From a one product, one country start-up to a multi-service industry giant backed by the personal endorsement of Donald Trump himself, ACN Inc. is changing the way people think about and purchase their essential services for good.
ACN began in 1993 as a direct seller of long distance services in the United States and in just 18 short years they have expanded to become the largest direct seller of telecommunications and home services in the world. It’s a role they don’t take lightly, and a journey that wasn’t always easy. In fact, according to co-founders Greg Provenzano, Robert Stevanovski, Mike Cupisz and Tony Cupisz, ACN began out of necessity for themselves and their families.
From humble beginnings
The four co-founders met in 1992 through mutual friends. They’d each shared experiences in network marketing and were looking for a better way. But at the end of the day, they knew one thing: network marketing worked if you had the right products and the right leadership.
“We had all been with other network marketing companies and it was clear to us what worked and what didn’t,” said Greg Provenzano, ACN President. “So we made a list of what wouldn’t work and a list of what we knew would work. We split that list down the middle, threw out what wouldn’t work and designed ACN around everything we knew would work. And it’s those same principles that continue to guide ACN today.”
Three months later, in January of 1993, ACN was born as a reseller of long distance services in the United States. As ACN experienced success, the founders reinvested back into the company, expanding from one product in one country to multiple products and services in 20 countries in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
To a leader in the marketplace
Today, in North America, ACN offers traditional local and long distance services, DSL, satellite TV, home security, as well as gas and electricity in the Canadian marketplace. But their flagship product is ACN Digital Phone Service along with their revolutionary ACN Video Phone.
“Had you told me 18 years ago that our flagship product would be technology that allows people to see the person they are talking to, I would have never believed it. That was only something we saw on television or in Sci-Fi movies,” Provenzano says. “We have revolutionized the way people communicate and made the future a reality today.”
ACN’s Video Phone technology, powered by their own Digital Phone Service network, allows people to communicate over the Internet—not just verbally but visually.
Industry experts anticipate having over 200 million users worldwide within the next few years, and ACN is ahead of the technology curve, as they are now the largest distributor of video phones, not only in North America, but in the world. And according to Provenzano this wasn’t by accident.
“To remain a leader in our industry, we constantly have to reinvent ourselves and our products to meet the needs of consumers,” he says. “In fact, at ACN, we make it our business to stay out in front of every technology shift, to be proactive and never reactive. If there is a new technology on the horizon, we position ourselves ahead of that technology so that we can be a driving force behind it.”
A winning business model
But it’s not just the products and services that count. In fact, according to Provenzano, the products and services are only half the equation; it’s finding the right distribution model to get these products and services to the end consumer.
“The combination of these two aspects is what has given us our uniqueness in the marketplace—we have married the concept of direct sales with telecommunications and home services.”
According to Provenzano, in this economy, many companies are forced to cut or even eliminate their advertising budgets, and without advertising, these companies simply cannot get their products and services to end customers. Instead of using traditional, costly marketing methods that often prove ineffective, ACN’s unique direct sales model positions its Independent Representatives around the world to simply share these products and services with people they already know. As a result, ACN by-passes traditional advertising and in turn passes those savings directly to the consumers—while creating a lucrative business opportunity for individuals on a part-time or full-time basis.
The Trump factor
Believe it or not, the innovative and ambitious Founders have another wild card in their pocket. That is, Donald Trump’s endorsement and overall stamp of approval on ACN’s business model. Interestingly enough, the company has had a strong business relationship with Donald Trump’s organization since 2006. Three years later, he turned the spotlight on ACN.
“We met with Mr. Trump and he loved what he saw in regards to our leadership team, organizational structure, our products and services, and the overall business model of ACN,” tells Provenzano. He adds, Mr. Trump believes “we are well-positioned to compete in the video phone space,” based on the extensive research his organization did on ACN.
Because of the company’s uniqueness in the marketplace and leadership in video phone technology, the Trump organization decided to put the spotlight on ACN in Trump’s reality TV show, The Celebrity Apprentice, which aired in March 2009. “Our experience on The Celebrity Apprentice not only provided us with tremendous exposure in the marketplace as a leading direct sales company, it also created incredible exposure and excitement around our video phone technology as well,” tells Provenzano. “We gave millions of viewers a glimpse of what’s possible with our video phone technology.”
Growth and change is business as usual at ACN. In fact, ACN’s co-founders have never been content to stand still.
“We’re always looking for a way to up our game, in turn creating a better business opportunity for our representatives and a better experience for our customers,” says Provenzano.
To stay competitive in the industry, ACN’s co-founders invested early and purchased the controlling interest of a video phone technology company by the name of World Gate, which they believe has the premiere video phone technology. “Right now, they are designing the next generation video phone which will feature real time HD-quality streaming video that will build upon the quality of our existing video phone. We see that coming down the pipe sometime in the middle of 2010,” tells Provenzano.
A strong business plan, competitive products and services, an incredible vision for the future and a will to win have positioned ACN out in front of the telecommunications and home services industries.
They’ve taken the world’s idea of communication beyond the call—and have revolutionized an entire industry along the way.
ACN is a proud member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) in many countries. AB