Photo: ARIIX’s smart car-riding CEO Fred Cooper.
You celebrated your 7th anniversary this summer. What are your thoughts on where you are as a company?
Fred: I’m a perfectionist, so I would say we’re never as big as we hoped to be, but since our third year in business we’ve made the Direct Selling News Global 100 list, and we have moved up the ranks steadily each year. From #91 in 2016 to #82 in 2017, and #78 this year. There can’t be a lot on that list who have accomplished the kind of consistent, year-over-year growth.
What is your leadership style?
Fred: There are many families who are depending on our leadership team to make the right decisions, day in and day out. That’s a lot of responsibility, and I take it very seriously. So that means everyone at our corporate office is doing their job well every day, myself included. I’m not the kind that will be at your desk micromanaging you. I expect our staff to do their job and do it well because if we don’t, we will let many families down as a result. I sleep pretty well at night knowing that our team is up to the task of leading our company in the right direction.
How does being a house of brands help you in being a nimble company?
Fred: Having a house of brands allows us not to get stuck with any one product line. Every product has a lifecycle, and the consumer demand for any one product will eventually wane over time. It’s our diversity of products and services that has been one of the keys to our consistent growth. We also are not married to just products. We’re not married just to services. We have both, and we feel that will serve us well in the future.
It also creates for our Representatives a chance to share a product or service they are passionate about. They don’t have to share other product lines if they so choose. Over time they may want to offer additional products or services we provide. The key is we give them a choice of products and services to share with their friends and family.
What are your criteria for expanding internationally? Any advice you want to give on lessons learned?
Fred: Certainly, the size of the country, the size of the direct selling market, the laws, how friendly they are toward direct selling all have a bearing on our decision. I think we made a mistake at the beginning. We opened too many countries too soon. The infrastructure and the requirements to service those countries get to be exorbitant. My advice would be not to go too fast or too quickly. Make sure that you have the infrastructure in place, and that you can support all the countries all at once because the problems and the requirements and the expenses increase exponentially as you move from country to country internationally.
How does ARIIX give back? Share with us some of your philanthropic initiatives.
Fred: We try to make the donations pretty much in the countries where we generate the sales. As we generate those sales, we try to target back to charities or organizations located in that local country. For example, we have a partnership with the Women’s Foundation in China. It’s a significant cause for families in China and specifically helping single mothers.
What are your goals going forward? What skills or mindset do you need to tweak as a company to continue to grow and get where you want to be?
Fred: I want us to move from good to great. I want to start making changes that say, Yes, this is good. It is acceptable, but let’s see if we can make it easier for our Representatives to do business. Because when it comes down to it, a company only needs to do three things very, very well, which is take an order, pay commissions, and ship a great product. That’s it. If you can do those three things better than anyone, our Representatives should have no excuse to be frustrated in doing business with us.