Headquarters: Sioux Falls, SD
Top Executives: Dave Jordan, Founder and CEO
Products: Health and Wellness Beverages
When Dave Jordan couldn’t find what he was looking for in direct sales, he started his own company, applying the lessons he’d learned in sports and small business to create a $50 million success story.
In an industry based on level playing fields, big dreams and the achievement of the seemingly impossible, there may be no better representative than Dave Jordan. His path to the helm of a $50 million direct sales company began rather unconventionally. The tenth of 14 children, Jordan dropped out of school after the 8th grade. “I was frustrated all the time. I was dyslexic, and I couldn’t read or write. I never cared about school, and I didn’t like people telling me what to do. I wanted to be my own boss,” he says. “All I’d ever do was think about how I was going to build my own company and become a millionaire.”
He also had a love of sports, especially baseball and boxing, and after leaving school he started his own small business in sports memorabilia. With a lot of determination and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Jordan turned that small business into a large sports memorabilia company with multiple store locations.
After Three Strikes, A New Ball Game
In 1994, a customer walked into one of Jordan’s stores and told him about a network marketing opportunity. Jordan signed up as a distributor and would remain in the industry, starting three direct selling businesses over the next several years. He became disillusioned with some of the business practices he witnessed during that period, however—specifically with regard to how distributors were treated. In 2014, Jordan decided to start his own health and wellness direct sales company, Valentus, which means “prevail” in Latin. His objective was simple: “We wanted to be the gold standard of integrity.”
The word “prevail” is significant for several reasons related not just to Valentus, but to Jordan’s background. Despite a few negative experiences in his earlier years in direct sales, Jordan could see the potential of the industry. “I learned from small business how to treat people,” but with direct selling, “it was the leverage that intrigued me,” he said. “I could spend 90 hours a week in my sports business, or I could build a direct sales team under me that literally worked 90 hours in an hour.”
Putting the wisdom of his hard-learned experiences to work, Jordan set out to create a culture that put distributors at the forefront of every decision. His core philosophy: “Treat others how I always wanted to be treated. We’re a company built by distributors for distributors. They can come in like me—a normal, average guy with an 8th grade education—and have the same opportunity as anyone else. I enrolled many of the top leaders in the company personally, and I’ve got the satisfaction of knowing I’ve had a helping hand in the supersonic growth the company has had.” Jordan’s wife, Joyce, also has played a role in Valentus’ success story, handling backend operational activities ranging from events coordination to administrative duties.
Valentus closed out 2015 with $3 million in revenue, followed by $32 million in 2016 and $50 million in 2017 and 2018 combined. Jordan has every confidence that 2019 will be another record year, and 2020 could surpass the company’s first five years combined. Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 30 employees support approximately 80,000 Valentus distributors worldwide. The company ships to more than 90 countries, and the U.S. is its largest market. “The last 8 months have been absolutely incredible, “ says Jordan. “Every month is a record setting month breaking the record of the prior month. We are on track to a projected $100mm this year.”
A trio of products—Prevail Trim, Prevail Energy, and Immune Boost—comprised the company’s initial offering. All three were based on the philosophy that simplicity is key to a consumer’s ability to make permanent changes in health. “Our motto is ‘Just add water,’” Jordan says. A series of additional product launches soon followed, including SlimROAST® Coffee, Prevail KETO Creamer, Prevail 24/7 Carb Burner, and other products designed to detoxify, cleanse, and support the body’s nutritional needs. The company’s product marketing focuses largely on the integrity of its ingredients and formulas. Jordan speaks about the efficacy of his products from personal experience; he lost 80 pounds on the regimen.
“I always tell people that my sports memorabilia company is my retirement, but Valentus is my legacy.” —Dave Jordan, Founder and CEO
Jordan credits the simplicity and duplicatable nature of the products for his distributors’ success. The 6-Day Experience has been a particularly effective sales strategy for distributors: They introduce five one-serving packets of SlimROAST coffee to a customer and, after the customers experience results, show them how to sell it themselves through a straightforward, duplicatable system.
“I think the best thing we’ve done as a company is that our distributors know they have a home here,” Jordan says. “They know we’re a family and we care about every single one of them. It’s a home where they can have refuge.” If he could have changed anything about the last five years, “I would have saved three years and gotten around the mistakes in the beginning, but you have to go through that adversity to make it to the top.” Looking forward to 2020 and beyond, “I’m hoping to improve our product line, our shipping times, our corporate office, our corporate support … everything. We’re improving every day. Are we perfect? No. Are we going to be? Yes, that’s my intention. People are going to know who we are in the next two to three years.”
The Future Lineup
The last 8 months have seen explosive growth for Valentus with projected sales tracking near $100mm. “We are growing like a weed and staging the growth is part of the deal. We are moving into larger facilities and hiring 3 new employees for every million dollars in business growth.” states Jordan. “It is a busy and strategic time for us.”
An active philanthropic presence is among the company’s plans for the near future. Valentus currently is working on the development of a philanthropic foundation, and while it’s too early to divulge many details, Jordan says it will be centered on children’s causes.
Jordan is also currently writing a book about his life and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Readers “will understand how someone with an 8th grade education who couldn’t read became a self-made millionaire on my own. I never inherited anything. I just basically went after life.
“I always tell people that my sports memorabilia company is my retirement, but Valentus is my legacy,” he continues. “My dad’s work ethic is what I inherited … he worked two jobs most of the time to raise us as kids. He was a police officer, worked extra jobs at the gas station, this and that. He just worked hard, and he enjoyed life.” It’s clear that Jordan’s inspiration comes not only from his dad but from the industry he proudly represents today. The secret behind his company’s exponential growth comes down to a humble mandate: “Caring about people and working hard. You can’t sell anyone unless you love everyone.”