June 02, 2010
ACN: Business Is Booming
ACN Founders: Robert Stevanovski, Tony Cupisz, Greg Provenzano and Mike Cupisz
How does a direct selling company continuously achieve record growth even after 17 years in business? Ask ACN. It’s breaking records in every category.
The company continues to reinvent itself so that it remains fresh and exciting. With new technologies, such as its signature video phone, brand-new product and service lines, and international expansion, it’s no wonder it sells out events and continues to recruit representatives and acquire customers in historically high numbers.
As impressive as ACN’s track record is, their achievements are even more stunning because the company has experienced continued growth, even during a very difficult economy.
“Many people are experiencing the uncertainties of a depressed economy, and job security is a thing of the past,” says ACN President and Co-Founder Greg Provenzano. “ACN has become a Plan B for so many families who needed a backup plan for their future.”
Provenzano says that ACN’s service-based business is also a key reason people join. The company’s independent representatives recognize that people already spend money on the services ACN offers, so they don’t have to create new buying habits. And when those customers pay their bills month after month, ACN representatives get paid residual income for as long as the customer remains on ACN’s service or the term of their agreement.
“Our independent representatives aren’t asking friends and family to purchase products they don’t need or can’t afford. They’re simply offering them the services they are going to use anyway at a better price, and from someone they already know and trust,” he says. “It’s this simple business model that initially attracts people to ACN, but once someone gets into our environment, experiences our training and support system and understands who we are as a company, they can’t help but want to be a part of ACN.”
Build the Best
Creating that type of culture was a big reason that Provenzano and founders Mike and Tony Cupisz and Robert Stevanovski started ACN. It’s also why they’re all still so actively involved today.
Each of the four founders had been successful in other network marketing companies, but they were never able to find that “perfect” company. So they decided to start it.
“The principles ACN was founded on were simple—lessons we all should have learned in kindergarten: treat people the way that we would want to be treated,” Provenzano says. “Our intent was never to get wealthy at everyone else’s expense, but to bring as many people along with us. We certainly understand that as a startup our potential for success was slim, but we knew if we could make it, the people who started with us would be in for an incredible ride. Some of those very first representatives are still with us today and are living amazing lifestyles.”
The four founders started the company as an agent in the now trillion-dollar telecommunications business in January 1993, taking advantage of the then-recent deregulation of the industry. They were new to telecom at the time, but they did understand how to build sales organizations. Over the years, they extended their product line to include Internet, wireless, home security and satellite TV services in addition to traditional long distance and local phone service. They attracted executives and employees who helped them launch the very latest in technology and cutting-edge services of the future with digital phone service.
“We aligned ourselves with the absolute best-of the-best and built our very own, state-of-the-art digital phone service network three years ago,” Provenzano says. “This network provides our customers with premier digital phone service, which powers our innovative video phone technology.”
Digital phone service offers the same calling features customers utilize with traditional phone service, as well as outstanding features that are unavailable through traditional service. And customers can pay a standard monthly fee to call within their national area. For U.S. customers, that means they can call anywhere in the continental United States, Puerto Rico and Canada—all for a flat fee. Digital phone service, which transmits calls through an Internet line, has come a long way since it was first introduced. In fact, today’s digital phone service is indistinguishable from any other technology. According to a Harris Interactive Survey and a Keynote Systems competitive intelligence study, quality has improved to the point that it outranks landline phones in customer satisfaction and overall audio quality.
Meanwhile, the founders expanded their vision to the rest of the world. They started with Canada in 1997 and then reached into Europe. This summer ACN will open its 21st country, South Korea. It’s now the world’s largest direct selling telecommunications company, boasting revenues of more than $550 million and more than 200,000 independent representatives.
“We have an incredible business opportunity that crosses borders and cultures,” Provenzano says. “Regardless of where someone is from or what their background is, when it’s all said and done, people want a good quality of life for themselves and their family. Most people just don’t know how to go about getting it, and that’s where ACN comes in—by providing people around the globe with a viable vehicle to change the course of their lives.”
ACN operates its global business from its world headquarters in Concord, N.C., near Charlotte. It consolidated most of its operations into that 17-acre property in 2008. European headquarters are in Amsterdam; Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Sydney, Australia; and it has key offices in Montreal, Canada; Åmål, Sweden; Wroclaw, Poland; and Seoul, South Korea.
Throughout the world, ACN is a leader in telecommunications services and high-tech video phones. In fact, the addition of video phone technology only furthers ACN’s global presence.
Representatives building their businesses internationally can utilize their video phones to meet with their teams in other countries, without having to leave the comfort of home, while customers enjoy being able to talk to friends and family face to face, regardless of how far away they are.
“What traditional business allows you to build a truly global business of your very own right from your living room?” Provenzano asks. “Our global reach, combined with our revolutionary video phone, is making this possible for countless individuals.”
On Top of Technology
ACN’s independent representatives are buzzing about the upcoming launch of the latest version of the company’s IRIS Video Phone. It’s the latest of a complete product line offering the best-of-the-best in telecommunications and essential services. However, the company is always looking for new opportunities to expand their already robust product line, including the addition of several new services already this year, such as energy services in Canada. And expansion of energy into the United States is already in the pipeline.
“Our representatives are excited about what we have now, so you can imagine the buzz around the arrival of a new video phone, coupled with our growing product line,” Provenzano says.
Growth is a word Provenzano uses a lot. In its distributor ranks, the company has seen a record number of promotions to some of its top positions in the first few months of 2010 alone, and last year it had tremendous growth after its video phone was featured on Donald Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice. According to Provenzano, many representatives who joined the company after seeing the show are now doing extremely well. And 2010 is shaping up to be another record breaker.
“I’ve taken a look at our first-quarter performance and it was spectacular,” he says with pride. “We had growth quarter over quarter in 2010 from 2009.”
Growing from the Inside Out
Provenzano is also proud that independent representatives’ personal development is such a key focus for ACN. In fact, it’s a personal mission for Provenazano. The company offers a robust online tool called Your Business Assistant that provides eight tools wrapped up in one subscription price. It starts with the representative’s personal website, which the company keeps constantly updated, but it also includes a lead-tracking system, representative alerts, downline reporting, conference calling, as well as several key tools focused solely on personal development. These tools include a monthly subscription to SUCCESS magazine, a special personal-development audio series created just for ACN, as well as a state-of-the-art monthly training DVD. These hands-on tools combined with the company’s powerful international training events and the hands-on leadership style of the four founders create a winning and proven model.
“Personal development has been a focus of ours for many years,” Provenzano says. “We’re not only interested in people becoming better off financially; we want them to be better people, spouses, parents and friends—and that starts from the inside out. And if we can enhance people’s lives, they’ll become more productive with what they do at ACN.”
That attitude is right in line with the company’s philosophy that they’re never finished growing. Instead, they’re always focused on getting better. Provenzano says that mindset drives ACN’s executive team every day and permeates the entire company. He views that drive for excellence as both a responsibility and a privilege.
“ACN has changed everything for me and my family. It has brought me more than I could have imagined,” he says. “I’m surrounded with great people, a positive, uplifting environment, and we’re able to enhance people’s lives. Almost every day someone tells me, ‘This the first time I’m saving money for my children’s college education,’ or ‘I’m putting away some money this month because of the discretionary income the ACN opportunity has given us,’ or a mom gets to stay home with her kids because ACN has positively impacted her life. And we have over 1,100 employees worldwide that depend on ACN for their livelihood. I don’t take any of that lightly. I’m asked all the time why we continue to do what we do. It’s never just been about our personal success; it’ about creating an environment for others to succeed too. That’s what drives us every day.”
Since it first expanded outside the U.S. borders in 1997, ACN has continued to expand into country after country, offering its independent representatives a way to build a global business without ever leaving home, if that’s what they choose. This summer ACN will enter South Korea, its 21st country. Including that country, here’s the lineup of countries where ACN’s independent representatives proudly provide services and opportunity:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
With its diverse product portfolio, creative bundling and commitment to customer service, ACN is taking the hassle out of shopping around for essential services. ACN has truly created a one-stop shop for its customers. And because the products and services are ones that customers already use every day, it’s easy to find options that work for every budget and lifestyle.
ACN’s variety of telecommunication plans brings loved ones a little closer. Customers can choose from traditional local and long distance calling plans with a variety of calling features such as call waiting, voice mail and caller ID—all from trusted carriers, so coverage is extensive and the product is reliable. For customers who want the latest in telecommunications technology, ACN Digital Phone Service provides crystal-clear call clarity over a customer’s broadband connection without affecting computer usage. For an even closer connection, customers can pair ACN Digital Phone Service with a video phone and see the person they are talking to. What makes these services even more hassle-free is the convenience—customers in certain areas can bundle calling service with ACN High Speed Internet.
For those who need to talk on the go, ACN Wireless offers the latest handsets and accessories from all the major wireless carriers. But ACN isn’t just a telecommunications company—it has other areas of everyday life covered, too. With ACN Satellite TV from the top two providers in the United States, extensive programming is available for everyone in the family—including HD channels. And when the television is off and everyone is tucked in bed, ACN Home Security has got the house monitored. ACN even offers energy services to customers in Canada and two European countries and plans to offer energy in the United States, too.
But ACN doesn’t just provide for residential customers—it has businesses covered, too. With its DigitalTalk service, ACN provides its top-of-the-line digital phone service to small businesses. The service includes advanced features so businesses never have to worry about missing a call. Add that service with satellite TV, and small businesses can surpass their customers’ expectations.
With its extensive product lineup, dedication to its customers and presence in 21 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, ACN is making connections, one customer at a time.