the Bobcats’ non-profit organization. The event brought together members of the community and of the Bobcats organization to raise support for both the foundation and the Novant Health Community Care Cruiser, a mobile clinic that provides health services to Charlotte’s un- and under-insured youth.

Several “Littles” from the Charlotte chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters also participated in the gala. ACN regularly supports Big Brothers Big Sisters, and several of its employees partner with young people as “Bigs” in the organization.

Read more about ACN’s support of the 2013 My Hero Gala.

As part of its ongoing partnership with Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, Herbalife recently joined the team in a visit to El Salvador, where officials made visits to the soccer clinic La Fundacion Educando a un Salvadoreno (FESA), Benjamin Bloom Kids Hospital, and Francisco Campos elementary school. Herbalife and LA Galaxy officials made financial donations to each organization, in support of children’s soccer programs, medical care and education.

Read more about Herbalife’s efforts in partnership with the LA Galaxy.

Direct Sellers among MarCom Award Winners

Marcom Awards


The MarCom Awards—one of the largest creative competitions in the world—has revealed its 2013 honorees, and several direct selling companies are being recognized for their achievements in marketing and communications. The esteemed awards spotlight the best in print, visual, audio and web materials and programs.

The competition evaluates about 6,000 entrants per year, a pool ranging from corporate marketing and communications departments to freelance creative professionals. Less than 20 percent of entrants ultimately receive a Platinum Award—the competition’s highest honor.

The Platinum-winning direct selling companies listed below were recognized for excellence in a variety of categories. This year’s honorees include:

  • Vemma (6 awards)
  • Mary Kay (4 awards)
  • ACN (3 awards)
  • Amway North America (3 awards)
  • USANA (3 awards)
  • Origami Owl (1 award)

View the complete list of Platinum winners on the MarCom website.

Personal Development: Fuel for Growth

by J.M. Emmert

Helping people grow. For more than 150 years, direct selling companies have been doing just that—providing countless opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to grow their own businesses and live out their dreams.

DSN November Issue 2013During that same time period, another industry has helped millions grow through a focus on individual improvement: personal development—ever rich with the wisdom and enlightenment of social and business philosophers who have taught generations of Americans how to experience more in life by following simple and practical principles.

So it’s no surprise that these two industries are closely aligned. Both believe in change—that it’s completely possible to alter the conditions of one’s life for the better. Both believe in potential—that no matter a person’s background or education, he or she can successfully tap into that unlimited power within. Both believe in training—that individuals must be armed with the appropriate tools for building the professional and personal skills necessary to enhance the quality of their lives.

But perhaps the greatest commonality between these two industries is their optimism—that unwavering belief instilled by the industries’ visionary leaders that says you can be more, you can have more and you can give more than you ever thought possible.

Today, personal development is an integral component of most direct selling companies; for many, it is the fuel that fires that entrepreneurial spirit. The adoption and application of the basic tenets of personal development have led to increased motivation, decreased attrition and higher profitability for many companies. Direct Selling News has observed many companies and their use of personal development material as a part of their strategic plan; we spoke with a few for this article.


Today, personal development is an integral component of most direct selling companies; for many, it is the fuel that fires that entrepreneurial spirit.


A Brief History

It was not until the late 1800s that America was introduced to the concept of personal development. Orison Swett Marden, a farm boy from New Hampshire, read Scottish reformer Samuel Smiles’ Self-Help and, inspired by it, devoted his career to encouraging others to unlock the potential within them. He became a leader of the New Thought Movement, and “right thinking” and “personal power” became the catchphrases for a generation that believed man had the ability to change the conditions of his life.

Part of that progressive generation was another farm boy from Oswego, N.Y. David Hall McConnell had been a successful book salesman when he came upon perfume samples and recognized a unique opportunity. His California Perfume Co. (later, Avon) was novel when it began in 1886, as it was the first salesforce comprised entirely of women. McConnell knew that women had the inherent skills necessary to succeed in business but were lacking confidence in the business world. He also understood that the key to his company’s success was the commitment and dedication of the women.

And so, while Marden was inspiring through his works—including his eventual bestseller, Pushing to the Front, which offered the quintessential portrait of success—McConnell was developing a corporate philosophy that ensured each woman achieved success through an earning opportunity “in support of [her] well-being and happiness.”

He earnestly believed that the opportunity for women to find self-fulfillment was just as crucial as any financial freedom they found. “Deep down in the heart of every person there lingers a spark of hope—secret longing to be, or to have, something more,” McConnell wrote.

Marden had believed that secret longing—that golden opportunity—was found in oneself, and his work influenced such writers as Elbert Hubbard, James Allen, Wallace Wattles and Oswald Chambers in the early part of the 20th century. But perhaps no personal development book was as influential as the 1936 sensation Think and Grow Rich. Written by Napoleon Hill, the motivational classic provided 13 steps for forming a philosophy of personal achievement. The book’s core message—“What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”—catapulted Hill into the national spotlight.

Jim Rohn, a contemporary of Zig Ziglar and Paul Harvey, was another giant thinker. His soft voice and extraordinary insights on the fundamental principles of human behavior inspired the likes of Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins and current SUCCESS magazine Publisher Darren Hardy. Rohn had actually been a distributor with Nutri-Bio in the late 1950s—building one of the largest organizations in the company—and had been mentored by company Founder and “Millionaire Maker” Earl Shoaff. When Nutri-Bio closed in the early 1960s, Rohn began his speaking career. He spent the next 40 years teaching millions of people how to move beyond their self-imposed limits by sharing the simple disciplines needed to achieve success.

These teachings on personal development inspired countless individuals, including a woman who would found one of the most successful companies in direct selling: Mary Kay Cosmetics.


“Deep down in the heart of every person there lingers a spark of hope—secret longing to be, or to have, something more.” —David Hall McConnell, Founder, California Perfume Co. (later, Avon)


 

Key Leaders Embrace PD

The Skills Gap

Last month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) offered its latest findings on the skills of American workers—and it was not good news. The OECD report found that the skill level of the American workforce has fallen dangerously behind that of its peers around the world. In assessments of literacy, math and problem-solving skills, American workers ranked in the middle in literacy skills and near the bottom of the other two categories.

Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the findings show “our education has not done enough to help Americans compete in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills.”

The skills needed for the modern workplace has long been a debate. There is a high unemployment rate among recent college graduates, yet there are an estimated 3 million jobs available. The problem? These graduates just don’t have the skills to fill the positions.

Mike Rowe, best known as the host of the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs, has taken it upon himself to help return those trade skills that have diminished over time back to the forefront of American workers. His MikeRoweWorks Foundation offers scholarships for students to attend trade schools where they can obtain the training needed, and his Lessons from the Dirt celebrates the idea that anyone can be a tradesman.

“It’s not just about the skill, it’s about a state of mind,” he says. “Kids are in a transformative state, where what happens now will affect them the rest of their lives. I do not think the skills gap is going to close by accident. But I do think over the next five to 10 years we are going to have a real problem.”

What direct selling offers that no other industry can boast is exactly those skills that are missing in today’s workers—and they are offered either at low cost or entirely free. With the personal development programs set in place by direct sellers, today’s workers have the chance to not only work on their business skills, but their life skills as well.

Mary Kay Ash began her eponymous cosmetics company in 1963. She was a dynamic motivator who urged women not to limit themselves but to “go as far as your mind lets you; what you believe, remember, you can achieve.” Ash also advocated praising people—“There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise”—and insisted that women keep a balance in their lives between their work and family.

But training the women in her company was of utmost importance, because she believed that her company was not in the cosmetics business but the people business. “Most women coming into our organization don’t have professional training,” says Sean Key, Vice President of Sales Force Motivation at Mary Kay. “Our ability to help women become leaders is the secret to our success.”

Helping women grow and excel as salespeople was also a trademark of Ash’s sister-in-law, Mary Crowley, who had founded Home Interiors & Gifts in 1957. Crowley fervently believed, “If you grow your people, you will grow your business.”

Rich DeVos, Co-Founder of Amway, shared a similar belief to Ash’s in that his company was not about the products. “We are first and foremost a people business,” he said. In 1975, DeVos was one of the first direct selling leaders to publish his own motivational book, Believe!, which shared his personal philosophy for success.


“If you grow your people, you will grow your business.”
—Mary Crowley, Founder, Home Interiors & Gifts


A decade later, Art Williams, Founder of Primerica, inspired millions with his 1985 Pushing Up People, offering insight into the four kinds of failure fears and the power of the “little bit more” principle. What was particularly interesting was that Williams noted a change in the American economic landscape: Businesses were relying on college graduates who tested well rather than those skilled workers who had the desire to succeed. Nearly 30 years later, Williams’ words would still ring true. (See sidebar below.)

Building the Right Skills and Attitude

Many direct sellers have followed suit, incorporating personal development as a core component of their business plans. Why? Because both industries are about growing people into the best they can be. The introduction of a personal program within the training of a direct selling company enhances the chance of people succeeding, not only in operating their new business, but in realizing dreams they never thought possible.

The combination of direct selling training and personal development tools offers the resources to support entrepreneurialism. The tools to succeed in the business world—skills in sales, presentation, recruiting, communication and time management—are complemented by those teachings that help newcomers find financial independence, health and well-being to build lasting and productive relationships.

Back in 1986, Herbalife Founder Mark Hughes, who had a vision of changing people’s lives through his then 5-year-old nutrition company, met Jim Rohn. They took an instant liking to one another. Rohn had spent the last two decades offering his simple yet profound philosophy: “If you will change, everything will change for you.” Hughes knew that was the message his new distributors needed to hear.

The result was a marriage of like minds, and Rohn spent the next 25 years traveling around the world motivating Herbalife distributors and teaching them that “success is what you attract by the person you become.”

The appeal of Rohn lay in the simplicity of his messages: There was nothing complex or mysterious, nothing the average person could not understand. He offered simple messages of hope and optimism that deeply touched people, allowing them to look inside to find life-changing answers to who they were and who they wanted to become.

Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO of Team National, also believes personal development offers this life-changing opportunity. She says it is “essential to great success in your business and personal life. It can help you be a better leader, mom, dad, spouse, friend and family member.”

Team National promotes and utilizes the programs that help new recruits excel in every area of their lives. “Our top leaders also have a suggested reading list that helps people get started,” she says. “We promote personal growth regularly on conference calls, leadership trainings, at corporate events, in our training material, on our website, in our blogs and in our newsletters. We also have monthly personal growth training with our corporate staff along with additional training with our executive team. We discuss it regularly with our staff in our staff meetings, and we share newsletters and videos that will help our staff grow. Often our executive team will review and discuss material and how we can apply it with our sales field and our corporate staff.”

But along with the viable tools to hone their skills, newcomers also need a lesson on “right thinking.” Consider this:

Scenario 1:
Job seeker returns home with great news: “I got a job with IBM!”

Response from family:
“Oh, my God! That’s wonderful! Congratulations!”

Scenario 2: 
Job seeker returns home with great news: “I’m starting an opportunity with a direct selling company!”

Response from family: 
“Oh, my God! What were you thinking?”

Sad, isn’t it? Yet true, for it still occurs to this day due to the negative perceptions seeded in the long-ago pyramid schemes of dishonest companies, not to mention the constant, ongoing battles still fought by reputable direct sellers who are targeted by the many naysayers who don’t really understand the business model.

Personal development assists people in overcoming the fears, helping them build the right attitude about what they are doing and arming them with the tools to overcome objections from customers and even their own family members. It provides the resilience needed for when times are tough, and that is extremely important in a business that John Addison, Co-CEO of Primerica, has called a “psychology business.”


“[Personal development is] essential to great success in your business and personal life. It can help you be a better leader, mom, dad, spouse, friend and family member.” —Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO, Team National


Does Positive Psychology Really Work?


“[Personal development is] essential to great success in your business and personal life. It can help you be a better leader, mom, dad, spouse, friend and family member.”
—Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO, Team National


For years it had been a widely held belief that optimism played a key role in how people approached work and life—and whether or not they succeeded. Four years after Norman Vincent Peale offered his practical techniques for energizing one’s life in his book The Power of Positive Thinking, Chicago radio announcer Earl Nightingale recorded “The Strangest Secret,” with its message being that “the secret” to success is one’s thoughts and habits.

These works, along with David Schwartz’ 1959 classic The Magic of Thinking Big, inspired a generation of leaders and entrepreneurs with new ways of approaching their greatest ambitions, including legendary college football coach Lou Holtz, who based his life’s goals on Schwartz’ work.

But there has never been definitive scientific research to support the belief that optimism truly makes a difference. That is, until now.

Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, collected 30 years of research data that quantitatively measured the effects of training programs on productivity. The result? The No. 1 factor in increasing sales productivity was learned optimism.

Seligman, credited as the Father of Positive Psychology, offered two statistics: Sales teams with trained optimism—that is, repeated exposure to positively influencing input—sold 35 percent more than their counterparts who, left to their own devices, were 200 percent more likely to quit by the end of the first year.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, delivered lectures on positive psychology to his classes at Harvard University. In his research on happiness—which is not the belief everything is joyous but that change is possible—he found that a positive mindset results in 23 percent greater energy in the midst of stress, 31 percent higher productivity and 37 percent higher levels of sales.

Clearly, scientific research is now able to provide substantial data on the benefits of optimism: increased motivation and superior achievement in productivity. This bodes well for direct sellers.

Measuring Its Success


Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, found in his research that a positive mindset results in 23 percent greater energy in the midst of stress, 31 percent higher productivity and 37 percent higher levels of sales.


But how does a direct selling company measure the return on investment in a personal development program?

Well, that is a little trickier. Personal development is a bit like public relations: difficult to measure and to tie back to a specific return. But the absence of real numbers does not suggest that such a program is not effective, especially in an industry where the focus is on people.

Brian Tracy, author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement, says that every dollar properly invested has the ability to grow 5-10 percent each year. In looking at the companies in direct selling that have invested in personal development programs as a core foundational aspect of their business, the ROI is quite evident.

An Authentic Community

Personal development books, CDs and DVDs will continue to be a mainstay for many direct sellers in helping their people grow. However, some direct sellers, like energy and essential services provider ACN, are taking advantage of new tools to support their programs, including a leading motivation and inspiration web portal that offers new distributors guided tours through the first 30 days of their careers in direct selling; thousands of articles on personal development; hundreds of interviews, videos and audios; as well as book summaries and daily inspirational quotes. “Personal development is and will always be a crucial building block in our business,” says President and Co-Founder Greg Provenzano.

Video games are also coming onto the scene. In September, Amway China’s training center released a 3-D online gaming platform for training new salespeople.

Called Amway Life: The First 90 Days, the game is designed to be an efficient and fun learning tool for sales representatives starting their direct selling business. The main objective is to develop an online Amway business by discovering and building relationships with prospective customers of various personalities. Key personal development skills are included in training.

However, what will always be the key to cultivating a successful personal development program is the authenticity reflected in a company’s leaders. So many company leaders echoed what we captured in a few words from Chrysler: “Sharing real examples of the difference it has made in your life and others, and to relate to people why it matters,” makes the difference between talking it and walking it. “If personal development has foundational importance to your company, your passion for personal growth is clearly communicated internally and externally through your culture.”


“The organization will always mirror the behavior, habits, attitude, mindset and pace of the leader.”
—Darren Hardy, Publisher, SUCCESS magazine

Mirror Images

Darren Hardy agrees that the most important aspect of developing an authentic community is the role the leader plays in creating, fostering and keeping a culture of personal development. “The organization will always mirror the behavior, habits, attitude, mindset and pace of the leader,” he says. “They will do as you do; they will mirror you. It will always start and end with you.”

“ ‘If you want to have more, you have to become more,’ ” Hardy says, repeating Jim Rohn’s classic insight. “ ‘Let it be said that you developed the gift of not just helping people with their jobs, but with their lives as your greater purpose would have you do. Don’t just teach people how to work, but how to live.’ ”

And that’s what direct selling companies have been helping people do. By making personal development a core component in their businesses, they have been able to achieve greater profitability and, most importantly, leave people better than when they found them—which goes a long way in improving the perception of the direct selling channel.

ACN Named Ronald McDonald House Signature Partner

Photo above: ACN co-founders Tony Cupisz, Greg Provenzano, Mike Cupisz and Robert Stevanovski. Photo Credit: © 2012 Dave Moser Photography.

ACN Reach


At its International Convention in August, Ronald McDonald House Charities recognized ACN as one of the organization’s three Signature Partners. The designation of Signature Partner indicates those whose annual donations total between $500,000 and $1 million.

ACN’s giving stems from its International Training Events, where the company collects donations to fund ACN Reach, its global charity organization. Ronald McDonald House, which operates chapters in 51 countries worldwide, is the official global charity of ACN. At the close of each event, ACN matches the collected donations dollar for dollar and presents the total to the local Ronald McDonald House chapter.

ACN previously made it a company mission to bring a Ronald McDonald House to the home of its corporate headquarters—Charlotte, N.C. The Charlotte house opened in 2011, thanks to ACN’s key sponsorship and $2 million pledge toward ensuring future sustainability.

“At ACN, helping children is very close to our hearts, so it’s an honor to work with an organization whose purpose is to provide families with the care and support they need during their darkest hours. It’s a humbling experience,” said ACN Chairman and Co-Founder Robert Stevanovski.

Read the full press release from ACN.

ACN Announces Venture into Merchant Services

The world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and other essential services is now adding merchant services to its product portfolio. American Communication Network (ACN) has announced the launch of its new merchant services program through a partnership with Anovia Payments LLC.

With the company’s newest offering, ACN’s Independent Business Owners (IBOs) have the opportunity to promote a service their small business customers use every day: credit card transactions. “With Anovia Payments, we can continue to provide small businesses essential services they need offered by an IBO they know and trust,” said ACN Chairman and Co-Founder Robert Stevanovski.

Dallas-based Anovia Payments has assembled a leadership team with over 75 years of combined industry experience. The provider launched in the U.S. this month, with plans to expand into Canada before the end of the year and into select European countries in 2014.

As the Direct Selling Association highlighted in its Annual Growth & Outlook Survey, Services represent one of two categories that have generated steadily increasing sales over the last several years. ACN’s expansion into the merchant services segment presents an opportunity to significantly increase its footprint within the Services category.

Read more on ACN’s merchant services launch.

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