Amway Rolls Out Global Volunteer Initiative

Photo: Amway Business Owners (above and below) participate in local volunteer projects.

The world’s largest direct selling company wants to build the world’s largest volunteer force.

Amway Corp. is kicking off a global initiative known as #AmwayVolunteers to highlight the volunteer efforts of its employees and Amway Business Owners, or ABOs, who number more than 3 million worldwide. With that kind of volunteer base, Amway can afford to set some ambitious goals, and it has. The No. 1-ranked direct selling company is gunning to build the world’s largest volunteer force by 2019, when Amway will celebrate 60 years in business.

The concept is simple: ABOs sign up to participate by taking an online pledge to “be the change” in their communities and help people live better lives, specifying what that might look like for them. The next step is to take action and volunteer through the organization or cause of their choice. Finally, the company encourages individuals to share their experiences on social media using #AmwayVolunteers.

“We value the passion and volunteer efforts of Amway Business Owners and Amway employees that are making a dramatic impact in their local communities,” said Jeff Terry, Global Head, Amway Corporate Social Responsibility. “#AmwayVolunteers showcases their individual works (on a global scale) in an effort to create the world’s largest volunteer community by 2019.”

This new undertaking broadens the scope of Amway’s grassroots volunteer efforts, which primarily have focused on the One by One Campaign for Children, centered on causes that support children in need, and the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign, which raises funds and awareness to help fight childhood malnutrition.

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First Book by Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin Coming in May

Photo: Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO of Stella & Dot Family Brands.

Chief executive Jessica Herrin is a mentor to thousands of entrepreneurs at Stella & Dot Family Brands, the company she founded in 2007, but her insights on life and business will find a wider audience in a forthcoming book.

Titled Find Your Extraordinary, the book marks Herrin’s literary debut and invites readers to “dream bigger, live happier, and achieve success on your own.” The 272-page tome from Crown Business, a subsidiary of Random House, is set to hit shelves on May 3, 2016.

“Whether we work a corporate job, run a family, or run our own business, Herrin offers realistic, attainable steps each one of us can take to achieve extraordinary success on our own terms,” the publisher’s blurb states.

“Through candid and inspiring lessons from her life as a successful CEO and working mother of two, as well as stories of many amazing individuals she’s met along the way, Herrin inspires and empowers us to dial up the sound of our own voices and make our authentic dreams a reality.”

Fresh out of college, Herrin worked with a succession of tech startups before attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where—at age 24—she co-founded leading wedding site, acquired in 2006 by The Knot. The seeds of accessories brand Stella & Dot grew from Herrin’s living room in Austin, Texas, where she first designed jewelry to sell at home “trunk shows.”

Now based in San Francisco, Stella & Dot Family Brands comprises Stella & Dot, personalized jewelry brand KEEP Collective and EVER Skincare. The company reports nearly $1 billion in product sold through 50,000 independent business owners in six countries.

ACN’s New 4G Service to Benefit Users and Children in Need

Essential services provider ACN is upgrading its Flash Wireless service with a new 4G offering that will not only bring more options to consumers, but also provide meals through the company’s Project Feeding Kids campaign.

After rolling out wireless services in 2007 through a third-party vendor, ACN decided to develop its own platform and launched Flash Wireless in 2011. By 2014, ACN had transferred all of its mobile capabilities to the new platform.

The North Carolina-based company targets value-conscious consumers, offering their pick of the nation’s top two wireless networks, contract or no-contract options, use of an existing or upgraded device—and now the latest 4G technology. ACN Independent Business Owners (IBOs) can nab free Flash Wireless by signing up five new customers for the service—a deal the company is also extending to customers who refer five friends or family members.

In a statement, ACN said that for each new wireless customer it will donate a meal through Project Feeding Kids, a partnership launched earlier this year with Feeding America. The company will make an additional donation each time the customer pays their monthly bill.

Strategic Synergy: Creating Qivana’s Sustainable Future

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Company Profile

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Provo, Utah
  • Founders: Derek Hall, Founder and CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder and Chief Financial Officer; Justin Banner, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer; Craig Johanson, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer
  • Products: Skincare and health and wellness


In the decade after the millennium, the exploding market for an ever-healthier beverage sent network marketing companies clamoring for exotic, antioxidant rich fruits, most often found in remote island paradises. The most successful companies—marketing a large variety of antioxidant packed juices, health and wellness, and beauty products—invested millions in researchers trudging through remote jungles, in controlled labs, and in scientists who became jacks-of-all-trades and in-house product formulation teams.

It was within this space that a group of men, those who would eventually form Qivana, decided that they would not be in the product development business at all.

It seemed unlikely to this group of network marketing professionals that breakthrough products would emerge from an in-house team focused on a variety of formulations. So they opted for different path—one that has led Qivana to market four cutting-edge product lines, currently consisting of 21 products within the direct selling spaces of health and nutrition, as well as beauty and anti-aging.

Qivana owners (L to R): Justin Banner, Founder & CSO; Craig Johanson, Founder & CMO; Derek Hall, Founder & CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder & CFO

Qivana owners (L to R): Justin Banner, Founder & CSO; Craig Johanson, Founder & CMO; Derek Hall, Founder & CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder & CFO


Everyone Doing What They Do Best

Qivana’s product strategy focused on partnerships with published scientists and university researchers with 10, 20, maybe 30 years invested in health and wellness solutions. They reckoned that true breakthrough products were born in these labs and saw no need to put their own scientific “fingerprints” on any product. “Let the scientists and the universities and the researchers do what they do best, which is develop, formulate and research. Then allow us to do what we do best,” says Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Craig Johanson.Qivana products

Qivana would bring products into the direct selling channel, giving these scientists, researchers and formulators an effective avenue to reach consumers with their breakthrough products. Then, Johanson says, the company would “turn that product over to our field. Then we let them do what they do so well, which is put that product in front of people and share that message.”

Derek Hall, Devin Glazier, Justin Banner and Johanson sat around that planning table in 2008. Hall, once president and CEO for another nutritional company, found synergy with a former director of finance, Glazier, as well as other industry alums Banner and Johanson. Strategy and development was Banner’s forte, while marketing was Johanson’s focus.

By 2009 they had launched a new company they called Qivana.

Built to Last

“We have a really strong corporate team, made up of great leaders in the industry and some of the best athletes in the world,” says Banner, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “We brought on a top-notch scientist as our Chief Science Officer [Dr. Donald Layman] and brought product lines that we believe are some of the best in the world in their categories. We are confident in our products and our team, and we believe it’s a winning combination that plays out perfectly.”

But, perhaps, Qivana’s founders drafted their own success story when they methodically planned for long-term sustainability. Qivana’s focus is not on next month or next year, but rather decision-making to build a … Click here to read the full story at Direct Selling News.

Industry Voices

by DSN Staff

John Parker, Chief Sales Officer for Amway

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

Direct Selling News Publisher John Fleming recently spoke with John Parker, Chief Sales Officer for Amway, about leadership, always learning and finding fun in everything you do.

DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being the Chief Sales Officer for Amway?

JP: The engagement with our field—Amway Business Owners. At the end of the day, it’s their success that adds up to create Amway’s results. Their passion for helping other people helps make Amway what it is.

DSN: What has been your proudest accomplishment?

JP: Having been a part of teams that have seen our business through some challenging times. It’s easy to lead in good times when all is going well, but I think you add more to the team and organization when times are tough and you’re able to work together. It’s most satisfying. Sometimes the best work is done during times when results don’t show right away, but they follow.

DSN: What’s been the most fun?

JP: I enjoy learning. For me a lot of my learning came while transitioning from a smaller to a larger role. I’ve also enjoyed learning from generations younger than I am. They’re not just different in how they think, but they’re fundamentally different in their personal relationships. I can’t be effective in my role if I don’t understand that. The process of learning and trying new things is really fun and exciting. Also, the adventure of travel has been fun—having a chance to go around the world, experience different cultures, people, customs and food. You either love that or struggle with it. I love it.

DSN: What do you tell Amway Business Owners to lead and inspire them?

JP: The primary message is that our business—our whole industry—is centered around…      Click here to read the rest of the story.

The $100 Million Growth Club

by Teresa Day

Click here to download this issue to your mobile device. Watch here for the print version to become available.

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

Processes over Personality: Build Systems to Achieve and Maintain Growth

by Paul Adams

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


A company executive tells me they have a “GREAT rep.” He is killing it—making lots of money and bringing lots of people into the organization. Then, in the next sentence, the exec tells me the company just isn’t growing as they would like or have expected, and they can’t figure out why.

OK, I’m no genius, but something doesn’t seem connected between those two things. Almost always, the reason for slow or no growth when there is a top rep who is “doing great” is that the rep is doing something that is not repeatable. Often, from the outside, the example the GREAT rep is setting makes it look way too difficult, and others cannot “see themselves” doing it.

And the problem continues because the executive in charge of the company is catering to this GREAT rep and not creating tools and systems that more people can utilize. I just don’t understand…

If the exec truly believes that more people should be successful in the company, why won’t he explain to the GREAT rep that in order for more people to succeed, things have to change? The reality is that processes, systems and tools are the things that will support true success, not one rep, even a “great” one who is successful—but not duplicable. Sadly, it’s sometimes difficult for the executive to see this reality. Why? The answer is usually pretty simple. The exec is likely fearful of two things:

No. 1: Losing the revenue they already have, even if it’s not at all what they think it should be.

No. 2: Losing the rep who has gotten them to this point—even if the GREAT rep will never take them to the next level of success.

Here’s a cold hard fact of life: Often, the people who helped get your company here are not the people who will help you get where you want or expect to go. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. It happens in your corporate structure. It happens on sports teams. It happens everywhere. Growth requires the right people in the right spots, and the right systems, tools and processes to help individuals maximize their efforts.

In my opinion, the executive has two choices. Either let the GREAT rep keep doing what he is doing and let the overall success of the company remain in his hands, or build a system and provide the tools that allow others to succeed. And, get the GREAT rep on board and building like everyone else is expected to. One of these options is scalable and puts the executive back in control of the company.

Without a doubt, as a business continues to grow, executives are approached over and over by independent business owners (IBOs) who say they want to join the organization and bring their knowledge and their way of growing a business into the company’s world. They want to help “explode” the business and reach entirely new and, up to now, unreachable levels of success. All the executive has to do is let them bring their systems into the business and watch it grow.


Franchises are perhaps the closest cousin to the direct selling business model. Do you think McDonalds, 7-Eleven, Chick-fil-A, or any one of the dozens of other franchise businesses allow their new business owners to do it “their way”? Of course not!

I am very sure that during the selection/interview process at Chick-fil-A, if the prospective owner starts talking about how they have better ideas and a better way to run the business, they are turned down as an owner. It’s too important to Chick-fil-A—they simply don’t want a single owner to fail. It’s bad for everyone—the business owner, the company and the brand.

The secret to the success of the franchise model is that it relies completely on the ability of the business owner to follow the predetermined system that will lead them to succeed in their own business. After that, the owner needs to be good at a few other critical things—hiring, firing, scheduling, basic accounting, and so on.

Almost every day, I talk to a high-level executive at a direct selling company that is leaving the process of succeeding in the hands of the IBO. To me, that sounds like playing Russian roulette with the business.

Like franchises, I am completely convinced that success in direct selling is process-driven and systematic. Without a system to teach your newest IBO, you are allowing your old IBOs to run the business. You are completely reliant on their system, their knowledge, their charisma. That’s scary!

My advice to all new companies and any company that doesn’t have a system to teach: Get one! Now! Create a system that teaches consistent prospecting and recruiting, along with business practices.

If you have an existing organization, get the buy-in of your current IBOs so everyone agrees that the system is one that everyone will endorse. At first, it may feel threatening to the current field leaders. It won’t take long to realize it is good for everyone if the entire organization is focused on a unified system.

Then, in the new distributor kit, “hold their hand” and teach that new person what to do first. You wouldn’t teach someone geometry if they don’t know how to add and subtract. So, start with the basics. Teach them what they need to know now—on Day One! If done properly, they will quickly become better and will want to know how to be more effective. Then, explain step-by-step what to do on Day Seven, then Day 14, then Day 30. It is the systematic progression that will get them and keep them successful.

Take the first step. Take control of the business by designing and building the systems to achieve and maintain growth. The investment will be well worth it!

Paul AdamsPaul Adams is Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for VideoPlus, which is celebrating 26 years of partnering with direct selling companies.

The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Order reprints of Candace Matthews’ profile here.


Candace Matthews
Chief Marketing Officer, Amway

Candace Matthews learned early on that performance isn’t everything. “I was introduced to the ‘performance pie’ from the book Empowering Yourself by Harvey Coleman. The concepts are: Perform exceptionally well, cultivate the proper image and manage your exposure so the right people know you. It’s the percentages of importance that are the distinction,” she says.

Surprisingly, performance is only 10 percent of the “pie.” Image is 30 percent, and as it turns out, exposure outweighs everything else at 60 percent. “It’s not just what you do, but how you do it and who knows about it.”

Learning to be heard in a way that earns respect, builds credibility and ensures that a female leader is taken seriously can be a struggle. Thanks to her mother’s nurturing character, Matthews created a leadership style that joins head and heart. “I pride myself on being demanding without being demeaning,” she says. Matthews’ mother—who raised 18 children alone following the death of their father—instilled “the ability to develop people, to bring out the potential in them, and to lead them to accomplish great things.”

Matthews came to Amway in 2007 to create a global marketing organization that placed greater emphasis on consumers without losing focus on the company’s greatest asset—distributors or ABOs (Amway Business Owners). She brought with her classical marketing disciplines from previous marketing leadership roles at Coca-Cola, Cover Girl and General Mills. “My goal is to ensure marketing is partnering with sales to build brands, experiences and communities that support our ABOs in growing successful businesses,” she says.

Candace Matthews, Chief Marketing Officer,  AmwayThis year, Matthews will help galvanize ABOs and employees around the world to celebrate the 80th anniversary of NUTRILITE, the world’s first and largest-selling multivitamin/multi-mineral brand. Amway will also extend their nutritional expertise into the weight-management category, as well as introduce a skincare product, which cares for the skin from the inside out.

“Everything Amway does, from developing innovative brands and products to opening business centers around the world, is in support of millions of Amway Business Owners in their own communities. Not only do we help people achieve their potential through business ownership, we also provide opportunities for our employees to grow personally and professionally,” Matthews says.

“I am passionate about helping women develop to their desired potential, both in the workplace and in the broader community,” she says. Matthews leads the Amway Women’s Inclusion Network, which includes women at all levels of the organization. It is one of three newly formed networks focusing on women, multicultural and multi-generational groups.

“Our inclusion networks are just one way Amway is working to advance diverse thinking, increase inclusion and provide avenues for employee development,” she says. “Because our industry attracts so many women, both as distributors and as employees, it is especially important for direct selling companies to promote and advance women within our organizations.”

Matthews considers herself a student of world cultures, and in her role at Amway it is a key strategy. “Learning and understanding other cultures is critical and helps me work with and influence colleagues all over the world,” she says. “I believe when you stop learning, you stop growing.”

Candace Matthews on entrepreneurship…

“The global economy continues to present opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere. The entrepreneurial spirit transcends borders and cultures, as we found recently with our Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, which explored the appeal of business ownership in 24 countries. People are motivated by a desire to control their time and future, setting their own hours, goals and priorities.”


Amway, the No. 1 direct selling company in the world—as ranked in 2013’s Direct Selling News Global 100—had a record-breaking year in 2013 and continues a period of tremendous growth that is highlighted by annual sales increases for seven consecutive years.

Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos founded Amway in Ada, Mich., in 1959 and launched a relationship-based business model selling the first concentrated, biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning product. Amway is now a global leader in the categories of health and beauty, and in 2013 it launched a line of weight-management products, continued a global rollout of skincare products and gained momentum with water purification products in its Asian markets.

Integrating physical locations in recent years met with success at Citi Field in New York City, and now all four company regions have shops or business centers, including a new 2013 addition in Berlin, Germany. Additionally, a $375 million manufacturing and R&D global expansion got underway last year with new facilities in Washington, California, Michigan, India, China and Vietnam.

Late last year, some 15,000 people in 57 countries participated in public service projects during Amway Universal Children’s Day and impacted 100,000 children globally. This day was the culmination of a year’s worth of philanthropic events that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Amway One by One Campaign for Children.

Amway (Alticor) ranked No. 1 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 for 2013 with sales of $11.3 billion in 2012.

Order reprints of Candace Matthews’ profile here.

Letter from John Fleming, March 2014

John Fleming

In our cover story for this issue, it is our honor to recognize “The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling.” The feature is focused on the role women play in the industry and the impact of their leadership. Our industry can be proud of the fact that 75 percent of the participants at the independent contractor level are women. These women are often mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and friends—and also leaders who impact the lives of others around the world. No other industry that actually delivers a product or service can claim as great a participation of women at the level of business transaction. Critics of the direct selling business model might serve themselves better if only they knew who really benefits from what direct sellers do. This is an industry we are proud to write about each month, especially when we have the opportunity to salute those we honor and cherish—the women!

I would also like to share that after Amway announced their 2013 results to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 4, we were eager to spend a few minutes on the phone with DSN’s currently ranked No. 1 company in the world, based on the Global 100 list. We spoke with the Amway communications team, as well as Chairman Steve Van Andel and President Doug DeVos about Amway’s reported revenue of $11.8 billion for 2013, a new record capping seven consecutive years of growth. This is, of course, a new revenue record for any single company in the direct selling industry. The largest direct seller of all time has been built over the past 55 years, from a humble beginning to a global company dedicated to making a free enterprise-based distribution system available to people from all walks of life.

What most may not remember about the Amway story are the battles they fought and won, the challenges they incurred due to negative press, the education they provided about the direct selling business model at a very critical moment in time, and the benefits gained by the entire industry. When we spoke with Steve and Doug about another year of incredible growth in 80 percent of their top 10 markets, we were not surprised with their very first comments—they both immediately spoke with reverence about the Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs) around the world who build their businesses in pursuit of their own personal objectives, with the support of Amway brands and opportunity. Addressing a privately owned enterprise, we did not expect a conversation about margins, profits, brands (NUTRILITE and Artistry are two of the largest brands in the world), new products and increased market share; however, Amway is accomplishing all of these things while also enhancing the communities in which its people live and work.

The economic footprint that Amway is making on the world is enormous. From original office space in what was a former gasoline station to now 21,000 employees worldwide, 3 million IBOs, 15 manufacturing facilities around the world, 6,400+ acres of certified organic farmland on four farms dedicated to sustainable farming, and 75 R&D/Quality Assurance laboratories worldwide, Amway is changing lives.

In the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report released last November (, Amway researchers revealed for all of the direct selling public—and those who look to better understand the direct selling business model—why it works. The research sample included over 26,000 respondents from over 24 countries utilizing the primary research methods of face-to-face and telephone calls to collect the information. Key findings included the great potential for self-employment even though self-employment rates remain very low in most countries. The Amway report also reveals that 70 percent of the respondents (average) and 77 percent of respondents under the age of 30 had a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship. The primary challenges to involvement in entrepreneurship are related to the financial barriers to entry and the “fear of failure”. The report further points out that an interest in entrepreneurship is not all about the money. The desire for independence and “better compatibility of family, leisure time and career” is highly appreciated. The report is available to the public on the Amway website.

Another article of interest to executives in the industry as well as those who seek information about the direct selling business model is written by Ibi Fleming, Herbalife North America Senior Vice President and Managing Director. The article, a response to a question, was recently published in the Los Angeles Daily News. You can find a reference to the article in the Headline News section on the DSN website.

In summary, when you reflect on the positive attitude toward entrepreneurship around the world as well as direct selling’s pathway to entrepreneurship and its ability to eliminate major barriers, it is clear that the direct selling business model is at the forefront of satisfying a growing need around the world.

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief