In an interview with Insights Success, ARIIX CEO Fred Cooper, Ph.D. shares his key insights regarding his role at ARIIX and solutions provided by the company and leadership.
Below are highlights from the interview:
Give a brief overview of your background and your role in ARIIX.
I got involved in the direct selling industry because of my statistical background in compensation plans. I was hired by another direct selling company as a consultant, which eventually presented a full-time offer, and I worked my way up to the position of president at that company. After 15 dedicated years, I disagreed with some of their policies and practices, so I started my own company and became their competition.
Even though I am, ultimately the reason ARIIX was created, it exists today because of the dedication and influence of all seven partners. I currently hold the title of CEO and oversee the creation of policies and procedures that are fair, reasonable and that anyone can execute. I want to make sure that on some level everyone is replaceable, even myself. That is how you create a legacy company that will continue without you.
How do you diversify your solutions to appeal to your target audience?
We get input from a variety of individuals, cultures, and demographics, which leads to our clients dictating what our representatives are going to sell or the type of business they’re going to create. We support cultural diversity on a grand scale. Limiting how you conduct business in regard to cultural inclusion is not a wise business decision. At ARIIX we’ve chosen to include global perspectives in the form of councils from every market and across skill sets, such as athletes, doctors, professors, etc. When we create a product or a service, all of our markets, worldwide, are already invested. By doing this, we gain a diverse view, which gives us a vantage point to come up with solutions directly to our target audiences.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every CEO should possess.
A successful CEO should be a people person. Someone with charisma, who is motivational, inspiring and leads by example. If people don’t want to work for you, you’re not a good CEO.
What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that shaped your journey?
You may think that everyone respects you, likes you and thinks that you’re brilliant, but quite often all the accolades and everything that you think is “you,” are not. A title is merely a title. I’ve learned from watching others how necessary it is to keep yourself grounded and not get “too big for your britches.” So many people surrounding CEOs are only telling them what they think they want to hear — they’re saying all the “right” things and treating the CEO in a totally different manner than they would the moment the title is gone.
I like to surround myself with people who will tell it like it is. I listen to my enemies — sometimes their criticism is accurate. I don’t always introduce myself as a CEO. I like to introduce myself to people who have no clue who I am. For other CEOs who want to practice this, if you find yourself having to tell others, “Well, I’m the CEO” in order to get the reaction you’re looking for, odds are you have people around you over amplifying your qualifications and you need to ground yourself. Every CEO should figure out what they stand for and then start developing their business acumen in that direction. Your character, your reputation, and your presence should speak for themselves if you’re being authentic.
What were some of the primary challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your journey?
When we entered the market, we faced criticism from competitors and past employers. Competitors will always try to tear you down, but you have to continue moving forward with new approaches and angles to make yourself stand out from the competition. Don’t get involved in their petty schemes; it’s never worth it. Focus on finding competent people to work with. That’s where the value is, because at first no one wants to work for a start-up, and you have to bring the right people in so that your business ideas can flourish.
Where does ARIIX see itself in the near future and what are its future goals?
In the near future, we want to become better at our three core competencies, which are taking orders, shipping products and paying commissions. We want it to become even simpler and easier to deploy those three things. Then we want to do the exact thing on a grander scale in more countries.
Provide one line that best describes your vision and approach to business.
Don’t spend time generating excuses — whatever it is, just get it done.
What is your advice for emerging entrepreneurs?
You have overestimated sales, you have underestimated costs, and you can’t imagine how much work you’re about to embark on. Don’t get discouraged. No matter what you do, it’s going to be stressful and you’re not always going to get the support you think you need. This is the time in your life as an entrepreneur when you’re just going to have to hold yourself up and do whatever needs to be done. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll find a way to get it done, and if you’re not an entrepreneur, you’ll find an excuse for why it couldn’t be done.
Source: The League of Extraordinary CEOs