It Works!: Taking It to a Whole ‘Notha Level

by Jeremy Gregg

Click here to order the November 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Photo above: The official ribbon-cutting at the new It Works! headquarters in Palmetto, Florida.


Company Profile

Founded: 2001
Headquarters: Palmetto, Florida
Executives: Mark Pentecost, CEO; Pam Sowder, Chief Networking Officer; Mike Potillo, Chief Sales Officer; Doug Nooney, CFO; Chris Burns, CIO; Don Klein, COO; Janne Heimonen, President of International Operations; Don Hamilton, Senior Director of Operations.
Products: Skincare and Nutrition


Founded in 2001, It Works! is one of world’s fastest-growing skincare and nutrition direct sales companies. Ranked at No. 290 on the Inc. 500 list for 2014, the company has enjoyed an impressive 1,565 percent growth rate over the past three years.

Originally based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, It Works! recently invested over $10 million to build a new global headquarters in Palmetto, Florida. Reaching across the U.S. and into at least 17 other countries, the company has amassed 90,000 active independent distributors, supported by the 100 full-time employees of It Works!.

Of the company’s 32 different products, the largest seller remains its first offering: the Ultimate Body Applicator, a non-woven cloth wrap that is infused with a powerful, botanically based formula. The company’s distributors—called “Wrapreneurs”—primarily market this product through home parties that offer their friends and families a way to achieve a tightened, toned and firm body in as little as 45 minutes.

Origin

Before It Works!, Mark Pentecost was a high school teacher and basketball coach living in the small town of Allegan, Mich., with his wife, Cindy, and their three children. Around 1995, the Pentecosts had joined a home-based business in the telecommunications industry, through which Mark Pentecost had become a top-10 earner. While they did not know it at the time, the Pentecosts’ success in direct selling had given them a vision for the future of It Works!.

In 2001, It Works! was founded on Pentecost’s belief in the impact of operating “debt-free” as an individual, but also as a company. He embraced the opportunity to share this message with the company’s distributors. “Debt Free Is the New Sexy” then became the mantra to align the field with the corporate philosophy of debt freedom.


It Works! achieved a 1,565 percent three-year growth from 2010 to 2013, placing it at No. 290 on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in America.


Growing through a Tough Economy

It Works! was entering a major growth period when the economy began to fall off the cliff in 2008 and 2009. Catastrophic economic events were leading many other businesses to retreat in their expansion plans, take on enormous debt to maintain existing operations, or both. Despite these trends, Pentecost and the leadership team at It Works! were inspired to go against the grain: Pursue rapid growth while becoming debt-free.

The move paid off. Unencumbered by debt, the company grabbed a new vision for its future. It Works! achieved a 1,565 percent three-year growth from 2010 to 2013, placing it at No. 290 on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in America.

“I truly believe we have a great team in our field leaders and corporate,” Pentecost says. “I’m confident in our strategic plans to grow both our U.S. and international markets. It Works! will be a recognizable force around the globe.”

Mike Potillo, Mark Pentecost and Pam Sowder welcome guests to the new It Works! headquarters.


Offering a Different Kind of Incentive

In January 2012, It Works! formalized its debt-free concept with the launch of the G.O.O.D. Bonus, which stands for “Get Out of Debt.” Based on performance, the bonuses have ranged from $10,000 to $75,000 on top of commission. Qualifiers are encouraged to use the money to pay off student loans, mortgages, credit cards and other debts.

Pentecost states: “The world today needs to hear about fiscal responsibility. At It Works!, we …”. See the full story on at Direct Selling News!!

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ASEA: Building a Legacy

by Jennifer Workman Pitcock

Photo above: ASEA headquarters in Salt Lake City.

ASEA


Company Profile

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City
  • Top Executives: Verdis Norton, Founder and Chairman of the Board; James Pack, Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board; and Tyler Norton, Founder and CEO.
  • Products: Redox Signaling Molecules suspended in a pristine saline solution

Verdis NortonVerdis Norton

When Verdis Norton retired at 57, he had held high-level executive positions at multiple iconic food companies, most recently as Vice President of Strategy at Kraft Foods. He had created enough wealth and success that he would never need to work again. But as much as Norton loved to golf, he wasn’t content to spend all his time relaxing. Soon after his retirement, he went to work for a biotech company. When he retired from that job four years later, he still wasn’t ready to become a full-time retiree.

So when his son Tyler introduced him to another biotech company, he agreed to sit on the board. He was particularly fascinated by a technology the company owned. Using salt water, the technology created redox signaling reactive molecules identical to those found in the human body. These molecules are necessary for life; they allow cells to communicate with each other. They help with immune system function and cellular repair-and-replace mechanisms.

What makes this technology so unique is that there is no other method to create these molecules outside the body. And as a person’s body ages, they create fewer and fewer of these molecules. Norton recognized that if the redox signaling molecules could be used by the human body, they had great potential health benefits. Though he was skeptical at first, Norton studied the company’s research on the technology and found that the science was good. He was intrigued.


Using salt water, ASEA’s technology creates redox signaling reactive molecules identical to those found in the human body. These molecules are necessary for life and become fewer as a person ages.


The ASEA Story

When Norton attended the first board meeting, he discovered that the biotech company was out of money. In fact, they were about $1 million in debt. He made an effort to raise money for the company, but it eventually folded. Still, he wasn’t ready to give up.

Tyler NortonTyler Norton
James PackJames Pack

Norton had made friends with a man who had moved to Park City, Utah, from New Hampshire, Jim Pack. Pack had retired at 43 from a very successful career in the communications industry. The two men enjoyed golfing together.

Pack says that he soon realized that Norton was something special. “I made the decision on the golf course as we golfed week after week that I was going to do something with this guy,” says Pack. One day they were golfing on the Park City municipal golf course. Norton started to tell him about a terrific product he’d been using. But the company was mismanaged. He told Pack he was going to put together an investment company to acquire this product.

“Jim pulled the golf cart over on the fairway,” Norton recalls, “and he reached in his back pocket and pulled out a folded check that was blank, and he said, ‘You got a pen?’ I handed him a pen, and he wrote a very big check and said, ‘Let’s go do this together.’ ”

Once they acquired the technology after further research to better understand why the product worked, the two men focused on stabilizing the redox signaling molecules. They knew that in order to sell the product they needed to extend its shelf life exponentially. They hired a team of scientists, including Dr. Gary Samuelson, and charged them with the task.

After months of work, the team succeeded. This was a huge breakthrough.

Finding the Right Channel

Kurt RichardsKurt Richards
Chuck FunkeChuck Funke

Once the product was stabilized, the possibility of selling it became a reality. Early on, the founders had the opportunity to sell the product to a global pharmaceutical company. But they ultimately decided not to. “ASEA is a foundational product,” says Executive Vice President Kurt Richards. “The fear was that if we sold the technology, rights, patents and all the research to a pharmaceutical company, it would either take years to bring to market, or they would never bring it to market at all.” The founders also worried that even if the pharmaceutical company did bring the redox signaling molecules to market, the product might be a specific treatment for one ailment. Then the general population would never reap the benefit.


“Because of the complexity of our product, there was the realization that
the product had to be sold with the story.”
—Chuck Funke, Executive Vice President


Ultimately, that’s what made the decision for Norton. He didn’t need to make more money or have more success. But he did want to make his mark. “I feel like this is my opportunity to make a difference that will last beyond my lifetime,” he told Richards.

Norton and Pack examined all possible distribution channels. “Because of the complexity of our product, there was the realization that the product had to be sold with the story,” says Chuck Funke, Executive Vice President. “And that’s how we got into network marketing.”

The Saltwater Challenge

Though the founders knew they had a great product, the science behind it was complex. How would ASEA convince customers that what they were selling wasn’t your garden-variety salt water—especially when those two items were the only ingredients on the label? Both because they wanted to bolster credibility and better understand how the product works, ASEA’s executive team has put a great deal of effort and capital into researching the product. A study conducted by the David H. Murdock Research Institute in 2012 confirms the presence of redox molecules in ASEA.


Today the company has nearly 30,000 active associates and is growing rapidly.


ASEA also increases the body’s production of natural antioxidants, glutathione and SOD by over 500 percent. This was discovered in an in vitro study performed by Pacific Northwest Institute in early 2009.

Perhaps one of the most promising studies was conducted by researchers at Appalachian State University and presented at the 2012 Experimental Biology Conference. The study results surprised even the researchers. After study subjects drank ASEA daily for a week, researchers discovered that ASEA had caused a significant metabolic shift in 43 metabolites, including fatty acids. This suggests that ASEA makes a person’s own fatty acids available to them, allowing users to burn more fat—especially the type that clusters in the belly and hips.

To date, ASEA has spent over $5 million on safety studies alone. All have shown the product to be completely safe for consumption.

Liftoff

ASEAThough explaining the product remains one of ASEA’s biggest challenges, it hasn’t held the company back. Six months after prelaunch, the company was already profitable. ASEA is completely debt-free. That’s due in part to the company’s strong customer base. “The product is so strong and the preferred customer program works so well that we have a very large base,” says Richards. “That means a stronger financial foundation.”

In fact, just three years after its official launch in 2009, ASEA expanded into Europe. It has been in Canada since 2010 and will open in Mexico later this year. Though this may seem quick, ASEA’s expansion has been done very cautiously. “Before we went into Europe, we spent eight to 12 months getting the product approved in Europe, getting all the proper registrations, setting up the proper companies, so that once we opened the market we wouldn’t have to worry about whether ASEA would have issues with regulators,” says Richards. “We waited until we had enough cash in the bank and enough dedication to make sure we did it properly.”

Today the company has nearly 30,000 active associates and is growing rapidly. A new initiative called the Triple A Plan is having a big impact. Following this plan, new Associates can build a lucrative business in 90 to 120 days.

Product in Demand

In order to support the company’s steady growth, ASEA opened a new $1.5 million production facility in August 2013. Its 33,000 square feet house offices, testing labs and a production floor. Storage and fulfillment take place in the warehouse portion of the building. The new facility will produce about 15,000 cases of product each week. That is only about 30 percent of the facility’s capacity, allowing plenty of room to grow as demand increases.

“Getting the facility online and doing that very quickly was an incredible moment for us,” says Vice President of Marketing Noah Westerlund. “We’ve been able to scale up our production and meet the market demand.”


“One thing we’ve always tried to stress is that your ego drive and your economic drive have to be underneath your principle drive.”
—Kurt Richards, Executive Vice President


Focus on Personal Development

Part of ASEA’s ethos is helping the company’s associates realize their potential. “Everything we do at ASEA is guided by a singular commitment to the personal development and education of our associates,” reads ASEA’s website. “One thing we’ve always tried to stress is that your ego drive and your economic drive have to be underneath your principle drive,” says Richards. With this in mind, Verdis and Tyler Norton share principles of their proprietary strategic and operational planning system, StrategicLink, in the training they give their associates. “At lower levels, we teach principles in general terms. As they increase in rank, we bring more of the steps in,” says Richards.

This training takes place in many ways, including the usual conference calls and webinars. But ASEA also does more intensive trainings for those who show promise at various ranks.

If associates hit certain ranks in a specified period of time, they’re invited to special events where this training takes place—boot camps, leadership summits and diamond retreats. They are shown what an average healthy business looks like at their rank. “It helps us to develop a road map for them. There are certain key metrics that we’ve identified, and then we train on those key metrics, leveraging our internal resources and our experienced field leaders. To give an example, one key metric is personal enrollment. Healthy associates at any rank have twice the personal enrollment of those who are not,” Westerlund says.

Finding a Voice Using Social

ASEAASEA is committed to strengthening its social media. Recently, ASEA has stepped up its use of social media to connect with associates. “For us it’s not just a messaging channel,” Westerlund says. “It’s a conversation channel. As important as it is for us to post information, we want to follow others and get their reaction to us. We want to engage in those conversations and really give them a sense of who we are and make them feel included.”

One step that ASEA took was hiring Tyler Gray to manage the company’s social media platforms and grow ASEA’s online presence. Though he has only been at ASEA a short time, he’s already seeing progress. Within two months of his arrival, the company’s Facebook likes were up 12 percent.


“For us [social media’s] not just a messaging channel. It’s a conversation channel. We want to engage in those conversations and really give [associates] a sense of who we are and make them feel included.”
—Noah Westerlund, Vice President of Marketing


“Our TAT, or ‘talking about this,’ score is a solid 2.5 percent. The TAT is a good metric to see how current and engaged you are with your audience. If you have a lot of likes and no one is talking about you, it doesn’t say much,” says Gray, Marketing Communications Specialist. “But if you are a small company that has a high percentage, it means that your posts and communications are having a good effect.”

Since coming on board, Gray has tried to make social media more active, answering questions and engaging with people on social media frequently. Right now he’s working on finding the right “voice” for the company. “A big goal of mine is to communicate our culture—who we are,” he says. “But since I’m new, we’re still trying to find that voice. And as a growing company, it’s going to evolve.”

Creating a Legacy

As ASEA grows, its executives are beginning to consider how they can tweak their message. “Right now our messaging is so much about explaining the science. As we look forward, we’re beginning to focus more on the opportunity,” says Richards.


“We seek longevity. A lot of the decisions we make today reflect the fact that we’re thinking decades down the line.”
—Kurt Richards


Funke agrees. “One of the primary initiatives we have for 2014 and beyond is to raise our opportunity message to match our product message,” he says.

One thing will not change: ASEA is committed to being a legacy company. “We seek longevity,” says Richards. “A lot of the decisions we make today reflect the fact that we’re thinking decades down the line.”

“That means we’re actually as concerned about controlling growth as creating it,” Funke says. “We’re all about consistency.”

Richards adds, “We want to provide distributors the opportunity to create a business that they can and will pass on to their family members. We plan on surviving well into the future to provide ASEA’s benefits to future generations.”

Teacher Turned Entrepreneur Shows How It Works!

Photo above: Mark Pentecost (left), Founder and CEO of It Works! Global, accepts the Bravo Momentum Award from DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming.

In the early 1990s, Mark Pentecost was teaching math and coaching varsity basketball in Grand Rapids, Mich. Today, he is putting his number-crunching and coaching skills to use as President and CEO of It Works! Global.

Pentecost, who co-owns It Works! with his wife, Cindy, began his sales career in the early 1990s with Excel Communications, reselling long-distance deals for landline phones. His natural skill as a salesman soon became apparent, and just two years later Pentecost quit teaching to work his business full time.

During his time at Excel, Pentecost developed an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in general and direct sales in particular. That enthusiasm reignited in late 2000 when he became aware of the instant-result toning wraps that now anchor the It Works! product line. It Works! launched in 2001, but gained traction slowly. The pace changed when the company hit profitability in 2005 and growth began to come in leaps and bounds. It Works! paid all its debts by 2008 and rocketed from sales of $46 million in 2011 to $200 million in 2012.

At the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April, Pentecost accepted the Bravo Momentum Award in recognition of the company’s significant growth, as well as its achievement of the most significant first-time ranking on the DSNGlobal 100 (It Works! debuted on the list at No. 56). This year, Inc. magazine ranked It Works! No. 436 on its Inc. 500 ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

Read the full feature from Forbes.

Momentum Award: Momentum through Focus

by Barbara Seale

It Works! Global accepts the Bravo Momentum Award at the DSN Global 100 Celebration held in April.


IN THIS ISSUE:

• Cover Story • 10 Things to Know • The List 
• Topping the Charts • Profiles • Celebration

BRAVO AWARDS: 
• Leadership • Growth • Momentum


It Works! Global


For 11 years Mark Pentecost and his team have had dream jobs. They’ve built It Works! Global™ into a $200 million company on the principle of being debt-free in combination with instant-result products.

It Works! Global built its success on a product line that revolves around the It Works! Wrap—a contouring wrap that can tighten, tone and firm any area of the body in as little as 45 minutes.

For its first nine years the company grew at a respectable rate, picking up the pace month after month. But Pentecost, Founder and CEO, believed it could do better. As he watched the Direct Selling News 2011 Global 100 companies being announced, he set a personal goal: Next year It Works! Global would be in front of the room speaking at the event. Pentecost achieved that goal in 2012 and also set a goal for the 2013 event: accepting an award for a spot in the Global 100. Since the It Works! team stayed committed, accomplishing the goals came naturally. It refined its approach, charged up its corporate employees and distributors, and shot solidly into the middle of the rarified air of this year’s Direct Selling News Global 100.

It Works! Global not only secured the No. 56 position, but it also became the first recipient of the Bravo Momentum Award, created to recognize a company not previously ranked that has demonstrated not only significant growth, but the most significant first-time ranking on the DSN Global 100.

What did that momentum look like? In 2011 the company’s revenue was $45 million. In 2012 revenue jumped to $200 million. The It Works! Global secret? It identified a single, strong mission, put a plan together to execute its objective, and stayed laser-focused.

It set an aggressive goal: Double the company’s revenues in 2012. Its theme was One Team. One Mission. $100 Million. The response was so strong that as One Team, It Works! Global reached its goal in just seven months. Then in the next five months, it doubled its revenues again.

Pentecost says that the biggest challenge was to keep the message simple.

“Anyone can complicate things,” he 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.”

Debt-Free: The New Sexy

In every conference call, every meeting, every event, and even through their branded T-shirts, they drove the message home.

“We’re going to stay debt-free and sexy,” says Director of Sales Mike Potillo. “That message is unique to who we are as a company. It’s what we practice personally and as a company, and it’s what the field responds to.”

To give becoming debt-free a sexy sizzle, It Works! Global transformed the concept into a G.O.O.D. performance bonus. The G.O.O.D. emphasis: Get Out Of Debt, and it includes bonuses that increase as distributors achieve a higher leadership rank within the company. It Works! encourages distributors to use the bonus, which can be as much as $50,000, to pay off debts. Distributors embraced the debt-free challenge, earning $15 million in G.O.O.D. bonuses last year.


The Bravo Momentum Award was created to recognize a company not previously ranked that has demonstrated not only significant growth, but the most significant first-time ranking on the DSN Global 100.


“People are putting their pictures on Facebook paying off credit cards, student loans, and other debts,” Pentecost reports. “In this economy it’s a message that’s helping people.”

He notes that the message also resonates throughout the distributor force, from millennials who are carrying huge student loans but having trouble finding professional positions that let them repay their debts, to baby boomers who have done what they always were taught they should do: invest in their homes, stocks and bonds. But the slumping economy of the last few years has left them with underwater mortgages, credit-card debts and no money for retirement.

Mark Pentecost (left), Founder and CEO of It Works! Global, accepts the Bravo Momentum Award from DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming.Mark Pentecost (left), Founder and CEO of It Works! Global, accepts the Bravo Momentum Award from DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming.


“This is the right time for us to say that there’s freedom in being debt-free and there’s freedom in owning your own time,” Pentecost says. “When people are helped to get out of debt, it relieves stress in their lives.”

Potillo adds, “The debt crisis is everywhere, so our message resonates. At a time when whole countries can’t get their debt under control, we just infused $15 million into the U.S. economy for people to pay down personal debt.”

The phrase, “debt-free” has always been a hallmark at It Works!. Pentecost and a group of close colleagues and friends started the company on a shoestring in 2001.

It all began when Pam Sowder, one of the company’s founders and now its Director of Marketing, learned about the Ultimate Body Applicator, now known as the It Works! Wrap, which tightens unwanted skin in less than an hour and then provides progressive results for 72 hours. She called Pentecost to tell him about it. Pentecost was skeptical, but his wife, Cindy, immediately recognized the possibilities. They agreed to go to Mexico to meet with the product’s inventor, Luis Mijares, now the company’s Product Development Specialist.


“At a time when whole countries can’t get their debt under control, we just infused $15 million into the U.S. economy for people to pay down personal debt.”
—Mike Potillo, Director of Sales


They applied their first wrap in their hotel room and waited. Sure enough, Cindy saw results right away. From the hotel, she called her best friend Krista to tell her about the product. Krista’s response: “Don’t come home without one for me!” Then 30 seconds later she called Cindy back and asked for one for her daughter.

Pentecost recognized that they had just witnessed the power of network marketing. So he made another big decision. He would create a network marketing company to sell the wrap.

With his background in both coaching and network marketing, Pentecost knew how to put together a team. He had been a top-10 distributor for a major direct selling company, so when he stopped thinking of the It Works! Wrap as a product and began viewing it as a business opportunity, he naturally thought of direct selling.


“I knew that when I started my company, I wanted it to be in this industry. It’s been life-changing for me, and I want to pass that on.”
—Mark Pentecost, Founder and CEO


“Network marketing had such an impact on my life,” he recalls. “I knew that when I started my company, I wanted it to be in this industry. It’s been life-changing for me, and I want to pass that on.”

With Sowder as his Director of Marketing, Pentecost started slowly, investing his own money in the business, building a strong team, and laying a solid foundation. For a while, the new company didn’t even have a name. But soon customers named it through their reactions to the wrap.

“You can almost count on it,” Pentecost reports. “In the company’s first weeks, we were on the road to another name, but it kept happening. People would put on the product, and 45 minutes later they would say, ‘It works!’ So finally we named the company It Works! because that’s what we kept hearing.”

Little by little, the company grew, slowly at first, then a little faster. Even when the economy weakened, It Works! grew consistently. Pentecost controlled expenses and invested time in building the company’s culture and leaders. And in 2009, at the beginning of one of the toughest economic slumps in recent history, It Works! Global became totally debt-free, establishing one of the company’s core principles.

The Magic of Momentum

 2013 Bravo Momentum Award: It Works! Global2013 Bravo Momentum Award: It Works! Global


Early in the company’s life, they also developed a second core principle—simplicity. They kept their marketing message simple: Give us 45 minutes and you’ll see results. They kept products simple: Every one must be complementary to the It Works! Wrap. They kept training simple: Three Steps to Success. And they kept it all fun. The It Works! Global team likes to say that It Works! isn’t a party plan company, but they love to party.

In fact, Join the Party—throwing a Wrap Party at home or on Facebook to share the instant results of the It Works! Wrap—is the first Step to Success. Just imagine the fun and laughter as friends apply “that crazy wrap thing,” as the company nicknames it, to practically any part of their body they want to tone. Many also try the deep hydration Facial Applicators, botanically infused cloth masks that give a visible lift and soften signs of aging. All that’s left is to wait for the results. During that short 45 minutes, the distributor-host explains the opportunity that is literally stuck to their bodies. The “big sell” comes in just 45 minutes when the wraps come off and people see measurable results. How many people could say no?

Hosts at that Wrap Party are probably wearing something simple: It Works! branded gear—shirts, hats, bags and buttons in It Works! signature colors of black, green and bling. But as colorful as the gear is, it goes beyond simply flashing the company logo. Worn at a Wrap Party or a coffee shop, the gear is a conversation starter that helps distributors build their businesses. The gear displays phrases such as Living the DreamWhole Notha Level, and It Will Change Your Life. To introduce prospects outside their warm markets to It Works!, distributors can use marketing materials such as blitz cards, oversized business cards that invite prospects to try “that crazy wrap thing.” The card includes a $25 discount coupon and the offer to host a party and try the wrap for the best price of all: Free! And with so many millennials among the distributors, It Works! teaches both face-to-face and online marketing techniques.


It Works! Global can boast that new distributors are unusually youthful. Their average age falls into the coveted 25- to 35-year-old demographic.


Sticking to those basics laid the foundation that would keep the company humming when exponential growth kicked in. And did it ever kick in! Inc. magazine ranked It Works! Global on its 500/5000 list this year and reported that the company has produced 543 percent growth over the past three years. It simplified the original It Works! Wrap and added new products that complemented it. Executives made a decision to establish operations in Australia and parts of Europe. Today the company pays commissions to more than 50,000 distributors.

With recruit numbers growing so fast, It Works! Global can also boast that those new distributors are unusually youthful. Their average age falls into the coveted 25- to 35-year-old demographic.

That hockey-stick growth let Pentecost do something else he always wanted to do. He bought a golf course. In early 2011 he moved the It Works! headquarters from Grand Rapids, Mich., to Bradenton, Fla., just a mile from the golf course he now owns. In a nod to its black, green and bling brand colors, the company hosts monthly “Green Carpet Days” to recognize top producers and provide them with information, training, testimonials, and a little social time on the golf course and the nearby beach. It’s a perfect reflection of the Wrap Party fun that helped the distributors grow their businesses so successfully.

Those distributors have a high ratio of customers to distributors, who keep on ordering products and telling their friends about “that crazy wrap thing.” It Works! keeps them coming back by offering special deep-discount pricing to repeat customers, as well as a customer loyalty program. And of course that creates a perfect storm for distributor retention.


The Inc. 500/5000 List reported that It Works! Global has produced 543 percent growth over the past three years.


It Works! has already outgrown the building it moved into in early 2011. With plans to add many more jobs—a boost to the local economy—by 2015, this fall It Works! will move into its new headquarters building in nearby Palmetto, Fla. The remodeled waterfront space will be an architectural demonstration of the magnetic It Works! culture, complete with slides in place of staircases.

“We are going to create an innovative office space that will allow employees, distributors and guests alike to enjoy our youthful and energetic corporate culture,” Pentecost says. “With sunsets over the Manatee River and a marina right next door, we can drive our boats to work and truly live our motto that ‘We’re more Jimmy Buffett than Warren Buffett!’ ”


The next It Works! goal: Double the company again this year.


The next It Works! goal: Double the company again this year. Pentecost has every confidence that they’ll do it. The former math teacher says the numbers are on track.

“Once you have a winning formula, the key is to stay the course,” he emphasizes. “We have a simple system and a product that everybody wants. We have a new goal this year but the same simple system to get there. With our growth and what’s going on in the company, we could do anything. But we can’t do everything. We’re focused on what we do well.”

It Works! Global Breaks Ground on New Headquarters

It Works! Global, home of the It Works! Wrap, broke ground on its new 36,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Palmetto, Fla.

Having outgrown its current office space in less than two years, the purchase of the new building will fulfill the company’s need for space to accommodate its growing corporate team and entertainment needs for their community of more than 50,000 independent distributors.

According to CEO and Founder Mark Pentecost, plans are for the innovative office space to allow employees, distributors and guests alike to enjoy the company’s youthful and energetic corporate culture with a waterfront location that will exemplify its motto that they are “more Jimmy Buffett than Warren Buffett!”

It Works! is projected to open the doors of the new headquarters this fall.

It Works! Global has a debt-free philosophy with a business opportunity based around the It Works! Wrap that tightens, tones and firms any area of your body in as little as 45 minutes.

One Decision to $100 Million… and Then Some

by Mark Pentecost

Click here to order the Direct Selling News issue in which this article appeared.


Looking back over the last 20 years, it’s extraordinary how one decision has now led to over 50,000 independent contractors earning their income from It Works! Global each and every month. Many are now working toward their personal goals of complete debt freedom. I never thought debt free would be the new sexy; I just knew it was a sound philosophy for business and for life.

Before starting our company, being a math teacher and a coach gave me an edge whenever people pitched me on moneymaking opportunities. I turned most of them down on the spot, but finally, reluctantly, I gave one man a few minutes to share the direct selling profession with me. All it took was the math and I was hooked. I knew my teaching salary and even the extra coaching money I earned would never really allow me to get ahead. Heck, my wife couldn’t even go to the grocery store and actually buy what she wanted—only what she needed. After telling this man “No” time after time, I finally said, “Yes” and signed up with my dad in network marketing.

Little did I know that this one moment—this one decision—would not only change my family’s legacy but also the family tree of tens of thousands of others around the world.

Less than two years later after saying yes to network marketing so my wife and I could make an extra $500 a month and buy whatever we wanted at the grocery store, we became financially independent through network marketing. It became very clear to me that a quote I loved was very true: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible.’ ”

Years after that one decision brought us into this profession, one more decision has led us to where we are today with It Works! Global. Deciding to start a company of our own was not an easy decision. Some said it wasn’t a smart decision at the time, but we knew then, and we know now, that it was the right decision.

Over the last 10 years there have been many products and companies that came and went. I credit our focus on what we do best for not only keeping us around, but also keeping us relevant for well over a decade now.


I credit our focus on what we do best for not only keeping us around, but also keeping us relevant for well over a decade now.


All those years ago we decided to stay true to ourselves, our debt-free philosophy, and our 45-minute tightening, toning and firming Crazy Wrap Thing.

Since the beginning of It Works! Global, we have seen consistent growth but never experienced true momentum—or anything resembling it—for many of the first years we were in business. Nevertheless, we stayed focused, kept refining our message, and stayed true to our people and our culture. With my math teaching background always in the back of my mind, I knew the compounding effect of consistency would start showing at some point and the momentum we had personally experienced in our first company would take hold in It Works!.

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 means we would create over $100 million in sales in the next 12 months. Our team was committed. We created a vision and a mission for our company: One Team. One Mission. $100 Million.


We set a goal to double the company in 2012. We created a vision and a mission for our company: One Team. One Mission. $100 Million.


It caught on like wildfire. People want to be a part of something big, something with passion, something they can believe in. It was obvious we had a big goal and accomplishing it would take everyone coming together around that goal and keeping our core philosophy of debt freedom at the forefront.

More importantly, reaching that team goal meant everyone involved increased their businesses.

We didn’t achieve our $100 million goal in 12 months; we achieved it in seven! The unifying force of a group of likeminded people believing in something sparked something big. We sparked a culture that was our own. A culture that was passionate, driven, unified. A culture that, apparently, was indeed cool. A culture that generated and achieved more success for everyone, corporate and in the field.

After ending 2012 with over $200 million in sales, and more than doubling our initial goal, we continue to stay focused and unified. We continue to make one decision—and stick to it.

Staying focused on our goal empowered and unified the field and corporate team. We diligently wanted to avoid having a copycat mentality of seeing something work somewhere else, and thinking it will work for us. Sometimes it does, but more often than not it doesn’t.

Why? Because it’s not something that you’re truly passionate about. It’s not something you can “sell” to your field as innovative, unique and yours.

Knowing that your company depends on decisions you make as an executive, why not make that one decision right now that can take your business to the next level?


We believe that in today’s marketplace people want to feel uniqueness and innovation in a company. That’s empowering.


We believe that in today’s marketplace people want to feel uniqueness and innovation in a company. That’s empowering. It gives them an edge that they have something to offer their customers and prospects that is only available through them. Having a unique selling proposition sometimes is all your field needs to accomplish 10 times more than they could have without it. Couple that with a unified message that you engrain into the culture of your entire company and you have a powerful force that is unstoppable: a culture that is unbreakable and sales that follow.

Be true to yourself, your field and corporate teams. Get behind something that you all believe in. When people told us that debt free wasn’t sexy, that didn’t stop us; it empowered us even more to prove that it was.

We knew freedom was sleeping in a house that was paid for. We knew that getting a zero balance each month on your credit card statement created relief. We knew that driving a car that was paid for was sexy, and so did our people.

If you are reading this right now and thinking that imitating what someone else is doing is the best—and maybe safest—way to go, I would challenge you to ask yourself if you can really get behind it. Can you truly rally your field and corporate team to the goals you want to achieve by only doing what everyone else is doing? Leaders don’t follow the masses. They lead them.

Start out simple. Make one decision for this year. Make it personal. Share your vision with your corporate team. You will see that, with that decision, your vision, your passion and your direction will light a fire in them to carry that flag all year. Then share it with your field. Shout it from the rooftops! Make the decision to say “no” to all the other “cool” things that may come your way. They may sound good at first, but they can derail your goals, your team, your culture, and, ultimately, your sales.


Knowing that your company depends on decisions you make as an executive, why not make that one decision right now that can take your business to the next level?


Let that one focused decision lead to another, then another, then another until you reach your goals. If you are like us, there’s no stopping you. Even after achieving $100 million in sales five months early, we didn’t stop making goals or focused decisions—we just started making bigger ones.

Knowing that your company, your culture, and, ultimately, your cash flow depend on decisions you make as an executive, as the leader of your company, why not make that one decision right now that can take your business to the next level?

My one decision to write this article was based on one thing: the hope that it would impact one executive, one company, one owner to make the one decision that will make you unique—the one decision that will rally your team behind your mission and put you on the map as an innovative company in direct sales.


Mark PentecostMark Pentecost is Founder and CEO of It Works! Global.