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Four Lessons from Melaleuca Founder Frank VanderSloot

Frank VanderSloot is the founder and CEO of Melaleuca, the largest online health and wellness company in North America.

He was there where Melaleuca began with seven products and eight employees in 1985 and, under his leadership, has consistently driven it to become a $2 billion global enterprise that creates, manufactures, and sells over 450 exclusive health and wellness products.

Here are four lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot.

Your Focus Determines Your Future

“There are so many opportunities that are available to us with regard to how we spend our time and what we choose to focus on,” VanderSloot says. “Yet, because time is limited, we cannot choose all opportunities at once. Choosing one opportunity limits us from choosing others, so we must choose wisely. Those who choose to seek success, whether in business or any other aspect of their lives, would be well-served to focus on the key factors that bring that success.”

Always Innovate

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is notoriously hard to crack into with CPG giants like Procter and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson dominating the industry for over a century. VanderSloot knew that innovation behind Melaleuca products and its business model would be critical to any kind of success for the company. With that in mind, he designed Melaleuca be the creator, manufacturer, and retail outlet for their exclusive products. Relying only on word-of-mouth advertising and repeat customers, Melaleuca invests in products rather than on advertising and retail space. In addition to innovation in product creation and marketing strategy, Melaleuca knows that innovation in its domestic operations also play a significant role. The company has been recognized for its custom computer software, energy efficient operations, and state-of-the art manufacturing facilities.

Develop a Relationship with Your Customers

In 1985, a business model that cut out retail environments and traditional advertising was as risky as it was innovative. That meant doing business via catalogs, faxes, and phone calls, but it worked simply because Melaleuca knew its number one asset was its customer. By selling directly to the customer and developing that relationship, Melaleuca The Wellness Company was able to chisel out success in a highly competitive industry. Today, even though the tools have changed, taking a relationship-based approach has not. Every decision Melaleuca makes is done with the customer in mind every step of the way.

Take Care of Employees

The savvy CEO instituted a longevity bonus plan as a way to reward employees for their commitment to the company. Melaleuca rewards employees reaching landmark anniversaries with $5,000 on a five-year anniversary, $10,000 at 10 years, $15,000 at 15 years, $20,000 net (which is a total payment of $33,000) at 20 years, $25,000 at 25 years and $30,000 at 30 years. In total, Melaleuca has paid $23 million since instituting the program in 2007.  This bonus is for all full- and part-time employees, regardless of position or pay level, and an employee’s length of service is the only qualification.

“I think it’s great that we’re going through life together,” VanderSloot says. “It’s important to reward the people who have built Melaleuca, and this bonus serves as a token of our appreciation for their years of dedicated service.”

The company must be doing something right. For the last three years, Forbes has recognized Melaleuca as one of the best places to work in America. “To be named as one of the best employers in the nation is a real honor and a tribute to the many great people who work here,” VanderSloot says.

There are many ways for a business to define success, such as market growth, profitability, and employee longevity. No matter what way you look at it, Melaleuca has been successful for nearly four decades and with a leader like CEO Frank VanderSloot, it’s easy to see why.

About Frank VanderSloot

Frank VanderSloot has been the CEO of Melaleuca since the company was founded in 1985. Growing up on a small family farm in Idaho, VanderSloot learned the value of hard work at an early age. Under his leadership, Melaleuca has steadily grown from a simple start-up initially offered just a few products into a thriving company with 450 health and wellness products, operates in 19 countries around the world and brings in $2 billion in annual revenue. Today Melaleuca products are used in 2 million households across the globe.

Learn more about Melaleuca founder and CEO Frank VanderSloot here.

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