Headquarters: Chandler, Ariz.
Co-Founders: John Anderson, Master Formulator; Jim Coover, Chairman and President; and Kathy Coover, Executive Vice President
Products: Solutions for transforming lives that include weight management, energy and performance, healthy aging, and wealth creation
Just 11 short years ago, John Anderson, a master formulator of nutritional supplements, along with Jim and Kathy Coover, who had more than 20 years of experience in the direct selling industry, cast a vision to impact world health by freeing people from physical and financial pain. These three co-founding partners joined forces to create what has become health and wellness company Isagenix International. Based on what the company has achieved in this short time, Isagenix is truly fulfilling that vision and making a difference in the lives of those being touched by their products and opportunity.
Last year Isagenix reported revenues of approximately $335 million, up 28 percent over prior year.
In 2005, Jim and Kathy Coover acquired the company from John, which gave them majority ownership, but John remains an important contributor as “Master Formulator” of Nutritional Supplements and still has a very passionate presence within the growing organization. It was his creation of the Isagenix Cleansing and Fat Burning System—teamed with the Coovers’ focus on field leadership development—that helped sales skyrocket up an astonishing 1,300 percent in only five years. And just last year Isagenix reported revenues of approximately $335 million, up 28 percent over the prior year. According to Kathy, the success of the Isagenix business is based on real product consumption producing real results. There are currently 190,000 active associates in Isagenix. The products, referred to as “solutions,” include weight loss, energy and performance, healthy aging, and of course, wealth creation. The company has even been featured in leading health and wellness journals such as Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism and the Nutrition Journal.
When Kathy talks about her company, she exudes pride with every word. Last October she was selected and recognized by Direct Selling News as one of the 20 Most Influential Women in Direct Selling. She is very active with Isagenix’s sales associates and spends much of her time traveling to visit and encourage them. Her personal and hands-on approach to building relationships has resulted in a culture that she feels to be the company’s primary asset.
“It’s all about the people! Our events are like a big family reunion,” Kathy says. “It’s really important to us to maintain our culture as we expand. That’s why we travel so much! We have built an amazing company and we offer solutions to transform people’s lives. We equate success with the number of lives we transform, and that is what we are most proud of.”
Time to Change
|Jim, Kathy and Erik Coover|
Isagenix experienced steady growth in its first few years. It wasn’t until 2008 that the company plateaued a bit and reexamined its approach to building the business. The U.S. economy was clearly uncertain at that time and many businesses were beginning to deal with the great recession and the ramifications and implications to corporate strategy. The Isagenix executive team focused on their most important asset, their independent associates, who were both their consumers and their business leaders. The team decided to introduce promotional incentives that they believed would provide associates with a pragmatic approach to building their businesses by offering them quick wins to build on.
Isagenix invests over $15 million annually into these promotions, which feature an opportunity for associates to earn daily pay, weekly pay, monthly pay and yearly pay. These changes, along with the simplification of company messaging and the training/development process, reignited the sales field, resulting in solid and continued growth. These promotional incentives have yielded a business model that allows people to earn income immediately and also is developing field leadership that will help sustain the company for years to come. Kathy says that associates feel a real sense of accomplishment and the ability to build their businesses. It has also allowed them to better set personal targets, resulting in more highly motivated associates.
A Culture of Family
Isagenix is a family-owned business but also a business created for family, which not only includes Jim and Kathy Coover, but now also their son, Erik, who was Kathy’s original inspiration to start the business. When Erik was a baby, Kathy knew she wanted to be with him and desired to be in control of how she worked. This desire brought about the idea of providing parents with the ability to take care of their children yet still have the flexibility to earn a healthy income. Erik is now Director of Field Development and responsible for enhancing the effectiveness of the field.
As Kathy describes the Isagenix sales organization, she says, “There are a lot of stay-at-home moms and dads who just wanted an opportunity and to be with a company that they thought would be long term.” This caring attitude and concern for family and control of personal and work time has been the foundation of the Isagenix culture. The mission and culture of the company have remained unchanged since the business started in 2002. Kathy adds, “You have to attract the right quality of people to your company. If it’s not right for our associates, it’s not right for our company. And we have very strong relationships with our field. They are our best friends with a common goal to change this planet and make a difference in this world.”
CEO Kevin Adams agrees that maintaining the culture at Isagenix is a huge priority and that the relationship between the field and the corporate office is excellent and very beneficial to the company. He joined the team in 2007 after spending 20 years holding multiple senior financial positions with companies such as ConAgra Foods—one of the world’s largest packaged food companies. Kevin says that, by including the field as much as possible through listening, involvement and solicited feedback, Isagenix is gaining in key performance indicators. In the past year, he adds that recruitment was up 30 percent and fewer associates left the field as retention rates increased more than 10 percent in 2012 alone.
Isabody Challenge weight-loss winners.
Technology and Social Media
One way Isagenix is keeping this momentum while doing business in an ever-changing world is through evolving its social media capabilities. The company is very focused on this and considers it key to future growth. In fact, it currently employs 70 people in the IT Department alone. The IT specialists support an extensive array of member solutions to help their associates take control of their destiny. One example is a new “Social Entrepreneurs” program where Isagenix fully embraces many social media platforms—YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more. According to Kathy, this ensures the company is constantly communicating with their associates but also helping them build their business while sharing the opportunity for better health and income with others.
Associates have access to free tools such as Isageeks, a social entrepreneur site offering solutions and support for establishing an online business as more and more people learn about the company through social media. Here they can share content on selling strategies and programs, as well as view and create their own videos and blogs. All of these channels are being leveraged for two-way communication with current associates and new ones as well. For example, Isagenix-to-go provides mobile apps for people on the run as well as iPad and iPhone apps.
Kathy says, “We are very much an Internet-driven company. Ninety-five percent of our orders come online. Applications can be completed via smartphones where they also have access to all presentations and training. All of our training is based on a systems approach inclusive of the associates’ product site, which explains everything about all products, as well as their business site, which provides guidance on everything pertaining to building a business.” Kathy adds that this includes a focus on personal growth with a dedicated personal-development coach, as well as an extensive array of product videos and online chats, videos and blogs led by doctors and experts in the health and wellness industry.
Having been in business for only 11 years, online is not new for Isagenix—they actually started that way. Through their use of social technology and functionality, the stories of those who are benefitting from Isagenix solutions become excellent business-building tools.
Online strategies are growing in significance and contributing to the company’s success even though live events and personal interaction continue to play a huge role in the corporate strategy to build and maintain relationships and trust with the field. Using the web has become a natural way for Isagenix to conduct their business because its vast capabilities enable associates with a direct line of communication at all times. They don’t have to wait for personal help because there are always opportunities to gain instant access to a solution through online tools.
While technology continues to bring people closer together, personal interaction is still vital to the Isagenix culture and this extends beyond its employees and field. It also includes giving back to the community. The company has donated $3 million to Childhelp, an organization that exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children. Additionally, more than 1 million meals have been delivered to families in Haiti and 50,000 meals were sent to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Isagenix has most recently pledged over $500,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
This generosity all began with the founding family, as Jim and Kathy Coover, along with their son, Erik, strive to be strong role models for how a family business can be started and built upon basic ideals that can expand into solutions for hundreds of thousands of people. Women, in particular, have built several iconic direct selling companies upon these same principles of creating an environment for families, and today they represent brand names that are recognized throughout the world.
“Women bring a whole new life, heart and spirit into the industry,” Kathy says. “There’s a huge opportunity for women to be part of the corporate world in network marketing when they come to us with that experience of the field and have built successful businesses. They bring a brilliance of information.”
Through creating this nurturing family environment, the sky is the limit for Isagenix and its associates. In 2013, Isagenix looks forward to sharing health and wealth as it focuses on regional and international expansion. The company already has a presence in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico and is set to expand in Singapore, Malaysia and China over the next year. Isagenix also plans to increase the number of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and young people in the company.
“We as a company are focused on numbers, but our numbers are a reflection of the number of lives being changed.”
“We have over 300 people who lost 100 pounds through the IsaBody Challenge, five people lost 200 pounds, and two people lost 300 pounds,” Kathy says. “We are not only changing lives, we are saving lives! We as a company are focused on numbers, but our numbers are a reflection of the number of lives being changed. That’s why I love what I do!”