FEBRUARY 2010 • The American Business Journal


entRePReneUR StoRy

GoinG beyond the call

ACN Inc.


ACN Inc. and a journey that wasn’t always easy. one country start-up to a multi-service industry giant backed by the personal endorsement of Donald Trump himself. FEBRUARY 2010 • The American Business Journal 71 From a one product. . ACN began out of necessity for themselves and their families. In fact. Robert Stevanovski. according to co-founders Greg Provenzano. Mike Cupisz and Tony Cupisz. It’s a role they don’t take lightly.70 ENTREPRENEUR STORY • 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.

They’d each shared experiences in network marketing and were looking for a better way.” Provenzano says. That was only something we saw on television or in Sci-Fi movies. we constantly have to reinvent ourselves and our products to meet the needs of consumers. not only in North America. And according to Provenzano this wasn’t by accident. ACN President. we make it our business to stay To a leader in the marketplace Today. “We had all been with other network marketing companies and it was clear to us what worked and what didn’t. in North America. the founders reinvested back into the company.” ACN’s Video Phone technology. in January of 1993. as well as gas and electricity in the Canadian marketplace. But their flagship . And it’s those same principles that continue to guide ACN today. at ACN. they knew one thing: network marketing worked if you had the right products and the right leadership. but in the world. as they are now the largest distributor of video phones. Europe and Asia Pacific. ACN was born as a reseller of long distance services in the United States. Industry experts anticipate having over 200 million users worldwide within the next few years. “To remain a leader in our industry. and ACN is ahead of the technology curve.72 ENTREPRENEUR STORY • ACN Inc. DSL. FEBRUARY 2010 • The American Business Journal 73 From humble beginnings The four co-founders met in 1992 through mutual friends. allows people to communicate over the Internet—not just verbally but visually. expanding from one product in one country to multiple products and services in 20 countries in North America. I would have never believed it. We split that list down the middle. threw out what wouldn’t work and designed ACN around everything we knew would work.” Three months later. ACN offers traditional local and long distance services. home security. product is ACN Digital Phone Service along with their revolutionary ACN Video Phone.” he says. “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. “In fact. “So we made a list of what wouldn’t work and a list of what we knew would work. But at the end of the day. satellite TV. powered by their own Digital Phone Service network. “We have revolutionized the way people communicate and made the future a reality today.” said Greg Provenzano. As ACN experienced success.

If there is a new technology on the horizon. Instead of using traditional.” A winning business model But it’s not just the products and services that count. ROBERT STERANOVSkI. to be proactive and never reactive. many companies are forced to cut or even eliminate their advertising budgets. according to Provenzano. ▲ dent Representatives around the world to simply . GREG PRORENzANO. In fact.74 ENTREPRENEUR STORY • ACN Inc. ACN’s unique direct sales model positions its IndepenACN CO-FOUNDERS: IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. “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. MIkE CUPISz AND TONY CUPISz. FEBRUARY 2010 • The American Business Journal 75 out in front of every technology shift. costly marketing methods that often prove ineffective. we position ourselves ahead of that technology so that we can be a driving force behind it. in this economy. and without advertising. these companies simply cannot get their products and services to end customers.” According to Provenzano. it’s finding the right distribution model to get these products and services to the end consumer. the products and services are only half the equation.

it also created incredible exposure and excitement around our video phone technology as well. In fact. our products and services. ACN is a proud member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) in many countries. organizational structure. an incredible vision for the future . 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. Interestingly enough.000 new distributors in the U.” tells Provenzano. he saw in regards to our leadership team.76 ENTREPRENEUR STORY • ACN Inc.” says Provenzano. They’ve taken the world’s idea of communication beyond the call—and have revolutionized an entire industry along the way. Donald Trump’s endorsement and overall stamp of approval on ACN’s business model. ACN’s co-founders have never been content to stand still. He adds. the Trump organization decided to put the spotlight on ACN in Trump’s reality TV show. and the overall business model of ACN. the company has had a strong business relationship with Donald Trump’s organization since 2006. To stay competitive in the industry.” tells Provenzano.” tells Provenzano.S. We see that coming down the pipe sometime in the middle of 2010. “We met with Mr. which aired in March 2009.” based on the extensive research his organization did on ACN.com Future plans Growth and change is business as usual at ACN. ab www. Trump and he loved what “We’re always looking for a way to up our game. FEBRUARY 2010 • The American Business Journal 77 share these products and services with people they already know. Three years later. Trump believes “we are well-positioned to compete in the video phone space. “We gave millions of viewers a glimpse of what’s possible with our video phone technology. competitive products and services. “Our experience on The Celebrity Apprentice not only provided us with tremendous exposure in the marketplace as a leading direct sales company. Because of the company’s uniqueness in the marketplace and leadership in video phone technology. ACN’s co-founders invested early and purchased the controlling interest of a video phone technology diRect SellinG indUStRy iS exPlodinG ► • 175. he turned the spotlight on ACN. the innovative and ambitious Founders have another wild card in their pocket.acninc.000 globally • Growth over next 10 years expected to be higher than entire prior 50 years • More than 13 million people across the United States and more than 58 million people globally have discovered direct selling as a viable alternative to traditional careers • Annual sales of $30 billion in the United States • Over $100 billion worldwide company by the name of World Gate. The Trump factor Believe it or not. Mr. which they believe has the premiere video phone technology. 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.” and a will to win have positioned ACN out in front of the telecommunications and home services industries. That is. “Right now. A strong business plan. in turn creating a better business opportunity for our representatives and a better experience for our customers. The Celebrity Apprentice. As a result. weekly & 475.

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