‘Poor teamwork affecting network marketing in Nigeria’

Mr. Daniel Ikechukwu, Country Manager, Forever Living Products Nigeria, led Nigerian businessmen to Stockholm, Sweden for annual Global Rally, recently. In this interview with Medinat Kanabe, he gives highlights of the sights and sounds of the international gathering vis-à-vis its implication for business and wealth creation for Nigerians involved in network marketing. Excerpts:

You just returned from Stockholm, Sweden, where Forever Living Products International held her 2019 Global Rally, a yearly convention of Forever Business Owners from all over the world. How did it go?

The event was excellent. It is our tradition in the Forever family worldwide to gather at a selected country every year for a general celebration of our independent Forever Business Owners (FBOs) and also engage in various activities which serve to reward FBOs who performed really well during the previous business year and also motivate everyone, while setting the tone for the next business year. Our people were excited, motivated and now we look forward to 2020 with higher expectations.

Nigerians are known to be loud while attending these global events. How was it this time around?

They were fantastic. We registered our presence with 148 Nigerians in Stockholm. It was exciting to see Nigerians in our spectacular national colours of Green-White-Green and also our signature Ankara attires. Everyone was amazing and regardless of the turbulent times in the economy, we represented our country well and gave a good account of Nigeria as a strong Forever country. Nigerians love the products and the business opportunity as these have positively impacted and are still impacting the lives of so many across the country.

Forever has two African giants, Forever Nigeria and Forever South Africa. How would you say these two countries measure up against each other business-wise?

In all honesty, Nigeria cannot be compared to South Africa, because presently, Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people, while South Africa has just 56 million. You also remember that the products we are dealing with are drinks, personal care products, products that people consume regularly, then you discover there is a large gap between the Nigerian and South African market. However when you weigh in on which country is hungrier for success. From that viewpoint, you find that South Africa with a background of apartheid, know much more about collective struggle and how to fight as a team and Forever is a team business. That is slightly lacking in Nigerians, as our people struggle with working as a team. Our people are yet to embrace the importance of team building in business, cooperation and collaboration. Here, we like to work for ourselves and many don’t care about uplifting others, even when those people actually look up to them. However we are working hard on the ‘teamwork culture’ and we are positive it will yield success.

It is largely said that the Global Rally is the apex of Forever celebrations. What do you say to this?

The Global Rally is unarguably the most exciting event in the Forever family. Some say the Eagle Managers Retreat is the most exciting but that is attended strictly by those who qualify, unlike the Rally which is open to everyone; both qualifiers and non-qualifiers. For this reason, more people generally get to attend the rally and even invite guests. However, for the qualifiers the trip is all expense paid for two and the company even gives them money to spend while on the trip, which they can choose to either spend over there or just take back home. In addition to this, some FBOs also qualify for ‘Chairman’s Bonus’, which is essentially a share in the company’s profit for the previous business year. These Chairman’s bonus checks are presented to them on stage by the president of the company. Those who did not qualify for the rally at all are also free to attend, so long as they can pay for their own trips. All these contribute to the excitement and the reason many consider it the best Forever event. In Stockholm alone, we had over 15,000 people gathered as a Forever family. The entire city was electrified by the presence of Forever. New products were launched such as the ‘Forever Supergreen’, a product made purely from vegetables and herbs. If you appreciate Green, irrespective of your kind of diet or your nutrition, you will definitely appreciate this product. Also unveiled was the ‘Aloe Sunscreen’. This is a product that had gone through so much reformation and now we have the best in what was expected of the Aloe Sunscreen after about 200 tests. Again, there was ‘Forever Mini’, an Aloe Vera Gel in tetra packs. Aside the 1 litre Gel, we now have the 330ml Gel in tetra pack. You just rip it open and drink. The destination for next year’s Forever Global Rally (2020) was also announced – Sydney, Australia. The FBOs were really excited and motivated to work towards qualifying for this all-expense paid trip next year.

You mentioned another international event which you called ‘Eagle Managers’ Retreat.’ Can you tell us very briefly what that is?

The Eagle Managers’ Retreat (EMR) is another all-expense paid trip for two which our Forever Business Owners also qualify for yearly. The qualification is based not just on the level of business generated at the individual level, but also that generated by your team which you build and coach. It is an incentive that rewards team business-building. A major difference between the EMR and Global Rally is that EMR is attended strictly on qualification and is not open to non-qualifiers like the rally. Each qualifier is also entitled to bring along a partner since the company pays for two just like the rally. The Eagle Managers’ Retreat destination for next year is Bahamas and Forever Business Owners are already working towards their qualification as it will be more amazing than any other EMR so far.

What advice do you have for your hard working FBOs who couldn’t qualify for the Global Rally this year?

To all our FBOs (active & inactive), I want to strongly say that this is the dawn of a new beginning. With a population of less than 140m Nigerians, we were 3rd in our global ranking. To all our very active FBOs, remember that our strength lies in our togetherness. We have one country, one FLP Nigeria and we are one team. Be assured of our unending support to help you create the Forever of your dream. To all our inactive FBOs, arise and let your Forever business shine. If you were asleep, wake up; reset your goals. Your vision can still be achieved through our Forever business model. Together, as one team, we will build a stronger, bigger, better and bolder Forever business in Nigeria.

Those who could not qualify for the Global Rally this year have another opportunity in 2020. The exciting thing is that the destinations for 2020 are great. For 41 years, the clamour has always been that Forever has taken people to all the continents but not to Australia. And now that call has been answered. Our FBOs have the privilege to visit that continent, Australia. So, come April, 2020, all our Business Owners who will qualify will have the opportunity to visit Sydney, Australia. It is not a question of come and join, it is not a question of how old you have been in the business, it is about how many lives you are willing to change for the better. How many people can I meet before the end of 2019? How many people will I talk to today to help them gain from the benefits of Aloe Vera and other amazing Forever products? Also, for those who are involved in our Eagle Managers Retreat, the destination is the Bahamas (a ship cruise). So, we have two excellent inspiring destinations for our people next year. Now we have it, so our Business Owners only have to work to qualify in 2020.

Forever had been in the 3rd position in terms of sales in the world. Where are you placed and how can you handle this?

Global positioning for us might look very insignificant at this moment. However, I feel and see how passionate our employees and FBOs talk about the moment in history when FLP Nigeria was 3rd in our Forever Global ranking. For me, I love the passion. This passion we want to properly channel to increased energies in all our basic business strategies. With the later comes renewed commitment to do that which we have done before and are still passionate and capable of doing. If you look at the 170 countries, where Forever Living does business globally, look at their population, experience in our business and quality of their FBOs; I tell you this, we may not be there yet, but we belong to the top 5. And this is what we want and this will drive us.

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  1. They don’t know and don’t believe in teamwork, not knowing they are missing alot.

  2. Good spirit in business among team is important.

  3. They don’t know the importance of teamwork

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